Model Behavior

Lionel train collectors show their stuff at weekend convention

by Bruce Felps

Model train sets have enthralled kids for generations, and perhaps the granddaddy of scale model environments runs — on time, of course — through the weekend.

The Lionel Collectors Club of America set up its 41st convention earlier this week at the Hyatt Regency DFW at the big airport. It’s open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday — best I can tell from the jarbled-up press release, call 972-453-1234 to make sure — and includes the Trading Hall, which contains 150-ish tables of model trains, parts, and hobby accessories for sale.

Admission is free, but the kids at Childrens Medical Center of Dallas would appreciate donations at the door because the event benefits the hospital.

The main attraction looks to be the Gee Whiz layout, endorsed by Beaver Cleaver, created by T W Design of Dallas and sanctioned by Lionel LLC. It covers a space about the size of a four-bay garage, according to the press release — that part’s not so jarbled — and features 27 model trains running simultaneously, mountains, bridges, tunnels, an elevated line, and a subway. Let’s hope DART officials are out taking notes.

Oh, the collectors organization selected North Texas because of its blah-blah railroad heritage and the Grapevine mayor Wednesday issued a blah-blah proclamation, but who cares?

It’s model trains, man.

Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He got a model train set for Christmas when he was about 7. His dad and uncle burned out the power adapter before the day was out.

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