CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Renee Dolin Peters remembers watching the steam engines roll by her childhood home in Marmet, making the windows rattle.
Peters would lay a coin on the tracks to watch it be flattened in an instant. Miles before the first train horn was heard, Peters would put her ear on the tracks to listen to the distinct ringing sound.
Peters pondered those memories of her youth on Saturday at the 12th annual Holiday Open House model train display at Coonskin Park in Charleston. The Kanawha Valley Railroad Association hosts the holiday model train display at its clubhouse, 1800 Coonskin Dr. The event is free to the public.
For Peters, the 400-foot-long tracks of trains brought back memories of her father. He always knew the timing of when trains would pass by their house, Peters said. Her father died in 2009.
"My dad worked in the mines and he enjoyed trains," Peters said, standing next to a replica of the South Side Bridge. "Trains were always going by. I wish he were here because we would like this. I wasn't expecting anything like this when I came. This is very neat."
Her husband Jason Peters said he had never seen a model train display "to this extent" before. Jason Peters pointed to all of the details -- from the electric power wires that run throughout the display to the planes hanging in the sky -- that he couldn't believe looked so real.
He even recognized the old train station in the exhibit that represents Charleston in the 1950s.
The Peters -- who now live in Woodstock, Ill. -- take pictures on their cell phones when they visit West Virginia and Jason Peters found himself doing the same at the model exhibit.
"I'm always taking pictures of mountains on my phone while we're driving and now that's all I'm doing here. It's funny," Jason Peters said. "I want to send them to someone at home and see if they notice the picture is not real."
For the first time, the KVRA opened the model train display to the public on Thanksgiving weekend.
Bob Sutler -- a member and treasurer of KVRA since it started 35 years ago -- said the early opening date is to cater to grandparents who requested the change. Their grandchildren visit more during Thanksgiving than Christmas, he said.
More than 50 people showed up on Friday for the early start date, Sutler said.
People of all ages smile and "ooh and ahh" as they stare at the 28-by-50-foot model train exhibit, looking at every detail, he said.
The display is all West Virginia scenery: The New River Gorge, the town of Thurmond, the city of Charleston circa the 1950s, Green Valley Lumberyard, Pierce Mining, and more.