DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ )– If you love train gardens, this is your time of year. Baltimore has a lot of them, and it’s a great place to take the kids.
Ron Matz was in Dundalk for a look at one of the biggest on the East Coast.
It’s a spectacular display. The Train Garden at the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company includes nine trains and six levels. New this year, a tribute to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and much more.
“Since this is the tenth year since 9/11 we have a big suspension bridge commemorating the firefighters and police officers lost on 9/11 in New York. We even have patches of each police officer and firefighter who passed away on the bridge. That’s really big for us,” said Wayne Nickel of the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company. “We have the Orioles playing the Yankees, the Ravens beating up on the Steelers, the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon is new this year. A local gentleman made it for us. It’s made of clay. It’s a fantastic display.”
Bill Price is one of the volunteers who helps set up this mammoth display. It takes six weeks to make it happen.
“It takes a lot of work and a lot of devotion,” Price said. “The greatest reward is to see a child come in here and their face light up like a Christmas tree. That is our reward.”
You’ll see crab houses, a scene from Back River, the Colts’ No. 19 (Johnny Unitas) and trains galore.
“I take care of the track wiring. We have about 1,700 feet of wiring just for the tracks alone. I also do some of the wiring for some of the animation. Thousands of feet of electrical wiring for the animation and the lights. It’s a lot,” volunteer Bill Eichner said.
The Wise Avenue Train Garden is free but they ask adults for donations so this Dundalk holiday tradition can continue.
“The people in this area have always been really good about donating to us and that’s why we plan on keeping this here for a long time,” said Nickel. “Attendance is up this year. Since we opened on Nov. 26, we’ve had 10,000 so far and we expect to go over 30,000 this year.”
“It’s tremendous. We work right up until the last minute before we open. Typically the last night before we open is an all-nighter. It’s great fun, especially seeing the trains running,” said Eichner.
The Wise Avenue Train Garden is open though Jan. 8. For more information, click here.