r By Arianne Brown
Each Christmas season for the past 22 years, Doug Lamb and his wife, Irene Lamb, have donated their time and meticulous energy creating and sharing their train collection with visitors of the Peteetneet Museum and Cultural Arts Center in Payson.
Doug lives in Payson, and even taught history at Payson High school up until he retired 10 years ago. He also grew up in Sanpete County, particularly the tiny town of Wales. It is there where the San Pete Valley Railway was built to transport coal out of the nearby mines, and where Doug’s love of trains began. When asked about his trains Doug speaks excitedly about how the building of railroads sped up communication, travel and trade, and how they still serve a great purpose today. And when you walk in the display room at the museum, you immediately feel that passion.
Inside the room, you will immediately be greeted by the Lambs, and then directed to the left where you can walk around the display that is 70 years in the making. A miniature train, not much larger than an inch tall weaves its way through various landscapes that Doug has put together. And if you’ve visited the train display before and think you’ve seen it all, think again. Each year, it is arranged differently with new additions.
This year’s new addition is actually something that Doug had in storage for years, but forgot about it. It is a western scene with a backdrop of hand-painted mountains sitting above a small town with a carnival next to a nearby canyon and a campground complete with Teepees. Doug says that his dream is to create a real campground with Teepees people could stay in. And as you move your way along the display, you can feel the love he has for not only the trains, but the creation of the scenery — almost as if it’s a world he himself would love to live in.
As you look at each tiny display, and how each is arranged, you will feel as if you are looking at the work of an accomplished artist — which he very much is. In fact, when he was young he took art lessons from Bill Alexander who was the same teacher who taught Bob Ross.
“When putting together each year’s display, I get a brainstorm going and try to put it in effect,” Doug said. “I try to make it look real as well as be practical. I put it all together to make it work.”
If you miss this year’s display, Doug will be setting up his trains at Thanksgiving Point on January 12-13 as part of the Ophir, Tintic and Western Model Railroad Club. It will also be on display at the National Model Railroad Association Convention that will be held in Salt Lake City in July. This event will also commemorate the sesquicentennial of the golden railroad spike that completed The Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.
If you are in the Payson area on December 29 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., stop by the Peteetneet Museum and Cultural Arts Center and have a look for yourself.