Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 23, 2010

Painted model trains pull into Chicory Square

KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — BLUEFIELD — Chicory Square will be the new home for 23 of the model trains from the “Paint the Train” contest held as part of the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival this year.

While one train will reside at Grant’s Supermarket and another will be on display the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, 23 of the trains, painted by local businesses and named by residents, will remain on display at Chicory Square for at least a year. The trains will eventually be auctioned off in order to raise money for a new city beautification project.

Billy Hester, Michael Underwood, Mark Perry and Ken Jarrell expect to work for at least two days mounting each of the trains for display.

“They’ll be bolted onto plates and fastened so they can’t be taken off,” Underwood said. “The trains weight about 25 pounds themselves and it takes two people to lift them. The stands weigh around 200 pounds and were moved in with a backhoe. They’re all clear coated to prevent inclement weather.”

In addition to the clear coating, security cameras have been installed to discourage vandalism to the trains.

“This is the third phase of the project,” Hester said. “There was the ‘Paint the Train’ and the ‘Name the Train’ phase where names were chosen through citizen participation. Each train will have a plaque with the artist’s name and the name of the train.”

Though not all of the trains had been mounted, many residents stopped by downtown to admire the trains as they were put on display. Wells-Fargo Insurance employees Anne Gilbert, Pat Harton and Patty Ramage came down to Chicory Square on their lunch break to admire the trains.

“I came here to see Elvis,” Ramage said, as she admired a music-themed train.

Anne Gilbert admired the authentic-style train the most.

“I think they’re beautiful,” Gilbert said. “I’m glad they’re displaying them, letting everyone get to see them. We enjoy just looking at them. We come down here all the time.”

The art of each train on display shows a different facet of Bluefield’s history and culture.

“They’re all unqiue and have such character and diversity,” Harton said. “It really shows off our community.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com