• Actor/singer Mandy Patinkin and singer/songwriter Neil Young are Lionel train collectors/operators.
• Frank Sinatra built a special building on his Palm Springs, Calif., compound to house his operating 1949 train station layout.
• The famous steam train circling the grounds of Disney's Magic Kingdom near Orlando, Fla., was inspired by Ward Kimball, a Disney designer and artist.
The Lionel Collectors Club of America will hold its 43rd annual convention next week in Chattanooga. Members expect to be doing a lot of big-time railroading during their stay here, with a Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum steam excursion to Summerville, Ga., and the Hiwassee River Adventure among their outings. In return, they'll offer two model railroading events that are open to area residents.
An operating Lionel train layout will be set up the entire week, July 15-20, in the lobby of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, 1400 Market St. Hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
The final day, July 20, will also feature a trading hall at Track 29 at the rear of the Choo Choo complex. Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is by donation, with a suggestion of $5 for visitors over 18. Proceeds benefit Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
The LCCA was founded in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 1, 1970, for Lionel train collectors and operators. By July 1, 1971, 83 charter members had signed on. Today, membership numbers nearly 8,000 worldwide.
About 600 members are expected in Chattanooga. For more information, visit www.lionelcollectors.org.