Kaiden Trigg has an 8-foot circular train set at home, and the 8-year-old has seen a lot of model railroads in his young life. But he had never seen anything quite like the 5,600-square-foot model railroad on display Saturday in Hicksville.
“It has a lot of detail, and usually the trains don’t have sound, and I don’t get to control them,” Kaiden said as he pressed a throttle button to sound a whistle on a long black train that traveled on a “bridge” over a river and past handmade trees and bushes.
Kaiden was one of 160 people who attended the second of nine open houses at the West Island Model Railroad Club center. The open houses continue Sunday, Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10.
Kaiden lives in Juneau, Alaska, which is accessible only by boat or plane.
“So he’s a kid who loves trains but doesn’t get to see them,” said his mother, Karen Trigg, 41, who is originally from Long Island and is visiting her parents with her family.
“We’re going to have to drag him out of here,” she said with a smile.
Thomas Farmer, 11, has almost the opposite luck. When he was younger, he and his family lived in a Mineola apartment next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Today, Thomas loves traveling across the Island to watch trains with his grandfather, parents or “anyone who can take me.” And he knows his stuff.
“I like it when the DM30AC hooks up to the MP15AC,” he said, casually dropping names for two types of locomotives that have been used by the LIRR.
Thomas was taking dozens of photos and videos of the trains on Saturday, in part to prepare for when his parents buy a new house – his family is temporarily living with his grandfather after selling their co-op – and he has more space.
“When I get a new house I want to get my own railroad, so I’m getting ideas,” he said.