Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Model Trains at Slidell's Christmas Celebration

Model Trains and Christmas

I live way down south in Slidell, La, and every year the City of Slidell puts on a Christmas Celebration. The local park is located in the center of town and the City, alonf with a variety of local organizations, always puts on a celebration to which you can bring your kids to see Santa Claus, visit a forest of decorated Christmas trees, see animals in a manger etc.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmac celebration is the model train disply that's set up in the small building in the park. This model train display is run bt the local VFW and is really enjoyable.
There are several trains in the display. Each train is run on it's own seperate track, with every track meandering in and out a complex system of tunnels a nd mountains and various types of terrain.
For instance, there is an old style steam train reproduction that has period type cars attached to it. There's a coal car, old fashioned passenger type cars, and an old style caboose that rides at the end. In the middle you'll find a variety of freight type cars that were used for carrying cattle or different types of freight. Along the track are water towers like you'll see in old movies, coal loading stations \, etc. Everything is really well done.
One of the things I love about this model train is the smell. A few small drops of oil are placed in the stack of the steam train to make smoke and simultae the sight of an old steam train barrelling down the track. My memory of myself and my brother playing in the basement of our house is vividly brought back by this smell. many was the hour we spent assembling and running our train set down there, and that smell is burned into my memory.
There are other types of trains that run on their own tracks. Reproduction of the Amtrack trains and modern passenger cars, their sleek design reproduced exactly, speed around a rail line that includes passenger depots and train stations, all neatly landscaped even down to miniature passengers in the station and out on the platform.
When all these trains are going at the same time , it's really a sight to behold. The many times I've brought my children out to see them have been well worthwhile. There is something in a model train that fascinates children, from their earlist years right up until the time they become cynical jaded teenagers. My oldest daughter, who is about to get her masters degree, still enjoys going out to see the model train display.
These trains have become a part of our Christmas celebration that we hope to enjoy for many more years.

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