By Jennifer Pund
The Estes Valley Model Railroaders celebrate 40 years as a club, and 20 years of presenting “Colorado’s premier model train show,” at its annual Rails in the Rockies, Feb. 18-19. Growing to more than 19,000 square feet, the show has been relocated to the Estes Park Events Center Complex for additional room to showcase displays, vendors and interactive activities.
“As a club, we embrace the Rails in the Rockies show as an opportunity to share the expertise, fun and craftsmanship of model railroading,” Director for the Estes Valley Model Railroaders Laura Trump, said.
Over the years the show has given enthusiasts of all ages the chance to experience model railroad layouts in many scales and styles. This year there are more interactive activities then in the past. “We have developed the family and children side of the show—to encourage children of all ages to learn about trains—with an interactive layout for children along with the popular Seek & Search game,” Trump said. “We have also developed clinics to help with modeling techniques. We work together with 15 other clubs along the Front Range and Wyoming to create an interesting, informative, fun show.”
The Estes Valley Model Railroaders began in Estes Park in 1977 as a regional member club of the National Model Railroaders Society. There were less then 10 members in the beginning, and the club met in members’ homes. This year, the club, which has grown to about 50 members of all ages, celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
Club members share layouts, expertise and the love of model railroading with each other and in the community. They recently teamed up with the Estes Valley Library’s Story Time to put on scenery diorama clinics, has assisted with the town’s Polar Express Christmas event and displayed layouts with a Halloween theme. They have also donated several wooden trains to the library’s Children’s Room.
“We have done layouts for the Estes Park Museum and we built and displayed a 10 module historical model train layout at the Estes Park Highland Festival depicting the famous 1930’s Flying Scotsman railroad from London to Edinburgh,” Trump explained.
The Estes Valley Railroaders are a fun, social group with a love of trains and all the facets of trains, history and modeling, according to Trump. “We take frequent trips to places of interest in Colorado and Wyoming,” she said. We have a weekly social coffee. In the summer we have layout tours of members homes and their layouts along with a picnic.”
Meetings are always open to anyone who loves trains, modeling, art, history, traveling on trains and more. There are no age restrictions because train lovers come in all ages. “We have had members that are 12 and a current member is 85,” Trump said. The group meets on the first Monday of each month at the Estes Valley Library.
In 1997, the group decided to host a model railroad show and chose the name “Rails in the Rockies.” From a small show in Barn W at the Stanley Fairgrounds with about 200 people attending to this years’ 20th Anniversary Show at the Estes Park Event Center, the attendance has grown to about 4,500. “As the show has traditionally been held on President’s Day weekend—this year Feb. 18-19—we have become the premier event in Estes Park in February.”
The event also features vendors with supplies for modeling, trains and train sets, railroad memorabilia, books, electronics, clothing and more. Additionally, Trump points out the site of the show is larger, comfortable and accessible with free parking.
Admission is $7 for adults with a family maximum of $20. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.
Rails in the Rockies
Saturday, Feb. 18 • 9am-5pm
Sunday, Feb. 19 • 9am-4pm
The Pavilion at Estes Park Events Complex – Estes Park, CO
1125 Rooftop Way, Estes Park
Originally published in the February 2017 issue of the MMAC Monthly