"In the winter of 1999, 3 men met at a local train show. From this meeting wheels started turning and they are still turning today."
In 1999, three men met at the Longview train show and noticed that of all the train clubs and layouts at the show, not one was a 3 rail, O gauge train layout. No large scale trains at all! This injustice to the hobby brought about a conversation at a local restaurant as to how this could be fixed.
Several weeks later the men met again and started planning a 3-rail display for the next show. The result was a layout using three 4 x 8 foot sheets and 4 show tables. With track down on the make shift tables, wires ran across the top of the sheets, accessories with push botton around the edge, trains on the track, this was the beginning of what would become known as the Loblolly Railroad.
With two loops of track and a couple of sidings, trains were rolling around the Loblolly Railroad display. Accessory buttons around the layout allowed the youngsters to unload and load coal, unload and load logs, and operate the saw mill.
As these men worked with the youngsters, demonstrating how the accessories worked and how the trains ran, it didn't take long before the youngsters were in complete control of this crude 3-rail empire. With the positive response from the show visitors, encouragement from the show operators, planning move into high gear for the next show and a more permanent and properly constructed layout was planned. Over the years the Loblolly Railway display has mutated into several newer and larger version.
A new challenge came to the Loblolly Crew when the owner of the hobby store in downtown Longview approach them about putting a smaller layout together. The ideas was to have an operating layout setup on the sidewalk in front of the hobby shop during Longview's annual Alley Fest. Plans were made to build a 12 x 16 foot 'L' shaped layout. For several years the Loblolly Railroad was in front of the hobby shop during Allen Fest. Thus was born the GTH Division of the Loblolly Railway.
The Loblolly GTH Division has been seen at several events over the years with the large 8 x 44 foot layout set up at the J.E.T.T.S. show in Longview and the CBHS show in Tyler.
Visit our pages and get to know more about the Loblolly Railway and its Crew. Visitors and new Crew members are always welcome to come run. Even if you aren't a Crew member, bring your trains to a show and ask to run them.
With their mission to introduce the public to model trains, the hobby of model railroading, and the fellowship of sharing your hobby with other modelers, model railroading of any gauge is a great hobby. Youngsters can learn a little bit about electricity, carpentry, engineering and design.