Ron and Connie Sitterley love trains. So much so that they have invested a lot of time and energy into creating a model railroad.
Ron collected model trains as a youth and young adult. His interest in model railroading was renewed following a trip to Cass, West Virginia and a ride on a steam logging train.
A Climax Locomotive model was his first new purchase and many additions have followed. When asked to display a layout for a local event, he and Connie developed several scenes depicting early days in Spartansburg.
Logging and railroads were a major business in the late 1800s. Charles D. Scott, the inventor of the Climax Locomotive, operated a tram and lumber business in Spartansburg.
It takes a lot of effort—and space—but Ron and Connie love taking their model railroad to events around the area, as well as setting it up in their garage on Davenport Street. Since 2018, they have invited the public to visit their railroad panorama during “Christmas In Spartansburg.”
They have also set up twice at the Corry History Museum and once for Glen Mead Days the Christmas First Friday, both in Corry.
Taking the railroad to other locations is a labor of love. When the railroad is set up at home, it spreads out over 16x18 feet. Last December, when they took it to Corry, they expanded it to 16x20 feet.
For an upcoming show, they hauled four eight-foot and two six-foot tables, several 12-foot 2x4s and eight sheets of plywood to Corry. Over 200 feet of track, buildings and scenery filled the back of Connie’s SUV twice. The trains filled four crates. Several days are needed to set up the table system, lay track and place buildings and scenery. Then the Sitterleys test and make adjustments
“Since we set up in different places, with varying space, we can’t create anything permanent, so each show is a new build,” Connie said.
In the panorama, there are two tracks, both running Climax Logging Locomotives. The trains are G-Scale (Garden Scale) —about six inches tall. What makes the panorama extra special is that it depicts scenes of late 1800s Spartansburg when the railroad had a station in the borough.
Using old photos for reference, the couple recreated the Spartansburg depot, signal tower, water tower and businesses such as the Scott and Akin Lumber Mill. This is the same Scott who invented the Climax Locomotive.
As the Climax Locomotive was assembled in Corry, the Sitterleys’ panorama includes depictions of the early 1900s Corry, including the Climax Manufacturing Company and the Main Street trolley.
On Saturday, May 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Ron and Connie will set up their railroad at an open house in Corry. They are team members of Corry RAILS. This weekend, Corry RAILS will be showing off the Climax A-313 Locomotive that they rescued from Nome, Alaska.
If you’re in the area, stop by and see Ron and Connie and their amazing model railroad at the corner of Mead Avenue and Delaware Streets in Corry.
— Mixed level yoga is on Wednesday and Zumba is on Thursday at the Water Street Apartments Gym, 150 Water Street. Both classes begin at 6 p.m. and there is a fee.
Do you have something to share? Carol may be reached at SpartansburgSpotlight@outlook.com. People are welcome to submit news, activities, and items of interest pertaining to Spartansburg. Email by noon on Saturdays.