Held in the South Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the show featured a vertibale who's who in the model train hobby. Exhibitors included Lionel (maker of American Flyer), MTH, Athearn, NASG, NMRA and Z-Stuff for Trains signals (owned by a fellow Miami University graduate!) to name just a few. There was a great cross section of model railroads on display in all gauges from "T" up to the mighty G. I might have missed it, by 7 1/2" gauge seemed to missing. Several railroad historical societies and hobby shops rounded up the mix.
Friday saw me driving up mid-day to join the crew setting up the layout. We had fantastic turnout for this with 15 people participating. This was really great as it made set up a much quicker and physically less demanding than I feared it would be.
This is a big show. Each night and morning, you could find multiple instances of the television ad running for the show. It must have worked, or else the rain which lasted all day drove everyone to find an indoor activity. Saturday's crowds were huge, with the people packed in 'stroller to stroller'. I took a tour of the exhibit hall and after about 45 minutes I retreated to the relative sanity of the far corner of the layout display room.
|Vintage dimestore dreams toy car|
|The Lionel S table - a simple oval plugging the Polar Express set.|
|The prototype F3 rolls on the MTH display layout. The only thing not available in that train was the F3 which has not yet been relelased.|
Sunday started on a very different note. Late overnight the weather broke. The rain switched to snow. The wind picked up to 23 mph. On top of that temperatures plummeted through the twenties down into the teens throughout the day. I walked out of the hotel to find everything covered in a layer of ice and snow. Undaunted, I scraped off the ice and snow and headed to the show.
Unlike me, many people stayed home until at least noon. Sunday's show was lightly attended. We had a good crew turn out to aid in operating the layout. It gave a good opportunity to take some pictures.
|The detail inside this one room of one building on the layout is amazing. I'd never noticed it before.|
|This figure is well lit from the overhead light.|
|American Models 4-8-4 Northern waits for the signal to pull out.|
|The train extends back into the station platform in the distance.|
A few early departures were offset by a few diehards that braved the weather and drove over from Dayton. At the end of the day, we had the trailer loaded and were on the road by 6:00pm.
The drive home was slow, but otherwise uneventful. The weather was the most challenging element, but otherwise, we had a good time and really capitalized on this opportunity to showcase S Gauge trains to the general public.