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Locals Light Up as Model Trains Chug Along at Library

The person behind the exhibit originally started making the rounds in the Bronx, but later moved up to Southeast. He took his passion for trains with him.

Southeast resident John W. Hyland has been showing off his model train collection for nearly 40 years, bringing awe and wonder to folks young and old.  

On Thursday, Hyland brought his exhibit to the for the first time. According to Director Maria Steinberg, about 25 people showed up throughout the day to watch three LGB trains. They chugged along at varying speeds, with the occasional toot. 

"My husband brought my granddaughter, she's 2-and-a-half and she was just mesmerized," Steinberg said with a big smile. "The younger ones just stare. The parents like to see the kids' reactions, see their faces."

But youngsters aren't the only ones who get a kick out of the exhibit. Hyland said a group of senior citizens swung by that morning. They loved what they saw.

"It's basically a dying hobby," said Hyland, whose collection consists of roughly 30 engines and dozens of cars. "It [the modern-day train] is nowhere near what it used to be. There's no steam, no nothing."

Showing people how trains once operated is a priority for Hyland, who is now retired. Exhibits like the one at the library take a few hours to set up, but Hyland said he'll take his collection just about anywhere. 

"You got the space, I've got the time."

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