WNY Train and Toy Show Attracts Collectors, Hobbyists, and History Buffs
HAMBURG, NY -Those interested in railways, depots cars, or WNY railroad history won’t want to miss the Western New York Railway Historical Society’s Winter Train and Toy Show, February 16 and 17 at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.
According to event chairman, Stephen Kocsis the show is the largest in the region and expected to attract 5,000 attendees as well as vendors from the Northeast to the Midwest. Now in its tenth year, it follows The Greater Buffalo Train and Toy Show in November, which has been on-going for more than thirty years.
Kocsis says the event helps to raise funds for the WNY Railway Historical Society, which was founded in 1980 and dedicated to the preservation of the “rich railway heritage of the WNY region.” The group recently found a home in the Heritage Discovery Center, located in South Buffalo, where it shares space with The Steel Plant Museum and Lighthouse Society.
According to Ed Patton, director of museum development for WNYRHS, the center is “about preserving our industrial heritage.” Quoted in Buffalo Rising Online, Patton said, “For the railroad and steel plant museums, it represents the dedication of so many people committed to preserving the importance of the railroad and steelmaking heritage of the region. While these industries are now a past memory, the Heritage Discovery Center will preserve them for future generations.”
While the show itself promotes the hobby of train collecting and retirees who, Kocsis says, “May have had their first train set in the 1950s,” it is also a favorite with kids who enjoy the popular children’s television series, “Thomas and Friends.”
Kocsis says nearly 400 tables of model trains, supplies, videos, collectible toys, dolls, miniatures, cars and railroad memorabilia will be on display. In addition, several large operating layouts, will be shown including an “O” gauge (commonly used for toy trains and model railroading) as well as “N” scale, which will be on exhibit by the Gowanda and Buffalo Model Railroad club.
Various historical groups will also participate at the show, “so there is a wide range of interests covered,” says Kocsis. “Equally important, is to grow the interest of future generations in our railway heritage, to keep the hobby vibrant and have an event where kids of all ages can gather and play with trains of all sizes.”
“Thomas” play tables and “Skittles” the Clown will also be available for the enjoyment of the kids attending. Where else, says Kocsis, “can you spend a day with your family for only $7 (kids under 12 are fee) and see so many operating train layouts and interesting items for sale?” With their parent’s help, kids can find a hobby that might last a few years or a lifetime, says Kocsis. There are many groups at the show where they can learn more about local history as well.
The WNYRHS Winter Train and Toy Show takes place on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a complete list of events, visit www.wnyrhs.com.