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‘Whistle Stop’ stays on track for December sale

The Whistle Stop Electric Train Show and Sale held its 41st annual event Sunday to show off model railroad and matchbox cars to Lycoming County residents.

Despite a loss of vendors due to the pandemic, the show and sale went on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Woodward Township Volunteer Fire Co. According to Jim Stabley, the event’s organizer, around 500-600 people showed up for the event.

The Whistle Stop show has been running for 41 years and is a family tradition, according to Stabley. Stabley received his first American Flyer train when he was six months old from his father, and his passion for the hobby continues. His wife and stepdaughter help sell food at the fire hall, while he organizes the event every year.

Stabley explained he thinks it is important for Whistle Stop to put on its sale and show because he feels there are much less opportunities for people to see and buy model trains today — especially because of cancellations associated with COVID-19.

“There was no way we could cancel,” Stabley said.

So, the event went on. Stabley said the inventory on the tables totalled more than a million dollars, from all the vendors combined.

“We try to stress we try to have train items made in the USA,” Stabley said, however he also said some of the Lionel parts were made in China.

The sale also worked toward a charitable cause. According to organizer Jim Stabley, a fourth of the profit from the event admission and food sales went toward Feed the Children, while the rest covered operating costs.

In addition to providing a show, the event also saw Tamal Wilson, dressed as Santa Claus, make an appearance to see children and hand out toys.

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