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Carnegie Science Center's Locomotion Weekend enthralls children, adults

Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Rachel Rutkoski and her nephew, Tanner Hunt, 2, of Cranberry, watch the Miniature Railroad and Village near the Luna Park section. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side on Saturday, December 1, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Rachel Rutkoski and her nephew, Tanner Hunt, 2, of Cranberry, watch the Miniature Railroad and Village near the Luna Park section. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side on Saturday, December 1, 2012.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Wearing their engineer caps, Jacob Penley, 5 (left,) and his brother, Adam, 2, of Apollo are in awe as they watch the Miniature Railroad and Village. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side, Saturday, December 1, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Wearing their engineer caps, Jacob Penley, 5 (left,) and his brother, Adam, 2,  of Apollo are in awe as they watch the Miniature Railroad and Village. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side, Saturday, December 1, 2012.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Reggie Kubis, 2 1/2, and his mother, Andy, of Lawrenceville, enjoy an eye-level view of the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side, Saturday, December 1, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Reggie Kubis, 2 1/2, and his mother, Andy, of Lawrenceville, enjoy an eye-level view of the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side, Saturday, December 1, 2012.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Bowen Kwolek, 2, and his grandmother, Tara Scheibel, of Oakdale, enjoy an eye-level view of the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side, Saturday, December 1st, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Bowen Kwolek, 2, and his grandmother, Tara Scheibel, of Oakdale, enjoy an eye-level view of the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side, Saturday, December 1st, 2012.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Lincoln Undzius, 2, of Canonsburg smiles as he gets an eyeful of a locomotive in the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side on Saturday, December 1, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Lincoln Undzius, 2, of Canonsburg smiles as he gets an eyeful of a locomotive in the Pittsburgh 'S'-Gaugers American Flyer train display. The display was part of the Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center in the North Side on Saturday, December 1, 2012.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Air Force veteran Lorie Southerland sits in her living room near a painting of her son, Army Spc. Michael Rodriguez, 20, who was killed on April 23, 2007, in the second suicide truck bombing of an Army outpost in As Sadah.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review</em></div>Air Force veteran Lorie Southerland sits in her living room near a painting of her son, Army Spc. Michael Rodriguez, 20, who was killed on April 23, 2007, in the second suicide truck bombing of an Army outpost in As Sadah.

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Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 5:26 p.m.
 

The Carnegie Science Center's Locomotion Weekend mesmerized hundreds of children on Saturday — and more than a few adults who never really got over the model trains they first saw around their Christmas trees.

“I've liked model trains since I was about 2. I guess I've never really grown out of it,” said Steve Hertzer, whose club, the Fort Pitt Hi-Railers hosted the event's largest exhibit — a 24-by-34 foot train display with four tracks.

Hertzer, 42, a human resources administrator, and about 10 other members of the club spent about four hours Friday night setting up the vast display, which occupies most of the huge exhibit room. He says it only takes about an hour and a half to take down.

The weekend's displays feature dozens of model trains, rail-related exhibits, and interactive activities.

“This is a great set of trains,” Jake Kempton, 7, of Economy, said of Hertzer's display. “There is so much going on.”

Jake was at the show with his father, Jim, and brother, Ryan, 5.

Owners of broken model trains could get free repairs from the Loco Doctor — a table staffed by members of the Train Collectors Association-Fort Pitt Division as well as by Joe Mania of Freehold, N. J., a columnist for Classic Toy Trains magazine.

“There were about seven or eight people who needed locomotives fixed. Some needed oiling. One Lionel engine from the 1930s needed its wiring reworked a bit,” Mania said.

Model trains have enduring appeal. But each generation is drawn to model trains for different reasons, says Larry Salone, executive director of the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, which displays trains and also owns the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark.

“People's parents and grandparents probably either worked on the railroad or knew people who did. Many people that age also traveled by train, which is not as common anymore,” Salone said.

Today's kids have been turned on to trains by the movie, “The Polar Express” and by the “Thomas the Tank Engine” series, he said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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