I WAS DEFINITELY out of my element on Saturday poking through two gyms packed with all things railroad at the annual Randolph Railroad Days.
You might even say I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of railroad-related merchandise vendors were selling and by the train set-ups hobbyists were displaying. I tried to meander on my own, unnoticed, no easy task when you’re sporting a DSLR camera and occasionally crawling on the floor. People tend to notice.
“Just pretend I’m not here,” I told at least one teen (or pre-teen), who scooted out of my viewfinder range when he spotted me aiming the lens his direction.
As for the younger elementary-aged boys, I found keeping up with them as they darted from one train model to the next an impossible pursuit.
The middle-aged men seemed mostly interested in engaging me in conversation about the details of model railroading. I decided beforehand that I wasn’t taking notes and that my attendance at this event would be more about my observations and about having fun and not about learning the intricacies of this hobby.
The overseers—two elderly gentleman perched on bleachers and viewing the action below—were content to let the younger ones set up and run the show, they told me when I climbed to get a different perspective. (They tagged themselves “the overseers.”)
Here’s what I concluded: No matter your age, there’s something magical and mesmerizing about watching toy trains travel a track.
WHAT PULLS YOUNG and old alike to thrill in model trains?
Check back for photos from the Randolph Railroad Days swap meet.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling