The annual Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Show rolls back into town this weekend

What do books and model trains have in common? They’ll both be in the library this weekend.

The annual Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Show will have trains running Saturday and Sunday at the James City County Library.

Walt Doran, a member of the Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Club, said this is the 13th year of the show. When it started in 2005, he said there was only a single model railroad layout. A train layout is made up of a model railroad track, train and scenery.

This year, there will be eight layouts on display, with as many scenes as sizes.

“We have small towns; we certainly have rural scenes — but we also have a circus scene,” Doran said.

Some of the railroads will have interactive elements so children can put their hands on the layouts and see how they work.

“The layouts are sort of designed so that they are children friendly,” Doran said. “We build them at a height so kids can look at them.”

Doran said that’s club members’ favorite part of the Model Railroad Show: seeing the children’s reactions.

“The excitement and the faces of the children when they’re in the library with their parents and they're watching the trains, or they’re participating in one of the displays on railroad safety or something else that’s going on,” Doran said. “The children are really what (the club) talks about when we look back on the show.”

While many children today are more in tune with technology than previous generations, Doran said he doesn’t think that takes away their excitement about model trains.

“We had one young man there last year who was there every day with his mother watching the trains, and she said he would go home on his iPad and he would follow videos of model trains and railroading in general,” Doran said. “I think this hobby has the ability to grow with the technology and grow with the times.”

With the 13th year almost here, Doran said he thinks the hobby will continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.

“With families we kind of get to see them come back year after year with the children, so they get to know us pretty well,” Doran said. “It’s been great fun.”

Want to attend?

The show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec.1 and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road. Admission is free and guests of all ages are welcome.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette