(Photo courtesy of Deschutes Public Library)
Michael “The Train Man” Lavrich returns to the Downtown Bend Library on December 21 to share his extensive collection of model trains. This is the eighteenth year Lavrich has displayed his trains at the library, making it a cherished tradition for two generations of Central Oregonians.
Lavrich began collecting trains when he was 50, which has given him roughly 20 years to amass his collection. While the public only sees the display once it’s all up and running, the set-up involves a lot of background work. “I pretty well dedicate December to this,” Lavrich says. “It’s a four day set-up and a four day take-down, and there are a few weeks on each end at home.”
All ages are invited to watch and listen as the trains chug and whistle their way around the tracks. Lavrich’s collection represents running trains of the 1920s and ‘30s made by Lionel, Dorfan, Ives and American Flyer. Trains will run December 21-28, but running times vary by day:
December 21: 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.; 3:00–6:00 p.m.
December 22: 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.; 3:00–6:00 p.m.
December 23: noon–5:00 p.m.
December 27: 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.; 5:00–8:00 p.m.
December 28: 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.; 3:00–6:00 p.m.
Lavrich is a former kindergarten teacher who’s well aware of children’s fascination with trains. “For me it’s watching these kids react to the trains. I love to run that train on the outer loop that’s remote controlled because I can actually interact with the kids,” he says. “When I see someone looking through the windows I can slow the train down, I can stop the train in front of someone that’s really interested”
This free event runs in the Brooks Room of the Downtown Bend Library.