13 holiday model train exhibits to visit this season
Susan b barnes
The holiday season is upon us, brightened up with decorations that peek out the streets from home windows and adorn front lawns, lighting up storefronts and public spaces. Sparkling lights, greenery and yes, even model trains and toys add to the festive decor. For years, the sights of trains winding through miniature winter scenes have delighted children and children alike. Here, we take a look at 13 holiday train shows on display across the United States.
The 26th Annual Holiday Train Show at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden opened to the public on November 22 to the delight of train enthusiasts around the world. Midtown Manhattan is the spotlight of this year’s 12,800 square foot exhibit, showcasing newly created versions of New York City icons, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the General Electric Building and the Church Saint-BarthÃ©lemy. This is in addition to the more than 150 model New York buildings and landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal, and the original Yankee Stadium. More than 25 model trains and G-scale carriages roll along nearly half a mile of tracks that meander through New York’s Five Boroughs, the Hudson River Valley and other places found in the New York State. The 26th annual holiday train show runs until January 15, 2018.
Also in New York, the 16th annual New York Transit Museum Holiday Train Show is in full swing at Grand Central Terminal. On the way to the North Pole, the Lionel Trains travel along a 34-foot-long, double-decker “O” gauge model train network from the city and through the suburbs and countryside, passing by replicas of the Met Life Building, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building along the way. Will you spot King Kong? Adding to the Scene is a 54-foot-long cityscape mural by Brooklyn-based artist Josh Cochran. The 16th annual holiday train show runs until February 4, 2018.
The Holiday Garden Railway made its debut at the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2001 and has delighted visitors ever since. The exhibition’s quarter-mile outdoor track includes seven loops and tunnels, 13 different railway lines, two cable cars and nine bridges, one of which visitors can even walk. Surrounding the railroad tracks is a village of 52 miniature houses that replicate historic buildings in Philadelphia, including City Hall, Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and more. Holiday Garden Railway is on display until December 31, but note that the arboretum is closed on December 24 and 25.
Elsewhere in Philadelphia, the 400-square-foot seating area of ââReading Terminal Market, one of the oldest public markets dating back to 1893, is transformed into the Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad. Twenty-five trains cross over 500 feet of track and five interactive vignettes, entertaining market visitors as it has done since 2004. The Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad runs until December 31st.
All aboard the Holiday Model Train exhibit at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, in its 30th year this season. The Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders creates the display that features six lines that span three levels on over 1,200 square feet of track. Interactive buttons invite visitors to embark on the railroad fun. The holiday miniature train display runs until December 31.
It’s no surprise that the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore hosts its own train-themed vacation events. In addition to driving a train with Santa himself, the museum features eight different model train models during the holiday season, which are on display until December 31.
The G-scale model trains that run 200 feet of track and depict the arrival of trains to western North Carolina in the early 20th century are dressed for their vacations during the lights of winter in the ‘North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Don’t be surprised if you see Thomas the train driving one of the trains! Winter Lights runs through December 31st.
Trains occupy more than 1,000 square feet of the Atlanta Botanical Garden when the Holiday Model Train Show arrives in town. In its seventh year, the train show features six trains and a carriage that run 600 feet of track through seven stages, across five bridges and through six tunnels. The garden’s horticultural staff put on the show, which runs this season through January 7.
Central Florida’s largest vacation model train show will take place December 14-17 when the 10th Annual Village Christmas Model Train Show opens. Spread across five rooms and over 12,000 square feet, the HO scale, O scale, N scale, Z scale, STND scale and scale model trains S will cross thousands of feet of track. Join model train enthusiasts for a weekend of great miniature fun.
The Trains at Northpark in Dallas, Texas’ largest model train exhibit, has been delighting train enthusiasts young and old for 30 years. Over 750 cars travel 1,600 square feet of track with 30 loops through major US cities and beyond. Travel through New England’s fall foliage in your mind to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge with stops along the way to see New York, Washington, DC, Dallas, and the Southwest Desert including the Great Canyon and the Garden of the Gods. And don’t forget the stop at the Polar Express North Pole. Over 2,000 hours are spent creating the annual Train Exhibit, which runs through January 7 and benefits Ronald McDonald House in Dallas.
Holiday Junction arrived at the Cincinnati Museum Center for the twenty-fourth time this year when the doors to the 12,000-square-foot exhibit were opened last month. This season, Brickopolis is joining the fun to add nearly 2,000 square feet of custom LEGO creations and trains to the already impressive four model train configurations and the collection of historic railway artifacts and historic toys. . Visitors to âHoliday Junction with Brickopolisâ will have fun admiring the 500 LEGO minifigures, 93 train cars, 100 additional vehicles and over 180 trees and 64 buildings, all made from LEGO. The exhibition runs until January 2.
There’s a pretty impressive model train exhibit year round at Union Station in Kansas City, but it’s certainly amplified for the holidays. The Holiday Model Train Exhibit at Grand Plaza features 18 trains running consecutively over 800 feet of track, and even a train that kids can ride around the miniature train display. The holiday miniature train exhibition runs until the end of the year.
The Wonderland Express arrived on November 24 at the Chicago Botanic Garden for the 12th year of this holiday season. In the 10,000-square-foot exhibition space, 12 trains travel 950 feet of track and pass over 80 mini-replicas of Chicago landmarks, including Soldier Field, John Hancock Center, Navy Pier, and the Art Institute of Chicago . The Wonderland Express leaves the garden on January 7.
Go ahead, channel your inner child, don your engineering hat, and browse the gallery above to enjoy the train-themed holiday cheer.