Toy Trains of Belhaven return for 6th year

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BELHAVEN — Walk into the old town hall on Main Street, and a pre-World War II era comes to life through more than 350 feet of train tracks in a 500-square-foot area.

The Toy Trains of Belhaven will return for a sixth year this Saturday, representing “a time when toys were made from steel and cast iron and were built to last,” according to organizer Don Stark.

Stark said most of the train models are Standard Gauge tinplate, and some are more than 100 years old. The pre-WWII theme features a new drive-in theater and a showboat, as well as interactive accessories, he said.

“I think that our dedicated volunteers have enjoyed being a part of this worthwhile project,” Stark said. “Because we create a new display every year, it never is stagnant. We have the chance to be creative and inventive.”

He said people of all ages come to see the train display, from school groups to older adults.

“The responses from the children have been fabulous. Some come with a school group one day and come back with an aunt, uncle, cousin or parent over the next several days. We have had some that literally cried when it was time to leave,” Stark said.

“Adults have enjoyed the display on a different level. Because we portray an earlier time, it is (a) trip down memory lane. Perhaps they had trains when they were young. Many have a connection to railroading or recall their first train ride.”

Stark said preparing the Toy Trains of Belhaven is a long process, requiring hundreds of hours of work. That’s part of what makes sharing it with the public so special.

He said visitors from 150 miles away have been known to visit the display after hearing about it from a friend. Other out-of-towners visiting for the holidays like to stop in, as well — hailing from Great Britain, France, Ireland, South Africa and Canada, according to Stark.

“Putting this together represents a massive amount of careful planning and hard work. The reaction of the visitors both young and old makes the effort worthwhile,” Stark said.

Belhaven’s old town hall is located at 215 E. Main St. The display is free and open to the public.



Grand opening on Saturday                            Noon to 7 p.m.

Dec. 8, 15 and 22 (Fridays)                               1-7 p.m.

Dec. 9, 16 and 23 (Saturdays)                          Noon to 7 p.m.

Dec. 3, 10 and 17 (Sundays)                              Noon to 4 pm

Dec. 24                                                                      1-4 p.m.

Dec. 26                                                                      Noon to 5 p.m.

Dec. 27                                                                      Noon to 5 p.m.