WESTFIELD, NJ — The marquee of a movie theater shows the 1960 film “Psycho,” the Westfield Lumber and Home Center shows prominently, and street lights glow yellow.
While the miniature figures are still, trains roll on Marvin Gersten’s N Scale Model Railway set on display at the town’s municipal building.
“I’m a retired civil engineer. I love to build things. I love to play with trains, obviously,” said Gersten, who has lived in Westfield since 1972. “So over the years, I built these various models of various Westfield buildings, the landscaping and the trees … various scenes and little tiny people at that scale. It’s just been a labor of love over the many years.”
Gersten’s model railway, which again be on display Thursday through Sunday, comprises one exhibit in the community room of the municipal building, which has been transformed to replicate a railway stop.
Visitors are greeted with a mock ticket booth, benches are situated in the middle of the room as if for riders, and an even larger N Scale railway is on display on the other side of the room showing both NJ Transit and Amtrak trains rolling around Central New Jersey.
Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, chairwoman of the town’s celebration of Charles Addams — AddamsFest — said the display is an outgrowth of Addams Family character Gomez Addams’ fondness for trains.
“I was thinking that Gomez Addams loved his trains, and that trains are multigenerational,” Mackey said. “I had this idea about bringing in this massive train exhibit but also making it personal to Westfield.”
Gersten lent his display to bring in local flavor to the exhibit as did the Westfield Historical Society, which donated memorabilia for the show while the Jersey Central N – Trak Model Railroad Club lent a more elaborate model of both commercial and passenger trains through rolling Central New Jersey.
On Sunday, children pointed and gazed eyes wide as the rail cars coasted in the miniature tracks, just a part of the exhibit set up for AddamsFest.
“We’ve got Charles Addams curated art,” Mackey said. “We’ve got resident photographs. We’ve got historical memorabilia. We’ve got two train exhibits.”
Rod Carolan, was in attendance with his sons, ages 2, 6 and 8 years old.
“We saw this pop up on AddamsFest, and I said ‘I know these three guys will love it,” said Carolan, 42.
Tim Carolan, 8, could be found gazing at the trains. He compared it to a much more elaborate outdoor model train exhibit in Flemington.
“It’s really fun to watch,” Tim said, as the trains rolled. “It’s like a mini Northlandz.”
If you go
Gomez’s Dynamite Model Railway is open at the following dates and times:
Thursday, Oct. 24 and Friday, Oct. 25, 3 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 27, noon — 4 p.m.
Tickets are available online on a first-come, first-served basis, with a suggested donation of $5. Space is limited, and advance reservations are recommended. Tickets at the door will only be made available if space permits.
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CLICK HERE TO VIEW STREAMING VIDEO OF THE MODEL RAILROAD
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh