All aboard the Loblolly Train Exhibit at the Gregg County Historical Museum

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Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 12:52 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 8:27 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - If one train isn’t on time, well there are several others that will be. The Loblolly Train Exhibit at the Gregg County Historical Museum in downtown Longview is going through its final testing runs. And this Saturday you’ll hear the first call for all aboard.

It looks like a TV remote, but it starts up a lot more than that.

“All aboard,” said a tiny conductor in a model train.

Loblolly Train Club Members Steve Gatton and Fred Bauer, and a few others, spend about eighty hours getting the Loblolly train display to the testing point, and it runs via remote.

“It’s so portable and easy to assemble, right?” I asked Steve.

“It’s portable. You got the first part right. There were six people involved in putting this together,” Steve said.

And they all have their specialties.

“The bench work, the tracks, the dioramas, the electrical underneath,” Steve said.

It’s kind of like:

“Don’t touch my reindeer,” I said.

“Right,” Steve laughed.

“Sometimes we get little, I call glitches,” Fred said.

But they spring into action and save the day, which is why they take weeks to set it all up. And then, the big question:

“Have you ever been actually able to ride on your train?” I asked Steve.

“No,” he replied.

“Would you like to?” I asked.

“Yes,” Steve smiled.

“We’re going to do that,” I said.

So, I shrunk us down a bit and we got inside the engine for a ride down the tracks. Okay, it really the miracle of an action cam.

Fred and Steve say quite often the older generation shows up without the grandkids.

“They are as interested and sometimes will just come on their own, people my age, the grandparents, just to reminisce and see if they can find their automobile,” Steve said.

I found one of my first cars: an MGB, and my dad’s dream car was just across the tracks: a 56 Thunderbird.

Steve wouldn’t say specifically how many more years the display will be assembled at the museum, but:

“We’re in the twilight of the years,” Steve said.

Actually, the club is in need of a space where it could be permanently displayed for public viewing, with changing seasons. Right now it’s stored on a trailer in a barn.

So looks like there’s only a more few years to go back in time 60 to 80 years at the museum to feel like a kid again. You’d better board that train now.

The Loblolly Train Exhibit runs 10-3:30 Tuesday through Friday, Saturdays from 10-2. It opens This Saturday the fourth. Admission on Saturdays is free.

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