The fourth annual Charity Chug tour was held this past weekend at various locations around Smith Mountain Lake, to benefit Lake Christian Ministries. This year’s tour was the biggest to date, with eight different train “layouts” to view, each with an “eye-spy” type of checklist of features to spot.

The tour is hosted annually by the Smith Mountain Lake Model Railroad group, which is loosely comprised of model train enthusiasts who were introduced to one another by Radio Shack’s Steve Miller, who realized he had customers with such a specialized common interest who didn’t know one another. Steve organized a lunch for them, and the rest is history.

The train displays in this year’s tour varied from a massive outdoor display of G-Scale (that’s German for grosse, meaning big) trains which wound through live miniature shrubs; to displays in progress, which were particularly interesting to the budding model train enthusiast interested in the process of layout design. Information about this year’s participants can be found here: