All aboard the new Niagara rail attraction – Locomoland
As a child, Walt Wang dreamed of becoming a conductor.
âI lived near a railroad track and could hear the typical hiss and hiss of the steam locomotive every day,â he said.
While pursuing a career in mechanical engineering, he never lost his love for all things locomotive.
When he moved to Niagara Falls in 2017, he built a layout in his basement. The kids loved it and a friend suggested that she share her hobby with others and the idea of ââLocomoland Model Train Miniature World was born.
The Model Railroad Museum, which features around 70 trains traveling through 185 square meters of miniature city and country landscapes, can be found on Center Street at the top of Clifton Hill.
It is touted as one of the largest model train networks in Ontario and the only high-tech remote-controlled model railroad system in the world.
âNormally people come to a museum to see something, here they can play, they can interact,â Wang said.
Dozens of interactive buttons are placed around the network to give customers the ability to test and control what is happening along the tracks.
Micro-cameras are also built into the trains so visitors can get both the driver’s and passenger’s perspective as they navigate their way through the miniature world.
The fully automatic exhibit features modern model trains, cars and airplanes among miniature buildings and figures. Static models include a replica of Big Becky, the world’s largest rock tunnel boring machine, which was used to dig a massive tunnel under Niagara Falls to provide additional water to the Sir Adam Beck power plants.
Visitors can learn about the technical side of the model trains and computerized controllers while exploring the attraction.
Visitors can also test their skills on a four-lane slot car circuit.
Wang spent four years building the attraction.
It originally planned to open Locomoland in March 2020, but the global pandemic has postponed the launch until July.
Model trains and remote control cars are available for sale in store as well as at locomoland.com.
The first mass-market model train sets were released by a German company in 1891, and by the 1950s most households in the United States owned some type of toy train set.
Interest in trains as toys saw a resurgence in the 1990s in part because of Lego construction sets and the Thomas the Tank Engine TV show.
As technology progressed, model train kits became more realistic. New applications of electricity improved model train engines, and the invention of plastic allowed designers to create incredibly detailed model trains.
It is estimated that over half a million people in Canada and the United States collect model trains.