Posted on: 01/12/2015

In Anaheim, a platform for model train devotees

The Great Train Expo rolled into the Anaheim Convention Center over the weekend, when nearly 10,000 model train enthusiasts and curious visitors gathered to see miniature trains and railroads from different eras. Serious train hobbyists converged on the convention center hoping to find something special to add to their collections. Around 55 train dealers and model train clubs came from across the country to show more than 25 miniature railroads. Carson resident Bob Zagorski browsed a set of restored prewar Lionel model trains he considered purchasing. "They do not make these anymore, and its a beautiful thing to keep this legacy," Zagorski said. "The charm of the prewar Lionel and the postwar has never been duplicated." Lionel has been making model trains for over 100 years. The brand is one of the most recognizable in model railroad circles. Most of the toy trains sold at the expo were replicas of prewar-era cargo trains. Parents brought their little ones to look and play with the hundreds of different model cargo and passenger trains. Jerome Rasetti, 42, and his 5-year-old son, Victor, of Los Angeles eagerly stood in front of a colorful steam train moving slowly around the circular track. Victor, with an enchanted look on his face, zigzagged through onlookers, trying to keep pace with the train. "He likes it a lot because its interactive and very lively," Jerome Rasetti said. Huntington Beach resident Jennifer Paul, 42, and her son Jackson, 2, glanced quietly at toy trains near a small Lego train exhibit. "Hes just fascinated by just seeing all the models," Dealers sold an array of trains and accessories. Prices ranged from $3 for a small train to $290 for a large futuristic-looking Amtrak train cart. Local model train clubs constructed giant railroad layouts affixed with scenery and small structures resembling train stops and towns. Members of the Inland Pacific model train club in Upland ran eight trains on a 450-foot single-track that passed through several types of mock terrain, ranging from desert to forest.