Trainfest Builders Launches in 2019

Thanks to Wm. K. Walthers Inc., traditional train layouts will receive a brand new perspective when children ages 5-14, display their personal creative train layouts in the new “Trainfest Builders” Kids Layout Section at Trainfest 2019.

Trainfest is collaborating with a number of educators and clubs to ensure the program supports, promotes, and culminates the benefits of a STEAM education. (The grouping of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math academic disciplines to enable children to apply classroom knowledge successfully through analysis and problem solving.)

All children ages 5-14 are invited to participate. Three categories of exhibiting are offered: layouts of toy trains themed by the child; a display of running railroads that incorporates elements of model building; or creation of a Module to spec.

Trainfest is now 5 football fields of trains!

We’ve expanded into the Cream Puff Building (adjacent to Expo Center)

All Aboard Giveaway - New in 2019!

Thanks to the generous donation by the Duplainville Clock Co., the “All Aboard” Giveaway has been established and launches at Trainfest 2019.

Win a custom made, limited edition Train Clock by Duplainville Clock Co. to mark Trainfest’s 48th Anniversary this year.

Second prize is a once in a lifetime adventure of a First Class Overnight for 2 on the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad.

A beautiful hand-crafted Display Case (HO or N) from Prairie Railway Display will be cherished for sure by the lucky third prize winner.

It’s free to enter. Visit All Aboard Giveaway for full details.

Lucky winners will be selected from a random drawing on Sunday afternoon of Trainfest 2019.

Kids' Make 'n Take

Courtesy of Walthers

A Family Favorite Activity! Where Kids can build a model at Trainfest with the help of an experienced modeler. Then they can bring it home to add to their own railroad!

Walthers Two-Story House

Faller's Home Town Model

Kids ages 9-14

Online ONLY Price $6
(At Show Price: $7, if available)

Retails at $24.98

Kids ages 4-8

Online ONLY Price $2
(At Show Price: $3, if available)

Retails at $7.99

Make a Weekend of It

Need a great place to stay while visiting Trainfest? Check out the Trainfest Hotel Packages!

Ken Patterson and the crew of the podcast show “What’s Neat This Week in Model Railroading” will be at Trainfest doing two special shows

On Saturday, watch the “Live” podcast tapping from Trainfest when a variety of special guests are interviewed.

Then for the first time ever, the crew will host a “Live Stage Clinic” on Sunday. It’s an audience “talk back” session and special time to talk about everyone’s passion – model railroading.

Both shows are on the stage near the Celebrate-a-Railroad panel display, Saturday at 2p and Sunday 11a.

Celebrate-a-Railroad 2019 - the CB&Q

The beautiful 32-panel museum quality display on the CB&Q is sponsored by the BNSF Foundation.  
Here’s a sneak peek of the first two panel spread coming to Trainfest 2019! 

Get More of the CB&Q Story

Trainfest proudly honors the CB&Q railroad as the 2019 Celebrate-a-Railroad.

The Burlington Route Historical Society has been hard at work this year combing their archives for display materials on the CB&Q.

While at Trainfest, watch for exhibits featuring the CB&Q. Everyone gets into the act. Operating railroads run CB&Q engines and stock cars. Manufacturers and hobby shops offer special CB&Q merchandise.

Be sure to visit the Trainfest store for our limited edition Celebrate-a-Railroads cars and collectibles.

Visit our Celebrate-a-Railroad page to learn more of the unique contributions made by the CB&Q. 

A special feature on the 3-way race to the Twin Cities between the CB&Q, Milwaukee and CN&W is included! 

News From Exhibitors ...

Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.

Beginner to experienced builder, Walthers is ready to help turn your ideas into the model railroad of your dreams in booth #3630! Check out our many easy layout space solutions, and all the newest products, including the complete WalthersTrainline™ Flyer Express HO DC train sets now in stock, new WalthersMainline® HO freight cars, the latest locomotives from WalthersProto® – and – a sneak peek at our next HO engine, and an all-new Cornerstone® kit!

For, a new era begins at Trainfest 2019. Be sure to stop-by booth #2400 at 10:00am Saturday morning for the reveal of our 17th all-new locomotive. We’ll have several operating versions on display of this definitive model. While you’re at our display, be sure to visit with our team and see all of our latest locomotives, freight cars, and containers.

Duplainville Clocks Co.

Have an old pocket watch and wonder if it’s a railroad watch? Curious as to what it’s worth? Duplainville Clock Co. will be bringing Master watchmakers from the NWACC Guild toTrainfest to give you a free assessment!


No train is complete without a caboose! Athearn is proud to announce the new Genesis International Car Cabooses in HO scale. With industry first features; including OEM Sound, road name and road number specific detail, these all new models complete your train, end-to-end with Athearn. Come by booth 2530 and discover what your train has been


Kato has announced their 2019 T-Trak Contest to be hosted at Trainfest! All entrants will display their module at Trainfest combined to create one big modular layout that will be on display. 

Learn more about the Kato 2019 T-Trak Contest here.

White River Productions

White River Productions will be hosting a book signing in their booth on Saturday Nov. 9 from 2p to 4p for Jerry Pyfer’s book, Milwaukee Road, Tales From the Racine and Southwestern.

Chicago & North Western Historical Society

Author Bruce K. Nelson will be appearing at the Chicago & North Western Historical Society’s tables on Saturday, November 9 to sign copies of his new book “Chicago & North Western and the Fox River Valley Railroad 1988-1993.”

NEW Trainfest Exhibitors

Layouts & Displays


  • NMRA St. Louis 2020
  • SS Edmund Fitzgerald

Historical Societies

  • Railway & Locomotive Historical Society
  • Midwest Rail Rangers


  • Brause Layout
  • Burning River N Society
  • CenterTrak
  • Chicagoland Assoc of S Gaugers
  • Kato USA – T Trak Contest
  • Kenosha Lego Layout
  • Mudhens Layout
  • Navarrete Layout

Click to View Full List of Layouts


  • All Scale Miniatures
  • AzaTrax
  • Electric Wallpaper Co aka Roomettes
  • Hot Wire Foam Factory
  • Jacksonville Terminal Company
  • Model Train Technology LLC

Click to View Full List of Manufacturers

Hobby Dealers

  • Bookman
  • Choo Choo Bob’s
  • Dwarvin Enterprises Ltd
  • Jorgensen Rail Sales
  • Kansas Depot
  • MJS Custom Layouts
  • Norris Hobbies
  • The Railroad Yard
  • TrainTraxx/HiveID

Click to View Full List of Vendors

What to See & Do at Trainfest


Trainfest 2020 and Beyond

Lot’s of big program plans are in the hopper to make Trainfest even bigger and better.

It’s one of the benefits of being an all-volunteer, nonprofit effort! We get to plan big and make it happen.

See Layouts from Around the World at Trainfest 2020!

It’s “20/20. Clear Tracks Ahead” for Trainfest to open a New International Layout Exhibition in 2020.

Layouts from across the globe will join the 70 US Operating Model Railroads already on display!

We need all railfans, hobbyists, and Trainfest fans to help support the program by making a donation. Funds raised will help pay the transportation fees of the international railroads.

We’ve been contacted by railroads in New Zealand, Germany, Norway and Great Britain to Asia.

Check out the full story and make a donation or buy a fun perk!

50th Trainfest Anniversary

We are in the thick of planning a spectacular 50th anniversary show in 2021. Stay tuned. We promise it’s worth the wait!

Here’s a peek at our logo!

Mark your calendars for Trainfest 2021 – our 50th Anniversary – November 13 & 14, 2021.


Bookmark this page to stay up to date on Trainfest!