Model railroading in Kingston and Albany this weekend

Choo-choo. Lionel model engine. Photo: Lucy Martin

Choo-choo. Lionel model engine. Photo: Lucy Martin

Earlier this week the hosts of the Eight O’clock Hour were chatting about how children imagine what they might become as grown-ups. Todd Moe said that he’d always wanted to become a train engineer.

When you think about it, there are some similarities between that and what he’s doing now. Both jobs involve getting to specific destinations (on time) as smoothly as possible, while keeping cargo and passengers safe and happy.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.35.10Comparisons aside, there is something about trains that many find enthralling. That fascination might be for the real thing rolling down the rails today, for trains of old, and/or for model trains.

Which reminds me, the Kingston Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association is hosting its 26th annual Rail-O-Rama this weekend, 10-4 on Saturday and Sunday.

According to the Kingston Whig-Standard:

The show will feature some impressive model displays from Ottawa, Belleville and Picton model railroad clubs, as well as a number of privately owned layouts.

There will also be vendors on site, mostly selling model railroad equipment and supplies.

A variety of displays covering railroad history, large-scale live steam modelling and working models made using Meccano, a modelling material that has been around for more than 70 years, will also welcome visitors.

According to organizers, approximately 1,000 people attend every year, with Saturday morning being the busiest time.

There’s a train and toy show in Albany, NY this weekend too, Saturday only, from 9-3. And many more throughout the year, all across North America.

Here’s video with tips on how to maximize opportunities at train shows.

There was a time when a young person in my life was a model train consumer. It seemed like a wholesome hobby, something that engaged many skills. The main downside seemed to be the issue of expense, in both time and money. There’s no end in sight, you see. Always another engine, car, more track or track lay-out to envision and build. But that’s life too, isn’t it? Learning how much one can – and cannot – afford. How to make do with what you have or expand as economically as possible.

So, train buffs out there, I am curious. Why do you like trains, or model trains?  I think it has something to do with the thrill and power of making things move. Because watching the cute little things go is almost hypnotic. But there’s way more to it than that. Do tell!

Here’s an HO scale train lay-out from Germany (depicting a fictional run through an American setting) that’s simply amazing.

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