EUGENE, Ore. - Collectors from all over the west coast showcased their latest model train creations at the 24th annual model train show in Eugene on Sunday.
More than 200 vendors set up at the show to sell, swap, or buy the latest train engines, parts, tracks, and scenery on the market. Organizers said the event grows ever year and draws model train builders of all ages.
At 57 years old, Heather Clark isn't ashamed to admit toy trains are her life.
"I've had railroading in my blood all my life in one form or another," Clark said.
Clark first got loco for locomotives at five years old. Her purchase grew into a passion for the rails. By age 23, Clark went to work for Southern Pacific Railroad.
"I loved railroading the old fashion way," Clark said.
Eleven years later, the conductor decided to leave the railroad.
"Frankly it wasn't fun anymore," Clark said. "Everything was becoming computerized."
Eager to get back to the real thing, Clark decided to start building her own trains. Clark said she makes a decent living as a model train builder. But in a computer world, however, she fears the model train craze could soon disappear.
"There's fewer and fewer collectors and modelers who have interest of this level and who are willing to spend the money," Clark said.
Clark said through every show she attends and through ever train she builds, she hopes to keep the model train business steadily trekking down the right track..
"I can't imagine my life being anything other than railroad," Clark said.