NOW:53207:USA00949
http://widgets.journalinteractive.com/cache/JIResponseCacher.ashx?duration=5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata.wp.myweather.net%2FeWxII%2F%3Fdata%3D*USA00949
68°
H 78° L 66°
Cloudy | 5MPH

Model train rides again on bar's rails

March 7, 2007

With freight trains frequently roaring through a nearby track, it's appropriate that Rail's Inn Depot would have a model train set.

For years, patrons would stop by and marvel at the train as they enjoyed camaraderie with their beer at the tavern at 2222 E. St. Francis Ave., in the city's old railroad depot area.

Everything changed one fateful evening in 2003, however, when the model train was derailed. Rail's Inn was quiet for four years without the semi-frequent blaring of a "choo-choo" sound.

"One night, someone ran it too fast, it fell off the track and it ruined the engine," said Ron Cook, who owns the tavern. "It was also getting real old."

The set was as old as Rail's Inn - 20 years. Cook, a train enthusiast, helped set it up with the tavern's previous owners.

Chugging along bit by bit

A variety of factors, including customer demand, led to the revival of the train in mid-February. A party was held on the night of its inaugural run.

"People were real glad to see it running again," Cook said.

Cook's fiancée, Gina Gerlach, had a role in putting life back into the train set.

"We're going to be getting married in May," Gerlach said. "My grandson loves trains, so he'll get to see it when he's here for the wedding."

Refurbishing the train took some blood, sweat and tears, said Cook, who now proudly wanders through Rail's Inn sporting a conductor's hat.

Cook credits Rail's Inn bartender Bill Mommaerts with restoring much of the train.

"We had to buy a new engine, replace the transformer, and we rewired the whole thing," Cook said.

The refurbishing also involved taking the track apart and cleaning it. The result, Cook said, is a set that runs faster and more smoothly than ever before.

Tooting horn once again

The track, which circles above a large portion of the main bar area, is referred to as a G Scale model. In the realm of model railroading, it is one of the larger sizes available.

Rail's Inn features train décor throughout much of the facility. Several stop-and-go lights are around the seating area, and the tracks have a house that closely resembles the bar's exterior.

Many of the individual model trains within the set carry the Union Pacific insignia, which is a fitting nod to the many real trains with that name that roll on by each day, Cook said.

Today, the "choo-choo" sound is back at Rail's Inn, and Cook said he will gladly run the set around the track by request.

Gerlach said she has enjoyed witnessing the enthusiasm Cook has displayed since the train's grand re-entrance.

"He was so excited about getting it started again," she said.

Contact reporter Dave Fidlin at (262) 317-8537 or dfidlin@cninewsonline.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

$750

cost to refurbish model train set

20

years Rail's Inn Depot has been open

15

years Ron Cook has owned

Rail's Inn Depot

8

pieces to model train set

4

years since train had worked

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Greendale Schools to re-evaluate polling place requests this Thursday 8/20

» Franklin to accept bids for new water, sewer facility 8/19

» Chick-fil-A celebrates National Lemonade Day with free samples in Brookfield, Greendale 8/19

» YoFresh Yogurt Cafe to open in Hales Corners 8/19

» Dennis Dietscher of Hales Corners charged with accepting bribes 8/19

» VIDEO: Whitnall distributes nearly 1,400 iPads across district 8/19

» Greendale School Board OKs schools for general election 8/18

» Motorcyclist killed after crashing into parked SUV in St. Francis 8/15

» Roadrunner Transportation to acquire Michigan logistics firm Updated:  8/11

» Whitefish Bay latest to enact sex offender residency rules 8/7

» Oak Creek road rage leads to rollover 8/6

» Events mark anniversary of Sikh Temple shooting 8/2

» Sikh Temple shooting first-responding officers to receive Congressional Badge of Bravery 8/1

» New website launched for airport business park 7/31

» Special Sikh Temple anniversary program to air Monday on MPTV 7/30

» Video: How to navigate construction surrounding the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair 7/30

» Whitnall High School names new assistant principal 7/30

» Top 10 things to see and do at the Wisconsin State Fair 7/29

» Fast start leads Homestead baseball team into state finals with 7-5 win 7/25

» DJ's Court Tourney held Saturday 7/24

» BMX, skateboarding competition canceled Saturday in Oak Creek 7/23

» Oak Creek baseball team rallies big 7/19

» Search of phone leads police to suspects in South Milwaukee gun thefts 7/17

» South Milwaukee registers sewage overflow into Lake Michigan tributary 7/15

» City delays decision on $1.2 million claim involving detective 7/14

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss
Deal Watch - Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Best Discounts & Deals

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Most Popular