From pocket-sized to life-size, locomotives chugged along a variety of layouts for the 26th annual Ophir-Tintic & Western Model Railroad Show. About 7,000 families filled the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi to take a peek at the collection of running trains.
“We invite our friends to come by with their displays to show the different types of modeling of trains,” said Larry Carter, show committee co-chairman with the railroad club. An Orem-based group, the railroad club meets monthly at the SCERA Theatre.
“It’s fun to get together and rub shoulders with other people that are interested in the hobby, whether it’s artistic or for fun,” Carter said. “Sometimes people make just some really cool stuff and just need a venue to show it off.”
Many members of the Ophir-Tintic & Western Model Railroad Club came to show off their layouts, but they were also joined by enthusiasts and vendors from neighboring states, such as Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada. The Rio Grande Historical Society, which preserves the Rio Grande Western Railroad in Colorado, and Operation Lifesaver, which teaches children and communities about railroad safety, were also in attendance.
Overall, 35 different groups and vendors were on display for families to enjoy for less than the cost of a movie ($7).
“We have everything in the building from Z scale, you can put four locomotives in the palm of your hand, to the actual live steam locomotives that are being run around now out at Shay Park in Saratoga Springs, and everything in between,” said Dave Turner, show committee co-chairman of the Ophir-Tintic & Western Model Railroad Club and master of ceremonies for the show.
Model railroad setups come in many different sizes: T, Z, N, TT, HO, OO, S, O and G scales. T scale (or 1:450 of life-size) is the smallest and G scale (or 1:24 of life-size) is the largest, with HO (or 1:87 of life-size) being the most common.
“Model railroading is such a broad thing. It can be entry-level and inexpensive, or it can be very expensive if you want to go that way,” Turner said.
Many a young nose left a mark on the glass of displays as children from the area got as close as possible to the model trains throughout the two-day event.
“We want the young people to get into this, it’s why we let the kids get in free,” explained Turner. "We want them to come in, enjoy model railroading, and put together a train set — come and join us.”