Sedalia Rails Train Show was steaming along nicely Saturday during the third annual event hosted as a fundraiser for the Pettis County Historical Society.
Visitors to the event, hosted inside Convention Hall at Liberty Park, could watch model trains make their circuits around a track, purchase model trains, buy antique train memorabilia or train-talk with other railroad enthusiasts.
Ken Bird, train show coordinator and board member of the Historical Society, said last year’s event went well so they decided to host the show again this fall.
“We got a good reaction, some of the same vendors came back,” he said. “They all seem to be pleased. It’s certainly important for the museum as a fundraiser.”
Fayette visitor, Gary Bagby, was perusing the tables of a new Marshall store, Samson R/C Hobby Shop. He described himself as a model train collector with a “passion” for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad or KATY.
He said Sedalia has such a rich heritage with the KATY Railroad and he was privileged to find time to come to the show.
“I’m glad to be able to come over and enjoy this swap meet,” he said with a smile. “I have one (train set) under construction in my upstairs bedroom. It keeps me occupied, so the wife doesn’t find other things for me to do.”
Derick and Paige Samson, owners of Samson R/C Hobby Shop, said they were excited to be at the show.
“We have a little bit of everything,” Derick Samson said.
The shop, that’s been open for three months, carries model trains, airplanes, boats, trucks, doll houses and also drones.
“We’re having a blast,” he said. “We’re enjoying meeting all the people in the community. It’s kind of neat that people come up and say ‘we just heard about you and we’re excited, we want to come see your store.’ So, it’s been fun.”
Charles Wise, a board member for the Historical Society, was sitting with his father, Jim Wise, of Sedalia, and his display of model steam engines.
“Of course a lot of the early train engines were steam,” Charles Wise said.
“Most of it dates back to the early 1900s,” Jim Wise added.
Jim Wise also had a model train, on display, that was approximately a century old .
He pointed to an alcohol-based 1910 Flame-Licker engine in his collection, also a century old, that would have been used to run the train.
“They called them educational toys … ” he said.
Other engines served a working purpose he added.
“These here were real working steam engines,” he noted pointing to two other larger engines. “You’ve probably seen pictures of the old Cretors Popcorn wagons, well that’s what ran it, one of these engines. Of course now they are toys, but back then they were working machines.”
Richard A. Spain, of Berryton, Kansas, was the vendor who travelled the furthest to the train show.
“It started out as a hobby collecting,” he said. “If you’re a collector long enough, soon or later, you become a dealer. So, this is my hobby, buying and selling. I call it ‘Railroadiana.’”
Spain added that he’d been collecting for nearly to 30 years and he travels to a “few” shows annually. This was his first time to be a vendor at the train show, but he had a table set up earlier this year at the Trail’s End Western Heritage Days hosted in April.
“This is pretty small for me,” he said. “I usually like to have around 500 or more (people). I have a lot of rare stuff, but I sold some rare or hard to find stuff today.”
During the event on Saturday he sold some old employee passes, passenger time tables and a creamer from the Rock Island Railroad.
“I sold some Frisco public time tables from the 50s and the 60s,” he added. “Then I sold a KATY employee time table, and it was the last one when they were still inventing them. “
Spain was also selling antique KATY, Wabash and Santa Fe railroad lanterns, old books and belt buckles. He attended the show with his friend Ed Nakonneczny, of Topeka, Kansas. The men said they planned to try some local barbecue on the way home later on Saturday.
Paul Moad and his son Allen Moad, of Albany, were also vendors at the event. Paul Moad said he is retired but he still operates a bulldozer from time-to-time. He was selling model trains and railroad memorabilia; model railroad collecting and selling is in his blood.
“I do about 10 to 12 shows a year,” he said. “I go out to Hays, Kansas, 335 miles. I was out to Omaha, Nebraska last weekend, then I have one more in Kansas City this year and then we’ll be done.”
On Saturday he sold a model Norfolk & Western steam engine to Bill Shay of Fayette. Shay, 79, said he’s been collecting for 70 years.
“We’re just old boys with little boy toys,” Shay added.
The Pettis County Historical Society will host one additional fundraiser this year a Christmas Bazaar, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Dec. 12 at First Christian Church, 200 S. Limit Ave.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.