Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trains at Christmas Model Trains Show & Sale - the good

 A friend of mine asked me to come with him to the "Trains at Christmas" Model Train Show and Sale in Fredericksburg, VA. Now this was a modest affair -- especially compared with the bi-annual Train Collector's Association meets at York, PA (normal attendance 15,000). But that's alright this show had an entirely different focus. The goal was to introduce the hobby of toy train operation and model railroading to kids and adults.

And in that sense, I think it was very successful.

There were operating layouts in all of the gauges, which gave the casual visitor (like my friend) to understand the relationships between the scales in terms of size, and operation. Greeting us upon entry was a large Christmas tree with a G-Gauge set circling underneath. That made a very good first impression, especially to the kids coming through the door.

Although not part of the core demographic, my friend enjoyed
the Thomas the Tank Engine HO layout.
Close by was an HO-scale static display, a section of rail yard showing the possibilities for realistic modelling. Next to it was an HO Thomas the Tank Engine layout as well, which also seemed to be a big hit.

The organizers also had a modular O-Gauge layout, and one for S-Gauge, so folks could see the trains of their youth in operation. The S-Gauge layout was very well done.

The O-Gauge was pretty sparse -- just indoor/outdoor carpet over plywood. But still, there's nothing quite like the excitement of the trains zipping around the track.

Paart of the S-Gauge modular display.
There was even an N-scale layout, showing what could be done in an extremely limited space.

I overheard a lot of fathers talking to their children about the trains they used to have, and I'm sure the interest in them was rekindled in a few. My friend had a good time, and had a chance to see the scope of model railroading and toy trains. So it was good show for him, too. On the whole, well done. But I did have a few issues, which I'll share tomorrow.

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