LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - There’s something about model trains that just says Christmas, and the Gregg County Historical Museum definitely agrees with that. And their annual Loblolly Train display looks even better at night.
The sun is about to go down on the Loblolly Railroad at the Gregg County Historical Museum, and the best part is visitors don’t have to wait all day for it according to Loblolly Train Club Conductor Steve Gatton. He says when the overhead lights go off:
“You’ll hear an ooo, if there’s a lot of people, go across the room,” Gatton said.
They add more lights and everything else to the display on an ongoing basis. The layout is so big:
“It takes about a full week to put everything up. And we’ve been doing it for the museum since 2015,” Gatton said.
They set it up a lot of other places too, and have since 2000. That makes people like Gerald Stanglin nostalgically happy.
“Trains have always fascinated me. My brother and sister and I grew up next to the Texas and Pacific Railway tracks in the 1950s and 60s right outside of Dallas. Trains were part of my life,” Stanglin said.
In fact they still are. Gerald admits he has an electric train set at his home in Kilgore, but it’s nothing like the Loblolly.
“I love to look at it when they dim the lights and all the lights that are on and everything. It’s been done very well. I really congratulate those that put it together. It sort of makes you feel like a kid again when you stand watching those trains go by,” Stanglin said.
And to make it a little more like Christmas this year they added the Polar Express, but little Gerald’s favorite is:
“The two-unit diesel. It’s got like 19 cars. That’s cool, I just love that,” Stanglin said.
He says the longer he looks at it, the younger he feels. But all good things must come to an end since:
“I think my wife has determined we’ve looked at it probably long enough,” Stanglin laughed.
So he decided it was time to pull out of the station before he ended up strapped to the tracks.
The Loblolly Railroad is a little different every year so you might want to go see it even if you’ve been on that train before. It’s on display at the Gregg County Historical Museum through December 23.