Trains Of A Different Size

The Gateway Train Station was abuzz with hundreds of area train enthusiasts who came to express their admiration for locomotives on a smaller scale.

On Saturday, the Upstate New York chapter of the national Train Collectors Association, set up shop in the train station to hold its first toy train show in the city of Jamestown.

The event ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and featured 34 vendors with approximately 100 tables worth of model train memorabilia. According to Lee Harkness, general manager of the train station, the event received a much larger community response than he could have anticipated.

“This has been an overwhelming success,” Harkness said. “It’s been a very good show today, we’ve had a constant flow of people and it’s been better than what we expected. And every time you look outside, there are more people coming down the street.”

The Upstate New York chapter, a subsidiary of the TCA’s Eastern Division, was founded in March of last year, and has since hosted several toy train shows throughout Upstate and Western New York before visiting Jamestown this weekend. According to Jerry Lepsch, president of the chapter, the toy train shows provided by his chapter are unique to the TCA in that they are open to the public, rather than members only.

“A lot of the TCA shows are closed, but we didn’t want to close our shows out,” Lepsch said. “We wanted to host events like this, and invite the public to come. And, by the same token, we make sure all our members are aware of all the train shows in New York state. Because it doesn’t matter where they find their prized toy train as long as they found it.”

Lepsch’s response on the turnout for the Jamestown show echoed the sentiments expressed by Harkness.

“The crowd here is overwhelming, and we’ve had a very good turnout,” Lepsch said. “So, in my opinion, I would like to do this show again in the future. Lee has been great, the venue is absolutely spectacular and it’s nice to have a train show in an old train station.”

The Upstate New York chapter of the national TCA will be holding its next toy train show in Cheektowaga on Dec. 14. The next major event scheduled for the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Station is National Train Day 2014, which will take place on May 10.