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From all over the world, train collector hobbyists come to see the railroad put together over 40 years by longtime photoengraver member E. Carl Pieper of Stamford's Local 90P.
How would you like to combine two careers - that of a photoengraving router at a graphic arts plant and of president of a railroad? Elwood C. Picper, a member of Stamford Local 90P, has done just that. The railroad - the C & E Line is located in the basement of his Norwalk, Conn. home, which was constructed especially to house the cars, engines, tracks, stations and all other equipment of the railroad, which is now valued at $50,000. "The whole thing hegan when I got my first toy train 40 years ago on Christmas of 1928 - and I still have it," Pieper explained. "It hegan growing and just never stopped. "Last August my wife (Emily) and I had an offer of $50,000 from a West Coast millionaire for our layout. We turned it down. "Our rolling stock is worth $25,000 and the more than one half mile of track we have is valued at in excess of $1,000. We have more than 1,000 pieces, including 250 locomotives and 500 cars, Making it the largest standard gauge model railroad in the world." Pieper proudly declared. The railroad, which occupies 2,100 square feet - 28 by 56 feet by 28 hy 18 feet arranged in an 'L' shape - is big enough to contain four full size howling alleys.
The line officially received its charter in 1954, thc 'C' standing for Carl, Pieper's middle name (and the name his family uses), and the 'E' for his wife, Emily. Carl, known as "Ellie" by his shopmates at Graphic Color Plate Inc. in Stamford, is president of the line. Emily is vice president in charge of the president and is supervisor of dining cars, which keeps her busy on Friday nights when youngsters living in Norwalk, Conn., now numhering seven, come to work as the railroad's work "crew."
Every Friday, at 9:15 p. m., Pieper orders a "soda break" for his helper. A train bell weighing 300 pounds is struck to signal arrival of the soda and cookies - supplied hy Emily in her official capacity. After the soda break, thcy do no more actual work on the line, but operate six trains at once from the master control board. A fascinating pattern of motion, sound and light from the illuminated cars holds the viewer's attention. The engines puffing and chugging, signal lights blinking, crossing gates opening and closing, whistles blowing and the smoke and din is something to hehold. When the basement lights are all turned out, and the only illumination comes from the trains and signals themselves, the onlooker can easily become hypnotized. While Emily had encouraged Carl to bring his few trains out of moth balls (continued).
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PS Sorry for the typos, the OCR isn't perfect.