Wednesday, October 29, 2014

North Central Iowa Model Railroad

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 HO scale trains are remotely-controlled. One train has a camera installed, giving visitors a view from the perspective of the engine on a screen mounted above the railroad.   
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!

One of the railroad operators gave us details about the trains and track and answered questions.
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! 

46 comments:

  1. what a cute set-up with a ton of details. i really like that shot of you and your grandfather. :)

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    1. I thought the set-up was pretty impressive! Thanks!

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  2. Nice shot of you and your grandfather- I have always loved model trains..the tiny details fascinate me.

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    1. And, it seems the train hobbyists have to get every detail right or else one of the other experts will notice! Someone was telling me about how one brand of box car had to be weathered to look old, while it was ok for another to look new (to be historically accurate). They really are devoted to the details!

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  3. I really like that picture of you and your Grandpa. I think model trains and are those little details are so fun!

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  4. Great shots! Hubby is very into model railways. I don't know how many times I've been to model expos with him.

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    1. Everything probably looks very familiar to you then!

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  5. So you have had a lovely day with your relatives. Definitely your grandpa is is a good shape. The train models are lovely. Love from Silesia

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    1. Grandpa certainly is in great shape...someone even asked if he were my dad!

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  6. Awww...Your granddaddy looks like a sweet man. He looks like he has smiled a lot in his life! My late brother LOVED trains. I was so happy that he got to visit our big train museum when he visited here. That set up that you saw there is amazing!!!! xo Diana

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    1. He's the best grandpa a person could ask for! Awesome that your brother got to visit the museum; I'm sure he must have really enjoyed it!

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  7. What fun! I love models, and I admire people who put them together. It takes a lot of patience and focus.

    That is a beautiful photo of you and your grandpa!

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    1. Ah yes, I imagine! That said, there's a man in our area who builds models of just about everything out of matchsticks...now that takes incredible patience!

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  8. that is a wonderful model train. And like you the diner with the old model cars is so neat.

    Wonderful image of you and your Grandpa.

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    1. Thanks Felicia! A while back when I visited Niland's Cafe there were flyers up about a vintage car ride that would be coming through in the evening. It's too bad I didn't have time to stay to see real old cars at a diner!

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  9. I just love your pictures Bethany! and your blog too, i noticed your very young lady...take care friend, always glad to hear from you...loves soraya

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  10. I love the attention to detail here! Amazing...

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  11. Wow, all that detail! Amazing. Great picture of you and your Grandpa!

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  12. i would love to see this in person, you photographed it beautifully. that's a beautiful picture of you and grandpa, you should frame that!!!!

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  13. Sweet pic of you and your grandpa. I can definitely see the family resemblance! I love train shows. We have one annually in our local mall. It's so much fun to see all the work and creativity people have put into their displays!

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    1. Yes! It's hard to image all the work people go to!

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  14. What a cute photo of you and Grandpa Bethany - so special!
    Model railways are fascinating and are a good way of learning about our past.
    This one has been a labour of love by those who built it.
    Wishing you a very happy weekend!
    Shane

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    1. Thanks Shane! A very happy weekend to you as well!

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  15. Great shot of you and your Grandpa - that's a keeper! What a fun day! My husband and I love trains, this would be such a fun place to visit! I'm with you on the diner comment. Old cars and diner food = fun!

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  16. I absolutely love the photos of you and your dear grandfather, Bethany! Really precious! And this looks like a really fun place. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. I'm so happy Grandpa agreed to be introduced to my blogging friends! :) It was fun to see.

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  17. How fun. What a great time with your grandfather and such a cool place to visit.

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  18. Cool place you went, Beth!
    Have you ever heard about the world's largest model railroad at the city of Hamburg, Germany?
    It's called 'Miniture Wonderland'.
    Here's the link to this phantastic miniture world: http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/
    Have fun browsing through that page!
    And here's the link to the official video on youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ACkmg3Y64_s
    Kind regards from Germany, Uwe.

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    1. Oh wow...that is completely fantastic! Never heard of it before, but I'm glad I have now, thanks! They really didn't miss anything in their miniature world, did they?! Even UFOs are there! Awesome!

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  19. Great post, Bethany! The men in my family are big model train fans... I love the last shot of you and your grandfather.. Have a happy weekend!

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    1. It seems like model trains are a popular hobby in some circles! A wonderful weekend to you as well!

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  20. Palavras gentis podem ser curtas e fáceis de falar, mas seus ecos são
    verdadeiramente infinitos.
    (Madre Tereza de Calcutá)
    Estava aqui deliciando-me com seus lindos post...amo a Igreja, amo família, obrigada querida por tudo!!!
    Um abençoado inicio de mês!!!!
    Beijos Marie.

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    1. Awesome quote, Marie! Have a great November!

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  21. That's so cool. I really like model trains. Sweet photo of you and grand dad!

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  22. Love that red caboose. Looks like a very special day.

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  23. this is so interesting. there used to be a store downtown that had a model train running a track around the store on a shelf below the ceiling when i was little. when we'd take walks we would stop and look inside to try and catch a glimpse of the little train speeding around. we've since moved and i don't even think that store is there anymore, sadly. but this is what it reminds me of. i also have a sibling who is sort of interested in this sort of thing. i just love looking ab random books of how to make your own things for the trains, like hills, cliffs, buildings, etc. it's just so cool! i'd love to go to something like this sometime, so thanks for sharing.
    -Abigail

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    1. Thank you for sharing your memories, Abigail! Isn't it fun to think back on the little things we remember from when we were younger? Very neat that you have a sibling who is sort of interested in trains.

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