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'Choo-choos' still chugging along in the 21st century

Kemp Shiver, 3, makes a choo-choo train sound as he watches a set of model trains go around the track during the Flint River Model Train Club show and sale on Jan. 19, 2013, at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 2009 Gillionville Road. The event continues today (Jan. 20, 2013) from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Kemp Shiver, 3, makes a choo-choo train sound as he watches a set of model trains go around the track during the Flint River Model Train Club show and sale on Jan. 19, 2013, at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 2009 Gillionville Road. The event continues today (Jan. 20, 2013) from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

ALBANY, Ga. -- There appears to be an attraction to model railroading that trumps electronic gaming for many people.

People from grandparents to toddlers headed to the Knights of Columbus Hall at 2009 Gillionville Road on Saturday to feed their hunger for model railroading.

The 22nd Flint River Model Railroad Club Train Show and Sale is open again today. It features train engines and railroad cars accessories for landscaping for sale. It also has displays of model trains running and train art in many forms.

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Jane Smith watches as her son Remington hits the controls on a model railroad layout designed and built by Martin Loyley, Fort Gaines United Methodist pastor and chaplain for the Flint River Model Railroad Club. The club held a show and sale at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2009 Gillionville Road. (Jan. 19, 2013)

"People still enjoy the hobby as much as they did before the electronic gaming came out," said Jim Bertch, owner of Bertch's Roundhouse Trains in Ashville, Ala. "I think the electronic games are just a bad babysitter. With the model hobby wives and husbands can actually enjoy a good clean hobby with their children."

Stan and Micheale Johnson came from Tifton to the show with their grandchildren Casie and James Carr. They said the children love Stan Johnson's American Flyer layout at their home.

"American Flyer went out of business in 1965," Johnson said. "I came here to find how to make parts or find parts for my set. The kids love watching my trains, so I thought they would like to come, too."

Johnson built a five-tier platform for his 25 engines and tenders to haul his more than 100 freight cars. The grandchildren were just as fascinated by the flat-platform, HO-scale trains at the show.

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Granddad and model railroading enthusiast Stan Johnson points out details on a train layout to his grandchildren Casie and James Carr, while his wife Micheale looks on at the Flint River Railroad Club show and sale at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2009 Gillionville Road Saturday. (Jan. 19, 2013)

"It is a good way to teach them about the history of America through trains. They ask a lot of questions," Johnson said. "Without trains, the frontier would never have been opened up. My great-grandfather caught a train in Valdosta to fight in the Civil War. My father caught a train to go to California to go to World War II."

Dedication to railroad modeling is evident in the 90-minute drives Martin Loyley, pastor of the Fort Gaines United Methodist Church, takes to attend club meetings to serve as chaplain.

A British transplant, Loyley, dressed as a conductor, set up a platform of distinctly royal-looking trains, buildings with the British flag flying and royal horse guards.

"I've always just loved trains since I was a child," Loyley said. "I'm a member of this club."

While people enjoyed the model railroad club's event, there were treats to be had at the Knight's of Columbus Hall snack bar temporarily named "The Whistle-stop Cafe." Hamburgers hot dogs and fresh popped popcorn made the list.

"I just name the cafe after whoever we have here. For the railroad, it is the Whistle-stop," said Candy Carter, hall manager. "When we have the coin show it becomes the Silver Dollar."

Comments

oldster 1 year, 2 months ago

One of the greatest hobbies ever. I enjoy being at the throttle of a long coal train pulled by two or three locomotives.

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