AUGUSTA — Puffs of white smoke streamed from the black engine as the train rounded the corner on the outer rail. Another engine chugged along an interior track. Across the lobby of the Maine State Cultural Building, other G-, HO-, O- and N-gauge engines and a very small Z-gauge model engine ran along ovals of tracks.

All the activity was part of the two-day Maine State Museum annual Model Railroad Celebration, which ended Saturday.

The display proved particularly popular with 2-year-old boys, two of whom carried their own Thomas the Tank engines.

Taj Hassouna of Augusta carefully placed James, his red engine, and Thomas, the blue engine, up on the train display even as the electric trains rolled around and around, passing again and again in front of buildings whose signs said “Empty Box Co.” and “Slick Wholesale Tractor Sales.”

Did he like trains? “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said without taking his eyes from the display.

His mother, Cassandra Generlette Hassouna, elaborated.

“He loves trains. He’s obsessed with them. He goes to bed with a train and if it falls out of his hand, he wakes up and cries. We’re waiting till he gets a little older to see if he’s responsible enough to have an electric train, because it’s not cheap.”

Another 2-year-old railroad buff, Lucas Garofalo, brought the silver-striped red Caitlin, of Thomas the Tank engine fame, which had its light on and wheels turning.

His father, Craig Garofalo of Manchester, said Lucas had spent a couple of hours on Friday in front of a model railroad display at the Maine Mall in South Portland.

The Maine 3-Railers and the Great Falls Model Railroad Club provided displays and conductors to explain the workings of the model railways.

When the modular displays and their engines were all put to bed Saturday, the railroad aficionados had several more events to look forward to, including travel on real trains.

A Candy Cane Train will make four daily round-trips from the Bath train station to Wiscasset on Dec. 13 and 14. Tickets for the ride with Santa Claus and his elves cost $18 and can be purchased at All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Tri-County Literacy.

The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum is offering Victorian Christmas on Dec. 20 with free steam and diesel train rides from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and sleigh rides. Donations are accepted. Robertson said there will be several enclosed passenger cars and an open car along with an engine and caboose for the short ride between Sheepscot Station, 97 Cross Road, Alna, and Alna Center.

More information is available at