EASLEY — Hundreds cried “All aboard!” for the annual Central Railway Model and Historical Association train show held last weekend at its new location: Rock Springs Baptist Church.
“There were a few things we did differently this year,” said a CMRA spokesperson. “We changed it from Superbowl weekend to the weekend after and we decided to hold it on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday like we had previously done.”
The 2017 show also had a change of venue. Instead of being held at the Larry Bagwell Gymnasium at the J.B. Red Owens Sports Complex, the trains found a new home in the Impact Center at Rock Springs.
“I liked the gym but this seems to suit our needs a little better,” said repeat vendor Hank Garboul. “It was broken up in several rooms before and now it’s just all out in the open together. Makes it seem, I don’t know … grander?”
Garboul said he first became interested in trains as a child.
“I think my parents kept expecting me to grow out of it, I just never did — and I’m 72-years-old now. You see these little kids running around with engineer hats on? I bet they never grow out of it either,” he chuckled. “Trains just get under your skin. Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked for life.”
Garboul said when he and his wife bought a new home in Georgia, she made him promise the garage would actually be used to house their cars — and not his track layouts.
“That didn’t last too long, my trains are set up in there now,” he said.
The vendors at the show offered everything and anything that had to do with trains. There was row after row and table after table selling tracks, engines, hats, books, antique rail lines and vintage box cars.
Track layouts of all scales were on display for visitors to admire and kids to squeal about in delight. A larger track with a Thomas the Tank engine was on hand with kid friendly controls for some hands on action for the younger crowd.
“This stopped being a hobby for me a long time ago,” said Garboul. “This is my favorite thing in the world. Everybody should have something in their life that makes them this happy.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.