Overhead track allows train enthusiast to display all year

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The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas. The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas.

OCEAN CITY – Looking for more space and a change of pace, Ed and Diane Reese sold their decades-old rancher and moved into a new, three-story northend home in 2005. Diane Reese envisioned all sorts of possibilities for the blank canvas the new home offered, and most of them involved new furnishings. Ed Reese, on the other hand, saw opportunity.

The lifelong model train aficionado finally had enough space to display – and play with – a collection of trains beyond the Christmas season.

It took a while to iron out all the details, but the Reese family now boasts more than 255 linear feet of model train tracks. The display runs along the ceiling, leaving floor space undisturbed.

The train tracks, which meander through the family’s kitchen and family room on a clear, Plexiglass shelf, stay up throughout the year, allowing Ed Reese to indulge in his passion at whim. In fact, Reese changes the trains and the displays to fit the season.

“We have the Christmas trains up right now,” he said. “We have Halloween, spring, summer trains, and a NASCAR set. We have different themes.”

For Christmas, the Reeses go all out. Ed Reese designed the extensive scenery and his wife designed the decorations for the train village’s downtown, modeled off of Asbury Avenue.

“My Happy Boulevard,” Diane Reese said, recalling her happy childhood memories along Asbury Avenue and later, happy times with her now grown daughters, Amy Reese and Stephanie Reese Goldman.

Ed Reese fell in love with model trains when he was 6 years old and received a set for Christmas.

“I’ve always loved trains,” he said. “I would set them up on the day before Christmas Eve, do the scenery. I really looked forward to it.”

In the rancher, the train platform was only temporary. By New Year’s Day, it was time for it to come down.

“We were so limited in space,” he said.

When they bought their new home, Reese had just received four sets of trains from a friend at work. The gift – valuable Conrail trains, individually boxed and dated – was serendipitous, he said.

“I knew I had to do something with them,” he said.

These trains, he decided, were not going to sit unused for months at a time. He thought of the ceiling. Diane Reese went online and to do some research.

“I didn’t want 2-by-4s hanging down, so I found some things online that might work, but they were expensive,” she said.

So they enlisted the help of a friend, Carl Veit.

“Carl came up with an elaborate invention,” she said.

Reinforced with blocks of finished wood, the tracks enhance the room and tug at Ed’s heart, he said.

“It’s pretty neat,” Ed Reese said. “Carl was so helpful. He works with model airplanes, the kind that fly with remote control. He’s very talented, very clever.”

While Reese is clearly the conductor in the house, the trains have become a family affair.

Their daughter Stephanie Goldman’s husband, Matt, a carpenter, built a cabinet to house locomotives that aren’t in use.

“It’s beautiful,” Diane Reese said. “Ed always loved trains. He used to talk about his trains all the time. We go every year to the train show on the boardwalk and we add a new train to the collection. It’s a lot of fun. The girls buy him a new train, too. It’s pretty neat.”

Granddaughter Charlotte Goldman has the train bug, too.

“We do FaceTime with Charlotte, and she’ll call and say, ‘Is Poppy there?’” Reese said. “Ed gets on and she asks him to run the trains for her. So while she’s watching, he runs the trains and she gets very excited. She can see them go round and round, it’s delightful. She loves her Poppy and the trains.”

When she arrives in Ocean City for visits from her Georgia home, Charlotte heads right for the trains.

“She just keeps right on walking, until I follow her,” Ed Reese said.

With three, 85-foot tracks running, he said he is quite busy, but not satisfied. After Christmas, the tracks will come down – but only temporarily. It’s time for maintenance.

“I’m going to do some upgrades,” Reese said. “Some of the bulbs in the lighting are out, and I’m going to upgrade to LED bulbs. I’m making the tracks wider and I’m going to add a fourth track.”

A train display, done the right way, is never “complete,” Reese said. For him, each new season brings a change of equipment and scenery.

“That’s the idea, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. 

The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas. The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas.

The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas. The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas.

The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas. The overhead train track in Ed and Diane Reese northend home runs through the kitchen and family room throughout the year. The trains and the scenery change with the season and are currently decorated for Christmas.


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