To put that into perspective, its members were collectively assembling their first model train layouts, under the N&W moniker, when Ronald Reagan was just wrapping up his first term as president.
The Norwalk & Western RR Club is hosting a model train show at EHOVE Career Center on Oct. 15.
In the 30 plus years since it was formed, the group has built hundreds of life-like layouts spanning landscapes from Appalachia to deep lake ports and small towns that could easily border Norwalk. Their time and attention to detail has turned countless 4 by 8 sheets of plywood into geographic masterpieces. The houses, storefronts, tree lines, graveyards and factories look so real that you feel like you’re seeing a living, working community — from a drone’s eye view.
The club’s co-director, Todd Livengood, sees the parallel between drones and the recent resurgence of hobbyists, specifically, model railroaders.
“Anytime you see an upswing in the hobby industry, it brings a resurgence to model railroading,” he said. “This is a hobby that’s always evolving. It’s constantly changing because of equipment being upgraded and new technology- which allows for more realistic layouts.”
Livengood said some layouts can take years to complete, but that the end result is well worth the group’s patience.
“Model train layouts are always changing. Just when you think you’ve completed one, you see another way of improving on the look and feel of the layout. And as your skill level increases, you’ll naturally want to upgrade the design to match that skill level,” he added.
While the group coordinates at least three model train shows each year, it will host their first at EHOVE in more than half a decade. The event takes place from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Oct. 15 and will feature model trains, railroad supplies and operating layouts. There will also be a test track, Thomas the Tank Engine items, books and lunch available (courtesy of Smokin’ Timbers). Parking is free and admission is $5 for ages 10 and up.
Club co-director Tony Catalano said he is excited to return to the EHOVE campus, considering the success of events that Norwalk & Western has held there in the past.
“Norwalk & Western has always had a great partnership with EHOVE Career Center,” he said. “As an educational institution, it makes perfect sense for us to partner with them to bring this hobby to new audiences. After all, model railroading teaches math, logic, arts and crafts, electronics; and even history.”
For more on Norwalk & Western RR Club, membership information or the upcoming EHOVE show, visit www.norwalkandwesternrr.com or find the group on Facebook at @norwalkandwestern.