George Washington Model Train Expo brings fans to Clifton Forge

Published: Feb. 19, 2022 at 6:11 PM EST
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CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WDBJ) - Truly, who doesn’t love a model train?

“You can walk away from here today with track and a train and have you a home setup right now,” said longtime C&O Historical Society Member David Powell.

But most of the folks at the George Washington Model Train Expo already have sets, and are deeply into the hobby.

Like Craig Laing. He drove six hours from Tennessee to the C&O Railway Heritage Center with his N-scale trains.

“It’s the next to the smallest scale, most commonly modeled scale,” Laing explained. “There’s one smaller called Z.”

He made a modular layout depicting the town of Prince, West Virginia, reproducing it in every detail.

“People who know the area see it, know where it is,” he said. “There’s no guesswork.”

The fact that his trains are ultra-tiny lets him and other N-scalers gather at shows like this and connect their setups, each designed to link into the next, to make one giant layout.

“The beauty of them is they put up these tables and hook them up together and run trains,” Laing said.

“You see, in the hobby here, I know a lot of people here,” said Powell. “It’s sort of like a family. Everybody knows everybody.”

Even newcomers, like local artist William Jennings, who found his way into trains by way of art.

“I do have the itch,” he admitted. “Being introduced to all these different styles – even though I did have a train set as a kid, but from they’ve introduced me and gotten me into, I’ve got a great, great extra love for trains now.”

One should hope. He’s working on a mural at the heritage center.

“And it may be the world’s longest and biggest train mural,” according to Jennings.

And while he hasn’t bought a set to scratch that itch yet, everyone here is happy to be able to finally break their COVID isolation with some trains.

“People want to get out and get to their activities,” said Powell.

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