For some families, setting a model train up around the Christmas tree is a tradition. But times are changing, and so are those trains. 

They are going high tech — and the younger generation is catching on. 

“This is engineer to dispatch, we're on track four heading onto Track 5, over.”

Robby Gale knows more about model trains than most adults. In his engineer hat, the 11-year-old manoeuvres several large model trains at once using a complex remote control. He brings the train to life using sound, smoke, and lights.

“They are run by what's called a DCS system — it's controlling every train on this layout through a digital system so it's like being in real life controlling your own train.”

Gale’s dad, Rob, owns hobby shop Chinook and Hobby West. He’s been collecting model trains since he was a child.

“I was blown away when I first powered up and you see the lights, smoke and all the lights come on and everything else, I'm 10-years-old at the Christmas tree again,” says Rob.

Robby Gale

Eleven-year-old Robby Gale showcases new model trains at his dad's hobby shop, Chinook and Hobby West. (CBC)

With files from Carla Beynon/CBC