Trains of thought
Dr. Michael Citak’s fascination with trains began with the Lionel train set around the Christmas tree when he was a boy. But his model train hobby fell by the wayside with college and more education and training to become a surgeon.
As he became established in his career in Somerset later, he began again with tabletop-size model trains, filling his basement. Then, two years ago, a house fire wiped out his basement collection.
While his home was being rebuilt, a model railroader friend in the northern Pulaski County town of Eubank who had switched to large-size, rideable models, suggested Citak, whose term on the Pulaski County school board began in 2013, do the same.
“And I basically traded my little ones in for the big ones, and it’s been kind of nonstop,” he said. “He and I have worked together on his property. We built a couple of car barns, more track.”
Between them, they have three locomotives and about 30 cars, all at about one-eighth scale. “We will take those out on nice days and spend several hours riding – it’s a lot of fun when people bring their kids,” said Citak, pictured here with his wife, Robin.
Are people surprised when they find out what his hobby is?
“All the time,” he said. “But one thing about the hobby, especially the tabletop ones, but it’s true of the big ones, too: It’s a combination of both art and mechanical skills, computers and electronics, and it creates a great social venue. Everybody seems to like them.”