Friday, November 18, 2016

TRAINFEST The Model Railroad Megashow in Wisconsin

Trainfest, Wisconsin by Geoff W. Sutton 2016
I suspect one of the reasons this model railroad event is such a success is its proximity to Christmas.

The website claims this annual November show as "America's Largest Operating Model Railroad Show." The attendance count runs around 25,000.

You can check the website for details. Dozens of American clubs displayed their craft from across the United States and Canada but especially from the North Central States and Ontario.

I was surprised to see this happy contest winner from Japan. His award winning model resulted in a trip courtesy of the Kato company.

Kato contest winner, Hiroshimo, Japan, Photo by Geoff W Sutton 2016

The creative works ranged from the tiny luggage-sized displays to

larger scale riding models

Train ride in the activities section.

Of course there were many examples of best-selling sizes (HO, n-scale).

And Lego's trains and buildings are popular everywhere...

One part of one Lego display.
Lego tables for children.

You might be tired after visiting the Expo Center. Trainfest provides an included bus ride to a second building packed with many more displays--including some Christmas themed layouts.

Model railroading is a popular hobby for people of all ages. In addition to the varied quality of the locomotives and sophisticated technology, the hobby attracts skilled craftspeople and engineers. Often, what you cannot make, someone else can.

The show itself was interesting for its breadth in terms of model scales, vendors, and participants. It was clearly designed to engage children as well as adults eager to improve their skills.

Finally, a short video clip featuring Christmas...

See my GeoffWSutton YouTube channel for more Model Railways and other travels.

See the Trainfest website for details on admission costs, parking, and directions.

A few notes

There's plenty of parking at Trainfest, which is located on the State Fair grounds. The cost was $6 in 2016.
Food vendors are expensive as you might expect at such venues. You'll see folks enjoying their homemade sandwiches.
I stayed at a nearby Best Western, where I had a hearty and late breakfast- I skipped lunch to enjoy some local food- Wisconsin cheese for sure.
I noticed some folks getting golf-cart rides from the parking area to the Expo Center.
I received my NMRA member discount to $10 from the posted $15. I couldn't find my card but they did accept proof of membership from the magazine cover and warned me to bring my card next time.
I found the folks friendly and quick to give directions.
There are lots of seats where you can take a break in the buildings and outside.
By midday on Saturday the place was packed so it was hard to get close to some displays.
The children's activities area was busy and all seemed to enjoy the variety from train races and rides, to coloring-- and of course Lego building. If I wasn't so far away from home, I would loved to have taken my granddaughters.
The restrooms were clean, plentiful, and well-maintained.

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