COLUMBIA — Toys often have an expiration date. Children outgrow them and move on to new interests. However, model trains are able to keep people's attention longer than other toys.
"It's a lot of fun," said MU Environmental Management Officer Russell Hanson, 57. "It's for kids, no matter their age."
On Saturday, the Central Missouri Chapter of the Train Collector's Association held its annual toy train show and swap meet at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Columbia. The trains drew collectors, vendors and families. The proceeds from the $3 admission fee will be donated to the Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home.
The chapter was started in 1995 and meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the basement of the clubhouse located at Rock Quarry Park off Grindstone Parkway, according the chapter's website. President Lou Eggerding said it has about 20 active members, with the youngest member about 6 years old and the oldest about 90.
Secretary and former president of the chapter Dick Malon said donating the proceeds to Coyote Hill is something nice to do and seemed like a good match because children like the toy trains.
Hanson has been a member of the association for more than 20 years. He, like many others at the event, has loved model trains since he was a child.
He and his wife, Debbie, participate in the show every year. They brought their N Scale model train for show, though they spent some time putting it back on the tracks after kids picked it up to show their families.
"One of us puts it on the rails, and the other chases the kids taking the trains to their parents," Debbie said, laughing.
George Scordias and his cousin Dean Regot sell repaired electric train models. Scordias said he has been repairing model trains for about 35 years. He started when he had to fix a train his oldest son had broken.
"I realized I could, so I decided to fix and sell them," he said.
Scordias and Regot are based in St. Louis but have close ties to the Central Missouri Chapter and attend the show and swap meet every year.
"There's a different bunch of people here," he said "They share a love of people and trains."
Besides building the models, train collectors can build the tracks and sets, which requires woodwork, painting scenery and wiring.
"It's a great hobby for all ages," Eggerding said.
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