The World's Greatest Hobby on Tour show has evolved from the ashes of previous model train shows at a time when many through that model trains show were almost dead. It was just a few years ago that the mention of a train show with the word GREAT in the name brought scorn and in some cases, outright profanity. But this show is based on the principle that the public still loves trains and loves to see them run. Recognizing that the origin of model railroading was a train around a Christmas Tree, most of the WGHoT shows have been held in the period from November through February. This show proves that train lovers will visit a good train show in the summer. The numbers produced by this show in June would have been welcomed by model train show promoters for their shows in December just a few years ago. The model railroad manufacturers have embraced the show as almost all of the majors were there. We asked a few of the model train vendors at the show of their opinion of and their reaction to the show and we were not surprised to hear favorable comments. George, from Wig-Wag Trains of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had ten booths at the show. He specializes in "N" scale trains, a portion of the hobby which is growing right now. He told us that he "....sells fun, fantasies and dreams...". He feels that the WGHoT is "...managed better professionally than most other model train shows....". They understand that "...advertising gets the public...". Bill Harris of Classic Trains, of Paducah, Kentucky told us that the WGHoT show is a good premise. It brings in the new blood which the model train hobby needs. He will sell at any WGHoT in Texas or any show that is no more than a one day drive from his home. He described his Saturday sales as "excellent". (We talked to him early Sunday morning before the show opened!) N scale is 160 scale feet to the foot and allows prototypically long trains of over 100 cars. Jeania Schmalhorst of Woodland Scenics, , reported excellent sales, that the show had a "good family atmosphere", that it was easy to set-up their dsiplay at the show and there were "... lots of kids at the show...". Her company was considering doing up to four of the WGHoT shows each year. Lee English, Bowser Manufacturing of Montoursville, Pennsylvania said almost the same thing. His company wanted to do up to four of these shows each year.

Marry a great train show with an unbelieveable portable model railroad layout and this is what happened in Louisville. Set-up of this monumental layout began on Wednesday evening, June 25th and went off without any major hitches. By Thursday evening, operations had already started. The entire layout is operated using DCC with Digitrax components with different areas of the layout using different radio frequencies for the throttles. Over 50 model railroad clubs participated in this event, some coming from as far as Washington state. The Mt. Rainier club in Washington state, received contributions from other clubs and endured a four-day drive just to get to the show. Clubs came from some distances including Canada and Texas just to participate in this large display, which would operate just for four days. There is no way to describe the size of this layout. The area of the Conventional Hall is 146,000 square feet and the modules occupy 50,000 square feet or over one third of the space. The layout was larger than a football field.

The modules of the Kentuckiana Society of "N"-Scalers, with their reproduction of the local Louisville Railroad Station were the location of both milepost 0 and milepost 116 for the show.

The layout is more amazing when you consider the layout shown below:

Over 50 individual clubs with 700 modules were needed for the layout shown at left. In the plan, notice there were eight separate sections or loops in the layout. Each one of these loops was assigned a different Digitrax Radio Frequency for control of the locomotives. In the center of the layout was a dispatch area (the four rectangles). This was much more elaborate than shown in the plan. This was a raised area with many tables where the dispatchers could oversee operations over most of the layout. As expected, this area was "off-limits" to the general public.

According to the N-trak interface documents, each model has three main lines. Looking from the outside toward the inside of each module, there are red, yellow and blue lines. The red line in connected throughout the entire layout and is controlled via Digitrax DCC. The other two lines are confined to the loops and are operated mainly within those areas. The red line is over 116 scale miles in length.

The process of assembling this layout started six years ago and requires much more than a large hall. In January 2003, KSONS persuaded 12 clubs in seven states to come together and run trains for two days. Then in 2004, KSONS persuaded 17 clubs in twelve different states to do the same thing.

Different clubs were found to have different levels of expertise in certain areas, so it was soon found that when these clubs assembled, the cross talk between the clubs was beneficial to all. Almost everyone learned something new at each gathering. Developing relationships with all these clubs continued and later in 2004 in Chantilly, VA with Northern Virginia N-Trak a 500 module layout was assembled. So keep an eye on these folks, a 1000 module layout is coming, and it may be near you but it will certainly be at a World's Greatest Hobby on Tour show. So keep your eyes open as the 2008-2009 WGHoT schedule has been announced and those shows will be: