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.