Cries of "all aboard" were heard thousands of times last weekend at the Monroeville Convention Center when more than 5,000 attended Greenberg's Train & Toy Show.
The national show travels across the country, and the Pittsburgh area is one of only two places where the show stops several times a year, spokesman Frank Hicks said.
"Pittsburgh is a great train town," Mr. Hicks said.
Greenberg's is the largest traveling model train and toy show in the northeastern United States. Established in 1976, the business dedicated to model railroading offers -- for an $8 admission fee -- a chance to learn about different scales, gauges and brands. The show includes workshops and demonstrations and attracts dealers that offer hard-to-find items.
The event brings out both the die-hard train enthusiast and the novice hobbyist, Mr. Hicks said.
"I was fascinated -- so many different models," George Szabo, 62, of Elizabeth Borough said. "I learned a great deal about a world I didn't know existed."
Mr. Szabo was particularly interested in a model train display constructed entirely with Legos.
"The railroad is history just like baseball,'' said Caleb Falbo, 25, of Brentwood. "Railroad shows are a national past time, just like baseball."
Mr. Hicks said that toy and model trains have been around for more than a hundred years and that electric trains became popular in the 1920s and '30s. He said the brands Lionel and American Flyer were staples in homes during the holidays following WWII.
But since the 1980s, he noted, smaller sizes, such as the HO scale, have become popular and more highly detailed.
Those who missed the show last weekend have another chance to get aboard: Greenberg's Train & Toy Show will return to the Monroeville Convention Center on Jan. 18 and 19.
Josh King, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.