Art of Aging: Retirement hobbies

Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:32PM
A South Jersey man is pursuing his passion by taking his hobby to a new level in his retirement years.


DELANCO, N.J. - A South Jersey man is pursuing his passion by taking his hobby to a new level in his retirement years.

Every month, John Rahenkamp and about 15 enthusiasts gather in his Delanco, New Jersey basement to recreate the romance of model trains.

For the 79-year-old Rahenkamp, the love affair started when he was a little boy growing up near a train line.

"As most model railroaders, we started off with a Lionel train set around a Christmas tree, from there it took off," said Rahenkamp.

Rahenkamp's model railroad is a re-creation of several train lines from the 1950s.

Chris Conaway, Dispatcher and Archivist said, "This railroad is actually three different railroads, so you have multiple trains operating over the railroad during different times."

The setup needs a dozen sets of hands and ears to keep everything on schedule, and yes, they run on a real schedule.

Rahenkamp and his fellow hobbyists come from different backgrounds, but they all love the challenge involved in running the railroad.

Mark Frysztacki of Sicklerville, New Jersey said, "We've watched the railroad grow over the years and it's been fun watching. He does most of the scenery, but we've helped him with some of the other aspects of it. Help him maintain the beast as well."

Rahenkamp added, "When we run the trains, it's almost like a chess board. There has to be coordination. There has to be team work."

For more stories about seniors, you can visit our Art of Aging section.
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