• September 22, 2019

All aboard for the Morehead Model Train Show - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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All aboard for the Morehead Model Train Show

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 8:00 am

Train Show
A close up shot shows the detail collectors put into their trains as a miniature conductor sets behind the window of a model at The Morehead Conference Center on Saturday August 24, 2019 in Morehead Ky. Photos by Nacogdoches Miller Nacogdoches Miller

“Trains, trains, trains,” echoed from the speakers at the Morehead Conference Center as the Triplet Creek String Band performed in the lobby during the second annual Model Train Show conducted by The Morehead History & Railroad Museum Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The two-day event brings train enthusiasts new and old into town, showcasing the history of locomotives and allowing collectors to trade, sale and engage in a shared passion.

 Rick Charles, of the Morehead History & Rail Road Museum, said they have seen about a 30-percent increase in visitors from last year.

 “Most all of these people are from out of town,” Charles said about the economic importance the show has played for area.

 “They started coming in yesterday and they stay Friday night and Saturday night in the motel and they eat at the restaurants.” Charles said. “It’s as boom to the local economy.”

 His interest in trains didn’t start until five-years ago when the museum got started, “I was aware of trains but not really a train buff per se.”

 “The railroad coming to Morehead in 1881 was a major part of Morehead history,” Charles said, talking about the importance it played in the growth of the town.

 Charles added the model train community is seeing a growing number of young enthusiasts getting involved with model trains which keeps the history alive.                                                                                                       

Helping to carry on that tradition is 9-year-old Brennen Williams, the youngest conductor in the show with his Thomas the Train lay out.

Williams said he started collecting trains when he was two-years-old after watching Thomas the Train. His mother Crystal Skeens said her son loves coming to events like this and seeing all of the buildings and accessories, “He wants to keep building,” she said as Williams showed his display off to other young enthusiast.

Train Show
Brennen Williams ,9, shows off his train layout to other young enthusiast at The Morehead Conference Center on Saturday August 24, 2019 in Morehead Ky. Photos by Nacogdoches Miller Nacogdoches Miller

For youth like Williams these events are a chance to learn and talk with the gurus of the hobby who view him as a sign of hope for a tradition they feel is fading away like the golden age of locomotives.

For others, like Jack Laubisch, who graduated from Morehead State University in 1972, the show is like a homecoming.

Laubisch said he started collecting as a hobby years ago before he got into education, after retiring from the University of Cincinnati he started back up selling models.

Train Show
A display of model trains and trucks from the model train show at The Morehead Conference Center on Saturday August 24, 2019 in Morehead Ky. Photos by Nacogdoches Miller Nacogdoches Miller

“It’s a real neat hobby,” Laubisch said, but like other experienced collators he shares concerns about the lack of younger generations interest.    

To help promote the tradition amongst younger enthusiast Laubisch said he and his wife work with young hobbyists on prices to keep the spirt alive, “we see it as a family,” he said, “That would make me super, super thrilled if I slash we encouraged them to stay into the hobby.”

He said the historical importance of model trains allows people to see what trains have done for and across history as well as witnessing their development.

Charles said he hopes to see an even greater turnout next year of visitors and vendors alike as they work to keep the history and enthusiasm alive for generations to come.

“We plan on doing this as long as we are able,” Charles said.