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Holiday Train Show in Essex back on track after COVID-19 challenges

Model train artist Steve Cryan is putting the finishing touches on a 28-year old tradition.

ESSEX, Conn. — All the bells and whistles are returning to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. After months of working behind the scenes, model train artist Steve Cryan is almost finished with the 28th edition of the Holiday Train Show.

The train show, like many other things, was limited in 2020. Only six guests at a time could go to the top floor of the museum to see the 1,000 square-foot display featuring a dozen different model trains all running at once.

RELATED: CT Bucket List: Holiday Train Show at CT River Museum

From model river boats to village displays, Cryan has been working on many of the handmade scenes for months.

A lot of them were built during COVID-19 when everyone was in lock down, he told FOX61. 

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"So, it gave me a lot of time to sit there with my tweezers, my paintbrushes, and build the likenesses of freighters and all these different types of boats in New England," Cryan said.

Credit: FOX61

Jennifer Carlson, the executive director of the Connecticut River Museum, said it's about the attention to detail for her.

"You can spend so much time looking at the different billboards and signs -- there’s so many wonderful details that are just waiting to be discovered," she added.

In “Railfan” speak there are O-Gauge to Z-Gauge trains all roaming the tracks as part of this year’s display. Cryan has one objective for visitors as opening day approaches.

Credit: FOX61

"Hopefully they’ll be amazed and that’s the fun part," he said. "Communicating with people and being with people once again, instead of being locked down and that’s what I hope this will bring.”

The Holiday Train Show at the Connecticut River Museum opens on November 23 and runs through February 20. To find out more click here.

RELATED: Daytrippers: Essex Steam Train and Riverboat

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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