The Great Train Expo, the largest model train show in the United States, opened Saturday in the fourth largest city of Houston, offering model train enthusiasts a rare chance to enjoy everything people can imagine for model railroads.
The two-day show features hundreds of tables of train dealers, who offer all sizes and scales of model trains, hobby tools, die-cast vehicles, train whistles, sceneries, workshops, t-shirts, videos, railroad gift items, books, photos and more.
Collectors are here to share their love for model railroads. Model railroad and toy train lovers also can sell their old toy trains at good prices and source ideas to design their own layouts. Parents bring their kids to enjoy the fun of model trains, from classic model trains to the hi-tech DCC kind of model trains.
The purpose of the show is to "promote model railroads in general," said show manager Bill Grove. People who loved model railroads as kids can bring their own kids now to the show "to see what they used to do," and collectors get the chance to see people from all over the country, he said.
The greatest thing about model railroad is that "it fits every budget," according to Grove. People can get a starter set for about 50 dollars or get a collective piece for thousands of dollars. "Occasionally, just an engine may sell for three or four thousands of dollars," he said. The biggest attraction at the show is the "operating model railroading," Grove said. "They are unbelievable. The amount of details they have will really impress people." Railroad plays an important role in the life of Americans, said Grove. "Most of the country is built on railroad, " and there is a lot of history involved. Though for personal travel, airplane is becoming more and more efficient and inexpensive, Grove said, merchandise is still far cheaper to ship by train than by air. The movement of merchandise on railroad is increasing more and more, and that, in return, drives the development of railroad. There are about 30 Great Train Expo shows every year in the United States, according to Grove.
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