Hostlers Model Railroad Festival chugs into Ogden for 29th year

Hostlers Model Railroad Festival chugs into Ogden for 29th year
Stephen Call of Salt Lake City assembles a model train in the Utah Train Collectors Association display during the Hostlers Model Railroad Festival on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at Union Station. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN — For model railroaders, train enthusiasts and local history buffs alike, the first weekend of March is an exciting one. That’s when the annual Hostlers Model Railroad Festival comes to town.

The 2018 festival kicks off Friday, March 2, and runs through Sunday, March 4, at the Union Station at 2501 Wall Ave.

Since 1989, the event – organized by Hostlers Model Railroad Club – has drawn between 7,000 and 8,000 visitors each year, making it “one of the largest train shows in the West,” according to club secretary Lee Witten.

The family-friendly affair will include model train displays from clubs all around Utah and as far away as Cheyenne, Wyoming, Witten said.

“There are various scales of trains from the smallest Z scale to the inch-and-a-half, which is large enough for people to ride on,” he said. “It’s very popular with the children.”

Also popular with the kids is the display by the Lego Club.

Other activities include a series of clinics on modeling techniques, such as making miniature trees, and a Boy Scouts program for Scouts to earn their merit badge in railroading.

With videos, contests and vendors selling everything from artwork to food, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained — even those who are “looking for something not necessarily train-related,” Witten said.

The festival is open from 3-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6, or $10 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and under are free. More information is available at Hostlers.info.

Andrea Harvey can be reached at aharvey@standard.net or 801-625-4213. Follow her on Twitter at @andrearharvey or “like” her Facebook page at Facebook.com/AndreaHarveyJourno.