Small trains bring big fun at Bend railroad event

East Cascades Model Railroad Club holds open house

Central Oregonians climb aboard tiny trains

BEND, Ore. - Steam engines, diesel engines and railroad cars of all shapes -- all smaller than in real life, but plenty of fun.

The Eastern Cascades Model Railroad Club held its 10th annual open house this weekend, drawing more than 1,000 people to the two-day event.

There was lots of excitement Sunday as hundreds of kids and their families bundled up on a chilly first day of fall and rode the one-mile loop atop little passenger cars around a tiny track.

Outdoor Operations Manager Brian Benjamin told NewsChannel 21 the steam engines light a fire, burn coal and release steam -- an exact miniature of the real deal.

Benjamin said the noisy little engines are a big hit with the kids each year.

"The problems we usually have is getting them back off the train after the ride -- they don't want to get off," Benjamin said.

Several youngsters were eager to climb aboard.

"They look like real-life trains," said young Bend resident Tristan Clark. "Like if you were miniature-sized, it would look like an actual train."

While children were excited for the ride, many adults were amazed by the tiny engines' working parts.

"The smoke and the hissing and the spouting of the steam, and then the engine whistles -- it's just like a real train, but it's miniature-sized -- it's awesome," said a Bend grandfather who brought his grandchildren.

Visitors also enjoyed an indoor model train exhibit.

The club collected donations used to maintain and operate its train collection.

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