“For a long time, my ring tone was Ossy’s ‘Crazy Train’ just because he yelled out ‘All aboard’ in the beginning,” said longtime member of the Wisconsin and Illinois HO Modular Railroad Group Bill Hueser. The small hobbyists’ group meets and runs model trains in what Hueser describes as the “green warehouse” in the parking lot of the Milton House. Thinking about the connection between trains and Christmastime, he said, at 68, most of his contemporaries got their first Lionel trains as Christmas gifts. They looked cool running underneath the tree, he said. He began running his trains under the tree when his kids were little. He took a two-year hiatus, he said, while waiting for his grandkids to become old enough to appreciate the trains.
Hueser, like all the members of the club, is also a member of the Milton Historical Society. Trains and their history run deep in Milton, he said.
1 of 20
An HO train passes by a built-to-scale model of the Milton House. The scene, called a module, is one of several comprising a total of 48 feet of track upon which model trains run as they pass through circa 1913 scaled to size landscape depicting Milton and Milton Junction, among others. The display is housed in a building which is part of the Milton House property and can be viewed by the public during specified summer Saturdays and major events held at the Milton House.
A view of the tracks as they leave the Milton module and round the bend into a module replicating a 1930s-vintage farm. Photographs depicting Milton's train history are displayed on the walls.
Longtime member of the Wisconsin and Illinois HO Modular Railroad Group Bill Hueser sits beside the village of Milton module. He, like all the members of the group, is a member of the Milton Historical Society.
Leaving the Milton module, the train rolls into Milton Junction.
Modules are built to scale, but placement of buildings is not exact, Hueser said, because the modules are only 2 feet wide. Fitting the buildings onto the module is called selective compression, Hueser said. A model of the former Milton Junction train depot is pictured in the foreground.
A train passes a 1930s-vintage farm. The module was made by a former club member in the likeness of his family's farm, Hueser said.
A module depicts a wooded area.
A native of New Jersey, Hueser said several modules of a small city or large town could be anywhere in the Midwest or on the East Coast. The modules are meant to replicate life in the 1920s up to present day.
A view of tracks running through a generic Midwestern town.
Trains travel through a town.
A train passes the Milton House. Main Hall at Milton College can be seen in the background.
Another view of Milton House and Main Hall.
The train depot in the village of Milton is seen in the foreground.
Another view of the depot in Milton.
Painted scenery gives depth to the modules.
Modules have two main lines on which trains run. In the generic city, there is also a switching yard.
Colorful HO cars rumble along tracks.
Two HO models, replicating diesel-driven locomotives, pass along a wooded module between the village of Milton and the 1930s farm.
A view of the modules that comprise Milton Junction and the village of Milton.