KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

It's a Small World After All: Harrisburg Man's Love of Model Trains



Bookmark and Share

Hobbies come in all shapes and sizes, from collecting Matchbox cars, to caring for a classic.
    
But one South Dakota man is taking his love of motion...for the locomotive...and shrinking it down to size...87 times smaller to be exact.     
    
KDLT'S Phil McIlrath has our ticket to ride.
 
If you take a trip down county highway 110 into Harrisburg you'll travel over some tracks. Go a little further and you'll come to another crossing, but what's inside this home runs you off your rails.

"My wife calls this the train room, not the furnace room or the laundry room anymore,"said Alan Saatkamp, Model Railroad Hobbyist.
    
This used to be Alan's utility room in his basement, but 230 feet of track, 160 freight cars and 25 diesel locomotives took it over.

"I don't gamble, I don't drink, or have any other vices, so this is a good safe place for me to be on any given day or night,"said Saatkamp.

And day and night, for the last 20 years, Alan's tinkered with tracks, tweaked tiny trains, and lorded over life-like representations of real-life landscapes.

"But Alan has only doing this the last 20 years,"said McIlrath. "It started as a way to honor the memory of his father, in such a way, as to get his then, younger children involved."

"After my father passed away in 1992, my wife suggested we use a portion of the inheritance to buy something to commemorate him and something...quote...the kids would enjoy! It just sort of took off from there,"said Saatkamp.

Taking him to a place where things run on his watch. But these towns are not entirely fictional...they're all real places Alan recreated. He only used a little creative license when it comes to the naming of the architecture; mainly after friends and family.

"They're all flattered when I do it and it's fun to name industries after friends who have influenced me in the hobby,"said Saatkamp.

A hobby that came a long way in terms of technology, from the days of forwards and backwards, to fancy remote controls and even sound.

"It's not just the sight of the trains moving, you can hear the engine revving up, toot the horn when it's read to go, or go through a grade crossing, so I would say sound has added a whole other dimension."said Saatkamp.

And as years roll by, as cars get more advanced...and more expensive, Alan's passion for model trains will likely remain full steam ahead; even though they're all electric.

"Some of my friends are pushing upwards of 80 years old and I don't see at 62 why it's going to change for me."said Saatkamp.

Proving nobody gets too old to stop playing with toys.

It's not cheap Alan says to maintain his model railroads. In his 20 years in model railroads, he says he's spent in upwards of $20,000.
< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >
Someone You Should Know Archive
     

Corsica Deals With Storm Aftermath  story with video

Residents of Corsica are recovering from a major storm that hit the ...

Armed Robbery Leaves Employee Injured

A gas station employee has minor injuries after being ...

SF Boy Helps Reunite Troops, Dogs  story with video

A Sioux Falls boy has completed his international mission. That ...

SD Highway 34 Closing East Of Howes  Jul. 27

Canton Car Show Packs Streets   Jul. 27

Silver City Cemetery Celebrates Signing  Jul. 27

CO Man Dies In Meade County Accident  Jul. 28

Advocates Hope For Broader Medical Marijuana Law  Jul. 27

KDLT News Archive
     

Vikings Sign Rudolph To Extension  story with video

Mankato, MN (July 27, 2014) – The Minnesota Vikings have announced ...

Birds Blow Chance For Sweep  story with video

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Despite building an 8-1 lead after three innings, the Sioux Falls Canaries ...

Madison Rolls Past Groton At Legion State B  story with video

TABOR, S. D.    --  Madison remained unbeaten in the ...

Champions Crowned At Asfora/Clayton Tournament  story with video  Jul. 27

Veteran Greenway Leader On Vikings Defense  story with video  Jul. 27

Canaries Make It Two In A Row Against X's  story with video  Jul. 26

State Swimming Splashes Down In Mitchell  story with video  Jul. 26

Philippova Advances To Asfora/Clayton Finals  story with video  Jul. 26

KDLT Sports Stories
     
Back To Top