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Memories, dreams fuel train show

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Cousins Jesse Oswanski of Sylvania, foreground, and Michael Rader of South Toledo watch a model train during the Big Train Show in December. The spring show takes place Sunday.

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The Big Train Show offers something for casual fans and hardcore collectors alike.

The Friends of Toledo Model Railroaders' 20th annual spring show Sunday in the Lucas County Recreation Center will have model train sets, memorabilia, T-shirts, and more.

About 500 dealers, sellers, and traders from Ohio and nearby states will be on hand.

Steve Scanes, owner of Steve's Hobbies, a model-train store in Sylvania, said he expects some 2,500 enthusiasts to attend. He said hobbyists generally become involved in model railroading as youths.

“When I was a young teen, I remember getting into N scale trains, which are about two inches in length. I was in a hobby shop and saw a scenic layout that was $49.95. ... I got it for Christmas and just kept adding on from there,” said Mr. Scanes, 46, the Train Master for the Friends of Toledo Model Railroaders and one of the show's organizers.

Enthusiasts are also driven by nostalgia. “The guys who have memories from trains they had in the '50s and '60s are now buying $1,500 box cars,” said Mr. Scanes.

The Big Train Show will feature working model-train layouts, including those in HO and N scales. HO scale, the most popular size, is about 1/87th the size of a real train. N scale models are 1/60th the size of real trains.

The Big Train Show is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St., Maumee. Cost is $3; children 14 and under are admitted free with an adult.

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