Amberville Train Set Gets An Upgrade

by gktwadmin on July 17, 2013

in The Village Experience, The Volunteer Experience

The Amberville Train Set has long been a treasured part of Give Kids The World Village. Originally installed over 13 years ago, this interactive model train track was due for a makeover. Erhard Baltrush, a model train aficionado, was brought in by our train Angels, John Crompton, Jerry Valentine and Lou Kinsey, to refurbish this famous Village hot spot. The following is a snapshot of Erhard’s progress.

January 28, 2013

After a short meeting and briefing with the volunteer who has maintained the layout the last 10 years, Erhard decided to take up the track of the suspended line first. After cutting each individual wire, the original track was removed.


January 29, 2013

Erhard continued removing the remaining original track, carefully climbing around the displays. At times, he was 12-feet above the floor and face to face with the mysterious Yeti who guards the display. Once the track was completely removed, Erhard began the difficult task of removing the nails and screws. Careful not to interrupt Amberville’s ongoing day, night and rainstorm simulations, he often worked by flashlight.


January 30, 2013

Today, Erhard began the challenging task of de-soldering the joints in the track. Once this was complete, he began cleaning the layout in preparation of the new track. Aristo Craft, the leading hobby and model train manufacturer in the USA, kindly offered a very generous discount for the new track.


February 21, 2013

Once the new track arrived, Erhard began the installation. He first tackled the suspended line which allows the train to travel 7-feet over our wish families’ heads as they enjoy all the entertainment Amberville has to offer. Erhard completed several safety tests before finally hanging the suspended track.

AmbTrain1_Imb7 copy

March 4, 2013

With the suspended line up and running again, Erhard began working on the lower tracks and loops. He worked segment by segment so as not to interrupt our wish families’ entertainment.

Within three hours, the track was complete. Erhard then created a new tunnel opening which will allow the two trains to pass each other smoothly. With this complete, he could now move onto the fun part – scenery!


March 17, 2013

As Erhard neared the completion of this project, it was time to focus on the smaller details. New paint and gloss lacquer was added to bring the elements back to life. Erhard prepared a new area that was then used by our Train Angels to create a Drive-In Movie Theater where wish families are the stars!


Give Kids The World is so grateful for Erhard’s hard work put into our Amberville Train Station. We are excited to see the smiles of our current and future wish families as they explore the interactive train display as this miniature town comes to life.


For more photos, videos and details about this restoration, visit Erhard’s blog.

Image credits: Erhard Baltrusch, Far Beyond Rails LLC., Florida


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