Koniers grew up with a passion for trains and carried into adulthood by joining the Greater Abington Township Society of Model Engineers (GATSME).
"That's the great thing about this hobby, is it's not just about the trains," he said. "You learn a lot about history, geography, engineering, you name it."
GATSME was originally formed in Fort Washington during the 1950s. Over the years, it became home to generations of locomotive lovers. In 2014, they acquired a former factory building and started renovations. The doors to the Rockledge Model Railroad Museum opened in 2018.
"This was really from the ground up," said Koniers. "I mean, we've done so much work in the past five years, and I think visitors really like that."
The exhibit represents that 1930s mantra. Certain tracks are bustling with trains that cruise through miniature model communities. Other tracks are very much still under construction.
"It represents the Reading Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad as they competed for traffic up and down the Schuylkill Valley," Koniers said about the collection. "Our mission is to show people how much more railroading there was in the 50s, how people depended on it for everyday stuff before Amazon and UPS."
Guests seem to be fascinated by the displays that chug along with an educational value in tow.
"It helps them think about science and different possibilities in the future, to be a conductor or an engineer or electrician," said Brian Kersey, who visited with his son, Isaiah. "So, it's a good opportunity to spend time with him and get to know that."
It also seems there is no age limit to the amazement.
"The equipment is all very authentic," said Don Wolf, who is a retired locomotive engineer and conductor. "It's very worthwhile for anybody to come out and see this."
Among the roughly 30 members of the Rockledge Model Railroad Museum, camaraderie is fueled by a fascination with trains.
"I've been in model railroading since I was 11 years old and joined this club about 15 years ago," said Jerald Anderson. "Guys like this, friends that I have made here have just been absolutely marvelous."
The Rockledge Model Railroad Museum is open the second Saturday of each month. During the winter, they occasionally open additional days such as tomorrow, Sunday, February 13, 2022.
To learn more, visit their Facebook page.
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