Local group presents annual train show this weekend
Scale Rails of Southwest Florida will once again bring model train enthusiasts from throughout the region to the Araba Shrine Temple in Fort Myers as it presents its annual train show this weekend, March 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Every year, more than 1,000 people attend to shop for new and used equipment, attend workshops and see the operating layouts.
Jim Edmier, co-chairman of the event, said he expects this year’s show to be the biggest one yet, with more than 100 vendors expected – and even more on a waiting list selling new and used equipment, toys, T-shirts and other train-themed merchandise, as well as a raffle for an operating layout that would cost $1,000 or more on the open market.
“We lost two big dealers – one retired and one died – but we were able to pick up so many other ones we sold out,” Edmier said. “We’re also going to have a raffle for an N-gauge railroad that we built. We have three ladies who have taken the controls of the finish of the layout and it is spectacular.”
There also will be another layout the kids can run, a demo booth with someone who builds scenery for the layouts, and other things.
As in the past, paid admission also includes a free invitation to the Scale Rails Depot at 1262 Piney Road in North Fort Myers, where Edmier said some new construction is happening on its tri-level, digitally controlled, HO scale layout, which is amazing.
There will be members at the depot to greet people, run the trains, answer questions and perhaps even sign people up for membership.
Model trains have made something of a comeback, and it’s shown in Scale Rails membership. Its 44 members are the most they’ve ever had, said Edmier, who credits the show’s move to the spring two years ago as a reason for increased attendance and membership.
“We used to do it around Thanksgiving, and we never really had enough people to man everything. With the snowbirds coming down for the winter, we have enough people,” Edmier said. “We have a few who are sick, so we’re hurting there. But we picked up some good modelers and good people.”
Admission is $7 for adults, $2 for teens and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult are free. For more information, contact Edmier at 410-6470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.