35th Annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show

Thanksgiving Weekend, 2012

By: Bruce McGarvey ............Photos By: Bruce McGarvey

Over 3,800 visitors celebrated the start of the Christmas holiday season by attending the Rogue Valley Railroad Show, a tradition celebrating 35 years of enjoying the railroad hobby. This year's show was held November 24th and 25th, 2012, inside the National Guard Armory in Medford , Oregon .

Twenty-one exhibitors highlighted everything from operating model railroads of all scales, historical railroad artifacts, to full-size railroad equipment. If there was a particular size of model train you liked, it could be found operating somewhere on the exhibition floor. One of the favorites for small children was the opportunity to see “Thomas”, the Southern Oregon Live Steamers locomotive offering free train rides at the City of Medford Railroad Park.

  All five of the railroad clubs making up the City of Medford Railroad Park had exhibits at the show. They are the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club, the Southwest Oregon Large Scale Trains, the Southern Oregon Chapter - National Railroad Historical Society, the Morse Telegraph Club, and the Southern Oregon Live Steamers.

 The Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club (RVMRC) operated a large HO-scale layout that represented railroad operations here in the Rogue Valley plus a smaller layout designed especially for kids of all ages to operate. The exciting G-scale layout of the Southwest Oregon Large Scale Trains club was in operation and entertained many. Members of the Morse Telegraph Club were on hand to transmit free messages for any visitor between their two telegraph stations.

The Southern Oregon Chapter-NRHS displayed a large selection of railroad tools, supplies, and photo display boards explaining the rich history of railroads in the Rogue Valley plus SOHS. In a joint display with NRHS and the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum , the Southern Oregon Historical Society's (SOHS) traveling exhibit was on display. “Rhythm of the Rails: The Golden Age of Railroading in Jackson County , 1890-1926” explores the exciting time of the railroad's advent in Jackson County to the completion of the Natron Cutoff in 1926.       

In addition to “Thomas”, the Southern Oregon Live Steamers displayed two large locomotives that operate at the Railroad Park .   The smaller gauges of model railroad were well represented at the show. This year's Peoples' Choice award winner, Gary Johnston of Central point, fascinated everyone with a variety of seasonal scenery – white winterized slopes to green forested mountains.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Vince Moscaritolo's LEGO Train City layout (2 nd place Peoples' Choice) provided lots of fast train action. Visitors also had two places to operate model trains for themselves. Our show's public HO-scale layout (RVMRC) was often the first time many of the children were able to operate a model train. For the more daring visitor they could try their skills by efficiently switching trains on Art McKee's O-scale “Switching Puzzle” layout.


 For those who associate celebrating the Christmas season with O-scale and S-scale trains, several layouts were devoted to this activity - the Siskiyou Toy Train Club had a loop of Lionel trains running and Bill Meyer's American Flyer looped around the Christmas tree. Large crowds of children (and adults) spent a lot of time watching these trains go around and around.

 Other exhibitors this year were the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum, the Jacksonville Museum Quilters, Richard Houston's Sleepy Hollow Railway, Syd Stoner's full-size Fairmont MT14 motorcar, Shaun Anscombe's “Dunster” Great Western R/W OO-scale British layout, and the Lower McKenzie Modular Railroad Club from Springfield , Oregon , also crowd favorites.

Our newest exhibitor this year was the Rogue Valley Genealogy Library. The RVGS exhibit addressed the migration of early settlers across the nation and methods to find our railroad employees' retirement records through the Railroad Retirement Board and other resources. Family history stories were common topics for all.

The Rogue Valley is special in that it has three internationally known and respected model railroad manufacturing plants here. KADEE Quality Products ( White City ), Micro-Trains Lines (Talent), and Campbell Scale Models (Central Point) all featured displays of their popular products.

 Another popular feature of each year's show are the numerous vendors selling everything from railroad T-shirts, books, model trains, videos, model railroad tools, to display cases, and more.

 Hourly door prizes are awarded to visitors, and our very popular raffle drawings featured over 40 items as prizes. Our raffle is special in that you get to choose the prizes you would hope to win.

 All proceeds from our annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show go directly to support the five railroad clubs at a Medford city park— uniquely the only railroad park in the U.S. operated by five different railroad clubs.