By Annie Kinnett Nichols

I love trains. My granddad use to take my brothers and me on the train to Emory University Station when it was still running and parents took me on trains throughout Europe. The best was when we had a train in our backyard. Literally. It would pull out of Brookwood Station on Peachtree and run parallel to I-85 (still does).  Our house would shake. I loved it.

My brothers had train sets, but I wasn’t allowed play with them since I was too young and a girl. Sigh. I’m sure it scarred me for life. Now, though, I might have a chance at it.

I’ve discovered a well-kept secret at 487 1/2 Edgewood Avenue – yup, just like Harry Potter. Upstairs there’s a railroad model train club that’s been operating trains every Monday and first Saturday of the month since 1937 at the old Southern Belting Company. They’ve been at Edgewood since 1946.

I had no idea until very recently when my hubby, whose studio is next door, introduced me to some of the club members, who were wearing overalls and train caps. Members earn points for every meeting they attend and get to choose the set-up for the models, routes and directions. Oh, and there’s no TV, radio, or cell phones. When members are on duty they take it seriously. It’s awesome.

The members come from all over and from completely different backgrounds. One’s an IT guy, one’s an accountant, one’s a former New York Subway Train conductor, but they all love model trains.

When I stopped by on a recent Saturday, there were a few visitors watching the trains run through the imaginary Southwestern landscape, complete with mountains. I found it mesmerizing watching the operators signaling and calling out instructions and simultaneously running three trains.

Please make sure to mention me when you visit and maybe one day they may let me run a train – even if I am younger and a girl.

To attend a meeting, contact Bob Peppel at (770) 934-4067 or email



Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.