Reporting Ron Matz
DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ) – It’s a Dundalk tradition. Thousands of people are making their annual visit to the train garden at the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company.
Ron Matz reports this year it’s bigger and better than ever.
Now in its 32nd year, the Wise Avenue Train Garden is simply amazing.
“The kids absolutely love it. We have people who were here when they were kids and they’re bringing their kids and their grandkids and that’s very cool,” said Bob Frances, Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company.
The imagination of Bill Eichner and other volunteers makes it happen.
“It is a rush. It’s so neat to see the people coming and seeing how much they enjoy it and watching them take pictures, particularly the new carnival scene. There’s so much activity going on with it. We also have a roller coaster,” said Eichner, a volunteer who helps set up the train garden.
It’s all Baltimore. There’s Mr. Boh, the Bromo Seltzer Tower, Squire’s Restaurant, the golden globes of Back River and some familiar faces from WJZ. It’s a labor of love for the guys at Wise and a paradise for train lovers of all ages.
“We’ve got 10 trains, four levels, two trolleys, two highways and a lot of imagination,” said Frances. “It involves the whole fire company. There’s a core group of 10 guys on our train garden committee who do most of the planning. We’re talking well over 2,700 manhours of time constructing it and operating it throughout the season.”
“It’s a lot of work. We’re usually working right up until the last minute. Typically, it’s an all-nighter the night before we open. We just want to make sure everything is going smoothly,” said Eichner.
Before the holiday season is over, 30,000 people will visit the Wise Avenue Train Garden.
“This is the 32nd year at Wise Avenue, but it started at the old Dundalk Fire Station in the 1920s, so it’s well over a 90-year tradition,” said Frances.
Children seven and under get in free. All others are asked to make a $1 donation.