Railroad junkies don't have to spend their time on huge engines, in freight yards or on the tracks to get their fix. They can do it all in miniature.
A model railroad show and sale with three distinct sets " one for sale " is finishing up this weekend at the Nevada State Library and Archives as part of Railway Reflections International Art Expo, a month-long benefit for the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation.
There are coal trains, freight trains, European tanker trains, and an Amtrak passenger train, which tool around on tiny tracks with sidings so that a slower train can let a faster one pass.
A model railroader is limited only by his imagination, it seems.
Bob Sandin of Reno brought his set in with his friend Mel Johnson's and included erstwhile superhero Bruce Wayne's "stately manor," a bat cave, the bat signal and a Batmobile chasing the Joker.
Gene Bailf got the bug as a child and is now in about his 40th year putting together his trains, painting scenery, adding towns, buildings and other items " and showing it all off at railroad shows.
"I can still remember my first train," he said. "The two grown-ups, my dad and his buddy, played with it a lot more than me. Then my mom chewed them out and I got to play with it."
His model has been rebuilt three times, and has bridges, people, woods with tiny deer, a cabin and campground. Tiny trucks and cars are placed along roads in the center of the display.
Two trains go around the rectangular set, and include a few blocks of a city, some farms, a mining operation, a logging camp, an industrial area and a small mining town, with a large horse farm with a fancy house that probably belonged to the mine owner, at least in miniature.
One setup had a satellite tower with two military helicopters on a hill. Another had a sailboat on a lake.
There are tens of thousands of model railroaders across the country, according to the National Model Railroad Association, hobbyists who spend thousands on not only trains and track, but villages, trees, electronics and other related items.
- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or call 881-7351.