Model-train expo charms fans of all ages
THERE was more than model trains at the 2015 Manitoba Mega Model Train Show. Just ask Justin Owens.
Sure, four-year- old Justin checked out most of the 17 layouts of trains, tracks, miniature landscapes and towns at Red River Exhibition Park, but something else caught his eye.
“Airplanes!” said Justin, who was examining a large display of model aircraft with his mom, Bobbi. “I like trains. I like the big one.”
Justin was referring to the 7.5-gauge train that was available for youngsters to climb on and take a free ride around an enclosed area. About 40 vendors were on hand selling train-themed pictures, kits, layout accessories and historic memorabilia.
Held inside the exhibition hall at the Red River Ex grounds, there was a Lego display in addition to the model trains and planes, face painting and balloon art.
Ray Kindrat of the Winntrak Model Railway Group said the model-train enthusiasts set up at events like the Mega Model Train Show six or seven times per year in various locations around the city.
“It takes us about two hours maybe to set up. We’ve done it so often, it’s second nature,” Kindrat said.
The 30-member Winntrak club is having a grand opening this Saturday at 10 a.m. for its new clubhouse at the Prairie Dog Central’s Inkster Junction Station.
The show occupied the 17,000-squarefoot hall at the Red River Ex grounds with plenty of space for rides on a kid-size train that circled the vendors’ area.
“We went last year, but this is so much better here (new location). There’s so much for the kids to see, and everything is eye-level for them,” said Christine Butcher, who came to the show with her husband, Dan, their daughter Taylor, 6, and their son, Hudson, 4.
“Like the polar bear,” Hudson said, referring to Assiniboine Park Zoo’s famous bear that has the same name. “Yes, I know him.”
Hudson had to mull it over for a few minutes when asked which was his favourite train at the show. Dan stepped in to offer assistance.
“Hudson, you liked the train that had the Winnipeg Jets (hockey team logo) on it, didn’t you?” asked Hudson’s dad. “Jets!” shouted Hudson. Bettina Pfeiffer and her husband, Norman Wieser, were volunteering at Winntrak’s raffle table selling tickets to win a model-train layout with proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital.
“We found it (model trains and layouts) is a hobby we can do together. He’s interested in the electronics, and I like to build things,” Bettina said, noting they’ve been part of Winntrak for three years.
“We saw a model railroad museum when we were in Germany a few years ago, and we were so enthralled with it. When we came back, we happened to be flipping through the Lance and saw the Mega Train Show. We came out to see it and talk with these guys, and here we are.”
The show continues today, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Justin Owens checks out a track at the annual Manitoba Mega Train Show at Red River Exhibition Park Saturday.