New Double-Decker Train Layout
for Wheelchair Engineers at Columbia Mall
When Tim Bergerstock was a young man his grandfather, who lived in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, near Williamsport, built him a double-decker platform for electric trains.
“It was in the early nineties, when my son, Brett, was two years old,” Tim remembers. “We spent more hours than I can count, working on the train layout, expanding it, building tunnels and other structures.”
Tim’s grandfather, Harold “Pete” Bergerstock, died in 1999 at the age of 81. “The days I spent with him and my son are some of the best memories I have,” he says. “At one point we had eight different layouts on the two platforms, and a smoking steam engine pulling 20 long coal cars filled with real coal.”
Tim intends to pass his grandfather’s steam engine on to his son, but he has given the six-by-eight-foot double-decker train platform to our Wheelchair Engineers program at the Columbia Mall at exit 232 on Interstate 80 near Bloomsburg in central Pennsylvania. The free train program is open all year long, on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m., and already has an eight-by-ten-foot wheelchair-accessible layout for children and adults and a separate five-by-six-foot Thomas the Train layout for toddlers.
This beautiful new addition will enable us to expand and have at least four more trains for children and adults to run. Our program is open to everyone, young and old, and we encourage wheelchair-bound children and adults, including stroke victims and wounded war veterans, to operate model railroad trains on our wheelchair-accessible layout.
Now we have another large platform on which, every Monday, people can build mountains, cast and paint plaster rock formations, design and cut trees, make roads and run trains. We have O-gauge and American Flyer trains, and now, on the upper deck of this new layout, we can run HO trains that we’ve had on display for some time. Everyone’s always invited to run the trains and have fun!
Tim Bergerstock, who is assistant scoutmaster of Troop 39 in nearby Danville, hopes to bring Boy Scouts to work on his grandfather’s layout. Boy Scouting, in fact, has a railroading merit badge. And of course, they can run the trains, just as he and his son and his grandfather did.