NEW MILFORD — Model trains rattled and whistled across electrified tracks inside the town train station Saturday, capturing the attention of both children and adults at the start of the 28th annual display.

The hands-on train show, sponsored by the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce and on view through Dec. 27, are set up across three tables where vintage and modern locomotives weave through model buildings and terrain.

New Milford resident Jim Hamill, who owns a large collection of trains including a set dating to 1923, said he began configuring his table on Thursday, and that the train show is one of this favorite times of the year.

“I just live for this,” Hamill said, giving a malfunctioning engine a push. “It’s the one thing that I want to do, because I’ve always enjoyed model trains. I remember waking up on Christmas, model train under the tree, and my father home from the Korean War; neither one of which I expected.”

Adam Weaver, another enthusiast who owns more than 500 train cars collected over 60 years, said he’s been hard at work preparing his table for the show.

“I put the tables out on Wednesday, and it is running today,” he said. “I’m still not finished.”

Clare Remery, also a New Milford resident, said she decided to bring her son Sebastian, 8, and daughter Ryann, 5, despite some resistance from Ryann.

“She said she didn’t want to check it out,” Clare Remery said. “Now I can’t get her to leave.”

Sebastian Remery, making his first visit to a train show, enjoyed controlling a train’s speed at one of the tables.

“I like that on this one you can actually make it go on your own with the red and black levers,” he said.

Donna Petersen said her 6-year-old grandson, Logan Butler, was fascinated with the train’s mechanics, even at such a young age.

“He loves trains, but he loves electronics,” Petersen said. “He’d rather know the ins and outs, not just play with them. He wants to touch the wires and find out how it goes.”

Hamill said it was “trainstalgic” to see dozens of children captivated by the same toys he played with as a kid.

“For me it’s absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I think that they get that snapshot of what it was like for me to have these toys. This is my Playstation, this is my Wii. This is what I had when I was a kid.”

The vintage toys were so popular that Santa, usually popular, was left alone in the corner, tinkering on a smartphone most certainly destined to go under someone’s Christmas tree.

“It’s tough competition,” Santa said. “It’s great. You don’t see too many of these model railroads like we used to when we were kids.”

awolff@newstimes.com; 203-731-333; @awolffster