LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - You ever want to feel like the big man..or woman? Well you can loom like a giant over a pretty impressive model train setup at the Gregg County Historical Museum.
Steve Gatton is a proud member of Loblolly Trains, a group of six like-minded individuals who revel in the elaborate.
"We have a couple of layouts that we're running right now. This one, which is an eight foot by forty-four foot, and then we have one in Nacogdoches which is at the historic depot in Nacogdoches," Gatton said.
They've been working on this railroad many live-long days. And it shows in the faces that take it all in.
"Most people associate trains with children which is, obviously natural, but we have probably as many parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that will come," Gatton revealed.
It's an O gauge model railroad, but they didn't leave out the airport or the drive-in theater.
"Grandparents, great-grandparents tell their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren all their stories you know, when they went to the drive in theater. It's all a period layout from the '40s through the '60s," Gatton said.
And there seems to be a lot of that. Wesley Anderson brought his granddaughter Kathryn Canaguier since:
"As a kid we had some Lionel trains back many, many years ago," Anderson said.
And it looked like grandpa had a bigger smile than granddaughter.
"My favorite train in there was probably the one that was always super fast, with the polar bears; because I like polar bears," Kathryn said.
Some of the trains are over sixty years old.
"People that are in our group have their trains they had when they were children," Gatton stated.
The tales of youth come pouring out.
"It's great to get that communication from them and listen to them tell their stories. They enjoy it, we enjoy it," Gatton smiled.
"Kind of makes you wish you could shrink down and get on," I offered.
"Really, it certainly does," Gatton agreed.
And with that, the lines are shut down and the Stardust Drive in bids all a good night. At least until it's time to catch the train again.
The Loblolly Railroad exhibit will be set up through December 23 at the Gregg County Historical Museum in downtown Longview. They're open Tuesday through Saturday. It's $5 for adults and only $1 for kids.