Greenberg Train Show Chugs into Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
Old toy trains, little toy tracks;
Little toy drums coming from a sack;
Carried by a man dressed in white and red;
Little boy, don't you think it's time you were in bed?
The song "Old Toy Trains," written by country legend Roger Miller for his son in 1967, perfectly captures the magic of a cheery train-set at Christmastime. For generations, no holiday tree was complete unless it was ringed by a track and a puffing engine pulling mini passenger cars.
If you maintain that tradition - or if you lost it long ago and wish to recapture a piece of it - be sure not to miss the Greenberg Train and Toy Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, December 14-15. Frank Hicks, Show Manager, promises an experience for both the serious collector and the casual fan. "We work very hard to appeal to families, and especially to kids," Hicks says. "We have a lot there to see, and it's designed to be not just a technical thing or a bunch of obscure, old trains sitting on tables. There's a lot of really unique setups that local train clubs bring in. There are layouts that depict entire areas of the Philadelphia area or Pennsylvania or some other spot modeled in miniature. There's really is something for everybody."
Hicks says about a dozen clubs will be attending, each bringing train-sets large enough to require sections of plywood and various platforms to display them. In addition, 300-500 vendors will be selling vintage engines, freight and passenger cars, supplies, books, videos and other train-related merchandise. Those who are stoked for great presentations on how-to's will have plenty of choices. The program includes seminars on model building and even modern-day train technology, such as digital command control, which blends the role of Casey Junior engineer with computer technology.
If you're not exactly a fan and happen to eschew all things choo-choo, the show can still hold an interest: It also features toy displays and marketplaces. Hicks explains: "The toys for purchase or viewing tend to be a lot of die-cast toys, newer models from Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars up to super-detailed models that just are a real like museum-quality showpieces. And there are older toys - tin toys and cast metal cars and trucks from the 40s and 50s. So there's a real variety."
Hicks came to the hobby as many of his contemporaries did, in his boyhood. "My father has been into trains since he was young," he reminisces. "I grew up with American Flyer trains. We had a train layout in our basement for the entirety while I was growing up. My sisters and I each had our own town area on the train layout that we could play with and make our own. And it was really something that our whole family did together."
After a full day of wending your way through the extensive aisles of the train show, it's easy to lose steam. Why not make tracks for a local hotel and enjoy some downtime? Our website lists a number of options to park your caboose for an enjoyable getaway weekend.