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Tan’s Halloween Trains Run Again

Bayside History Museum keeps up the tradition

Ryan Laur, Austin Jackson and Kat Oberman with the Halloween train on display at the Bayside History Museum in North Beach.

      Tom Crockett’s toy train display at Tan’s Cycles was a holiday hit for 17 years. From Christmas trains running every December, he expanded to include Halloween trains in October and November. Crowds of children with their parents and grandparents poured into his shop to watch the trains speed past mountains, towns and itty-bitty people.

         When Crockett retired last year and sold Tan’s, his beloved trains along with their accessories were put into storage. Some were donated to Bayside History Museum in North Beach.

         “People love the trains,” says Museum Director Grace Mary Brady, and for that reason, the Halloween trains are now on display at the museum through November 9. “Tom’s collection was a tradition in North Beach, and we want to keep the tradition alive.”

         Brady credits Huntingtown High School students Ryan Laur and Austin Jackson for the meticulous task of setting up and maintaining the Halloween trains in the museum’s gallery. Laur and Jackson, both part-time staffers at the museum, spent a Saturday putting the display together. It was more than a matter of arranging an attractive static exhibit, for the train and the scenery light up and move.

         “We had wires everywhere,” says Laur. “The challenge was discovering what wires to connect to make the trains run. It should be easier next year.”

         The museum’s display is as elaborate as Tan’s but smaller, as the museum lacks the space to set up a display as large as the one that filled the motorcycle shop’s showroom. Brady says the table used at Tan’s is a single piece far too large to fit through the doors of the museum.

         This is the first year the museum has displayed the Halloween trains. Plans are already being made to expand the exhibit.

         For the Christmas trains, Brady says, “2020 is a strong maybe.”