Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #200 – Every Little Thing

The Great Train Show

This week it’s Amy’s turn to host the Lens-Artists challenge, milestone number 200. She is asking us to focus on every little thing that makes us smile. She writes, “Youโ€™re welcome to share something like a small gesture, your favorite dessert, or something that gives you a smile rather than objects that are small in size.” You can view her entire challenge post here.

I suppose one could call my challenge response as something less than small. It features some quite large model railroad displays. As you can see by the opening image, however, though the layouts may be large, sometimes encompassing the entire floor of a building, the objects on the layout are certainly little things. In my opening photo, a model railroader is focusing on repairing a section of railroad track. Note that two tracks in parallel are about the width of the palm of his hand. Of necessity, the trains that ride those tracks are small things for sure.

Great Train Show-1
Small town square

Though I always love to see those miniature trains running around the tiny tracks, I am also impressed with the details of the rest of the model worlds they create. Cars, trucks, houses, businesses, and tiny “people” are fair game in reproducing towns and cities.

Every year, an exhibit called “The Great Train Show” travels the country. In 2019, they were in Phoenix when I discovered the coast-to-coast train show company. The two photos above are from that Phoenix show. This year’s schedule puts them in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. If you are nearby and into model railroading, or if you just want to check them out, you can find their schedule here.

Little Things-1
Model Colorado mountain town

In Durango Colorado, the Durango-Silverton Railroad is a popular excursion. Attached to the Durango terminal is a railroad museum that features a model railroad set. This part of the model appears to represent a mountain town in Colorado.

Little Things-2
Colorado mountain town

Another view of the town shows it’s much larger than the previous image suggests. They have an interesting museum that happens to feature a fairly large model railroad display.

Little Things-3
Model railroad at Buckstop Junction

In September 2018, in conjunction with the fall harvest celebration called Applefest, we visited a pioneer village in Bismarck North Dakota called Buckstop Junction. In the basement of one of the buildings, a large model railroad display was operating.

Model Railroad-9
McCormick-Stillman model railroad

In Scottsdale Arizona, the parks department operates the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. There are a couple of smaller-scale railroads that are big enough to hold people, one navigates on tracks that wind around the 30-acre park. In the park is an entire building devoted to a model railroad group. There are three separate layouts in the building. The images immediately above and below are from layouts in the facility.

Model Railroad-10
McCormick-Stillman model railroad

No model railroad layout would be complete without a miniature diner converted from a railroad dining car. Of course, the place is busy. Diners always are.

I hope you enjoyed my take on Amy’s Every Little Thing challenge. The challenge even allowed me the opportunity to reprocess some of the images in Luminar Neo to get practice with using the program’s new AI Mask features. If you want to pixel peep at any of these images, you can click on one to view it in HD on my Flickr site, or you can visit my Flickr album here.

Thanks again to Amy for a fun challenge for me. Next week it’s Ann-Christine’s turn. If you would like to participate in this or any of the Lens-Artists challenges, you can find out how right here.

John Steiner


  1. Like you I am always equally fascinated by the different scenes that surround these model railway tracks as by the railways themselves – probably more so in fact! Nice idea for the challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A wonderful photo tour of this model railroad. How fun to see these trains travel from town to town. These miniature trains bring me smiles. Love your take on, John. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. What a great subject for the week John! Your post reminded me of our annual Christmas event. I have 4 brothers and each year my dad would put the model train set together, sometimes under the tree and then when it got too big on a platform in the basement. Eventually they grew out of it and the trains went the way of the dinosaur (another of their obsessions btw). Loved your images and the memories they revisited for me!

    • I am happy that it brought you some good memories. I didn’t have the opportunity as a kid to participate in the hobby or my camera gear might have long gone by the wayside. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Loved this, John, perfect for the challenge! In fact we have Sweden’s largest model railroad in a 500m2 house 15 kilometers from where I live…and I have never seen it! I feel rather ashamed now…must book a visit!

  5. Great post for this challenge John! I enjoyed the detail of the towns and people. All the sets show dedication to this hobby or should I say passion. Thanks for bringing it to us.

  6. Thanks for this post, JS. I have always loved model trains even though I never had any when I was a child. My wonderful wife and I have been to the McCormick-Stillman facility and fully intend to return.

  7. This was a great idea John. Fun photos and great information. We also love model trains and enjoy rides around the holidays . Very nice “different” look at the challenge. Donna

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