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Model Railroad Draws People to Garden Show

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DES MOINES, Iowa- A big draw for the Iowa Flower, Lawn and Garden Show is a garden surrounded by model railroad tracks.

The Central Iowa Garden Railroad Society gets an invite every year to bring their model rail setup into the Varied Industries Building. The show is held each year at the Iowa State Fairground.

"I think it brings people into the show and creates a lot of interest," said Mike Kidman, of the Central Iowa Garden Railroad Society.  "The kids and adults love to see trains running."

Approximately 20 club members bring trains, tracks, and rural scenes to the event. The set contains a variety of scale models. Included in the set are various buildings, a water towers, a grain elevator and a bridge that crosses a pond.

It takes members around six hours to setup the display.

The club is used to running trains indoors and outdoors. "Inside is not as much of a challenge, but many of us run trains outside, and it is more of a challenge outside," Kidman said.  "A lot of members are converting to battery power, that makes it simpler for electrical issues that you get outside."

The model rail club has a reason to donate their time at the Garden Show.  They are there to promote their annual Train Tour, which will be held in Central Iowa.

Various members will have model trains running through outdoor gardens. The show will be held this year on June  27th. Information on the show can be found at the Central Iowa Garden Railroad Society's website .  There is an admission charge.

"People just love trains," Kidman said. "I think a lot of people are fascinated by trains, they remember trains maybe as a child, seems like kids love trains too."

The price for a model garden railroad can range from $250 for a small set to thousands of dollars for a larger one, according to Kidman.  Kidman operates Reindeer Pass, which sells model railroads. He said that some locomotives are made from brass, some are actual working steam engines.

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