Ed James can't remember a time when trains weren't a part of his life.
"It's likely the first sound I ever heard in the world was a steam-engine whistle," said the Owensboro man, who was born in McHenry. "I was born next to the railroad tracks. Back when I was born, women didn't go to the hospital to have children. They weren't sick. They were having babies."
While trains have been his passion for most of his 76 years, he has never worked for a railroad.
"I didn't want to spoil my fun," he quipped.
He does devote time to his hobby, though, by buying and selling model trains. He will be among various vendors at the 11th annual sHOw Modular Model Railroad Club Show and Sale, which will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Historic RailPark and Train Museum. Admission is $2. The RailPark will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission will be discounted with sale admission. The museum will offer discounted tours with paid admission.
Event coordinator Kevin Comer said vendors from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri will be there with railroad memorabilia and toy trains. There will be 50 tables with model and toy trains in all scales, supplies and accessories, railroad memorabilia, books, magazines and more. The event draws about 1,000 people each year.
"Children love to look at the various trains with their parents and grandparents, and those stories of getting a new train set are shared over generations," he said. "There is something for everyone, from the novice beginner to the advanced modeler. It's fascinating to watch the excitement of both the kids and adults as they browse the displays. Our club members and the vendors really enjoy promoting model railroading as a hobby."
Comer said the show and sale was started as a fundraiser by club members and grew in popularity.
"It's in an excellent location," he said. "The Historic RailPark and Museum is a great place to come visit and learn about passenger trains. Vendors love it, and crowds love it."
Proceeds help the club with displays that are set up at various events, such as Auburn Autumn Days, programs and museum exhibits that members maintain, Comer said.
"Our club loves to set up modulars," he said. "It's a great thing to see the kids come in and see those."
Club member Rick Williams said the group looks forward to the event every year. "People can come in and add to their collections," he said. "It brings back a lot of memories for people. People are welcome to walk through and ask questions."
The vendors and enthusiasts are the perfect people to ask questions to about trains, Williams said.
"If you grew up with (trains), it's something you never seem to get out of your system," he said.
James has never wanted to get his hobby out of his system. He has been a vendor at the show since it started. He is more interested in cars than sports.
"I've told people all the time, I don't care if (University of Kentucky), Western (Kentucky University) or anyone else wins a ballgame," he said. "I'm a train person. My hobby is trains."