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Model train show rolls in at the Ohio Expo Center

For some, model trains are a reminder of youth. Especially during the holiday season, when memories of trains around the Christmas tree are prominent. Even if the days of model trains’ prominence are gone, enthusiasts can reminisce this weekend when a traveling train show stops in Columbus.

The Buckeye Model Train and Railroad Show will be laying down track Saturday in the Lausche building at the Ohio Exposition Center.

“It’s Ohio’s largest combination model train and railroad artifact show,” said Gordon Hartranft, a promoter of the show. “There are actual artifacts for sale, as well as model train items.”

Hartranft, Charlie Miller and Alan Altman are the three main promoters for Golden Spike Enterprises Inc., an organization that promotes railroad shows. While attending Kent State University, they all became friends after realizing they had a common interest in railroad history. They started their own train show in the mid-70s.

“[The show] allowed us to help preserve the history and contributions the railroads have made to America,” Miller said in an e-mail.

According to the Web site for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Historical Society, important parts of railroad history have firm roots in Ohio. The B&O railroad opened in 1830, and it was America’s first common carrier railroad, meaning it served as transportation for people and cargo and was open to the public.

The show stops in Ohio at least twice each year as it tours the United States.

The operating model train layouts will extend from the entrance to the exit. Two model railroad clubs, the Central Ohio S Gaugers and Central Ohio N-Trak, will be responsible for setting up the tracks.

“Very few people still ride on passenger trains,” Hartranft said. “[The people who have] are getting older and the interest is not there as much as it used to be.”

However, model train collectors are very active, Miller said. They always show up in large numbers for the train shows.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for people to enjoy model trains at Christmas time and pick up train-related gifts,” Hartranft said. “There’s trinkets, clothing, train books — the whole gamut of things.”

The show lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and tickets can be purchased at the Expo Center for $6. More information can be found at gserr.com and ohioexpocenter.com.

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