This year the annual free train show in Alderson has some new additions. Hosted by Lee and Tammy Smith Skaggs, the model trains and their layouts will be on display in the Fellowship Hall of the Alderson Presbyterian Church from 1 to 5 p.m. this Sunday.
Rick and Zackary Burns are bringing an N scale layout and an H-O scale layout. They are always working on their layouts and are sure to delight everyone this year. They have exhibited each year since 2007.
Kevin, Brent, and Seth Napier will be showing their O-gauge layout. Last year, they outdid themselves with the animation on the layout visitors can expect even more this year.
Lanny Howe will exhibit the largest train with his G scale LGB train. Children seem to especially like his train in part because of its large size.
Lee Skaggs has been working on his O-gauge layout for the show. He said, “I am including what you might think of as a small winter carnival including an animated ice rink, on which the skaters actually move around skating, and an animated Christmas carousel.”
Tammy Smith Skaggs said, “I am definitely expanding the Thomas the Tank Engine display. I have bought some additional Thomas decorations that I believe the children will enjoy and I have added a tunnel to the layout. It has been my observation that children of all ages, including me, like to watch a train go through a tunnel or over a bridge so I could not resist adding the tunnel.”
Santa’s Holiday Express train is a favorite each year because of the animation. It takes a few minutes to take it all in from the elf ringing the bell on the locomotive and Santa waving from the cab to the elves loading red-suited toy soldiers on the last car, there are many, many things to see. A favorite of adults is the elf who keeps peeking out of the box where he is hiding on the tender car while leaving the other elf to shovel all the coal alone.
Working with model trains does not have to be an expensive hobby. One can occasionally find real bargains on model train pieces at yard sales, thrift stores, or flea markets. Tammy Smith Skaggs noted, “My Mom bought more H-O scale track than one can imagine along with a couple of trains and other pieces for $50 at a yard sale.”
Tod Hanger will be at the show with items from The Chessie Shop of the C & O Historical Society. Jill Groves Highlander of Creation Photography is also going to have train photographs and magnets on display and for sale. The Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church will be serving a soup and sandwich lunch for $6 from noon to 2 p.m.
Before or after enjoying the model train show, visitors are encouraged to visit the Historic 1896 C&O Depot. It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.so everyone can experience what a real train depot is like. The museum of train related items will be open and a new addition of a number of historic train photos will be on display. Tom Dameron and a few other dedicated individuals have worked very hard to make the Depot and Museum ready for its re-opening. Admission is free.
Mayor Travis Copenhaver said, “I really appreciate all the hard work by individuals and organizations to bring an old fashioned Christmas spirit to Alderson. We hope a lot of people will come and enjoy these activities.”