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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Interactive exhibits put youths in the ‘driver seat’ at annual Train Show

by Sylene Argent

As Heritage Week wrapped-up, Heritage Essex hosted its 26th annual Train Show over the weekend, giving enthusiasts, youngsters, and the young at heart a chance to not only marvel at the intricate details of several interactive model train exhibits setup throughout Essex Public School as part of the event, they were also able to recognize a few local historical milestones.

Heritage Essex, which maintains the Essex Railway Station, hosts the annual Train Show as a fundraiser to continue operating the historic site. This was the first time the weekend-long event was able to take place since its 2020 installment, due to the pandemic.

“It was nice to be back and see everyone,” Marnie Aldridge, Administrative Assistant at the Essex Railway Station, said. “Being here brings you back to your childhood.”

Often, grandparents take their grandkids out to the event to share with them a hobby they enjoyed in their youth.

The event, which is the largest of its kind in this end of the province, offered a vendor area; many of which sold model train pieces. It also welcomed three different organizations to set-up an array of exciting model train displays, which they allowed visiting youths to take the controls and operate.

“It is priceless to see the kids’ faces when they watch the model trains go around the track,” Aldridge said.

Youths were also able to enjoy a story time, make a little train craft, colour, and play with puzzles onsite.

This year’s Train Show was special, as a few historical milestones were recognized, Aldridge noted.

The Canadian Southern Railway laid its tracks in Essex in 1872, before the village of Essex Centre was incorporated in January of 1884. A year later, the very first train came through town, which took place 150-years ago. Heritage Essex is looking at putting something together to celebrate that this spring.

In addition, 135-years ago this past September, the original train station was built, which was later rebuilt after the 1907 railcar explosion.

The Essex Railway Station will get a little TLC this year. In the 2023 Budget, Essex Council allocated $45,000 for its chimney replacement, from the Asset Management Reserve.

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