Shoppers talk tracks at Trainfest

November 25, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - With every visitor to this year's Trainfest, the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum came closer to its goal.

The annual show, held Saturday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, draws dozens of vendors and hundreds of model-train enthusiasts from across the Tri-State area.

The museum has organized the event for several years to raise money to renovate Antietam Station, a historic rail station in Sharpsburg.

"We're really close now," said Frank Schaller, president of the museum. Schaller predicted that the rail station could be open as early as next spring.


The new station will serve as a museum for model trains and will feature train displays, information about the county's rail history and other attractions, Schaller said.

Of course, most of the 400 to 500 people that paid the $3 admission Saturday to attend Trainfest weren't doing so for philanthropic reasons.

"I'm a huge model train guy. Always have been," said Dick Kline of Myersville, Md.

Kline said he began collecting model trains when he was young, and comes to the event every year to snag good deals and rare finds.

"Sometimes, you can get some really good, hard-to-find pieces at shows like this," Kline said.

Mike Barnhart said he is working on a large model train layout at his home in Smithsburg.

He said model train shows are good places to go not only to find pieces, but to get ideas as well.

"You can talk to folks about what they're working on for their sets, and it gives you ideas for yours," Barnhart said.

Indeed, many of the visitors to Saturday's show seemed more interested in talking to vendors than buying pieces from them.

Tom Powell of Waynesboro, Pa., chatted with vendor Betty Garber about almost everything in her collection. He seemed interested, but ultimately bought nothing.

"Everybody's got different things, and it's fun to talk to them about how they acquired it or why they think different pieces are better than others," Powell said.

Garber said conversations like that are common at shows such as Trainfest.

"You have a community of people here with a common interest," Garber said. "It's not every day you get this many train people together in one room."

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