Model railroading has been around for a long time and many people of all ages have enjoyed the hobby and shared what it has to offer to many of their friends and family.
This is what the Golden Belt Model Railroading Association did on Sunday during its open house in the First United Methodist Church basement.
“We just want to share our interest and love for the hobby with others,” President Mark Orth said. “We love to see the expression on the peoples faces when they see the trains running.”
At the open house, GBMRA members had all different kinds of trains running with different types of scenery. They also had refreshments for visitors along with door prizes.
The GBMRA has been around sense 2004 and currently has 18 members. They meet twice a month at the church were they have their own room offered by for their meetings and to store the club’s trains.
The club started with a group of guys that used to shop at a now-closed toy store in Great Bend, Orth said. They got together one day and decided to start their model railroad organization.
For more information about the club contact Orth at 620-282-1432.
History of model trains
According to the National Toy Train Museum, while real trains go back to the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, toy trains emerged later. Wooden and metal toys resembling trains were first made in Europe in the 1860s.
By 1901, Lionel made its first electric train for use in store display windows.
A number of manufacturers, including Lionel, American Flyer, Ives, Marx, Marklin and LGB have made toy trains.
Some of the most historic ones are on display in the museum, located in Strasburg, Pa. These are commonly referred to as tinplate trains.
“Tinplate” is a term applied to toy trains originally built of thin stamped metal, but more broadly it includes trains composed of plastic parts as well, their over-riding characteristic being that they were built for mass-market enjoyment rather than the precise scale that some of today’s model railroad craftsmen build and enjoy.
Stamp Model Railroader magazine began in 1934, and by the 1950s, seemingly every boy had a train set.
Around then, there arose a differentiation between cheaper production trains for kids and much more detailed and accurate reproductions pursued by adult train collectors.
Some reflect actual trains, while others display general themes.
For some, the delight is in the joy of collecting and operating, while for others, the focus is on absolute scaled accuracy, information on the museum’s website noted.
According to information from the NTTM, today, many of the baby boomers have embraced toy train collecting and operating. They can be seen in basements, at Christmas exhibits, running in gardens and in special displays.
Many toy trains today feature the latest in authentic sound and electronic control features.
Increasingly, toy trains use digital technology both onboard and at the control panels. This allows greater control, introduction of new features and new challenges.
In fact, wiring has always been a task requiring planning and skill when creating a train layout.
Toy trains prices range from economical to very expensive. Some are repaired, restored, traded and sold, with careful standards applied to their condition and worth.
The Train Collectors Association is the largest and oldest group of toy train enthusiasts in the world.