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'Magic' model railroading event at Keystone Antique Truck & Tractor Museum

Trains, trucks and tractors event at Keystone Antique Truck & Tractor Museum
Posted at 8:21 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 18:58:37-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- If you’re looking for a unique way to beat the heat this weekend, the Keystone Antique Truck & Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights is hosting a massive model railroading event.

Trains, Trucks & Tractors: Titans of Transportation will showcase the best in model railroading in the Commonwealth.

The event, which is sponsored by the RF&P Model Railroaders Club, will feature about a dozen trains all running at one time. Organizers said it will be one of the largest model railroad layouts in Virginia.

Moth the museum and model trains show are designed for all ages.

“This is for everyone. I would say that kids, because of their height have the perfect view of these model railroads," JM Gadoury with the RF&P Model Railroaders said. "It’s designed to be seen at track level. But truthfully, artisans — people who understand when you take art and form, mash them together and animate it together with a train — it’s magic.”

Keith Jones is the founder and owner of the museum in Colonial Heights.

“This was a Benjamin Moore paint factory when I purchased it in 2010, and it was 95,000 square feet. We've since added 35- thousand more, we have about 130,000 square feet.

Every inch of space at the Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum is filled with vintage and restored items. He also is proud of an important restoration.

“1997 I restored my first tractor which was a little green John Deere am setting over on the front row over there. I kind of fell in love with tractors and got to be somewhat of a habit.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Tourism director talks Titans of Transportation show at tractor museum

A habit that turned into a dream after he retired in 2018 from his Abilene Trucking company.

“We have road trucks from the past, it used to haul freight up and down all over the United States. And of course, we have a variety of other items in here such as drink bottles, tobacco products.”

There’s even a lunch counter inside the museum open seven days a week serving breakfast from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for the Trains, Trucks and Tractors – Titans of Transport show this weekend, a model railroad exhibit. Jones says it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.

“Most people, especially my generation grew up with this era of farm equipment, of course, I wasn't a farmer, my father was a sawmiller we had similar equipment to this.”

Jones went to work after his retirement collecting and restoring vintage farm equipment. He says he loves talking to people about the museum and seeing the excitement on their faces, especially kids and hopes it will spark their interest in person rather than on an iPad.

The show also features a model railroad exhibit, manned by the RF & P Railroaders. Bill Dessent is the president.

“I just love the trains. I love the minute. I love the realism of the models. I love the miniature towns and miniature views."

It’s been a 30-year hobby and passion for Dessent.

“So it's all brought in by our members. We set it up on legs, get it, put the scenery back on, get the skirting up, fire up the electronics, and we're ready to go.”

Jean-Marc “JM” Gadoury is also a member of the RF&P Railroaders.

“This whole set is called Labor Day weekend. It is a replication of scenes in New England, including the polar caves, and polar caves Park. Model railroading is the miniature world that you build in the palm of your hands. It's life miniaturized."

And you can the model trains, trucks, tractors, vintage cars, and other things at the Trains, Trucks and Tractors – Titans of Transport inside the Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum at exit 53 in Colonial Heights across from South Park Mall.

This weekend’s show is 9 am – 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, daily museum admission $10 – Adults, $9 – Seniors 62+, $5 Active-Duty Military, Students 6-17, and FREE for Kids 5 & under. Get more details here.

Keystone Antique Truck & Tractor Museum is located just off Interstate 95 in Colonial Heights.