Phillips' Train Shop

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In a 1970 photo, T. Clinton Phillips showed off a small section of the
 huge model train layout in his Charleston Avenue basement.
 Note the circus train cars in the foreground of the photo.

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HUNTINGTON  Some of the most disastrous train wrecks in American history took
 place in the basement of a Huntington home  at least in the movies.

T. Clinton Phillips built a huge operating model train layout at his Charleston Avenue home
that more than once Hollywood filmmakers used to stage miniature train wrecks.
Cecil B. DeMille's 1952 spectacular "The Greatest Show on Earth"
was one of several films that included wreck
footage filmed in Phillips' basement.

Phillips was a nationally known expert on model railroading. He loved to tell how the
Lionel company once invited him to New York City for a six-week workshop
 on building model train layouts. "After three days they sent me home
 because I already knew everything they could teach."

He was born in Beckley in 1906. In 1925, he moved with his family to
 Huntington, where the shop he and his wife, Evelyn, created at
1140 16th St., became the go-to place for model
train enthusiasts of all ages.

But model trains weren't Phillips' only passion. He raced motorcycles and boats.
 In 1927, he turned in a world record speed run at Daytona Beach, Florida,
and later raced motorboats on the Ohio River at Huntington.
He loved tinkering with motorcycles and automobiles.
He restored and showed antique autos.

Turned down for active military service during World War II, he joined the
Civil Air Patrol, flying and racing light aircraft. In 1945 he won
 a first-place trophy in a CAP cross-country air race
 from Huntington to Jamestown, New York.

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Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on June 24, 2019.

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