The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 20, 2012

Riding the rails with Lego trains

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Legos met the glory days of rail Saturday, during the Dream Valley Custom Train Line show at the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma in Enid.

In addition to the museum’s normal offering of train memorabilia, artifacts, model trains and tours of cabooses, a steam locomotive and a dining car, the museum Saturday also showcased a large working train display made of Legos.

Museum director Watermelon Campbell said the Lego train display Saturday was just one more way the museum is working to entertain the public and boost interest in the museum, and in Enid’s railroad heritage.

“We have different events all throughout the year,” Campbell said, including a spring open house, a model train show in April, a Christmas party and caboose excursion trips in the spring and fall. “We just try to have a variety of events to entertain the people.”

Museum president Fred Mochon said the Lego train display was a good way to get more kids, and their parents, interested in trains and in the museum.

“You get the kids into the museum to look at the Lego sets, and it brings the adults in with them,” Mochon said. “We also get the benefit of the adults paying the donation to come in, and that helps the museum financially.”

Mochon said he got the idea for Saturday’s event during the spring model train show, which featured two large Lego train displays.

“It seemed to get a lot of attention from the kids, and we need to tune into the kids,” Mochon said. “If you tune into what the kids want, you’ll get the adults.”

Jody Zook, who builds Lego layouts for Dream Valley Lego Layout with his wife, Louise Zook, and friend, Sam Morgan, said they were excited to help the musuem and share their Lego train display with area kids.

“The museum has been needing a fresh perspective to get some younger members and build more interest, not just for the Lego layouts, but also for the other gauges of model trains and everything else they have in the museum,” Zook said.

The combination of Legos and trains seemed to be a good draw for young families Saturday.

David Burrows, of Enid, said he brought his two sons, Austin, 9, and Wesley, 5, and their friend Brysen, 8, to the museum for the event.

“My boys are kind of Lego maniacs, so we thought it would be fun to see how Legos and locomotives blend together,” Burrows said. “It turns out, they blend really well.”

Burrows said the boys, who were eager to go outside and walk through the cabooses, were enjoying the event.

“Legos and trains ... what’s not to like about that?”

Tara Ramos said she also was drawn to bring her 5-year-old son, Nik, to the musuem for Saturday’s unique exhibit.

“He likes trains and Legos both,” Ramos said, “so I figured the merger of the two of them together, it would be fun to come out and see what is was about.”

Nik, who was busy watching an electric car wind its way through the Lego scene on a track, said he enjoyed “watching the trains and the little car.”

Ramos urged more parents, and the public in general, to check what’s available at the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma.

“I think more people need to come and see it and enjoy it,” Ramos said. “I think most people don’t realize how neat it is here.”

Railroad Museum of Oklahoma, located at 702 N. Washington, is open to the public 1-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (580) 233-3051.