The Seymour Museum Center was occupied on Saturday by Seymour’s Train and Toy Show, which featured many displays of model trains in various scale sizes, model train giveaways and even a special appearance by none other than Santa Claus himself.
The train displays set up around the museum were provided by the Southern Indiana Model Railroad Association, a Seymour-based group. Each display featured handcrafted landscaping surrounding the train tracks and buildings and other scenery. Each item in the display is designed to be the correct size relative to the scale of the model train it accompanies to best make each one look as realistic as possible. The layouts themselves are imagined by the association’s members, who then get to enjoy the process of bringing it to life with the help of other club members.
One of the model trains cruising along the track at the Seymour Train and Toy Show on Saturday.
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Gregg Surenkamp, a longtime member of SIMRA, said the members take part in crafting the grass, trees, rocks and some of the other items viewed by visitors.
“We have a team of guys that we get together and we’ll say, ‘OK, what are we looking for in this in this kind of a layout? What do we want to do?’ and then we get together. We lay the track first, put the base of the track down and we’ll lay the track on top and then we just play,” he said. “Oh, we need some grass here or something like that. So you go into it with an idea of what you want to do and then you just expand upon that. OK, fill in here, fill in there. This would look good here.”
Surenkamp’s love for trains began at a young age.
“For me, the love of trains started when I was a kid,” Surenkamp said. “My dad bought me a Lionel train when I was a kid in the ’60s, and it just ballooned on from there.”
Surenkamp has now been a member of the club for many years and has passed on his love of trains to his son, Cody, who also is a member of the association.
“I started him as a kid. I mean, he was born into it because I had a basement and I had trains down here, and ever since he was just a little kid, he has been playing with trains,” said Gregg.
Cody’s early love of trains and roots in the hobby helped prepare him for his career as an engineer with Cummins, his dad said.
Cody and Gregg were both part of the group that helped prepare the displays for Saturday’s event, which required a few days of on-and-off work from everyone involved, Cody said.
“I’d say we put them together probably in a couple of days, but it was here and there. We weren’t working full time. If we were here working full time, I’d say probably about eight hours,” Cody said.
The Surenkamps are two of around 20 current members of association, said club President Bob Bicknell.
The club hopes to continue expanding, particularly with younger members, who they hope can learn valuable skills similar to those Cody has through the hobby.
“One of the things our club is trying to do and we want to do like is promote these little guys to get involved. I have nothing wrong with PlayStations and all that’s great, I play PlayStation. But this is hands-on stuff,” said Gregg. “And (Cody) knows how to rebuild the engines and things like that. Of course, working for Cummins and working with diesel engines probably helped a little bit with that, but it just taught him a lot.”
The train and toy show will be open once again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the museum at 220 N. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour.
Much like the previous show, there will be vintage toy and train displays, holiday decorations, model train giveaways and an appearance from Santa Claus.