Smithtown Historical Society hosts model train show

Smithtown Historical Society hosts model train show

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By Katherine Kelton

Smithtown Historical Society’s annual Model Train Show was held Sunday, March 24, at the Frank Brush Barn. The event featured the work of various engineers, who displayed their impressive collections of train modules in the form of a large oval. 

Each was unique in the various landscapes, cities and lighting created. Visitors walked around the oval and enjoyed the intricate displays.

Families and train lovers visited the exhibition from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cold weather made the indoor event the perfect stop, with a $5 admission for adults and $3 for children. 

One engineer, Kevin Davis, shares his enthusiasm with the younger generation with whom he gets involved in model train building. Specifically, one young man joined the ranks of adult engineers and is trusted around the dangerous voltage-powered tracks. 

“What I did with this module was I wanted to give light, but I didn’t want to use any of the track power,” Davis explained. He used handheld battery packs to light the inside of the buildings and to give the impression of people living inside. He also used smaller lights from the Dollar Store to illuminate smaller objects.

Davis hopes to see more than just families at the event: “One other group we like to attract is retirees. You know stop sitting at home. Everybody loves trains from 8 to 80.”

However, most of the attendees were families with small children. Davis believes more women and minorities should also get involved in the events, as they are not as represented in the space. 

Another engineer, Joel Berse, proclaimed the “Godfather of Train Shows,” told reporters, “My whole goal with putting on these shows is multifaceted. My shows are all fundraising shows. We also try to promote the hobby because kids are too busy on their phones and not doing real things.”

Berse is CEO of Trainville Hobby Depot in Hicksville and organizes many model train shows on Long Island. He also works in shows outside New York. He teaches people how to build different displays. “You get an idea and then as you’re doing it the idea changes 18,000 times,” Berse said. “And a saying I have is, ‘No layout is ever done because you always find something else you want to add to it.’” 

This hobby gives people an imaginative outlet in which they build and rebuild intricate layouts. The shows are gatherings for enthusiasts and creators alike. The model train groups are very active on Long Island and hold numerous exhibitions. 

The Smithtown Historical Society will use the collected admissions from this show for maintenance on the farm buildings and animal care on the property.