Next Stop: Train Fest

February 21, 2017  |  Permalink

Each year, people from all around the state gather at the Train History Festival, held at Montgomery Bell State Park.  In 2017, over 1,200 people attended. 

The train fest is about reviving history and passion for trains, as well as learning about their impact on parks and conservation. 

here is a small but detailed train model. Including a city, hills and a tunnel.

Photo 1: Here is a small but detailed train model. Including a city, hills and a tunnel. (David s. Piñeros)

The festival started full steam ahead at 9:30 in the morning.  The noise of train models filled the space as they moved across multiple rail systems just as in real life.  Each train had its operator, dressed for the event in typical train engineer style.  These operators were more than ready to share the history of their railroad system as well as how they created their mini-universe.

Portrait of a train operator with a mid-size train model. He was very enthusiast about his model, definitely one of the most elaborated ones.

Photo 2: Portrait of a train operator with a mid-size train model. He was very enthusiast about his model, definitely one of the most elaborated ones. (David s. Piñeros)

Some had very big full functional train models, such as the Mid-South Live Steamers, that can be ridden at their home park in Maury County. Others, such as the Nashville N-Trak, have very tiny but incredibly detailed models.   

1.	The biggest model in the festival! This actually runs, and an adult can ride it by sitting on the back.

Photo 3: The biggest model in the festival! This actually runs, and an adult can ride it by sitting on the back. (David s. Piñeros)

All of the engineers designed the scenery that the trains pass through as you travel throughout the event. Sometimes these mini-worlds make you feel like a giant because they look very real.  They have buildings, roads, mountains, trees, cars, miniature people, tunnels, forests and even desert sections. 

Photo 4: Mini train accelerating to leave the mini train station.  Each wagon was about four inches long. (David s. Piñeros)

Photo 5: One of the mid-size train models, each wagon is about one foot long. (David s. Piñeros)

Photo 6: Mini train crossing a wood bridge in the big mini-world model described above.  (David s. Piñeros)

Photo 7: Forest section of the largest mini-worlds in the festival. It was an impressive model; a product of  the work of many people throughout the years.  The model has different railroads, trains and landscapes ranging from forest, desert, cities and train station. In the back is one of the train operators making some modifications to a railroad. (David s. Piñeros)

The festival encouraged big thinking, especially when it came to moving people and commodities. Trains are a part of a massive system of rail transportation.  They have the potential to remove large numbers of cars and trucks from the highway. Could trains help reduce traffic congestion, accident rates and vehicle expenses? Could trains increase our life quality by reducing stresses and traffic delays? Imagine the effect on traffic of removing hundreds of trucks from the roads (AAR, 2016). If we transported more freight in railcars, could we reduce the natural resources used to obtain fuel? If so, this could decrease greenhouse gas emissions. These are just some of the topics trains could help address, and some of the ideas brought forward at the festival. 

Overall, this festival was a chance to celebrate the beasts that roam the iron corridors of our country. As rich in history as they are in purpose, trains endure as a vital part of America's future. Don't miss your chance to experience this festival for yourself. Mark your calendars for January 2018 and plan to join us for the annual Train History Festival at Montgomery Bell State Park. 

 

Photos and story submitted by David s. Piñeros.

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Tennessee State Parks