News & Reviews News Trainfest: THE place … for the model train hobby

Trainfest: THE place … for the model train hobby

By Steve Sweeney | November 4, 2022

Manufacturers are gearing for Trainfest 2022

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WAUKESHA, WIS. — For two model manufacturers, Trainfest is a must-attend event.

The show that resumes this weekend after closing during the Pandemic, is drawing eager support from sponsors Kalmbach Media, World’s Greatest Hobby, and Great American Train Shows, attendees, as well as manufacturers such as Walthers and Kato USA.

“We are happy to have Trainfest back!” Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. President Stacey Walthers Naffah tells “One of the very best characteristics of the model railroading hobby is its ability to connect people over a shared interest, to engage people of all ages and walks of life. Trainfest has consistently been an event that has engaged the young and the young at heart, the hobby newcomer, and the experienced modeler alike. I see great value in an event or gathering that can do exactly that – and we are hopeful that energy and inviting atmosphere will be back in full force this year right here in our hometown of Milwaukee.”

Six bulkhead flatcars stand in front of five TOFC flatcars and four bi-level auto racks.
Walthers-made freight cars include these bulkhead flats, TOFC flatcars, and bi-level auto racks as shown at a recent train show.

Trainfest is returning to its familiar Wisconsin State Fair Park location, minutes from downtown Milwaukee (and Amtrak service) along Interstate 94. The show is expected to take up much of the indoor exhibition space that most attendees are used to seeing.

“Trainfest is one of the most important and largest train shows in the country. It is THE place to find the newest products and ideas for the model train hobby and a place to meet with the people behind all the great products you see on the internet and in stores,” Kato USA’s Leon Waldack tells ”

Waldack says his company, a globally known N scale equipment maker, will feature its ALC-42 Charger locomotives, mini diorama kits, and will have a large T-Trak display.

“New this year, we will be promoting to teachers, schools and organizations throughout the country, what we call mini T-Trak Circus modules which are used in the school STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics program,” he says. “We will have a display showing some of these modules built by 4th graders in the Chicagoland area and will explain how Kato USA has worked with a school in the Chicago suburbs and how we connected them to Japan.”

For decades Trainfest has hosted model train layouts in N scale, but also HO scale, O gauge, ride-on, the garden scales, and even Lego railroad displays. The event is slated to have all of those, vendors, historical societies and more. The event opens Saturday, Nov. 12 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 13. Presale tickets are available online. 

Model railroaders, railfans, and the rail-curious of all ages are encouraged to attend.

For Walthers, the weekend will be a continuation of its 2022 anniversary celebration. The Milwaukee-based premier hobby supplier is celebrating its 90th year in business.

“I have always enjoyed watching kids and families experience our hobby – to see the wonder in their eyes admiring the great layouts on display and their enthusiasm while engaging with my team in our booth. I always enjoy talking with customers who share stories about their hobby projects and favorite things about model railroading,” Walthers Naffah says. “And, I always enjoy visiting with fellow manufacturers and exhibitors, many of whom I call friends. I must admit that while I do like to travel, it is particularly fun to do all of this close to home.”

More information is available online.

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