CAPITAL DISTRICT As the temperature drops, model trains are warming up their engines and gearing up for the holiday season.
Honoring a treasured tradition, miSci (the museum of innovation and science, formerly the Schenectady Museum) will be again be hosting its popular model train exhibition this year. The event is put on by the Upstate Train Associates and this year, the volunteer organization will construct a 19-by-27-foot display of running O-Gauge model trains in front of the Suits-Bueche Planetarium.
The exhibit will feature about a dozen trains traveling through a mini-community. The layout has several different features, including a downtown area, a farm with animals, lumber mills and miniature people going about their daily lives. A special holiday landmark is included, including an amusement park with Santa riding a roller coaster.
Treasurer of the Upstate Train Associates Dave Halverson said kids “in strollers all the way up” come to see the annual event.
“They love it,” Halverson said. “Sometimes the parents set them up, give them a little chair and they watch the trains for two hours.”
With complicated technology becoming more common in everyday life, Halverson said he’s worried the pastime is becoming “kind of a dying hobby.”
“The older kids – everything is computers. Every kid has a computer, or a telephone, God knows what,” Halverson said. “(Older) kids don’t care that much about it. It is sad.”
Chris Hunter, miSci curator of Collections & Exhibitions, said the event remains one of the most popular exhibits at the museum.
“It takes up the entire room, but there’s still room to walk around it,” Hunter said. “We love it, the audience loves it. People come back year after year. It’s a great multi-generational experience.”
Younger children can also enjoy the Thomas the Tank Engine display, which has a working Thomas the Train.