Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

At the railroad swap meet in Randolph April 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:39 AM
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Vendors packed a gym at the Randolph School with their railroad merchandise.

IF I WAS INTO TRAINS or railroading, I could have spent hours filing through the collections of railroad-related merchandise offered at the Randolph Railroad Days Swap Meet on Saturday.

But after awhile, admittedly because I know little about this railroading hobby, the goods started to blend together. So I had to pick and choose and focus on the details to keep myself from becoming lost in the sheer volume of the offerings.

That said, join me on this select tour of the swap meet in a gym at the Randolph School. I was more than a bit distracted by the school’s icon, the rocket, displayed everywhere, even on the gym floor. I’m wondering “why Rockets?” other than the obvious connection to the “R” in Randolph. But that’s another topic because, you know, I did photograph those Rockets.

Railroad date nails drew my attention. The numbers represent the years.

Pocket-size calendars, which I choose to call "railroad art."

And then there's railroad art like this created by John Cartwright. The Shoreview artist was selling prints of his ink drawings. Visit his website at ArtRail.com for more information.

Toy/model trains galore were available for purchase.

Condition doesn't matter to this swap meet buyer.

I found this attractive belt buckle among an assortment of buckles.

Yes, this hobby could get expensive. The details in train set-ups impressed me.

This replica toy depot caught my eye because it reminded me of the metal dollhouse I had as a child. Oh, how I wish my mom had kept the vintage dollhouse and not given it to my cousins.

Just the cheerful, vivid colors alone are enough to make you smile.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thank you to railroad artist John Cartwright for allowing me to photograph his beautiful ink drawing prints. You can learn more about this award-winning artist by clicking here.