Model train show hauls people in

Model railroad and toy train show attracts new model railroaders in Alton, Ill.
The trains kept going ‘round the track as people kept going from table to table at the annual Train Show Saturday at the Franklin Masonic Lodge in Alton.

More than 50 vendors had everything from modern model train sets to collectibles, as well as accessories and actual railroad memorabilia.

“It’s really to get lots of people to come in and see our lodge is vibrant in the community, and also to let these train vendors come in and show off their stuff,” said Andrew Frey, worshipful master at the lodge. “We love to see the kids come in and get a chance to see all the trains they have set up, and get the idea of those trains passed down to the next generation.”

Organizer Richard Slimick said the show has been going on for 12 years.

In addition to vendors, some train enthusiasts had set up an “O” Gauge train on the stage.

Tim Chester, of Wood River, was onstage trying to get all of the engines to run.

He has been involved in model trains for more than 30 years.

“Watching them run, and the detailing of the cars,” he said, citing what attracted him to the hobby.

Watching the trains run was Liz Condes, of Godfrey, who brought her grandsons James, 3, and Josh, 5.

“I really like trains,” she said. “We went to the Transportation Museum, and that was cool, so we thought we’d come here.

She said her grandsons were enjoying the show.

“Every time they’d look there is something else,” she said.

Model trains come in a number of sizes, from Z-scale (the smallest) to G-scale (most commonly used in outdoor garden displays). About 60 percent of model railroading is HO-scale, and N-scale accounts for another 30 percent.

Electric model trains have been around for more than 100 years. Among collectors Lionel and American Flyer trains and accessories, especially pre-World War II pieces, are prized.

People came from throughout the Metro East, as well as St. Louis, for the show.

Keith Kulich and Mike Kotyk, both of St. Louis, were walking through the displays and talking, while Kulich was holding a few things he had already picked out.

“I love trains,” he said. “I try to make every one of them (shows) I can.”

He said his love of trains goes back to childhood.

“My dad would set up a train every Christmas under the tree when I was growing up,” he said. “It just brings back all those wonderful Christmas memories.”

See the original article.

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