EUGENE, Ore. — Model trains are chugging and whistling through the Valley River Center this weekend, rolling down the rails through stretches of miniature countryside and tiny cities filled with train depots, water towers, oil wells, neighborhoods, bridges, street lights, signposts and telephone poles.
Lee Temple, the president of the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club, is one of those that helped lay down the tracks at the 35th annual Model Railway Show.
“Model railroad is a hobby for most people from young to old. The train itself is also a good reflection of the America history and the development of national economy," said Temple.
“The show is a throwback for people to the old days," said Diana Bray, the Marketing Manager of Valley River Center. "We say it is a show that is good for kids of all ages.”
On Friday, hundreds of train lovers of different ages viewed the exhibit. Schiedler Check took his grandsons to the show.
“I have five grandsons, and they all run trains at home,” Check said. “They love to operate the speed control.”
The Operation Lifesaver booth has a simulation of a railroad crossing that educates kids and adults about railroad safety.
Having witnessed 18 train accidents throughout his 43 years as a conductor, retired railroad conductor Greg Boam shares train safety tips with people visiting the booth.
“We do the 3E’s, which are education, enforcement and engineering,” Boam said.
For the exhibit, Boam said they prepared different videos for different age groups. “Cartoons for young kids, and safety presentations for drivers,” he said.
The show is sponsored by the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club in partnerships with Oregon Electric O-Gaugers, Operation Lifesaver, and Crossman’s Trailer-N-Train. Admission is free, and the show runs through 9 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.