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Model railroads bring young, old together

Sarah Orgel holds her grandson, Weston Mathis, so he can get a better view of the N-gauge model railroad set up at the Flint River Model Railroad Club’s Train Show and Sale.

Sarah Orgel holds her grandson, Weston Mathis, so he can get a better view of the N-gauge model railroad set up at the Flint River Model Railroad Club’s Train Show and Sale.

ALBANY -- Although freight trains continue to rumble through Albany and the country there is a bit of nostalgia attached to railroads.

Many reminisced about their times on real trains or their first Lionel toy trains as children at the 21st annual Flint River Model Railroad Club of Albany Show and Sale Saturday.

"I really like trains. It goes back to Pearl Harbor day when I was 4 years old and traveling with my family to my dad's new job in Alabama," said Wink Conner of "Booger Bottom" (Lake Blackshear). "People tell me it was Pearl Harbor day because I was so young I don't remember. But I have liked trains ever since."

Back in 1950, Conner got his first set of model trains a set of Lionel trains, he said. He was hooked. Although he doesn't have a model set now, he said he likes to return to the show at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Gillionville Road to watch the trains.

Conner's neighbor and friend Mike Mills has several model train sets and said he also has a family connection to real trains.

"My daddy is a conductor and train man," Mills said. "I have liked trains for a long time. I like to run my trains, put on some blue grass or rock 'n' roll and watch them run. It relaxes me."

Not only were there trains to see rolling over some detailed models of cities, factories and rural landscapes at the show -- there were miniature trees, buildings and cars for sale to hobbyists.

A miniature Volkswagon Beetle caught the eye of Rusty McDaniel's daughter Emma while looking over the model cars with her dad and two brothers, Hadyn and Zeavin.

"She wants the Volkswagon because it is pink," Rusty McDaniel said. "We'll probably get it for her."

Although the McDaniel brothers didn't yet have a model train set up, they looked forward to having one. Their father said he brought them to the show to give them a feeling for the way he enjoyed model railroads. It might be working.

"I haven't played a video game in awhile," Zeavin said. "The trains look really fast with cool designs. They are more real."

That is the point to avid and serious collector and model-train man Daniel Cross, at the show from Alabama.

"They look nice right out of the box," Cross said. "I like to get them and paint them so they look more like real railroad cars, a little rusty and used."