Model railroad show pulls into Big Sandy for 61st year

November 25, 2018
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Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch Kassity Thomas, 5, of Teyas Valley takes a video of a passing model train during the Appalachian Model Railroad Show on Friday, November 23, 2018, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON - The sights and sounds of a model train running around a Christmas tree on Christmas morning is a classic holiday image evoked and envisioned at the 61st annual model railroad show that continued Saturday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

The show, put on by the Appalachian Model Railroad Society, will continue noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, and includes 18 model railroad layouts, four of which are large-scale designs about the size of an average living room, and 117 tables of vendors to cater to just about every need a train enthusiast might have.

And what better place for a model train show than the Jewel City, according to Carl Miller, who is the vice president of the Appalachian Model Railroad Society and organizer of the show.

“It’s called Huntington for a reason,” Miller said, noting the city’s namesake, Collis P. Huntington, an early railroading bigwig.

Miller, a retired civil engineer, said he has done 41 years of piddling on his “Millerville” creations. His portable suitcase model of “Christmas in Millerville,” which is on display at the railroad show, took him a year of work to put together.

Miller said building model railroads is a multifaceted creative hobby that teaches history and technical skills at the same time.

“What’s nice about the hobby is that you can make your own world,” Miller said. “A lot of folks, boys and girls, they find out that they have those kinds of skills and they go on to technical careers later on. You have electrical, construction you have to do, think, design and plan. It’s more than just a hobby. Suddenly the kids can also find out that they have some skills.”

At the end of the day, Miller said he hopes everyone walks away from the show with a smile.

Those interested in joining the Appalachian Model Railroad Society need only bring their interest in trains to the KYOVA Mall in Ashland from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. Call Miller directly at 304-360-9857 to join the club.

Miller said the club has 35 members aged 5 to 85, including 11-year-old Brooke Carey, who had a model of the Walt Disney World monorail set up at the show, which included a Cinderella Castle replica she built from Legos.

Brooke said she hopes to add more iconic places from Disney World to her model, like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Sorcerer’s Hat from Hollywood Studios.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.

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