Model Railroaders Ride Tracks to Ogden Union Station | Local News
OGDEN – It’s hard to believe that something as popular as the Hostlers Model Railroad Festival can ever go away.
Now in its 26th year, the annual event has drawn between 8,500 and 8,800 people to Ogden Union Station each for the past three years, and Saturday – the second day of the three-day event – has become so popular. that this year’s organizer Mike Murphy only half-jokingly urged people NOT to attend that day. The festival can’t really get bigger, according to Murphy, and can’t really move anywhere else.
However, rumors of possible changes at Union Station that could affect the festival, coupled with the fact that Murphy is not a spring chicken and has no heir apparent, could possibly spell the end of what is. considered to be one of the best model railroad shows in the country.
Murphy says he tried to find a co-host for the event, to no avail.
“I can’t convince anyone to come forward and take over,” Murphy said.
Lee Nicholas of Corrinne can attest to this. He has been a member of the Hostlers Model Railroad Club for 25 years and has worked in the rail industry for 60 years. But even he doesn’t like the hobby enough to bite that big chunk.
“Even I, even though I love trains, can’t do it,” Lee said. “This event can fall with Mike.”
Which would be a shame for Roy’s Yates family. Ten-year-old Field Marshal Yates spent Saturday morning literally jumping from exhibit to exhibit – jumping up and down, jumping between exhibits as fast as he dared to move to a place where no running. is not allowed.
“He loves it,” mother Wendy Yates said. “He looks forward to every year. “
And yet, it is also a surprise for Marshal every year.
“We never tell him we’re going, even though sometimes he finds out,” said Wendy Yates. “This year he only found out when we pulled into the parking lot, then he was so excited he was jumping all over the place.”
Marshal has attended the annual show almost since his birth.
“The first time he came he was only a few weeks old,” said Wendy Yates.
“We pushed him around in a stroller,” adds Father Matt Yates.
And yes, the Yates readily admit, they come to the train lounge long before Matt gives them an excuse to come and see the model trains. Both parents are big fans of the hobby.
“My mom didn’t let me have an HO scale model until I was 8. But after that…” Matt Yates interrupts, a smile on his face.
Today Matt Yates says he would love to have a miniature train setup in their Roy house, but he can’t.
“Not enough room,” he said.
“The house next door,” promises Wendy Yates, who is also a train fan. Her stepfather worked for the railroad shop at Hill Air Force Base and she always had an affinity for the railroad.
“Marshal’s nursery was made on all trains before he was born,” she admits.
So what was Marshal’s favorite part of the festival?
“The trains!” is about all you can get from him, before he rushes off to look at other screens.
Murphy and Nicholas both state that to their knowledge, the Hostlers Model Railroad Club is the largest such organization in the country.
“I don’t know of any other with 200 members,” Nicholas said.
And the Ogden Festival is also one of the biggest events in the country.
“I go to a good number of shows, and this one is absolutely one of the best,” said Charlie Getz, president of the National Model Railroad Association, in Chattanooga, Tenn. “Not only do you have high quality suppliers that are aimed at the hobbyist, but you also have a lot for the audience. There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the expert.
Why is the Ogden show so popular? Getz speculates this has something to do with young Utah families.
“Kids love trains,” he says. “Until they find electronic devices.”
The festival draws vendors from across the country and spectators from all over Utah and surrounding states. This year, 44 vendors have moved into the historic rail depot.
One of these vendors is Al Peterson, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Under a banner proclaiming him “The Rail Philatelist”, he sells just about everything about the rail industry which is also a paper product: stamps, postcards, magazines, books and the like.
“I combined my two interests, stamps and trains, into one hobby in 1975,” he said.
Peterson has been coming to the Ogden Festival for 25 years.
“I think I missed the first year,” he says.
Why the interest in railways AND stamps?
“It’s a passion,” said Peterson. “It takes me off the streets and makes my lifestyle tax-deductible. Even when I get a hotel room, I always ask for a window facing the train tracks.
Traditionally, the festival’s most popular exhibit – especially among young people – is the LEGO Zone, which features trains, buildings, superheroes and more, made of colorful connection blocks.
“It appeals to kids, obviously, but adults too,” said Jason Simmons of Kaysville, former president of the Utah LEGO Users Group. “We have 1970s sets here, and we have a lot of adults saying, ‘Hey, I had that one when I was a kid! “”
Trains ranging from tiny N scale to enormous G scale are on display at the festival. G stands for “garden ladder” and has tracks and trains large enough to be placed outside in the gardens.
The Utah Garden Railway Society has approximately 40 members across the state.
“The G scale gives us the flexibility to take them out and put them in,” said West Haven company president Lynn Stringham. “Plus, as our eyes get older, it’s easy to see the patterns.”
Stringham said his wife enjoys gardening, so setting up her train in the yard allows them to work outdoors together.
“And, it gets interesting if the neighbor’s cat is sleeping in the tunnel,” added fellow firm Trevor Stevens, of Hinckley.
Both admit snow can get in the way of the fun of G-scale trains, but not this year.
“The tracks have been cleared all winter here,” Stringham said.
The Hostlers Model Railroad Festival continues from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8 at Ogden Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave. Admission is $ 6; free for children 12 and under.
Nicholas thinks the fact that the festival takes place at Union Station is a big part of the draw.
“We’re at the depot,” he said. “This is the railroad depot, and Ogden was the hub of the railroad. I don’t know if the show would be this great if it didn’t take place here.
And, Getz points out, the event is incredibly family-friendly.
“Model railroaders don’t even have adventures,” he said. “The safest place for a woman is a model railroad show. She could walk around naked in this place, and the men would just ask her to move so they could see the displays. They are focused on their hobby.