For many of the adults in attendance at the Model Trains Through the Ages event at Steamtown National Historic site Nov. 23 through 25 came an opportunity to reminisce about the good old days, when tiny railroad tracks circled the Christmas trees in their homes. And for many of the children staring wide-eyed at the working models on display came a time of new discovery of an old tradition nurtured by their grandparents and perhaps parents.
The event, presented for the second year by the Steamtown National Historic Site and its partner, the Lackawanna Historical Society, aimed to provide something for everyone, whether young or young-at-heart.
Its primary focus, according to a press release, was on model railroading as a holiday tradition, and the program included various model train exhibits, demonstrations and races. It was run by local volunteers, who contributed model trains from their personal collections for display, as well as their time.
One of those volunteers, Dan Emick, 80, of Scranton, said he's been interested in trains his whole life. He said his favorite train from his collection is an American Flyer, his first one, which he got in 1932.
Emick said he has good childhood memories of beginning to set up the train set at Thanksgiving with his father, and finishing it by Christmas.
In our day, it was a big deal, said Ron Moore, 64, of Scranton, another of the program volunteers. Christmas and trains went together.
He explained this is why he was there helping out at the event. He enjoys doing what he did when he was a kid and watching other kids get excited about the same thing.
We're being kids this weekend, he said. That's what we're really doing.
The event was well attended, not only by locals, but visitors from out of state, and Emick said the annual program grew considerably from last year's.
Mark Brennan, program spokesperson, described it as a fun event, saying, It adds a nice touch to the park. It gives visitors something to look at and reminisce about.