Model train hobbyists of all ages will want to be in Amesbury on Saturday for the Salisbury Point Railroad Historical Society’s Railway Express, the annual Christmas train and model railroad show and open house.
The festivities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the society’s facility at 9 Water St., Amesbury, in Carriage Mills Building 2. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 13, and kids under 5 get in free.
“We’ll have at least half a dozen model train layouts that children can take turns operating,” said SPRHS spokesman Peter Bryant. “Some of the trains, like the American Flyer, date back to the 1950s, and we’ll have five different gauge railroads on display, including everything from N- and OO-gauge to HO-, O- and G-gauge.”
Visitors will be able to run layouts such as Thomas the Tank Engine, as well as a variety of antique model trains made by Lionel and American Flyer. Visitors can also bring their own old locomotives for test runs to see if they still work, without having to set up tracks at home.
On display will be framed prints of railroad scenes in the Amesbury-Salisbury area, as well as thousands of other antique photographs, maps, books, signal lamps and assorted railroad memorabilia.
Videos of antique trains will be shown continuously in the society’s library, and a selection of model trains and railroad accessories will also be available for sale.
An extra added attraction is a collection of hats dating back to the 1870s that were made at the Merrimac Hat Factory in Amesbury, which closed in 1970. That building has been partially converted into condominiums, and the collection of rare and unusual hats now resides at the train museum.
The Railroad Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the Amesbury branch of the old Boston & Maine line, which also lives on, in a way, in the form of the local rail trails that today are popular with walkers, skaters and bicyclists.