18 November 2014

At the Granite City Train Show

It being Model Railroad Month, I should write about this interest of mine.
It was only in the last two years that I have come to revisit this hobby from my past. As a child I got into model railroading with an HO train set I got for Christmas. It was a special Campbell's Soup edition set made by Life-Like. Eventually a train table was built, more track, switches, and a city load of buildings were acquired. I still own it, but it has not been run for years. It was sort of an incomplete set up. I was never any good at scenic. I just liked to run the trains.
I digress.
A few years ago I decided to revisit the model train hobby but this time in O scale. Which now brings us to this entry about the Granite City Train Show.
Out in the Go there is very little to choose from for model railroading supplies. There is one shop that carries a bit of train stuff. There used to be another but it closed up about a decade ago. I actually attend church in one of the shop's previous locations. Once a year the local train club- Spud Valley Model Railroad Club hosts a hobby show which is OK. I went last year and thought it was rather lackluster for what I was looking. The Spud Valley show is decent but I think could use a little more energy and vendors. I would have liked to see more O scale which was not collectible. I am an train operator- I am not going to let an item sit in a box for years.
The Granite City Show is completely different. It was literally wall to wall people from when I got there until an hour before the closing. There were many different vendors featuring new stuff, collectible stuff, used stuff, and junk stuff. About a half dozen layouts were on display including one modular O-scale by the Granite City O Gaugers. There were also a number of vendors selling train related items like books, magazines, timetables, employee handbooks, and pins. All scales were available. My friend Matt and I felt like we were in model train heaven. We scoured every table for deals and treasures. I ran into the Northern Trackers too.
I scored quite a few things at this show, including a few pieces of N-scale for a portable layout, a Great Northern timetable, a Lionel operating mail car, and a gateman to work on. I also sold 2 cars I did not need. I did not find any Plasticville or buildings. Still, we had a great time and might return for the spring show they also put on.
For us up on the Red River, the shows are the best bet to pick up used model train items for at bargain prices. The Granite City Show is possibly the largest train show this side of the Twin Cities and certainly proved its worth to me.
It makes me think we should have a model train swap meet up on the Red on of these days.

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