The Christmas trains are right around the bend

The Christmas trains are right around the bend

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -They don’t shout “All Aboard!” until December 1, but it takes a while to lay those tracks. The Gregg County Historical Museum is hosting the Loblolly Holiday Train and Village Exhibit and the club is busy making sure those trains don’t jump the rails.

It’s the little stuff that counts, especially with something so big, at least that’s what Fred Bower and Steve Gatton with Loblolly Railroad think. But why the name Loblolly?

“All pine trees you see in Longview are Loblolly pine trees, and that’s where the name comes from,” Gatton clarified.

Now that that’s out of the way the “little” part is obvious, but how big is the whole little thing?

“Eight by 44-foot train layout runs six lines in the layout and we’re getting set up for Christmas,” Gatton said.

That’s a little ways out yet, but young eyes and old can take in the 352 square feet of magic starting the first of December.

“Five to eighty-five. Kids like it five to eighty-five,” Gatton stated.

The display is nostalgic within an envelope.

“This would go from 40’s to early 60’s,” Gatton explained.

So how long does it take for Gatton to set this up?

“Takes about a week,” he said.

It breaks down into sections and it’s stored in a train club member’s barn that he stores this in, on a trailer,

Gatton said the display takes knowledge and time to put together.

“If you know what you’re doing, it takes some expertise to put the electrical together,” Gatton said.

Gatton said the display can run up to six trains at the same time.

And they don’t charge the Gregg County Historical Museum a cent for the setup or use. Museum Director Lindsay Loy says they give them a little something anyway.

“We of course give them a donation to buy parts because stuff breaks every year,” Loy said.

But the whole little town seems to be missing something.

“I guess it’s just not quite cold enough to snow yet but it’s going to,” I said.

“It is going to. This time next week the layout will be covered in snow,” Gatton stated.

All that detail, and what do the kids chase after?

“The M&M handcar,” Gatton revealed.

Well they are chocolate, it just makes sense.

The display is the result of twenty years of collecting HO gauge train accessories. The display will open to the public on Saturday, December 1, and will be free to view on that day. Normal Museum rates apply the rest of the month.

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