I am updating this thread today (11-13-2019) to reflect the passing of Tom....He will be sorely missed and will always be known as one of the top if not the top ambassador of our hobby.  The OGR family expresses our deepest sympathy to the Groff family.....rest in peace Tom....



Received from the Groff family today...

Our family would like to share with our fans a current update of Tom's health.

Tom was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer in August 2013 and in December 2016, the cancer metastasized to his bones. He has endured numerous immuno and chemotherapy treatments for 6 years and the time has come for Tom to enter the care of Hospice. We would like to thank his medical team for their uncompromised care and compassion throughout this fight.

We are most grateful to our employees for keeping things going at the Choo Choo Barn while we have been caring for Tom. We can never thank you enough for all of the extra work you have done without being asked.

To Tom's fans who have appreciated his work and contributions to the artistry of model railroading, know that he loved what he did and he did it for you.

-The Groff Family

Alan Arnold
CEO/Publisher
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER
Original Post
OGR CEO-PUBLISHER posted:

… To Tom's fans who have appreciated his work and contributions to the artistry of model railroading, know that he loved what he did and he did it for you.

-The Groff Family

That is so true.

The countless weekends I took my family to Strasburg, always included a visit to Choo Choo Barn. Really nice folks. Enjoyed by my wife, our kids, and myself.

Best wishes to the Groff Family. I'm very sorry.

Last edited by EBT Jim

I’m very sorry to hear this. Tom is one of the nicest guys you’re ever going to meet. I remember having a private tour around the layout and all the inner workings of the Choo Choo Barn. All the animations on the layout he created. He is an incredibly talented man. Our thoughts are with Tom and his family. 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

Last edited by Chris Lonero

I'll add my note of being very sorry to hear of Tom's condition.

Like Chris (not sure if it was the same time or not, this was probably at least 10-12 years ago), I participated in what Tom called a "trial tour" of the behind the scenes type stuff that makes the Choo Choo Barn the Choo Choo Barn.  (This was after TCA Museum presentations on a Wednesday during a York week)

Tom was so very enthusiastic about all of the animations and sharing with us the methods he used to create many of them.  It was an amazing look at what makes it all tick.  To top it off, I seem to recall Tom declined taking the admission fee those of us who attended thought we were going to pay for participating in this tour, as he considered it a dry run practice for himself in case he decided to do it regularly.

Best wishes to Tom and the entire Groff Family in this difficult time.

-Dave

So sorry to hear this. Wishing Tom and the Groff family peace during this difficult time.

Joe

 

I've never met Tom, I've seen his posts and I wish him the very best and my sympathies go out to him and his family.  May God watch over him and give him comfort in this sad turn of events.  May he always be blessed.

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

I cannot express how it saddened me when I recently learned of Tom's medical situation. He is such a creative, energetic, talented, and personable fellow. He has always been very kind and helpful when I visited the Choo-Choo Barn, and I am glad Wendy also had the chance to meet and speak with him (he pointed us to a fine eating spot in the Strasburg area). May God's blessings be with Tom and his family in this difficult time and beyond.

That is sad to hear as well as I enjoyed regular visits when in Strasburg.  My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

- Greg

Member of the Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 

Please check out the NJ HiRailers website for information about our club.  Our What's New page shows what we've been working on. While visiting the website check our Show Dates for a listing of all our public shows and be sure to visit our Club Store for unique items available for purchase to support our club and worthwhile charities!!

Image result for nj hirailers logo

 

Tom, his family, and all the wonderful people at the Choo Choo Barn have been one of the very best influences that have ever happened to our hobby.  The Groff family have always been true ambassadors of the O gauge hobby.  There will always be a soft spot in my heart for you Tom.  

Jim Barrett
OGR Backshop Foreman

Dave45681 posted:

I'll add my note of being very sorry to hear of Tom's condition.

Like Chris (not sure if it was the same time or not, this was probably at least 10-12 years ago), I participated in what Tom called a "trial tour" of the behind the scenes type stuff that makes the Choo Choo Barn the Choo Choo Barn.  (This was after TCA Museum presentations on a Wednesday during a York week)

Tom was so very enthusiastic about all of the animations and sharing with us the methods he used to create many of them.  It was an amazing look at what makes it all tick.  To top it off, I seem to recall Tom declined taking the admission fee those of us who attended thought we were going to pay for participating in this tour, as he considered it a dry run practice for himself in case he decided to do it regularly.

Best wishes to Tom and the entire Groff Family in this difficult time.

-Dave

Yes Dave it was the same night there were a handful of us but that was the last time he did it. 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

I was moved to tears when I learned of this on a phone call from Kristi. I worked with Tom many times in producing the video he sells at the Choo Choo Barn. Tom was always friendly, upbeat, full of ideas and energy...definitely a "glass is half full" kind of guy.

As my buddy Jim Barrett said a few posts above this one,"...The Groff family have always been true ambassadors of the O gauge hobby..."

Well said, Jim. There is no greater legacy than that.

Rich Melvin

  Campers: Mother Nature's way of feeding mosquitoes...  

Last edited by Rich Melvin

I've never met Tom, but I have purchased a few items from the Choo Choo Barn which was a solid A+ experience. My sympathies, thought and prayers go out to him and his family.  

 

TCA, METCA, LCCA, LRRC, MTHRRC, Atlas Golden Spike Club Charter Member, Bergen County Model RRC and NJ HiRailers Member.

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ HiRailers website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of our events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what we've added.

 

 

 

My family and I have visited many times over the years. The layout is inspiring and I loved taking pictures and video to study for my future layout. I've been going to Strasburg since 1982....first with my parents as a teenager and then later with my wife and kids. The Choo Choo Barn never gets old and it's been fun to bring each of my children for their first time there. And now I get to do it again with my granddaughter (1 month old) and another grandchild on the way. Tom's hard work making that magical layout, with all its wonderful miniature representations of real places in Lancaster, is very much appreciated by this family. God bless and thoughts and prayers for Tom and his family. BigRail

Our Family is very sad to hear about this. we have been their 3 Times in the last 25 Yrs. It really inspired The Family.  May God Be With You.  The Elesh Family

Tom Elesh Sr.

Visited many times and talked to Tom many times, it was a pleasure to talk to him every time. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. May god take care of him in his last days.

 

Dave

I have only been to the Choo Choo Barn once, about 25 years ago, but I regard it as the best hobby/model train store I have ever been to in my life, with a absolutely gorgeous layout. 

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

 

Tom's creation has always been fresh and creative.  Neat clean and orderly, much like it's builder. 

May God grant the family peace and eternal insight at this transition of life.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

I met Tom on two occasions and we had a chance to chat. While I didn't know him real well I found him to be cheerful, hospitable and friendly. The layout at the Choo Choo barn was certainly a "one of a kind" creation. Tom had many creative animations on that  layout and he designed and built those well. Prayers for Tom and the Groff family through this most difficult time.

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

It’s so sad to hear this news, Tom, such an inventive type gentleman, is going to pass away. His layout in the Choo Choo Barn is a must see/visit when one goes to York.  The layout has so many unique features that makes it almost the 8th Wonder of the world.  Our prayers will be with Tom and his family and his many friends. Thank you all for posting this thread.  

In addition to the many abundant talents Tom had to share, it seems like he had been gifted with a healthy dose of courage as well. Thank you for sharing this update, sad as it is. I'll join in wishing the Groff family every grace.

Tuscan Jim

On our trip to Strasburg last month, we did not get the chance to visit the Choo Choo Barn. Very saddened to hear this horrible news. We're returning to Strasburg in October for you-know-what, but we'll have to fit the Choo Choo Barn into our schedule.

We'll all miss you, Tom, and we hope your final days are filled with nothing but love and joy from your family, friends, employees, customers, and all of us here on the OGR Forum.

Nick

Helping to restore a Reading rambler in Cleveland

Pennsy Productions - Bringing you the best railroads of the Midwest

“It’s a good thing to let another generation know what a steam locomotive is.” - W. Graham Claytor, Jr.

I’ve been a Choo Choo Barn fan since re-entering the hobby 30 years ago and have enjoyed many visits with my boys when they were younger.  My thoughts and prayers are with Tom and his family.

Curt

Thoughts and prayers to Tom and his family. Visited last October for the first time. An incredible layout indeed and talented man!!! 

Bob

One of my all-time favorite purchases for my layout was made from the Choo Choo Barn 25 years ago, and it wasn't a train, it was the Kramer O Scale baseball figures below:

20190801_230709

That Kramer set of figures also includes the outfielders not shown in the above photo.

It was love at first sight when I first saw these baseball figures at the Choo Choo Barn. My wife and young children were with me when I bought them, she approved the purchase knowing how much I love baseball, and I have been thrilled with these baseball figures ever since.

I tell this story not to glorify the purchase, but to give one example of the joy and happiness that the Choo Choo Barn train store and layout have provided to hundreds of thousands of people over the decades, and continue to provide to those with the good fortune to frequent their store. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Tom, the Groff family, and his entire staff have certainly have added much to the collective pleasure for those of us who have visited his extensive exhibit.   

This visit from a 2011 trip to the TCA YORK meet is but a brief overview   of his constantly rolling layout.

For those who have visited before, this is another return; for many others, it's an opportunity for an introduction.  For all it's images that will continue on.

Last edited by Rich Melvin

Fantastic layout and video of it. Thanks for sharing, Woodshire Bill. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I am very sorry to read this post. I've lost track of the number of visits I have made to the ChooChoo Barn over the years. The layout and Tom's work have given me many ideas for my own layout. 

Thank you Tom for all you have done!

Chris

LVHR

Last edited by Rich Melvin

Many thanks to Tom for the joy he has brought to everyone who visited the Choo Choo Barn.  The display was a "must-do" activity for visitors to Strasburg.

Kirk

www.SGMA.us

My wife and I were deeply saddened to hear about Tom's battle with cancer and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.

Tom truly was a wonderful ambassador for the model train industry and hobby. When you think about all of the people who have been entertained, thrilled and encouraged to get into the hobby as a result of visiting the Choo Choo Barn, his contribution to the hobby is immeasurable.

We've enjoyed visiting the Choo Choo Barn many times over the years and have always come away with new ideas and concepts that we incorporated onto our layout.

Steve Tapper

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Last edited by Rich Melvin

Tom's not 'dropped his fire' just yet...

So, knowing that as long as he has life, he has hearing......we were told as our parents passed that it's one of the last senses to shut down, that we should be careful how we speak in their presence.  So be sure to convey to him the love and deepest appreciation that's in our responses.

And on behalf of the hundreds-plus kids....of all ages....who have embraced this hobby for having toured your handiwork and artistic abilities, Tom, rest peacefully knowing that Our Saviour has loving arms with which to greet you.

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