Hobbyist gets in holiday spirit with train display

by Wes Mayer

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In the days leading up to Christmas, a Senoia man and his son will be opening their home to visitors hoping to glimpse the elaborate, holiday-decorated model train set.

Frank Ladd and his son Mark have been assembling and adding to the train set since January 2012. The train, an O-scale set, fills an entire room of the Ladd home, visible immediately when walking in the door. The set includes multiple tracks, levels, a front and back section, tiny toy buildings and — for the open house — Christmas decorations.

The Ladds have seven different Lionel and MTH train engines, one made in 1952. Other trains in the display include The Santa Fe, The Polar Express and The Spirit of 1776, which plays train sounds and recorded voiceovers. Father and son can control the trains simultaneously using the inner and outer loops of the track. The room is filled with bells, whistles and the sound of trains rushing along the small tracks. A few of the trains have smoke features, and Ladd found some Christmas scents to add to the festivity.

In October, the Ladds’ Senoia Helix Mountain Railroad was part of the Piedmont Pilgrimage of Atlanta, where model train enthusiasts toured Georgia and learned about train set collections. The Ladds are members of the National Model Railroad Association and enjoy attending all types of model train shows.

The family opened their home on 780 Carl Williams Road to the public last year and enjoyed more than 60 visitors. This year, the Ladds said they are hoping for a few more — the home will be open on Monday and Tuesday. Ladd plans to have lights and signs on the street leading the way.

For those who will miss the Christmas display, Ladd said his home is open to anyone by appointment. Call him at 678-378-8644 to set up a time. Many local homes are lighting up the county this Christmas season. Here are a few to add to the list of stops around Coweta:

• The Hurleys, 140 Hamilton Drive, Newnan.

• The Caswells, 649 Dixon Road, Newnan.

• The Craigs, 2405 Gordon Road, Newnan.

• The Bentons, 155 Hannah Road, Newnan.

• The Coopers, 620 Holbrook Road, Newnan.

• The Pickfords, 1605 Old Highway 85, Senoia.

• The Lamberts, 40 Camelia Circle (Lake Hills)

• The Stewart home along with several neighbors in Acropolis Court, located in the back of the neighborhood off Macedonia Road and Pegasus Trace.

• The Walkers, 6 Patriot Lane, in Avery Park off U.S. Highway 29 North, Newnan.

• The Yarbroughs, 205 Brittain Way, in Timberidge off U.S. 29 in north Coweta.

• Downtown Newnan where the city has lighted trees and buildings.

• Also SummerGrove neighborhood in Newnan will have its annual luminarias display Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Nancy Sanker started the project with friends to honor her sister, Linda McGrenaghan, who died after fighting leukemia 19 years. All proceeds from the luminarias go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year, Lights for Linda is dedicating its luminarias to Madeline McTier, a 17-year-old East Coweta High School student who passed away in September from complications of a brain tumor.



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