A now-defunct railroad track runs alongside The River Club in North Augusta, within sight of Tom and Margaret Fisher’s home, but the Fishers’ place actually houses one of the community’s most popular railroads.
A large-scale Lionel-brand train set is a part of their home’s layout this time of year, with snowy scenery and a small-town setting as part of the mix.
“We started putting the track around the Christmas tree, say, about 1992,” Tom recalled, pointing out that Margaret’s mother helped steer them toward the idea of a “snow village.”
Margaret pointed out that this year’s setup started taking shape in late October and early November.
“It took us several weekends to really do it, because we both work, and our neighbors would come down and help.”
The Fishers have a “Christmas train,” made by Lionel, from 1993, and it pulls cars that date back as far as 1986, with every year since then being represented.
The former residents of Brunswick, Ga., started the tradition in conjunction with the neighborhood Christmas parties they threw in Brunswick.
“When the families came over, the kids really didn’t have anything to do, so I started creating tracks and let the kids play with the trains.”
He pointed out that today’s children “don’t see trains anymore” and tend to be focused on computer-related toys. Their parents, however, tend to know someone who had a Lionel train.
“The parents usually want to play with the trains a little bit more than the children do, and it is one of the most gender-neutral things you can see. Girls or boys, between 6 and 11, they all just love to play with it, but the parents like to come around and play a little bit more than they do.”
Three trains make their way around the tracks, and wrecks do occur on occasion, he confirmed.
In past years, the tracks and village were set up on the floor around a Christmas tree, but this year’s arrangement on River Club Lane is elevated for the first time.
Neighbors and friends helped with the creation, which was on hiatus for a couple of years.
Two years ago, the Fishers were remodeling their home, and last year, Tom was in an ankle cast and wasn’t up to the job.
“I’m the engineer and I’m the builder and the mover,” he said, noting that the design is the results of several contributors’ creativity.