The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Annual Train Show At Galesburg

by Dessa Rodeffer - Quill Publisher-Owner

July 1, 2009

They didn't look real. They looked like models. Clean and organized and moving around the BNSF Train Yard at Galesburg, with cars being sorted and organized here and there.

It was exactly like the model layouts my grandson Drew and I had just seen inside the Carl Sandburg College auditorium.

Model train enthusiasts had come from around the country to take part in this annual event or to buy, sell or just enjoy the day.

What impressed me was the amount of attention paid to the smallest details of replicating the big trains that were outside in the train yard, and especially the knowledge that my grandson had about what makes the rail system work.

Beneath those pretty colors, I was amazed to learn the size of the engines that run the generators that drive electric motors that power our trains.

I was impressed to learn that the train cars had bar codes and were scanned just like grocerys and sorted onto the right track for their next destination.

It was a huge process and we had a grand view from the overpass. It was something to watch the products of the nation's manufacturers and suppliers at work under our feet on such a grand scale. As we stood there, others came to view the sight, including several busloads as well as individuals who came with large cameras.

My grandson, like many others there, enjoyed selecting items to add to his own train set and layout collection. He works hard and saves his money for this event, and I was impressed on what a wise shopper he was. He knew what a good deal was and he studies his hobby.

We visited with several who were involved in railroad clubs, Two clubs joined together to assemble a large train layout (176 feet of track) that was a highlight for me. Each member was responsible for a particular section of track and each was different. Each year it is arranged differently and by different members so it is never quite the same. There was amazing lifelike detail in their work and we particularly enjoyed the running windmill, and watertank that lowered its spout to fill the steam engine's water tanks.

The two clubs were the Heritage N Track Group of Joliet area, and N Track of Bloomington-Normal and have been part of the Hobby Sale and Train Show since it was organized 15 years ago by Harry Grossman of the college who now lives in Arizona.

Dave Liesse of Oswego (pictured below) has been part of the group for 13 years and has been interested in trains all his life. He enjoyed hours and hours of fun with his dad who was a modeler since he was 10. They lived in Griffitt, Indiana where the Guinness World Record was for the most tracks across the single crossing. He said 10 tracks crossed Main Street. They have since, closed some of those tracks leaving only 4 active tracks today.

Galesburg Railroads Days began 153 years ago, according to the men, but only became an annual event the last 32 years. It was just 15 years ago the Hobby Sale and Train Show was added. It is the later part of June and I always look forward to attending the show with my grandson. Drew will be a senior at West Central.