The past weekend found my sister and I in Hampton, Iowa with our grandparents for a railroad arts and crafts show (more details in a future post).
In the afternoon when sales were slow, Grandpa, Charity, and I walked down to the old Rock Island Depot. In the basement, the North Central Iowa Model Railroad Club has an impressive model layout. I am unsure of their hours, but with the railroad show in progress, admission was free.
Above is a model of a courthouse with a ferris wheel to the side. Most every element of rural and small town Iowa is depicted: a little country church and graveyard, and all sorts of familiar businesses including Casey's gas station/convenience store.
The coal cars in the photo above are part of a train consisting of 40 cars and 4 engines. The longest train successfully run on this track had 82 cars. Each of the cars is loaded with styrofoam covered with real coal dust.
One place I would love to visit if the model town were real is the diner/cafe. With so many gorgeous vintage cars in front, it doesn't look like a person could go wrong stopping there!
Grandpa has been a model train enthusiast since the 1950s, so he was more familiar with everything than I. It was awesome to spend time with Grandpa, learn more about his hobby, watch the trains, and admire the meticulous layout!