Only the freight train runs through Kingston these days, but on October 23, the city will once again play host to myriad railroads – miniature ones, that is – with the Kingston Model Train and Railroad Hobby Show, held at the Murphy Midtown Center: the former armory located at 467 Broadway. The event revives with a vengeance a tradition that fell by the wayside seven or eight years ago, said Nicholas S., who with his brother Matthew operates S and S Train Productions (he preferred not to give his last name). It includes 11,000 square feet of “operating layouts” – model trains set in gardens and other naturalistic settings, as well as partial “modular” layouts – and will feature model trains ranging from the tiny, one-inch Z gauge to “garden trains,” which are two feet long.
Vendors will sell the models, of course, as well as food and crafts (the crafts are a way to draw in women, who tend not to be enamored of model trains as much as men, apart from bringing their kids to see the tiny chugging locomotives, according to Nick). A “kids’ corner” for tots will feature $1,000 worth of Thomas the Tank Engines on a big mat, with members of the Girl Scouts serving as babysitters and Thomas stick-on tattoos given away for free. “It’s a fun family day event,” said Nick, who notes that he and his brother expect as many as 5,000 people to show up, given the extensive advertising that they’ve done as far afield as Connecticut and New Jersey. The brothers also hosted miniature train displays at the Dutchess County Fair and Adams Fairacre Farm’s family day to help drum up interest.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Trolley Museum will also participate, offering Halloween-themed rides on their vintage train cars or trolley. Three Lionel train sets will be raffled off and 2,000 magazines related to model railroads given away.
Nick said that S and S Train Productions plan to host the model train and hobby show twice a year, in March as well as October, so hopefully the event will establish Kingston as a destination for model railroad fans. The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $6 for adults, $1 for children under 12. For more information call (845) 481-4198.