SHIRLEY — The Nashua Valley Model Railroad Association (NVRRA) announces its 55th annual “Railfair 2019” model train show on Oct. 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Boxboro Regency Hotel, 242 Adams Place, Boxboro.
Attractions include model railroad displays, layouts, exhibits, a new “children’s depot” containing all sorts of fun for families, and dealers.Two-day admission is $7, and children under 12 are free.
The event is geared towards model railroaders (new and experienced), families with children, and anyone who enjoys model railroading. “We will have many exhibitors such as the Amherst Belt Lines and the European Train Enthusiasts Clubs who will operate their huge and spectacular modular train layouts with a variety of running trains, and many others showing various railroad exhibits (both operating and stationary). Model railroad dealers will be on hand to sell, buy, or trade all sorts of model railroad items. It will be a fun day for all attendees!” says Peter D’Olimpio, of the NVRRA.
D’Olimpio went on, “We have expanded floor space this year by almost 15% to include our new ‘Children’s Depot’ which will offer a variety of hands on exhibits for children”. The depot will include (among other things), train rides on a small point to point train, an layout of Thomas the Tank and his friends, a Disneyland monorail layout complete with many characters, 2 large interactive modular layouts where children can activate various scenes on selected modules, “Operation Lifesaver” which promotes railroad safety, a large Lego display with many figurines both on display and for sale, and a vendor offering many railroad themed children’s books.
The hobby of model railroading is alive and well in central Massachusetts due to the efforts of the Nashua Valley Model Railroad Association of Shirley The NVRRA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the hobby since 1952. The NVRRA currently operates a state-of-the-art model train museum which has over 1,200 linear feet of mainline track and over 3,000 feet of track, including the yards and sidings. The layout is modeled after the Boston and Maine Railroad during the early 1980s, which ran from Portland, Maine to Mechanicville, New York.. “It contains most major cities and towns between Portland and Mechanicville and the buildings and scenery around each location is fairly representative of the actual locations back in the day,” says D’Olimpio. “Once you enter our museum, the enormity of the layout immediately strikes you. You will see 4 levels of track in some places, enormous freight yards, scenery, and a helix measuring 8 feet in diameter which connects lower and upper tracks.”
Members and guests regularly attend operating sessions of the layout, and private tours may be scheduled by calling call 978-225-0650 or submitting a request at www.nvrra.com. Members enjoy building as well as operating the many different sections of the layout. “Given the size of the layout, we can simultaneously run as many trains as we want and some of the trains can each be hauling over 65 cars,” D’Olimpio explains. “When we run 15 or so different trains doing different things at the same time, it can get confusing! We use a dispatcher to dispatch trains between locations and keep trains from having problems. We haven’t had any major collisions, but we sure have had some traffic jams and foul-ups just like the real railroads!!”
The NVRRA has been featured in Model Railroader magazine, Model Railroad News and other hobby publications. Members have a passion for model railroading and share their passion at local train shows and open houses. One of their most memorable efforts was providing a train layout to a 7-year-old boy through the Make a Wish Foundation. The NVRRA has a mix of beginners and veterans with many years of experience. “The camaraderie we have is special and amazing. We work together so well with each of us having complementary skills. Some of us have been friends 20 or more years.” Membership information is available on their website, www.nvrra.com.
Model railroading can teach young people useful skills such as planning, designing, basic carpentry and electronics, building scenery, team work, and train operations. D’Olimpio explains “It’s pretty easy to get into this hobby and it doesn’t take much money to start up. Find a good hobby store. There are so many in our area. Attend model train shows where you will be exposed to many different areas of the hobby. And of course, you can contact us any time for advice on anything in the hobby. We’ve been doing this since 1952; we can show you how to avoid just about any mistake as we have made most of them!”