Mountain View Voice

News - December 24, 2010

Model trains mesmerize a neighborhood

Railroad display has been attraction for young, old since 1977

by Daniel DeBolt

To the 3-year-old boy next door, the scale trains running in circles are the neatest thing in the world.

"He'd be here all night if you let him," said next door neighbor Kim of her son Maddox, who was happily staring at the trains running round and round. "It's the first thing he talks about when he leaves the house and the last thing he talks about at night."

Maddox lives next to a longtime neighborhood attraction in Mountain View, the model trains in Ernie and John Bianco's front yard at 2387 Adele Ave. The father and son have been running the trains for everyone to see since 1977, when they decided to extend their Christmas tree train through their front window onto a platform. It's grown since then to include two larger sets of tracks on the front lawn.

When Kim was buying the house, she was pregnant with her son, and the Biancos mentioned that he might like their train display. She really had no idea what they were talking about until just before Thanksgiving when they brought out piles of gravel, train tracks and dozens of train cars, which change every night.

Now her son is one of hundreds of young kids who show up every day between 6 and 8:30 p.m. to watch the trains run between early November and Christmas Day. The Biancos take a break Monday nights to watch football.

"The kids get a huge kick out of it," said Ernie, the elder Bianco. One night there were 300 people who came out to see the trains after an article in a local newspaper. Others have "garden trains" in their backyards, but the Biancos decided not to hide theirs.

"Kids come around trick or treating on Halloween and they are asking 'when are the trains going up?'" Ernie said.

On Thursday night last week, a handful of young families with children were there early, waiting on some rugs the Biancos put on their front lawn. The Biancos have the routine down pat. A special ramp was used to quickly load the two larger sets of tracks on the lawn with trains, and pieces of the front window were removed to allow the smaller trains through. John slowly turned up the knob on the transformer, and the show began to mesmerize the kids.

One year, an excited kid jumped out of his parents' car and ran straight for the train, toppling it over, Ernie said. Since then, the Biancos have had to put up a small fence made of rope.

The Biancos also started another tradition. On Christmas Eve the entire length of Adele Avenue is lit with lights in paper bags called "farolitas."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields