Delavan Train Show a model attraction

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Ian Gronau | March 9, 2014

DELAVAN — Yesterday was the first day of the seventh annual Delavan Train Show, but if you haven't passed through yet, you still have time to hit it today, March 9.

The show has grown so much over the past few years, hosting nearly 4,000 visitors last year, that the organizers have made a few changes for this seventh year. As always, the show will be headquartered at the Delavan American Legion Hall, 111 S. Second St., but train displays also will be featured at eight other downtown locations.

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All the locations are within several blocks of each another to make the tour walkable, but a trackless train will also ferry guests between display areas. Organizer Sara Deschner said that the expansion will not only help to get people into downtown businesses and spread out the show's large attendance, but also raise its status from show to festival.

Across the locations this year, the show will host 16 different model train layouts varying in size from G Scale, or garden scale, all the way down to Z Scale. There will be some new and familiar faces among the hobbyists showing off their layouts. Lake Geneva resident Ed Yaeger will  display his model train layout for a fifth year. 

“Trains are attractive to people of all ages and backgrounds,” Yaeger said. “They are a worldwide fascination, and that's what its all about over in Delavan this weekend.”

Yaeger has had a fascination with trains ever since childhood, when he was inspired by watching the Hiawatha trains chug up and down the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor. But Yaeger will be showcasing more than just his love for trains at the show, he'll also be offering a history lesson on the train line that serviced Lake Geneva 140 years ago, and a proposed railroad park that he's been advocating in the city for several years. 

“I'm going to be bringing a scale layout of a proposed railroad park in Lake Geneva,” Yaeger said. “I proposed this railroad park in Lake Geneva in 2007 when we discovered that piece of property that used to be the engine service area is still downtown basically as it was in 1871.”

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