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Tallahassee's model railroad show and sale is on track for June 25-26

 A section of modular T-Track layout, that can be combined with other prefabricated sections to create a total environment for model trains.
Andhy Zimmerman/Big Bend Model Railroad Association
A section of modular T-Track layout, that can be combined with other prefabricated sections to create a total environment for model trains.

The Tallahassee area’s model railroad fans will again have two full days devoted to their hobby later this month. We got a preview of the event from Big Bend Model Railroad Association President and Show Manager Andy Zimmerman. He said the show is getting closer, literally like an approaching real-life freight train.

“We’re headed into the show, which is June 25th and 26th. A lot of people remember it as a one-day show, but this is the second year in a row that it’s a two-day show.”

Many older folks may recall the Lionel and American Flyer trains of their childhood. But today’s kids are different. At the most tender of ages, they’ve already mastered technologies their their parents couldn’t dream of. Certainly they’d consider model railroading quaint, or downright boring. But Zimmerman insisted that’s not the case at all.

“I know a lot of times you hear all model railroading is on its way out the door, it’s dead, or it’s a dying art, but then you look at what we’re producing and what we’re doing and this is what the kids are seeing. And they want to do it, they want to be involved. You watch their eyes getting big and see them watch in awe and amazement of all the hard work that’s gone into some of this stuff. You can tell! This younger generation is going to do some fantastic things with it.”

The sights, sounds and motions of today’s model train layouts are computer controlled. In addition, the layouts themselves are increasingly modular constructions called “T-Track,” which can be had in various sizes, known as “gauges” or “scales.” Zimmerman said all of this will be on display throughout the North Florida Fairground’s vast exhibition halls.

“There are 130 tables so far. We have layouts from ‘G’ scale, which is your garden layouts for really large trains, to ‘T’ scale, little tiny engines about the size of a quarter that run on a very small T-Track layout. We have T-Track in ‘N’ scale and ‘HO’ scale. And the ‘O’ scale guys have even developed a T-Track variant for ‘O’ scale. So all of those will be out there as well.”

Of course, all this railroading can work up a real appetite. So Zimmerman said, for the first time ever, there will be on-site food service available this year.

“A lot of times when people come to the show, they think, ‘Oh, it’s lunchtime, so we need to go out in town and get lunch.’ Well we’ve engaged a vendor called Taste-O-Heaven Bar-B-Que and they’ll deliver some awesome food. So if you want to come out to get some good food and great entertainment you can do with the whole family.”

The 31st Annual Tallahassee Model Railroad Show and Sale, put on by the Big Bend Model Railroad Association. Saturday and Sunday, June 25th (from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) and 26th (9 a.m. unitl 4 p.m.) at the North Florida Fairgrounds.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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