Dayton Train Show to roll into town this weekend

Given the amount of time we spend staring at our smartphones, it’s nice to have a fun reason to step away from the screen for a more tactile experience.

The Miami Valley Division 3 of the Mid-Central Region of the National Model Railroad Association is promoting one such opportunity during the 44th annual Dayton Train Show at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3. The annual event is perfect for hobbyists interested in using their minds while working with their hands.

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“It’s just such a wonderful hobby,” said Richard Lach, one of the train-show organizers. “You learn electricity, scenery and modeling. You paint and build things. You learn operations, because you run just like a normal railroad. I grew up with that and that’s the way I’m wired. I’m sure there are other people who are, too.”

The train show, now in its 44th year, started with the National Model Train Convention in Dayton in 1975.

“Our division hosted that first national convention for the entire world at the Convention Center downtown,” Lach said. “It’s a pretty neat tradition, going all the way back for 44 years. Division 3 is really one of the railroad facets of the Gem City. We’re dedicated to promoting the hobby and instruction of the public. Part of that is our train show, which is the largest interface we have with the public.

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“We also take a layout and run trains for the underprivileged kids during UD’s Christmas on Campus,” Lach said. “We participate in the Carillon Park Rail Fest. We have a model railroading training day, which we did last year at Carillon Park to 500 people.”

The Dayton Train Show features about 250 vendor tables with new and pre-owned locomotives, rolling stock and structures in various scales and gauges. Both buildings at the fairgrounds will have functioning railroad exhibits on display.

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A new feature this year is Award Winning Models and Structures, which showcases engines, cars, structures and dioramas built by modelers. There is also the show premiere of the new T-Trak system for N-gauge trains.

“Model railroading has been a wonderful hobby for me,” Lach said. “I like being on the board of governors and the social aspect of it, too. Most of my friends around Dayton are involved in model railroading in one way or another. It was a great diversion from 30 years in the military. I can’t think of anything that’s more satisfying.”


What: The 44th annual Dayton Train Show

Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 645 Infirmary Road, Dayton

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3

Cost: $8 adults, free children 12 and younger with paid adult. Parking is free

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