The second Central California Model Railroad Historical Society (CCMRHS) Toy Train Show was held on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clovis Senior Center. A total of five train layouts were on display by members; operating “O,” “S,” “HO,” and “N” scale size layouts.
During the event, 16 vendors sold model train cars, accessories, and anything train related. A raffle was held for adults and a free raffle was held for kids. A new “HO” train set was given away and several door prizes were awarded to children.
Along with the clickety-clack of model trains’ rails, the familiar train whistles greeted an estimated 500 model train aficionados, who were treated to miniature replicas of what were once the biggest, strongest and fastest machines known to man.
“There is a lot of history here,” said club president Chuck Brough.
The Clovis Senior Center provided more than enough space for participants to showcase their work.
“The Senior Center is a good size for us,” said Director, Joe Bencivengo. “People have room to move around, get a good look at the layouts. Many of our members have been collecting toy trains since their youth, have in-home train layouts (two have backyard trains you can ride on), and just love the hobby, creativity, and skills necessary to plan, construct, wire and accessorize their creations.”
Some layouts even have command control capability, so a voice is heard.
“We do five or six shows a year at libraries, malls and fairs,” said Bencivengo. “Our club owns a tandem axle 18-foot trailer which transports our modular 24-by-20-foot layout capable of running four trains simultaneously. We have been asked by the California Highway Patrol to talk railroad safety to elementary school children at West Hills Community College. We enjoy doing it for kids of all ages, their smiles bring us back.”
Fourth grader Bryce Dotson, 9, enjoyed the lights and the whistle at the crossings.
“I’ve ridden a train twice,” he said. “Once to Bakersfield and to Sacramento. For the next trip, I want to go to Oakland and watch the Phillies play.”
An attention-catching video about train safety played throughout the event. The mission statement of the society is “to educate, preserve support and model the history and operations of railroads in Central California and the surrounding area, and to promote the hobby of model railroading in general.”