Railroad modelling has been a favorite hobby of many people for years. Although, generally speaking, people tend to view model railroads as toys, this hobby requires a lot of skills, such as modelling skills, woodworking skills for laying the tracks, electrical skills for installing the wiring. Some of the greatest achievements of model railroad makers can be found at museums and exhibitions. Here are some of the best-known model railroad museums in different parts of the world.
Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, Germany, is the largest model railway exhibition in the world. In 2016, the exhibit consisted of 15,400 meters of railroad track in H0 scale divided into nine sections with 1,300 trains made up of over 10,000 cars. The exhibit is still under construction and it is expected to have at least ten additional new sections by 2020. The exhibit also includes a diorama series showing how German people lived in different periods of history.
The Hara Model Railway Museum is located in Yokohama, Japan and it houses around 1,000 items of Nobutaro Hara’s private collection of model trains. The exhibits include models in 1, 0 and H0 gauge and the centerpiece called “Ichiban Tetsumo Park” is a 30-meter by 30-meter diorama with approximately 450 meters of track. Visitors can also see the original models of Thomas the Tank Engine and other characters from Thomas & Friends.
Iron Spike Model Train Museum is an interactive model train museum in Washington, Missouri, whose purpose is to preserve the heritage of railroads of the Midwest and provide visitors with opportunities to learn about the technology and history of trains and run the models themselves. Visitors can enjoy detailed layouts in different gauges collected and maintained by model train enthusiasts, volunteers and private collectors.
Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum (WPMRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes and preserves the history of railroads in Pennsylvania. The main attraction is a 40’ X 100’ model of railroad lines connecting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cumberland, Maryland. Visitors can also see a collection of historical model trains or read about railroad industry and railroad modelling in the museum’s library.
Aruba Model Train Museum is a private museum located on the ground floor of the private house of Jaap de Vries in the town of San Nicolaas in Aruba. De Vries has been collecting toy and model trains ever since he was a child and his large collection of miniature trains, planes, cars and buses is on display free of charge. Donations are welcome, and all guests are required to sign their name in the guest book. The museum doesn’t have regular opening hours, so you should contact de Vries if you wish to view the collection.