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Larry's LaRue-minations

A no-fault divorce ends Corkscrew Northern run

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on March 11, 2013 at 8:48 am with No Comments »
March 11, 2013 8:48 am

Partnerships dissolve, whether they’re romantic or business, and it appears the owners of a huge model railroad – the Corkscrew Northern – and the Boys and Girls Club simply didn’t understand one another.

Today’s column outlines the background of the train, from it’s 1980 beginnings through it’s days at the B & G Club where kids learned not just about trains but about handling expensive equipment responsibly.

Alas, model trains and kids seem an outdated partnership, and after 1998, the Corkscrew Northern basically resided in a crammed storage out-building behind the Gonyea B & G Club in Tacoma.

By January, 2011, the club wanted that space for other things and asked that Ken Gentili and Skip Young, the two people who’d started the Corkscrew Northern, remove it.

No easy chore – the model by then, when put together, needed a room 24 feet wide and 42 feet long to set up. Over the next year, the club got one nibble – from The Cannery – but that didn’t work out.

In January 2012, the B & G club met again with Young and Gentili, this time with a six-month deadline, a club spokeswoman said. Gentili and Young say there was no deadline.

Eight months later, neither side had contacted the other, and the B & G Club ‘dispersed’ much of the Corkscrew Northern to other model railroaders, and simply got rid of what no one seemed to want, according to its spokeswoman.

Five months later, Gentili found another possible site for the railroad – the LeMay Family Collection museum. It was only when he called to set up a viewing that he was told the Corkscrew Northern was no more.

It was a sad end to a model railroad that had toured the state from fairs to malls to national shows, requiring a flatbed truck to move. Blaming either side completely seems over-zealous.

The B & G Club didn’t act until 20 months after asking that the train be moved, and owners could have, if nothing else, moved it into storage until finding an ideal spot.

And the club might have made a last telephone call last September to give owners a ‘this is it’ message.

Neither happened, and the train no longer exists.

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