Thousands of people attended the Monroeville Convention Center for Train & Toy Show
David McDanel’s eyes lit up every time he saw the lights of a Ferris wheel and a train circling the track.
He and his family from Greensburg have returned several times to the amusement park layout of the South Hills Model Railroad Club interactive exhibit at the Monroeville Convention Center.
It was one of dozens of train exhibits at the Great Train & Toy Show in Greenberg from July 20-21.
âThey love trains, so what a great opportunity. They had a great time, âsaid mom Jennifer McDanel.
David, 5, and his sister Molly, 3, were able to press a few buttons and activate some modular features.
âI think it’s a great family event,â said Father Will McDanel. âYou canâ¦ have a lot of fun, especially with the interactive screens. Kids really love to push buttons and watch things happen. “
Show director Frank Hicks said the tour stop marked the 38th year of the Greenberg show in Monroeville.
He usually arrives at the convention center three times a year: November, January and July.
Temperatures were in the 90s on the weekend of this last show. That didn’t stop thousands of model train enthusiasts and nearly 100 vendors from participating.
âI think it went really well,â Hicks said. âThe show went well. We had a large crowd. I think a lot of people were looking for something to do in the area of ââair conditioning. “
It’s little more than a hobby for members of the South Hills Model Railroad Club and the Keystone Division, who have teamed up to create a 1,000 square foot HO scale train display, one of the most popular scales.
âIt’s not too small, and yet it’s small enough that you can put a nice layout in not a big area,â said club member Dave Murphy.
Murphy, 73, of Scott Township, said he had been involved with model trains since he was 5 years old.
âIt’s just fun and seeing other people having fun with it,â he said. âFor me (as a child) we saw (real) trains. Children today do not see the real ones as much. “
The July show was the first time the McDanel family had participated, and the first time the McKeesport Model Railroad Club had an exhibit.
They also had an HO scale layout. It measured about 12 by 20 feet and featured the old bus station along Fifth Avenue in the city, as well as a trailer park.
Club president George Sharp said each member has created their own section.
âIt brings visibility to the club,â said Sharp. âWe all have a passion (for trains), obviously. That’s why we’re here today and doing all of this.
The McKeesport Club has a permanent display of trains at 2209 Walnut Ave. More information on this group is available at mckeesportmodelrr.com.
There were wall to wall vendors in the convention center. Some were professionals and others, like Ron Slabe, an Oakmont resident, were just trying to clear closets full of engines and tracks.
âYou come to these places and there is a lot of camaraderie,â Slabe said. âIt’s a great thing about these places. It’s a bit addicting if you’ve been here for a while. It’s a great meeting with people.
Hank Jaeger, 70, of Morgantown is a traveling exhibitor. He has participated in railway shows since 1994.
âI come here because this show is a good show,â he said. âIt’s good to meet people. I come here with trains, and I usually leave with more trains than I came with and money in my pocket. I’ve been at it for so long that I know what value is and what isn’t. â¦ You have to “sell the sizzle”. “
Hicks said plans for the next Monroeville show are in development. More information on Greenberg’s Great Train & Toy Show is available at greenbergshows.com.