What could be better for a train lover than living in a town with an annual Railroad Days Festival? Not much.
I recently visited Durand, Michigan during Railroad Days to hunt for model railroad treasures at the train show.
I was surprised to discover the Durand Depot has several HO scale layouts in operation, the largest of which is on the upper floor of the depot.
I enjoyed a special treat while standing on the west side of the depot as a long Canadian National train passed by, taking the curve from south to west.
The annual train show is held at the Durand Middle School. When I arrived at 10:30, many people were already waiting in line for the show to open at eleven.
Model train shows are often crowded with treasure hunters, searching through boxes of stuff to find that special item they just have to own. It’s a special treat when the price is much lower than one might find at a local hobby shop.
Since my layout, The Maple Valley Short Line Railroad, is HO scale, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at anything larger or smaller. On this trip, I was looking for HO scale vehicles and junk. By junk, I mean junk. Bits of rusted and forgotten cast-offs in HO scale that make a layout interesting. I wasn’t disappointed. I found two packages of literal junk in the original wrapping that would have cost three times as much at the store or online.
I’m always amused by conversations I hear among train show shoppers. Some folks are seasoned model railroaders, others are wannabes, which all of us were at some point. I heard one man say to his wife, “I’ve been amassing things for a long time.” I think maybe he’s one who hasn’t actually started building a layout yet.
I heard a vendor tell some folks, “Now these cars are N scale, but if you soak them in water, they grow to HO scale. If you put them out in the sun, they turn into O scale.” I laughed. I bought a few vehicles from the same vendor last year. He is a retired teacher, and I’m sure he was a good one. He told some kids, “If you’re going to look at the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff, you have to promise to have fun.”
I appreciate the opportunity to see the work of other model railroaders. It’s always inspiring look at the details created that capture my imagination and make me want to step into the scene. I like to steal ideas and use them on my own layout.
The narrow basement room where my Maple Valley Short Line Railroad lives does not allow me to have large areas for industry or rail yards on the layout. I concentrate more on scenes that illustrate life activities in small villages, like Maple Valley.
This is a nice yard on a modular layout at the Durand Depot. It’s amazing to watch long trains run smoothly on temporary layouts that are taken apart as soon as shows end.
Another scene I haven’t taken space for on the Maple Valley Short Line is a cemetery. None of the good folks in Maple Valley are allowed to pass on because there’s no place to put them.
These are some attractive bridges on a river scene.
This is a scene on the Maple Valley River with canoers passing under the bridge.