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Elks train village opens this weekend

Staff reports

The Elks train village, operated by Chuck Harris and Dick Hill at Harris’ house in the Ranchos, opens this weekend and will be operating Thursday through Sunday each week until Christmas week, when it will operate each night.

The train layout is owned by Harris and his wife Marie and can be seen at their home at 1279 Bodie Court. All seven families in the cul-de-sac at Bodie Court decorate their homes to welcome visitors, Harris said.

Show time is 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 18-27.

The construction crew for the elaborate train layout included Jim Roy, Hill and Harris.

Members of Minden-Douglas Elks Lodge will be on hand to answer questions and sell raffle tickets for the lodge’s charity fund when the train layout is open. Prize is a model train. The club will also accept preserved Christmas food items to donate to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.

The huge lighted and animated display has drawn increasingly larger crowds each year, from 2,700 in 1992 to 6,000 in 1995, Harris said. Last year, it was snowed out.

The layout totals 1,700 square feet, with 1,330 outside and 322 inside. The track includes 1,365 feet with 22 operating trains of G scale, standard, O, S, HO and N. More than 3,200 feet of wiring is used to operate 26 transformers.

Man hours needed to place six yards of rock, nine-pickup loads of material and 32 railroad ties were 2,300. There are 11 different levels, seven mountains, one waterfall and a fountain in the display. Ninety switches and 42 motors are in operation.

The layout incudes miniature houses, airplanes, boats and assorted items, such as a merry-go-round, Teddy bear, Ferris wheel, circus tents, Santa slide and sleigh, Beauty and the Beast, plus an Eiffel tower, tram, fireworks and the Statue of Liberty.

Dozens of figurines of people, animals, trains and cars are featured in the mammoth display. New this year is a drive-in theater, Harris said.

Any group wishing a special viewing may call Harris at 265-5863 to make arrangements.