Inside the Radisson Hotel, a massive, 40-foot model train exhibit fills a conference room.
“Oh, I’m just totally amazed. You know, they have the subway and the elevated (trains).”
Rocklin resident Jerry Brown came to take pictures.
(Ambi fades up..woman’s voice) “I’m at a conference next door but couldn’t resist coming over.”
Barbara George says the exhibit takes her back to her childhood.
This model train layout includes three dozen operating trains with towers, tunnels and mountains…and accompanying scenes, like construction crews working on the tracks and people waiting at the train station.
Tom Nuzzo works for Lionel Trains.
“I’m the guy that goes and takes care of all the displays.”
A job that everyone at this convention wishes they had.
“Oh yeah, they think I have the greatest job in the world.”
Nuzzo is holding a huge remote that allows him to control several trains simultaneously. He says toy trains are a lot more hi-tech nowadays with more realistic sights and sounds.
Al Kolis is the Lionel club’s president-elect. He says most of their members are men over 45.
“We’ve never grown up. When I go down into my train room, I can have a bad day at the office and just the sights, the sounds, the smells – it lowers the blood pressure I think.”
About 300 club members are in Sacramento for the week-long convention. Kolis’ own love affair with model trains began as a kid. The interest faded as he got older. But it all came back when he was preparing for the birth of his first child. That’s when he picked up the phone and asked his father…”
“’Dad, whatever happened to the trains?’ And he says ‘nothing do you want them?’ So my dad came over and we built the train. A week later my father died of a heart attack. And so for me personally, my train love is a memorial to my father. It’s more than just a hobby to me.”
The convention at the Radisson Hotel culminates tomorrow with a Train Show open to the public.