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Southlake Style

Mini Railroad Serves Big Cause

Dec 04, 2013 03:49PM ● By Anonymous

Stan Pirzchalski is an artist. He spends hours prepping and producing masterpieces throughout a 67’ x 27’ room that is filled with a miniature interactive railroad. 

In 1987, Stan and his wife Karen moved into their cozy Colleyville house and transformed a simple hobby into what is now a true testament of their love for each other and the community. Set in the 1940’s, the My Darling Angel Karen (MDAK) Railroad is a one-way ticket to transport visitors back to a time when steam trains were the spectacles of America.

The MDAK Railroad layout is not a replica of a specific location, but encompasses the decade from the Pirzchalski’s point of view. For instance, many of the buildings and cities have family, friend and childhood memory acronyms listed throughout the layout. 

“It’s like being an artist. Model railroaders are similar to exhibitionists in that they like to have people come see what they’ve done,” Pirzchalski said. “It’s insured for $1.2 million because it’s a piece of artwork. 

Roughly 17 years ago, Stan and Karen decided to open up their home so visitors could experience the MDAK Railroad first hand. Instead of charging admission, the Pirzchalski’s decided to ask visitors to bring one unwrapped toy as a donation to the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE) Charities, a nonprofit relief agency that provides the necessities to struggling families. 

The first year the MDAK Railroad opened to the public, 35 people attended. Nearly 20 years later, the number has more than tripled, with roughly 135 people attending last year. 

About six years ago, Karen passed away. Stan continues to offer the MDAK Railroad tour once a year as a way to pay tribute to what he deems as Karen's 'bright idea.' This year, the 16th Annual Pirzchalski Holiday Open House will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4832 Lakeside Dr., Colleyville, TX 76034.

Upon arrival, patrons will receive a notecard that explains the layout and history of the MDAK Railroad. To make things interesting, a scavenger hunt is also listed on the notecard for families to try and find various items located throughout the railroad. Visitors will catch a glimpse of a wedding, interactive workers, mooing cows, airplanes, boy scouts around a campfire and a carnival.

The MDAK Railroad is a do-at-your-own-pace event, with the typical family spending on average 30 minutes or less exploring the layout.

“Most people think it’s a Christmas tree with a train running around it, but they are flabbergasted with what is actually upstairs,” Pirzchalski said. “You have to come see it for yourself.”