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All aboard: Thousands attend Oklahoma City train show

Part sales event, part exhibition and part meet-and-greet, the annual Oklahoma City Train Show offered model train enthusiasts plenty to check out in the Travel and Transportation Building at State Fair Park.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: December 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm •  Published: December 2, 2012
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Packed inside the Travel and Transportation Building at State Fair Park, enthusiasts moved from booth to booth marveling at displays and buying hard-to-find items.

Available parts, all train-themed or geared toward model trains, include lighting circuits, electronic decoders, smoke generators and tools. Set pieces include items like locomotives, cabooses, miniature water towers, and even oil derricks.

Also for sale are train art, train movies, train books, train puzzles and train decorations.

Eddie Birch Jr., the show's director, said at least 15,000 people were expected to visit during the weekend.

“You're seeing people who grew up with a train under the Christmas tree and now later in life they want to get back into it,” he said. “It's that ‘King of the Road' thing — it's 200 tons of merchandise, and he's got it all under control with one little lever.”

Interest has surged in the past 15 years with the advent of radio and digital controls, Birch said.

Ethan Tietz, 10, and his dad, Erik, spent $250 Saturday on a new train set and some cars.

With mom, Melissa, and his sister, Abby, 5, in tow, Ethan persuaded them to drive from Claremore just to see what the show was all about.

Ethan and his father have hundreds of trains, in corners, boxes and on display in the room over the family garage, Melissa Tietz said.

“He pays for them himself, through allowance, buttering up grandma and grandpa, doing chores for them,” she said. “He's played with them since he was a baby, and he's got a pretty good collection.

The show continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 and free for children 12 and under. Call 842-4846 for details.