A look at the model trains at the Great Train Show

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GRAYSLAKE, Ill. — All aboard for a trip to the Great Train Show. It’s a dream come true for anyone who is into model trains.

Hobby railroading has been around really for decades, almost a century, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Some hobbyists joined together in suburban Graylake for the Great Train Show.

One person who was at the show, Jim Pechous, said he grew up with model trains and loves them.

“One of the memories I have as a kid is I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry and seeing the layout there and one of the things that always fascinated me about that layout was the signals on that layout,” he said. “That was something that I always thought was neat. The train would go through the signal. You’d see it turn red and then you’d see the signal change back up to yellow and then back up to green again.”

Now he’s a member of the Valley Model Railroad Association — and works those signals himself as the electronic operator for model trains.

The group is made up of train enthusiasts who love to build, tinker and wire train displays for their own personal collections and public events.

It’s a hobby Pechous said is for all generations.

“It helps kids get hands on with things, helps kids learn how to build things,” he said.

In fact kids can join the club as well, and at events like the Great Train Show, they’re able to run the trains themselves.

Randy Bachmann is the organizer and said the hobby brings history to life.

“Railroad transportation was so important to the building of the United States so really here’s nothing else like that and especially nothing else that you can really recreate in miniature,” Bachmann said.

Miniature towns — all the way down to the handmade landscaping. And the attention to detail is impressive.

Keeping hobbyists right on track for years to come.

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