David Moree’s mom bought him his first train set when he was 9 years old.
It was a Lionel set complete with a steamer, barrel car, porthole caboose, stock car and tank car.
Then she bought him another set every year for the next four years.
He sat in his room whenever he could, captivated by the tiny machines. He loved creating scenes with them and watching each piece move back and forth.
“It’s the imagination,” he said. “They make you think. You can dream the impossible dream and make it come to reality.”
Decades later, he’s still playing with toy trains. These days his collection is much bigger, though he won’t say how big.
He pulled out a couple of pieces Wednesday. One was an aquarium car complete with fish that swim around. A shark chases some smaller fish, he said. He also showed off his fork lift that moves over to a train car and actually picks up small pieces of timber and hauls them away.
Moree said he’s a big fan of the animation – something Lionel does so well. There are animated pieces to concoct any scene imaginable.
There are cop and hobo cars where the two chase each other. There are rocket launchers, a station wagon inspection car and coal loaders that load coal.
“The animation is what really keeps people going,” he said.
There will be plenty of pieces with spectacular animation Saturday at Moree’s antique toy and train show at Ivy Tech Event and Conference Center.
More than 50 vendors will be on hand with more than 250 tables full of trains and train accessories for sale.
These antique trains aren’t always cheap. Some of the least valuable pieces in Moree’s collection are worth upwards of $500.
There are trains so valuable that people will fork out $10,000 just for the train’s box, he said.
Don’t have that kind of money to spend? That’s OK, too, he said. People can come to learn about the trains and their history.
They can also stop by to see the trains in motion.
There will be a couple of 34-foot-long displays with trains chugging through mountain scenery.
He encourages parents to bring their children. He’s sure the kids will be captivated by the scene.
Moree is so intent on inspiring the next generation of train collectors that he allows young kids to come to the show for free and older kids for a dollar. That’s rare at train shows, he said.
He wants to spark a passion in them. Playing with trains is so much better than sitting at a computer, he said.
“They really give kids something to do,” he said.
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @LindseyZiliak.
WANT TO GO? WHAT: Antique Toy and Train Show WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday WHERE: Ivy Tech Event and Conference Center COST: $5 for adults, $1 for kids 13 to 18 and free for kids 12 and under