Taryn Hanson, 5, kept her eyes on a sleek passenger train as it turned the corner. She was searching for a particular passenger.
“Watch, watch,” she said as the model train rounded the bend of the track, set up on tables in the Bend Public Library. “It’s Mickey!”
A little Mickey Mouse doll was perched in the train’s caboose and had been captivating many of the dozens of kids sitting around the model train display, said Brian Hanson, Taryn’s father.
Sunday capped off a weekend of trains at the library, where Michael Lavrich, 62, had set up more than 400 feet of track for seven model trains, some with cars more than 100 years old.
There were shiny dark green passenger trains, locomotives and cargo trains with cars set up to carry lumber and livestock.
The tradition of displaying the trains at the library started in 1999, he said, when he set up one train on one table.
Since then, it’s grown to fill a room.
Lavrich said it’s a chance for kids to get a glimpse of the trains that inspired him when he was their age.
“It’s all about the expressions,” he said, looking at the young children watching the trains circle. “Since it meant so much to me when I was young, I want to give other kids that chance.”
Part of the attraction, he thinks, is all the action going on at once — whistles, bells, chugging, steam and the occasional spark or two.
It was the steam coming out of one engine that caught the eye of Shane Arnold, 5, who had come with his grandfather. The two sat counting the number of cars on the trains as they passed — five on one, 19 on another.
Library patrons start asking when the “train man” is coming in December, said Paige Bentley, one of the children’s librarians at the Bend Public Library.
“It’s just been a wonderful tradition; it’s one of our favorite things to do in the holidays.”
Greg Wilson brought his three sons and one of their friends to the library, where they immediately found seats and started watching the trains go by.
“My boys and I came here last year,” Wilson said. “It was a Christmas thing to do. Kids all love trains.”
Corey Wilson, 8, agreed that he liked watching the engines chug around.
“I like seeing trains,” he said, “I like seeing them run over the track.”