Train-watching at semi-annual show in Windham
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Apr. 19, 2011
Ben Purvins loves anything to do with trains. On April 17, the Lebanon first-grader was planted in front of the model train setup of the Connecticut Society of Ferroequinologists at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum’s Model Train and Die Cast Toy Show. Held at Windham High School, the show featured several large model setups, as well as a variety of vendors selling train-related wares.
For Ben, a main attraction was the model drive-in movie showing a DVD version of the movie “Unstoppable.” Telling the story of an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward an unsuspecting city, the Denzel Washington film features plenty of exciting train-related footage.
Ben appeared mesmerized by the miniature theater, which encompassed a book-sized drive-in screen, facing an “audience” of matchbox-sized cars. Asked whether there was a soundtrack to go along with the image, Ferroequinologist member Gene Koss said, “We’ve got it turned down. It’s too loud here to really hear anything anyway. Plus, I think there’s some language that’s not too appropriate.”
Another popular feature of the Ferroequinologists’ setup is the stone “quarry.” The push of a button causes the sound of an explosion and a puff of compressed air that sends a “stone” slab flying. “Whoa, cool!” exclaimed a young visitor.
The other large-scale setup at the show belonged to the Mohegan Pequot Railroad Club. One of its main attractions is a working swivel bridge similar to the one that still functions near the train station in New London.
Though the number of vendors was smaller than at previous shows, the event still drew several hundred train enthusiasts. The show is held twice a year, and is the major fundraiser for the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum. The museum’s seasonal grand opening for 2011 is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. The program for that day includes the Annual Metal Fest, featuring blacksmithing and other metal-working demonstrations. Local band “The Electric Trains” will be providing music.
On May 21, the museum plans to dedicate the new life-size replica of the gallows signal that was originally a fixture on the west side of Bridge Street. For more information, visit their website at www.cteastrrmuseum.org.