OGDEN -- As thousands of people converged on Ogden's Union Station this weekend for the Hostlers Model Railroad Festival, a good number of them are sitting in strollers.
The festival, which fills the entire Union Station, is clearly an event that draws families together. The event features a children's train ride in front of the building and a large train made completely out of Legos in the main lobby.
Saturday, families visited elaborate and scenic displays showing moving model trains -- some of them complete with billowing smoke -- hosted by train clubs from throughout the state.
Enthusiasts and Boy Scouts attended workshops on building models and collecting memorabilia.
Others were purchasing train sets and train parts among a crowd that was mostly standing-room only throughout the Union Station.
Steve Anderson and his son Wesley, 18, both of Bountiful, were there showing off a large display by the Wasatch N-Scale Model Railroad Club. N-Scale trains are the tiny ones, 160 times smaller than the real thing.
"His big deal about the train show is not the train show," Steve said pointing to his son. "It's getting hot dogs out of Daddy."
Steve was using the train show to prepare Wesley, who has Down syndrome, for a trip to Disneyland.
Wesley is in the Best Buddies program at Viewmont High School and is going to California with the group, including his personal Best Buddy, during spring break.
"I'm making him toe the line because he can't run amok at Disneyland," Steve said while allowing Wesley to hug him and rough up his hair. "You get lost there real fast."
Steve said he has brought Wesley with him to the train show every year for a decade.
"Last year, he got lost," Steve said of his son. "He was out climbing on the trains. I figured that's where he was."
Steve and Wesley enjoy presenting at three train shows a year in Utah.
"My Dad loved trains," Steve said. "That's how I got my start. ... He had a large collection of train books on the highest shelf so I had to ask for them. When he passed on, I inherited his train book collection."
Family togetherness also was a theme shared by the Babinsky family, who were visiting with each other at the yearly event.
John Babinsky, 88, of Kaysville, has been into trains since 1923, when he was 5. He said that's how his family, now 52 strong, all got into it.
"He has a whole room of trains," said great-grandson Jordan Carter, 9, of Ogden.
"The kids love to come and watch the trains," Babinsky said. "It brings all the generations together."
While Babinsky stood waiting for his ride with his daughter, Mary Greathouse, of Layton, and two great-grandsons, he spotted a granddaughter, Alicia Babinsky, of Layton.
Shortly after she arrived, Alicia saw her aunt, Dottie Smith, of Layton. They stood together with members of their families looking for siblings and cousins in front of Union Station.
Just what is it about trains that's so attractive to family members?
"Maybe it's the sounds they make," Alicia said.
"They like the train movies too," she said, pointing to her own children, A.J., nearly 4, and Aiden, 18 months.
"They like the cabooses because they are strong and can carry all the supplies around."
Alicia said Union Station is the only place her boys behave long enough to get their pictures taken. She believes their good behavior there Saturday was because they were surrounded by trains.