Wilmington, Delaware model train show bridges generations at Chase Center

The Greenberg's Great Train & Toy Show drew hundreds of long-time train collectors and model train novices
Jim Thompson still has his first train.

It's nearly 60 years old and there's no dollar figure that could ever bring him to part with it, he said Sunday at Greenberg’s Great Train & Toy Show at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Now he's determined to keep that same passion for locomotives going with his 10-year-old grandson and the next generation.

"That's what this is all about," he said, gesturing to the packed room full of vendors, collectors and patrons. "Putting a smile on people's faces. That's what matters."

The two-day show drew hundreds of long-time collectors and train novices inside the Chase Center to walk the aisles lined with everything imaginable on wheels. Thompson, a longtime volunteer and train collector with the First State Model Railroad Club out of Dover, explained the club's 16-by-36-foot model lined with trees, model cars and most importantly, working trains. His grandson, Kenny Haltom, was never far from his side.

The two have been able to share the hobby for the past five years, when Haltom started asking questions and wanting more detailed answers on how to make the trains move and how to create models of his own. He even skipped a family trip this weekend to spend time with his grandfather at the train show.

"I like (trains) a lot," he said with a shy smile. "There's not much more I can say."

Get him holding a train, though, and Halstom starts talking, explaining a model that he wired to replicate the blinking lights on the end of train locomotives. They turn on and off to signal where the train car ends, he explained.

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