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Hundreds of people attend annual train show in Truro

Brookside's Rod Norrie talks with passersby about the model train display he's built during the past 18 years. Norrie's display features a number of buildings, people, vehicles, train cars and other items that are Truro-based from 1955. Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News

TRURO - The excitement on young Michael Halverson's face was unmistakable as he watched in fascination as model trains chugging by him.

The eight-year-old from Halifax spent a couple of hours at the 35th annual Truro Fall Train Show on Saturday at the Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus.

"I love trains," said Michael, who was there with his parents. "I love that trains can pull all kinds of stuff."

With a four-by-eight-foot train table at home, Michael spends countless hours with his own sets but still wanted to take in the train show, which was hosted by the Truro Model Railroaders Association.

"I have HO scale trains. I don't have a lot of buildings or anything, but I'd like to build that up," said Michael.

Making the trip from Reserve Mines, Cape Breton was Michael's grandfather, Benny O'Neill, who grew up in Bridgeport and spent a lot of time around steam locomotives.

"One of the things he likes doing is changing his track arrangements," said O'Neill. "He likes to change around his track yardage."

Growing up with trains virtually in his backyard, O'Neill was reminiscing about his younger years while at the show.

"It definitely brings back memories, especially with the steam engines."

With a number of models on display at the train show, there were also numerous vendors. Michael didn't have anything particular in mind to go home with, but his parents were walking around with some grass mat for the train table.

As a member of the association for about 35 years, Bernie MacDonald was pleased to see hundreds of people fill the college gymnasium.

"We've got a really good turnout of not just the public, but modellers and vendors as well," said MacDonald, adding the attendance may have been more than last year's show.

He said the numbers to the show are steady for a couple of reasons.

"I think we're the first major model railroad show in the province (each year). As we're changing seasons, we're starting to get in the mood to build things so we're getting our trains ready for the fall and winter seasons. There are lots of grandparents here with their grandchildren, and parents with their children."

MacDonald also thinks the association has a reputation of hosting a good model show, which is why people tend to come to it.

"We've also learned over time that if we keep our show in one place, all people need to know is the date and time. We've been here for 35 years and we always keep our date the same. It's always the Saturday following Thanksgiving."

One of the most intricate displays at the show belongs to Brookside's Rod Norrie.

"We had a train set when we were young, but it was bigger than these," he said of his family. "That usually plants the seed. And there was always interest in trains around Truro. There were so many people in town that worked on the railroad."

For at least 18 years, Norrie has been slowly working on his display, which depicts Truro in 1955.

"I try to get the feel of the people," he said while looking at his display. "This really needed doing, I thought. I wanted to try to find something to bring back the memory of trains."

While the main feature of Norrie's display is the old train station, which MacDonald said was demolished in the 1970s, there are a number of other features that were prominent in Truro at the time, and some that still are in some way.

"I had to have a junkyard," said Norrie. "And that's where (John) Ross's started."

Norrie said one can't have a scene of Truro without reference to Stanfield's, and he even included the Orpheum, where he said Houdini once performed.

"It's fun to talk to people about it. Everybody has a train station story."


Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College Truro, Truro Model Railroaders Association, Stanfield's

Geographic location: Truro, Halifax, Cape Breton Bridgeport

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