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SOUTH SIOUX CITY | John Koskovich doesn't mind that people know he still plays with toy trains.

The lower level of his house is devoted to model railroad trains and tracks, as well as elaborate landscapes reminiscent of Sioux City landmarks.

"I love giving people the wow factor," said Koskovich, a Bomgaars outside sales representative, pointing to an elaborate diorama. "When people see what I've been up to, they always say wow!'"

On Saturday and Sunday, Koskovich and other locomotive aficionados will be sharing many of their trains at the Cosmopolitan Club Model Railroad Show at Emma's Event Center, 3828 Stadium Drive in Sioux City.

The fundraiser will raise money and awareness of diabetes.

Koskovich has loved trains his entire life.

"I got my first train when I was 1 year old," he said. "Every year until I turned 10, my dad added something to my train set."

That was when Koskovich began building trains and tracks and miniature versions of mountains, tunnels and countryside scenes.

"It helped that my folks owned a hobby store when I was a kid," he said, laughing. "But I got hooked on model trains early on and never grew out of it."

Koskovich discovered he wasn't alone. A few times during the year, he'll attend model train shows throughout the Midwest to seek out both new and vintage trains.

"You'd see people from all walks of life at these shows," Koskovich said. “You'll see kids and adults, men and women. It's amazing how many people still love the romanticism of train travel."

He picks up tips from such shows.

"I'm always adding different stuff all the time," Koskovich explained. "Once I see something new, I know I got to have it."

Luckily, he has plenty of room.

When he and wife Barb built their home 23 years ago, Koskovich knew he wanted a dedicated train room.

"There was definitely some negotiations going on," he said. "Barb said I could have my basement train room if she could have a main floor laundry room. It all worked out in the end."

Koskovich's enthusiasm for trains has also worked out for the Cosmopolitan Club.

"I've been involved with the Cosmopolitan Club for more than 25 years," he said. "When they needed ideas for a new fundraiser, I naturally suggested a model train show, since Sioux City hadn't had one in more than 20 years."

In addition to train demonstrations, sales and seminars, the show will be a good time for locomotive fans to get together, he said.

"Ultimately, that's what makes train shows fun," Koskovich said. "There's a wonderful sense of camaraderie and friendship that exists among model railroad fans."


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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