TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Longtime Armbrust enthusiast has part in annual Model Railroad Home Tour

Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Henry Sobota at his home in Armbrust, stands next to a numerous collection of replica train cars and a layout of the former Pennsylvania Railroad from the late 1960's, and much more, ready for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Henry Sobota at his home in Armbrust, stands next to a numerous collection of replica train cars and a layout of the former Pennsylvania Railroad from the late 1960's, and much more, ready for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - A photo of Henry Sobota at age 4, dressed in a 'freight conductor's' outfit, showing even at a very young age his passion for the railroad.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>A photo of Henry Sobota at age 4, dressed in a 'freight conductor's' outfit, showing even at a very young age his passion for the railroad.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Henry Sobota of Armbrust does a few test runs on his display to make sure everything is running smoothly as he prepares for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Henry Sobota of Armbrust does a few test runs on his display to make sure everything is running smoothly as he prepares for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Replica of a service area for the diesel trains to be maintained.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Replica of a service area for the diesel trains to be maintained.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Henry Sobota of Armbrust does a few test runs on his display to make sure everything is running smoothly as he prepares for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Henry Sobota of Armbrust does a few test runs on his display to make sure everything is running smoothly as he prepares for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Henry Sobota, at his home in Armbrust, stands next to a numerous collection of replica train cars and a layout of the former Pennsylvania Railroad from the late 1960s, and much more, ready for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Henry Sobota, at his home in Armbrust, stands next to a numerous collection of replica train cars and a layout of the former Pennsylvania Railroad from the late 1960s, and much more, ready for the upcoming Model Railroad Home Tour.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - A replica snow plow car, used on the railroads from 1940 to 1960s.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>A replica snow plow car, used on the railroads from 1940 to 1960s.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - A view of 'Peptown,' which Henry Sobota named after his grandfather, Preston 'Pep' Prinkey, is just a small part of the intricate display.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>A view of 'Peptown,' which Henry Sobota named after his grandfather, Preston 'Pep' Prinkey, is just a small part of the intricate display.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - A replica of a 1949 E-8 passenger car runs on the outside track.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>A replica of a 1949 E-8 passenger car runs on the outside track.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - Henry Sobota received his grandfather's 1918 railroad watch, passed down to him because of his passion for trains.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>Henry Sobota received his grandfather's 1918 railroad watch, passed down to him because of his passion for trains.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - On display are a 1970s 'switch lock' and a 1918 railroad watch, passed down to Henry Sobota because of his passion for trains. The railroad watch first belonged to Sobota's grandfather.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>On display are a 1970s 'switch lock' and a 1918 railroad watch, passed down to Henry Sobota because of his passion for trains.  The railroad watch first belonged to Sobota's grandfather.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review - A replica of the 'Metropolitan,' which ran in the early 1930s, sits atop of custom-made wall shelves displaying a large part of Henry Sobota's collection, including the first train set given to him by his mother before he was born.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review</em></div>A replica of the 'Metropolitan,' which ran in the early 1930s, sits atop of custom-made wall shelves displaying a large part of Henry Sobota's collection, including the first train set given to him by his mother before he was born.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

If you go

For tickets to the sixth annual Model Railroad Home Tour, visit Huber Hall, 300 S. Alexandra St., Latrobe, after 9 a.m. May 3.

Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for those younger than 16.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 11:24 p.m.
 

Henry Sobota spent his professional career teaching elementary school, but when he enters his Armbrust basement, he takes on the role of a railroader.

Railroaders are represented on both sides of his family tree, and Sobota's mother purchased his first train before he was born.

On May 3, Sobota's home will be one of five stops on the sixth annual Model Railroad Home Tour, a self-guided driving tour sponsored by the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association.

“Everybody likes toy trains because they bring back childhood memories, and it is a fun and creative hobby and can be something that the kids can be part of,” said Richard Sheats, the association's fundraiser chairman.

“My layout is basically the middle- and late-1960s (era) of the Pennsylvania Railroad,” said Sobota, 64.

He named his town Peptown, after his grandfather — Preston “Pep” Prinkey, a Pennsylvania Railroad conductor in Youngwood.

Sobota still has Pep's pocket watch, which Sobota carried as a volunteer conductor with the former Fayette Central Railroad. Photos show him in that role and as a volunteer brakeman with the former Westmoreland Scenic Railroad, both popular tourist trains.

His grandfather, Louis Sobota, was a boilermaker at the Youngwood roundhouse, a large, circular building used to service locomotives moved by turntables.

Peptown's engine repair site is called “Louis Shops.”

Sobota's great-grandfather, Jacob Murray Prinkey, was a freight conductor in the Youngwood yard.

The village includes the PRR Metropolitan passenger steam train and coal hoppers surrounding a village of shops, restaurants and a Greyhound bus depot.

Authentic Pennsylvania Railroad lanterns hang on the walls. Memorabilia includes family train yard photos, certificates and a collection of Member of Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen pins.

Tim Sobota and Maryann Sobota grew up enjoying their father's hobby, and Tim Sobota will assist with the tour.

During a recent demonstration, Sobota's remote activated the layout's controls, and an eight-car Metropolitan, whose route would have been New York to Pittsburgh, chugged by.

In addition to three home layouts, this year's tour includes Chuck Kapalka's outdoor live steam trains.

Kapalka, 70, and his wife, Kathy, hosted 273 guests on the 2012 tour, despite poor weather. Only 300 tickets are sold for the event.

Kapalka's interest in model trains led him to install a 7.5-gauge track system around the outside of his Hempfield home for his scaled-down model of a Shay live steam engine.

“Chuck's was one of the most popular railroads we have had because it is a model that can be ridden on, and we have had many requests to bring him back,” Sheats said.

“As a kid, I liked model trains. Since retiring, I had to have something to do. I started building an engine. I decided if I didn't have a place to run it, it wouldn't be much fun,” said Kapalka, a former machinist.

“A friend of mine had one outside. It kind of gave me a kick,” he said.

Kapalka said he enjoys participating in the tour.

“It keeps alive the history of trains. A lot of people never smelled coal smoke coming out of an engine stack,” he said.

Along with O-scale and N-scale model train layouts, the tour will include the Pittsburgh Lego Users Group's operating train display at Huber Hall in Latrobe.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Motorcyclist injured in Sewickley Township
  2. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  3. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  4. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  5. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  6. Monessen home invasion ‘ringleader’ denied leniency
  7. Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
  8. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  9. Music on way to Westmoreland’s Twin Lakes Park
  10. Contract talks progress in Derry
  11. Westmoreland torture-slaying convict Smyrnes says death row isolation too cruel