Model train show returning to Winterville on Saturday
By Tyler Stocks
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Model trains clickety-clacking on railroad tracks will be on display on Saturday as The Eastern Carolina Railroaders host their annual open house train show in Winterville.
The event will take place at the Winterville Train Depot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year's show features four modular layouts, including a large modern layout featuring the Lionel Legacy Niagara and Big Boy locomotives, a Thomas the Tank Engine children's layout, a John Deere-themed layout and a 1950s retro Lionel and Plasticville layout.
There also are two tabletop-sized layouts that include a Harry Potter-themed Lego train and a Santa Fe passenger train.
Show visitors will be able to operate the trains and accessories via push buttons on each modular layout and children will be able to operate trains on the Thomas the Tank Engine layout. There also will be drawings for door prizes throughout the day.
This will be the second train show at the Winterville Depot, following the group's 20th anniversary celebration last year.
Admission is free but donations are appreciated to keep the trains running.
Organizer Charles Alford said the purpose of the show is to foster interest in model trains and recruit new model train fans who want to participate in the hobby.
"We are trying to increase awareness of the hobby and get people started in the hobby and see what they can do with the modern equipment that's available now for model railroads," Alford said.
Alford, who founded the Eastern Carolina Railroaders group in 1998, has also been actively involved with train clubs including the Lionel Collectors Club of America and the Train Collectors Association for more than two decades. He even served as the TCA’s secretary of the southeastern division for 20 years.
While putting on the show can run upwards of $500, and setting up takes nearly seven hours, Alford and club members consider it a labor of love that brings joy to so many.
"I really enjoy seeing the kids and the adults interacting with the trains," Alford said.
Alford hopes that this year's event will be another success and that new train enthusiasts can enjoy a hobby that he has enjoyed for decades.
"We're really hoping to have a big turnout and we've got a big show planned and we would like for everybody to come," Alford said.
For more information on the train show and the Eastern Carolina Railroaders group, visit them on Facebook or contact Charles Alford at firstname.lastname@example.org.