Hundreds of model trains will run full steam ahead as part of a large-scale Train Collectors Association Dixie Division Chattanooga Area Train Show March 1 at The Colonnade. From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., about 75 train collectors will showcase and sell model trains at the 10th annual event.
Hosts and train collectors George Baltz, of Hixson, and Bill Stitt, of Chattanooga, expect to see 75 tables filled with trains. Each table might have five to 10 engines or 25 to 30 rail cars, they said. Event volunteers will lay out two test tracks.
"The Train Collectors Association is a national club," Stitt said. "It covers the entire state of Georgia and southeast Tennessee. We have large dealers come in. The Train Collectors Association has 25,000 members. Different eras and makes of trains are collected. There's people that collect Lionel, American Flyer, Marx and Mike's Train House trains."
He and Baltz began collecting model trains in the 1950s.
"I've still got my first train," said Baltz. "It was a New York Central Freight Set from the 1950's era."
Attendance costs $7 per family or per solo individual. Dealers wishing to display at the event must pay $22 and be a member of the Train Collectors Association. According to the organization's website, "TCA is one of the largest and most respected collecting societies in the world. We focus on toy trains - the hobby of collecting and operating them, the fun of members buying, selling and discussing them, the study of their characteristics, and the history of their production." People can join the TCA by paying $50 at the show. To learn more about TCA, visit traincollectors.org.