Model railroad enthusiasts are an enthusiastic bunch, and great in number, too: The National Model Railroad Association counted more than 19,000 members in its ranks as of last month. Some rail buffs concentrate on trains of a specific operating company or era in history, while others focus more on building complex layouts and sharing the experience of travel in miniature with others. One thing is probably common to all of them, though, and that’s the credo, “A model railroad layout is never complete.”
The Kingston Model Train and Railroad Hobby Show will return to Kingston on Sunday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s the largest rail-themed event of its kind in Ulster County, drawing as many as several thousand visitors, who come to check out the model trains and peruse railroadiana in the 11,500 square feet of space inside the Andy Murphy Recreational Center in Kingston (the former Armory on Broadway). Admission costs $6 for adults, $1 for kids under age 12.
Show spokesperson “Nick S.” says that visitors to the show are equally divided between railroad enthusiasts and families, who get just as much of a kick out of seeing the operating layouts and trains running everywhere inside the show as the serious hobbyists do. “It’s a well-rounded show,” he says. “It’s a model railroading event, but it’s a family event as well.” Serious trainspotters and casual family visitors alike can enjoy a large-scale garden railroad train display, and representatives from local historic working railroads and rail museums will be present to answer questions.
The Children’s Fun Corner will have kid-friendly activities for the little ones. Nick says that they’ll have Thomas the Tank Engine toy trains to play with, and balloons will be given out. The kids can enter a raffle, too, at $1 a ticket, to win one of seven prizes that’ll be given out, including a complete model train set to take home and set up that will include everything needed from power pack to trains and track.
The show is in its third year, with events in Kingston twice yearly in March and October. Related hobby items are available for sale from numerous vendors who sell everything from toy trains to books and tee-shirts, and the show kitchen will sell hot dogs, soda, fruit and many other snack items.
Kingston Model Train and Railroad Hobby Show, Sunday, March 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6/$1, Andy Murphy Recreation Center, 467 Broadway, Kingston; (845) 481-4198, www.kingstontrainshow.com.