Few auto centers are known for their work with trains.
But every holiday season, Busch Auto Service Center's claim to fame becomes a winter wonderland of trains, trolleys and whistles. The extenisve model train display is in its sixth year and now includes five train lines and one trolley line.
"The reason I put it up is for the customers to enjoy the Christmas spirit," said John Busch III. "This is what a lot of the guys who come in here grew up with and it really takes them back."
The lines are on the floor and an elevated platform. One line actually connects the two – the track snakes up a helix that encircles a Christmas tree. Model buildings, trees and even a small blimp alll are part of the scenery.
Busch III said setting up the display takes about 50 hours. The track is 027 gauge. He said his dad got him started on trains years ago. The last eight years he began collecting more seriously.
"My train at home is on the ceiling and goes around the basement," Busch III said, adding that he only uses his newer trains in the display at Busch Auto.
Busch said his son, John Busch IV, loved "The Polar Express." The youngster's passion for the film helped inspire the spiral helix portion of the display.
Busch Auto Service Center has been in Palatine since 1945 when Busch's dad and grandfather – John Busch and John Busch Jr. – started the business.