Arctic Run Model Railroad Show returns Jan. 16-17
The 19th Annual Arctic Run Model Railroad Show and Sale will return to the Holiday Inn Stevens Point – Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16 and 17.
The Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders (CWMR) will host the event, and members invite families and the public to learn about what some call the “World’s Greatest Hobby.”
CWMR will maintain last year’s admission prices of $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 11 to 16 to keep the show affordable for families. Children 10 and younger are free. Families with multiple children will pay no more than $10 for admission.
Pat Lyons, Stevens Point, a member of the Waupaca Area Model Railroaders, said he always gets a thrill watching excited children react to a model train whistling as it passes them. “They get excited and enthused,” he said. “They get an amazing look on their face and a big, broad smile.”
The purpose of the show is to allow people to see what model railroading is all about, Lyons said.
“Model railroads are unique works of art and become a lifetime hobby for many individuals. For anyone with interest or skills in railroad operations, carpentry, design, electronics, geography and history will find a nitch in the hobby,” he said, adding that model railroading can be a great family activity and women are also model railroaders.
Attendance has grown every year as more people learn of the show, and the hobby gets more popular thanks to the support of other model railroad clubs in the surrounding area, he said. The goal of the Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders is to make the show become the premier event that people look forward to each year after Christmas and in the early new year.
The older fan will enjoy viewing the latest in radio and computer-controlled trains running on any one of a dozen portable layouts in sizes as big as 22 feet by 52 feet, Lyons said.
One layout depicts central Wisconsin with familiar locations such as Waupaca and Junction City prominently displayed, he said, including an accurate model of the Junction City deport that served both the Milwaukee Road and the Soo Line Railroad, which should bring back memories for many central Wisconsin residents.
Children can also enjoy a hands-on experience playing with Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends from Chuggington Station, he said.
Members of the clubs displaying their layouts are always happy to talk with guests and explain how they have built their railroad empires, Lyons said. “No question is too trivial, and they are always happy to encourage budding modelers that are just getting started in the hobby.”
“I enjoy doing the shows,” he said. “I meet some nice people. We do spend a lot of time talking to guests. It’s enjoyable.”
Lyons said visitors to the show can learn how bench work is constructed, how a model railroad develops scenery or wires a model railroad for realistic operation.
The development of computer technology has affected the hobby greatly, especially the digital command center, he said.
Previously, railroad layouts were wired based on blocks, so one controller took care of all the trains in a block, he said.
With a digital command center, each train has a computer chip for control so the controller can take command of the train as it progresses around the layout, he said, while other trains are also controlled individually by others.
“Since the advent of the digital command center, trains can have digital chips installed that allow them to make sounds, not only of the whistle, but of a diesel engine or the chug-chug sound of an old steam engine.
Lyons said model railroading also encompasses a lot of talents, as they have to deal with carpentry, electricity, crafts and history, as well as others.
If a person enjoys trains, it creates the opportunity to create something from memory or from real life in miniature. He said one member of a club he knows is doing a layout of Green Bay from about 1965 and is checking to see what needs to be included, including whether a four-lane Highway 41 ran around the city.
Some people just enjoy running trains, while others research their favorite railroad and try to create part of it in miniature. He said his home layout is like that, a model of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad that he remembers from his youth. “My grandchildren enjoy seeing it run when they come,” he said.
Others take pride in building their pike in detail, he said, right down to putting utility meters on their buildings. “You get hooked on it when you are young, and it grows on you.”
CWMR members encourage people to come out and see the unique designs different clubs will have on display.
“If you think you have a potential interest, here is your chance to check the hobby out,” Lyons said. “The show also draws former modelers who have been away from modeling for a while back into the hobby. Model railroading is not just a guy thing. There are women that are excellent modelers. It provides fun and relaxation to young and old, guy or gal who enjoy it.”
So far, at least 10 other clubs have registered to display their layouts, bringing them in sections and then putting them up for demonstrations.
He said model railroaders also travel to shows put on by other clubs, just as he and other members from central Wisconsin went to Milwaukee in November to see the show at State Fair Park. They get ideas and other tips, he said.
Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders was founded as a nonprofit educational organization in 1987 for individuals with an interest in model railroading to come together and share their hobby. Part of the proceeds from the show and sale go to support nonprofit organizations.
Vendors and clubs interested in participating should contact Paul Clasen at 715-341-5253 or e-mail [email protected] Railroad equipment, classic trains, railroad memorabilia and other items will be available.