Anniversary swap meet in Ramstein attracts model train enthusiasts

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***The Haus des Bürgers in Ramstein-Miesenbach will turn into a mecca for model train enthusiasts Sunday when the Model Train Friends Westpfalz hold their 30th Ramstein Model Train Swap Meet.
More than 50 exhibitors from throughout Germany and neighboring countries present everything dealing with model trains and accessories.

“For our anniversary event, we received many requests for display tables from all over,” said organizer Manfred Küster.  “Unfortunately I couldn’t satisfy all requests since space capacity was reached soon and fully booked.”

The Ramstein Model Train Swap Meet is the biggest of its kind in southwest Germany with a clearly structured concept.

“We don’t want it to be just a swap meet, we also want to display special pieces,” said Mr. Küster.

Visitors can see the model of a Trans-Regio with the Ramstein-Miesenbach crest. This train was baptized with Ramstein’s name in 2006 and ever since has been driving on different routes through the Pfalz region. Also, a hand model of a newly constructed MITROPA dining car in tin plate can be seen. The original one operated from 1921 to 1945.

“This dining car raised the experts’ interest at the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg the beginning of February, and meanwhile it was published in several magazines,” said Mr. Küster. “We are proud to be able to display the original model in Ramstein.”

Another attraction that lures many visitors each year is the miniature carnival set-up created by Rolf and Ruth Dindorf. Many light and sound effects make people think they are at a real carnival.

The Model Car Club Mannheim again shows off its giant race track, where children can test their driving skills and determine who is the fastest driver.
This international swap meet offers to swap, buy and sell, and it gives advice to new model train friends. Besides new items, there will be used locomotives, carriages, tracks, signals, houses, lamps, bridges and spare parts. Newly bought items can get tested right away on a special test track. The event also features a wide variety of dolls, tin toys and kinder eggs.

The Italian restaurant in the Haus des Bürgers sponsors a model train café, where visitors can take a break.

The swap meet is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available.