The model train shows chugging along in Farmingdale, Garden City and Babylon this holiday season offer fun for enthusiasts young and old — from Thomas the Tank Engine-obsessed toddlers to baby boomers with Lionel train sets etched in their memories.
“Most of our members are older guys, including doctors, lawyers and mechanics, who wish they still had their trains from when they were a kid,” says Tom Rizzo, 76, of Huntington, a member of the Long Island Garden Railway Society, which is presenting its annual model train show at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
Many of the layouts are interactive, allowing youngsters to control trains and activate sound effects. And there’s even a train set that made a big hit on HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
“In one of the last episodes of ‘The Sopranos,’ Bobby Bacala was shot and landed on a train table, and we have that train table,” says Dave Williams, 73, of Massapequa, a member of the Train Masters of Babylon, whose Farmingdale show runs through February.
Here are public shows where you can get onboard for a small-scale ride through the golden age of train travel:
Holiday Model Train Display
WHEN | WHERE Noon-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday through Jan. 7, Town of Babylon History Museum at Old Town Hall, 47 W. Main St., Babylon
INFO 631-587-3750, townofbabylon.com
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THE LAYOUT The 240-square-foot layout celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Long Island Rail Road reaching Babylon Village in 1867, says Town of Babylon historian Mary Cascone. Look for miniature representations of downtown Farmingdale, Wyandanch, Amityville, Copiague and Lindenhurst, and miniature re-creations of Bohack grocery stores, a lifesaving station and Deer Park Airport, which closed in the 1970s.
WHAT’S NEW A miniature of the old Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station building, which was demolished 49 years ago. The 1880s structure has been painstakingly crafted from historical records by Cascone’s husband, Jason, 46, a Suffolk County Community College administrator.
Long Island Garden Railway Society
WHEN | WHERE Through Jan. 1, Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City
INFO 516-572-4111, ligrs.com
ADMISSION $15 ($13 ages 2-12) includes museum admission
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THE LAYOUT The Garden Railway Society’s annual traveling show features 22 tables, each 48 by 30 inches, connected together, with “fantasy” layouts reminiscent of 1940s and 1950s train travel, Rizzo says. Among the miniature scenes crafted by the club’s 110-members are a drive-in-movie theater and an operating saw mill that makes a buzzing noise, Rizzo says.
WHAT’S NEW A mountain scene with a ceramic girder bridge connecting the twin peaks, created by club member Louis Cortese of Jericho.
TMB Model Train Club Open House
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 6, 7, 20 and 21 and Feb. 3 and 4, 120 Schmitt Blvd., Farmingdale
INFO 516-660-8099, tmbmodeltrainclub.com
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THE LAYOUT The 4,000-square-foot layout — an ongoing project by the club’s 80 members — is circa 1955. In addition to locomotives, it features miniature autos and a subway system with moving trains. “The detail is phenomenal,” Williams says.
WHAT’S NEW A 16-foot-tall, 12-foot-diameter mountain circled by a miniature Shay steam locomotive used for logging. Club members constructed the “mountain” from bits of wood, cardboard and plaster cloth, and landscaped it with artificial grass and tiny trees.