Train show rolls into Hanover, Massachusetts

The Greenberg’s Great Train and Toy Show attracted around 3,000 people over the weekend. Train enthusiasts had the chance to look at vintage trains, accessories, artwork, and more.
John Lee, a retired mechanical engineer of Randolph, watched as a toy train slowly chugged along the model railroads he and other members of the South Shore Hi-Railers had spent four hours setting up for display. A crowd of people had gathered to watch. While the children in the audience were captivated, it was the adult men who were asking questions about the accessories, snapping pictures of the train tracks, and asking to tinker with the buildings set up along the railroad.

This was the scene at the Hanover Mall over the weekend. An estimated 3,000 vendors and train enthusiasts came out to the mall’s event center Saturday and Sunday to the Greenberg’s Great Train & Toy Show, a traveling model train and toy show. For many, train shows are a chance to recreate their childhood memories, whether it’s the train set they built with their father or the freight train that trundled by the home they grew up in.

“These shows are a time machine,” said Peter Der Sarkisian, the secretary of the Train Collection Association. “If you were 6 years old in 1927, you probably were playing with trains. At some point, some of these people think, ‘Gee whiz, my mom threw away my train set, or my brother broke it, or whatever, and I want it back.’ So they come out to these shows.”

This nostalgia is how many train enthusiasts first get involved with the collecting hobby, said Randy Bachmann, the president of Train Shows Inc., which owns Greenberg’s.

Those who made the trip out to the show had plenty to explore. According to Greenberg’s website, their shows typically feature around a dozen vendors selling a variety of model railroading items, like new and used trains of all scales, to accessories like tools, parts, and diecast vehicles. One booth was selling vintage train catalogs and books, while an artist sold pencil drawings of trains as he sketched an example in front of customers. Prices ranged widely, from two dollars for a plastic toy train to nearly half a grand for an ornate train made in the late 1920s.

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