Trains for Tots

The “Trains for Tots” program is owned and operated by Bob Evans. Ohio Valley Lines, Inc. strongly supports the “Trains for Tots” program by donating trains and by providing space for its operations. “Trains for Tots” has been making Christmas a happier experience for children since 2010.

Train set winners from past years!
The idea for Trains for Tots was not Bob’s idea, but he has made this program a great success and made it a source of pride for OVL. Bob was visiting his friend Greg Stewart at Stew’s Hobby Shop (now closed) in Bellevue in December of 2009. Bob witnessed Greg giving train sets to children. A few months later Bob decided to ask Greg about this act of generosity. Greg explained that the charitable act not only made the children happy, but also filled Greg’s heart with the Christmas Spirit.

Bob knew this was the right thing to do for himself and our organization, OVL. He began to contact the people he knew that could make this idea a reality.

First he called Randy Turner in Lockbourne, Ohio. Randy volunteered his services as a train repairman. Randy has repaired hundreds of trains for the program out of the goodness of his heart. Many trains have been donated to the cause; they’re not always in good condition. Randy takes care of that.

Bob started collecting trains for the project. He found a lot of stuff on E-bay. He found that flea markets were a good source and often vendors would donate to the cause. Steve Yanosik at Trader Jacks often donates boxes and other train supplies. Once the word spread, trains were being dropped off at the Ohio Valley Lines door on a regular basis. All of this was stored on the 2nd floor of the train club.

Next he called Tom Bishop. Putting the train sets together takes a lot of time and effort. Cleaning track, sorting cars, assembling sets to include a transformer, terminal tractk, a re-railer, an engine, caboose and four cars. Tommy, Bob’s neighbor, helps with that.

Bob’s next call was to Randy Lehrian. Randy designed the boxes- Just the right size for a small train set. He designed labels for the boxes and a trouble shooting/direction sheet. Nice touch Randy!

How do the trains find their way to the kids? There are several ways. Ohio Valley Lines has an Open House starting on Thanksgiving weekend and ending in January. Each day 3 train sets are given away at random times. We also donate to other charitable organizations: The Salvation Army, Red Cross, the Moose Club “Heart to Heart Club,” and the Marines Toys for Tots program. We have distributed over 170 train sets.

If you would like to donate to the program – trains or cash – there are several ways you can contact us.

Bob Evans at 412-761-7469

Ohio Valley Lines 1225 Merchant Street Ambridge, PA 15003-2278 724-266-4767