Of Sykesville is the organizer of the model...


August 15, 1993

PAUL BUSCEMI: of Sykesville is the organizer of the model rail car fund-raising project for the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society.

For 11 years, he has organized the manufacture and sale of HO-gauge model kits of Western Maryland Railway cars. The kits are sold to raise money for upkeep of the society's museum in Union Bridge.

Mr. Buscemi also has reproduced and sold compilations of back issues of the society's newsletter, "The Blue Mountain Express."

He joined the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society in 1980, and was appointed chairman of the model car committee two years later.

He is working on his 15th model, a replica of a two-bay hopper car. Recently, he has been producing two models a year, generally in runs of 1,000 kits each.

"Basically, all I do is the legwork," Mr. Buscemi said.

He contacts manufacturers to find the best prices, then works with artists, who decorate the cars to his specifications.

"Our way is more correct than what the manufacturer would do," he said.

When the models arrive, he gathers a group of friends for an inspection party. Every kit is examined.

Using his home computer, he collects orders and generates mailing labels. Then, his friends come around again for a packing party.

Mr. Buscemi also sells the kits at train shows.

"As long as they keep buying them, I'll keep producing them," he said.

Organization's comments: "Paul is an eager individual, in the kindest sense," said George Myers, former secretary and archivist for the society.

He praised Mr. Buscemi's accurate bookkeeping and care with the models.

"He will not deliver stuff that has not been inspected," he said.

Unlike most model railroad cars, Mr. Myers said, each of Mr. Buscemi's models is available with different numbers.

"It's not unusual for people who are into it to have 100 hopper cars on their layout," Mr. Myers said. The numbers differentiate the cars, adding to their authenticity.

Some modelers run their layouts like real railroads -- even using the cars' numbers on "waybills," which describe each car's load and destination.

"It is very, very complicated if you've got the time and the money," Mr. Myers said. "It's like playing golf -- when you get into it, you can't quit."

Volunteer's comments: Mr. Buscemi has loved trains since he was little. "Always had trains at Christmas," he said.

When he got married, he still wanted trains around his Christmas tree.

"The next thing I knew, they were underneath the TV, around the radiator, under the sofa."

Volunteer's background: Mr. Buscemi, 46, is married and has two children.

He has served as the society's board chairman, membership chairman and chairman of the gift shop. Mr. Buscemi also has manufactured model rail cars for a B&O club.

He is president of the Liberty High School Instrumental Music Boosters, who will conduct a marching band competition Sept. 25 that is expected to draw entries from four states.

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Week, call 751-7900 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may

be faxed to the office at 751-7916.

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