Essex train show still full steam ahead

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Adam Gault

Model train and hobby enthusiasts, both young and the young at heart, made their way to Essex Public School last weekend to take in two full days of the largest model train show in Southwestern Ontario.

Over the course of the last 23 years, the Essex Train Show has grown from its humble beginnings at the Essex Train Station, to a full-blown hobbyist’s dream, as model trains of all scales fill EPS’s gym with the sounds of electronic steam whistles and the click-clack of miles of scale track.

Model railway clubs from across Ontario worked together to set up the impressive display, highlighting an attention to detail and workmanship not seen in many other hobbies.

The labour of love that is the attention to detail in model railroading could be seen on the faces of the many children, eyes wide with delight and mouths agape at the magic and excitement model railroads bring out in everyone.
Bill Poff, Director of the Windsor Model Railroad Club, said a fascination with railways and hands on modeling construction is what has kept the hobby of model railroading so enduring year-after-year.

“I think it’s partly the being able to run trains, which a lot of us enjoy, also the modeling skills,” Poff said. “A lot of these guys are very good in seeing some of the work that’s been done on the different modules. They’re quite artistic, they like that side of the hobby.”

Many steps go into the detailed construction of the elaborate displays, like the ones seen at the Essex Train Show. Benchwork, laying track, and the finer details of building the model scenery, requires incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail.

“We’ve got people in the club of all skill levels,” Poff said of their Ottawa Street-based club. “People who just love to teach other people about what they’re doing. If you go to the club and actually look at what goes on there, probably one meeting night out of about eight we’re actually running trains, the rest of it we’re building.”

Several scales of model trains were featured at the event, from the tiny N scale, the larger HO, all the way to the massive G scale. The Essex Train show also featured vendors and displays that catered to the interests of every train enthusiast.

Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the historic Essex Railway Station.