Trains scheduled to arrive at NSA this weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

All aboard for one of the largest model train events to ever come to Suffolk! More than 100 tables will be filled with model trains as the &uot;Virginia Train Collectors Inc.&uot; (VTC) meet at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Naturally, the public is invited to attend.

The VTC was organized in 1976 to provide information and education on the history and authenticity of manufactured toy trains. The 500 members also promote the hobby of collecting and preserving toy trains by encouraging fellowship among its members and potential members.

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Russ Dolbear, chairman of the meeting at the academy, said the price of a family admission to the event, $6, is well worth the price for anyone interested in collecting trains.

&uot;That $6 ticket will allow either an individual or family hours of fun and a wealth of information on model trains of all types,&uot; said Dolbear, chairman of this special meet. &uot;We will have tables of electric trains including Lionel, American Flyer, MTH, Marx, Ives, and many more. It all depends on what our dealers decide to pull off their collection shelves and bring to sell. Some of these trains date back to the 1920’s and others are brand new. Dealers will come to Suffolk from four states to set up their model trains, and they will be selling, swapping and even repairing trains. If you have electric trains that you would like appraised, repaired, or sold, bring them with you and talk to the many dealers and collectors there. They will be more than happy to share their knowledge, and experience with you. Parts dealers will also be in attendance where you can find just the piece you need to make that coupler work correctly, or to get that locomotive working in fine order once again.&uot;

As for repairs to model trains, Dolbear said anyone with a model in need of repair should bring it to the meet to discuss the problem with one of the VTC people.

&uot;Some of the repairs will be free, but there may be a small charge to repair anything in need of parts or something that would take a lot of time to do,&uot; he explained. &uot;The collectors will also perform a test on your trains to determine what problems they could have. Also, we would like for people to bring their trains in for appraisals and everyone is invited to ask questions about their trains, or those they see at the show.&uot;

Dolbear, a past president of VTC, said the club always welcomes new members and anyone interested in joining is invited to request membership information. Memberships are also open for those who operate trains.

Like so many of the collectors, he has collected model trains since he was a small child as his father before him did.

&uot;I grew up with trains and have always loved them,&uot; said Dolbear. &uot;I have a toy train auction company, the &uot;Wooden Caboose Inc.,&uot; and little did I dream that I would ever have a real caboose in my backyard but when a park in Richmond closed down I got the caboose they had there as a part of the park.&uot;

He added that train enthusiasts should not miss out on this opportunity to see the latest and some of the oldest trains available all under one roof. For more information call Dolbear at 804-748-2101.