Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad approaching end of the line | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad approaching end of the line

Poul Pedersen, owner/operator of Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad, demonstrates an interactive portion of his finely detailed display in Osoyoos in this undated file photo.
August 11, 2021 - 7:30 AM

All aboard!

Final call for any passengers boarding the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad.

“I just turned 80 a few weeks ago, thought it was time for retirement,” owner Poul Pedersen said, adding that COVID another contributing factor. “Between the virus situation and my age, they didn’t really work together.”

Along with is wife Ulla, Poul opened their model shop to the public 18 years ago, but their collection has been accumulating for 50 years. When the business first opened in 2003, there was only about 500 square feet worth of model railroad, and by 2016 after numerous additions, the project had grown to nearly 4,000 square feet.

“Then we ran out of space," he said.

Pedersen said his favourite features within the model railroad are the local ski hill and the nude beach, which is a salute to Three Mile Beach in Penticton.

"Lots of people get a smile on their face about that one.”

READ MORE: Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad wins Tripadvisor travellers' choice award

Poul traces his passion for model railway back to his childhood in Denmark, recalling his fascination for watching trains pass his parent’s home, as their property line was on a railroad.

When the Pedersen’s began collecting model railroad items in the 1970s, he said pieces were quite a bit cheaper to buy.

Even if it was easy to estimate the total value of the entire set, and Poul compares buying model railroad parts to a being cigarette smoker – most of them try not to think about how much money they’ve spent over the years.

But if every one of their pieces was purchased at today’s prices, he guesses the value would be around $500,000, and that doesn’t include the countless hours of labour that would also be required to install it.

The future of the model railroad is uncertain

“So we are just preparing for it to stay put,” Poul said. “Maybe something comes up where somebody wants to buy it. That’s a possibility.”

As it stands however, the model railroad is slated to close its doors forever at the end of the Labour Day weekend in September.

“And that will be it," he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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