Twice a year the Peoria Train Fair rolls into town... bringing with it a group of people who love to talk, and teach, about trains. Organizer Ron Brown said, "There's a variety of merchandise, glass ware, model trains, collector items. All sorts of that stuff."
Brown said the train fair keeps getting bigger. He expected more than 400 people at Sunday's event. He said so many people are jumping on board because it's a hobby that's always changing with time. "It's just the way things move. I look at it the way products move this day and age, with the freight and the passenger trains have come a long way."
For Jeff Mueth, it's not only a hobby, but it's a profession. Mueth is a conductor and a collector.
He said, "I've always been an artistic type of person and this is the best hobby that I've ever encountered in all of my lifetime."
The Southern Illinois native takes his collection on the road, always looking to find something special. Like many collector's items, some of those things come with a hefty price tag. He explains one of his favorite items. "This particular model, there was only 54 of those imported and I paid over $2,000 for that locomotive."
For these train enthusiasts, the fair is an event to do more than buy and sell. It's a place they can share their love for the locomotive, and maybe even make plans to travel on one in the near future.
The train fair is sponsored by the Illinois Valley Model Railroad club and the River City Model Railroad club.
The next fair will be held in November.