Niagara Railway Museum gets back on track with Merritton’s show
On Sunday, model trains arrived at the Merritton Community Center for the 17th annual Niagara Model Railway Show – another sign that life is getting back to normal.
Vendors from across Ontario showed off their model trains and sold artifacts and other train-related items.
“This is our first big push to get things done,” said Ken Jones, President and Founder of Niagara Railway Museum Inc.
“Over the past two years, like all other heritage groups, we have taken a beating. This is our main fundraiser, the start of our season for the museum.
The Niagara Railway Museum is housed in the former Canadian National Railway Diesel Store in Fort Erie. If Sunday’s show was any indication, the museum will be back in full swing sooner rather than later.
“We are full this year. We’ve never had so many vendors and so many tables in this hall, Jones said.
“Guys who normally book a table, booked three because there were no shows.” Vendors are up to 47 out of 42 and tables reserved by vendors are up to 97 out of 80.”
There were already more people through the show at noon, 350, than all day in previous years. People lined up outside the door in the morning.
“People who want to go out and do things. We actually canceled the show a month and a half ago and then the venue said, ‘No, we’re going ahead with reservations, you’re fine’, and then the (pandemic) restrictions were lifted, this which really helped.
All proceeds from the show benefit the museum, which is open Saturdays from May 21 to October 1. It will celebrate its 25th anniversary from July 15 to 17. Its biggest event, Rail Days, will take place on September 10 and 11. be back at the Merritton Community Center on the last Sunday in October.
Ken Cutmore was one of many train enthusiasts to check out the items on display and for sale this Sunday.
“It’s heaven to me,” said Cutmore, a lifelong train enthusiast.
His grandfather, two sons and a grandson all work on the trains. His father worked on the slopes.
“My dad never worked for the railroad but he worked on the railroad tracks and I used to go there and sneak in. Other kids play baseball, hockey and I’m at the yard. It’s trying to recreate a bit of my childhood. I like it, and model building is good, I like to tinker,” Cutmore said.
He works on building a train hall with the help of his sons, while slowly sourcing the model parts he needs.
There were many young train enthusiasts in the crowd on Sunday. Many were drawn to a working Lego train.
Claire Laurie was there with her son Ronan.
“He is captivated by the GO trains,” she said as her son watched intently as the trains made turns. “It’s a good thing to do as a family.”