The Nebraska-Iowa Railroaders Annual Train and Toy Show

The Nebraska-Iowa Railroaders Annual Train and Toy Show[1] is coming up soon.  This exciting show runs through June 3rd and 4th in Ralston, Nebraska, at the Ralston Arena.  The arena is easy to find[2] at 7300 Q Street in Ralston and offers plenty of free parking.  The show is open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm on both days.

Sponsored by the Nebraska-Iowa Railroaders Model Train Historical and Museum Society, this is the largest show of its kind in a five state area.  They are even giving away a terrific N Scale layout at the show this year.  (Micro-Trains is well known for their exquisite collection of N Scale trains.) Tickets for the draw are available at their clubhouse at the Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluff, Iowa.  The winning ticket is going to be drawn on the last day of the June show.

This is a weekend family event, starting Saturday, June 4th at 9:00 a.m., and running through Sunday, June 5th.  Collectors are welcome and will be pleased to know there will be more than 200 vendors at the show.  Nebraska’s favorite source for model railroading supplies, Trains and Toys Soldiers, will be there.

The show’s host, the Nebraska-Iowa Railroaders Historical & Museum Society, has been in existence for almost fifty years as a non-profit organization dedicated to the furtherance of model railroading.  They are a uniquely diverse organization, not linked to any of the national organizations, although many of their members belong to one or more other model train clubs, including some national groups.

The society is dedicated to preserving the history of railroading, educating future generations and promoting any hobby linked in any way with trains.  They often get together for informal lunches, produces a club newsletter and maintain a small library of books and videos on trains.

Some club members are very involved in running larger HO and O gauge modular layouts, while others work with smaller portable layouts geared toward children of all ages.  They also sponsor at least one trains show yearly.  This is both a great show to participate in and a great show to support.

There will be layouts in various popular scales operating at the show.  Watch for the latest exciting toy train additions from LGB, Hartland Locomotive Works (HLW), Lionel, MTH and Micro-Trains.

LGB is very popular for the G gauge trains and railroads, also known as garden trains.  Look for some exciting layouts in this gauge at the Ne-Ia show.   LGB has been making durable and powerful large scale trains suited for both indoor and out since 1968, and are known for using the best materials and technology for model railroading.

Look for Nebraska’s own Trains and Toy Soldiers at the show.  As well as being a trusted and reliable supplier of model trains, track and accessories to the Great Plains and beyond, they are also a wealth of information for ideas, whether you are expanding your existing G Gauge layout or just starting.  They are pretty good at finding rare or discontinued items, too.

Hartland Locomotive Works (HLW) is another very popular and all-American, family-owned manufacturer of G Gauge model trains.  They build beautiful locomotives, rolling stock, coaches, freight cars and cabooses, all with the care expected in an American company owned and run by train enthusiasts!  If you haven’t experience HLW for yourself, yet, look for examples of their high quality designs at the show.  You won’t be disappointed.

Lionel Corporation, the most common manufacturer of the popular O scale trains will be sure to feature prominently at the show.  O scale has been around since around 1900, and Lionel trains have become famous for their very high quality and popular electric model trains in this scale.

Lionel is also becoming well-known for the growing S Gauge community.  S Gauge aficionados will tell you that S Gauge, landing somewhere between HO and O Gauges offer the best of both worlds, letting you do more in a smaller space without sacrificing detail.

Of course, you simply cannot talk about Lionel without bringing up MTH[3].  MTH was founded by Mike Wolf of Columbia, MD, who started out assembling and selling trains for Williams Electric Trains at age 12!   In the 1970s, Williams was producing reproductions of Lionel Corporation’s trains.  By 1980, Wolf was doing a booming mail order business selling their products out of his bedroom in his parents’ home.

The relationship between MTH and Lionel Corporation is a long, storied and sometimes troubled one, but nonetheless is quite fascinating, and both companies continue to produce some wonderful trains.  Look for Trains and Toy Soldiers at the show to answer your questions about them in more detail.  Trains and Toy Soldiers are Nebraska’s best source for model railroading supplies and information.

Micro-Trains is known for providing the largest selection of high quality model rail road supplies for the Z scale world in locomotives, freight cars and accessories.  They are the only manufacturer of any scale of model train offering more than 120 models of train freight cars that uniquely match their prototypes.  They are faithfully accurate, right down to the micro-lettering and printing on each freight car.  Each one is celebrated in the model train community for its faithful fit, finish and attention to the finest details.

The Nebraska-Iowa Railroaders Annual Train and Toy show in June promises to be a fascinating trip down memory lane for railroading aficionados, as well as an important date on the calendars of serious collectors and hobbyists, alike.

Kids from 6 to 96 (and beyond) will love the show.  Admission for children under 12 accompanied by a paid adult is free.  For everyone else, admission is only $6, making this one of the best model train and toy show values in the nation.

We look forward to seeing you there!

[1]    Ne-Ia Railroaders Annual Train and Toy Show website information

[2]    Ralston Arena, Q Street, Ralston, NE, USA directions

[3]    MTH Electric Trains

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