Model railroad show to display routes of hobby
Railroads offer more than just an engine and some tracks, in fact they provide an outlet for nearly every interest: building, designing, engineering, models, transportation, people and community, artwork, creativity, scenery, and the list goes on for miles.
It is one of the messages Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders hope to show people at the 20th annual Arctic Run Model Railroad Show and Sale Jan. 21 and 22.
The family event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point. It provides an opportunity for anyone interested or curious about trains, railroads, modeling or railroad and train parts to see what is involved in what some call the “World’s Greatest Hobby.”
“It’s just a fun thing to do,” said Jim Miller, a member of CWMR Stevens Point and Plover. “It’s the idea of creating something.”
To keep the show an affordable family outing, CWMR admission prices are $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 12 to 17. Children 11 and younger are free. A family rate for those with more than three children will be capped at $12.
The purpose of the show is to allow the guests to see what the hobby of model railroading is all about. Each model railroad is a unique work of art and reflects the particular interests of the modeler or club building their layout.
“It’s really kind of interesting because people in the hobby pick different aspects,” Miller said. “There are people who love to run trains so their layout may be plain, others like to recreate scenes so they might have houses and put people in (the scene), and some just like to collect things so they just have it. They don’t run it, they just have it (on display).”
When asked which type of modeler he is, Miller responded “yes,” and started laughing. Having been involved in the hobby for 20 years, he has covered the gamut and loves each part of it, he said.
When attending the show, Miller encourages people to take their time. For those not engrained in the hobby, at the outset it may appear to be a bunch of trains and engines and tracks and trees and depots, but in actuality, he said, it is quite a treat.
“Take the time and really look,” he said. “A lot of the scenes involve figures and actions that they’re doing. It becomes a very interesting study of general life. We try to add things in at various times.”
A model railroad requires various skills that may seem daunting for many people. Members of the clubs displaying their layouts are always happy to talk with guests and explain how they have built their railroad empires. Dennis Cook, an Amherst modeler, enjoys visiting with other modelers and viewing their railroads. No question is too trivial and they are always happy to help budding modelers understand that building a model railroad is not as daunting as it may seem.
Women and children will find items of interest at the show as well – in fact, Miller said, some women have the most impressive scenes of all.
“A lot of the women are excellent modelers,” he said. “Their attention to detail and accuracy is sometimes scary.”
Pat Lyons, a member of the Waupaca Area Model Railroaders, said he always gets a “thrill” watching excited children react to a model train and hearing the whistle as it passes them.
“Thanks to modern electronics, model locomotives do have the bells and whistles of real locomotives,” he said.
Children can also enjoy a hands-on experience playing with Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends from Chuggington Station.
Guests attending also will view the latest in radio- and computer-controlled trains running on many of nine portable layouts that will be on display. Visitors will be able to view HO scale, N scale and O scale layouts and learn the advantages of each scale.
One layout depicts central Wisconsin with familiar locations such as Stevens Point, Waupaca and Junction City prominently displayed. An accurate model of the Junction City deport, that served both the Milwaukee Road and the Soo Line, will bring back memories for many central Wisconsin residents.
Guests will also be able to visit with any of 60 vendors that will be in attendance. Guests can view the latest engines, rolling stock and accessories available. Some vendors will have products that are no longer in production. Guests may find a treasure they wish they had purchased when the product was first released or a detail piece that will complete a scene on their railroad. There also will be opportunities to purchase train items.
The Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders was founded as a nonprofit educational organization in 1987 for individuals with interest in model railroading to come together and share their hobby. Part of the proceeds from the show and sale go to support various community nonprofit organizations.
The club has about 20 members who meet at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the depot in Heritage Park in Plover. Contact Paul Clasen at 715 341-5253 or email Paul at [email protected] for more information on membership or the show. Don Anderson may also be contacted at 715 340-8105 or by email at [email protected]