SPRING HILL — Scores of miniature railroad enthusiasts from around the nation are making tracks to Crews Lake Park.
Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad members will welcome the Florida Live Steam Meet and Regional Convention today through March 4, Pasco tourism officials announced.
Some 50 participants are expected for the event that is free and open to the public. The park charges a $2 parking fee per vehicle.
The enthusiasts will set up on the Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad’s 7.5-inch gauge tracks. Although no rides will be offered to the public during this event, spectators can view more than 50 locomotives, many of them actual live steam engines.
Since 2006, the volunteer membership has installed about 8,500 feet of track, including yards and sidings.
Operating on donations only, the club provides rides for the public on the second Saturday of each month and provides birthday trains. Special events on Halloween and Christmas are very popular.
The CP&GRR is modeled after the Orange Belt Railroad that ran through the area in the late 1800s. Station names are placed along the track, as they were more than 100 years ago on the original Orange Belt Line. A museum has just been opened in the park to remember the Orange Belt Railroad.
Anyone can join for a membership fee and learn how to become a conductor and engineer. A certification program stresses education and safety. While most locomotives are privately owned, there are three club locomotives for the membership to operate.
For information go to http://cpgrr.org/ or call Bill Donati at (727) 639-7639.