The Alberta Central Heritage Model Rail Project: A miniature replication of the history of rail transportation in
Central Alberta, particularly within the City of Red Deer and the
communities of Red Deer County.
model railway museums
There are only a handful of world-class model railway museums or
layouts in the world that are open to the general public. Of those,
there are even fewer that are intended to be miniature
representations of an actual historical location and fewer still
that show the comparison of historic sites from one era to another.
Some of the larger model rail museums include:
Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany -- promotes itself as the
largest HO scale* model railway in the world that features
representations of several different countries and has hundreds of
moving parts run by computer in addition to the trains themselves.
It is still expanding and the layout currently covers 19,000 sq. ft.
of the 64,000 sq. ft. leased that includes a large workshop and
computer control centre. In 2008, there were about 1 million
EnterTrainment Junction in Ohio -- promotes itself as the
world's only train-themed family entertainment centre. Opened in
August 2008 it features a 25,000 sq. ft. O scale* layout. The
complex covers 80,000 sq. ft. that includes a 5,000 sq. ft. museum,
an 8,000 sq. ft. expo centre, a 5,000 sq. ft. kids centre, and a
9,000 sq. ft. multi-media presentation centre in addition to a
retail component and workshop. In its first year, it attracted
Northlandz in New Jersey -- promotes itself as the largest
model railway museum in the world at 52,000 sq. ft. that includes
layouts in 3 scales -- HO, O and G*. Opened for several years and
starting to show its age, it averages a quarter million visitors per
San Diego Model Railway Museum in California -- It is
probably the largest historical model railway museum of its kind at 27,000
sq. ft. with 5 operating layouts in various model scales (N, HO, O*).
It is also the only accredited model railroad museum in the U.S.
Since its inception in 1982, it has attracted more than 3 million
visitors. It currently attracts over 150,000 visitors per year;
Museum of Science and Industry Great Train
Story Exhibit in Chicago -- The original exhibit was
created in 1941 and, at 2,340 sq. ft., was the largest model
railroad in the world at the time. The newest exhibit opened in 2002
and is a 3,500 sq. ft. HO layout representing modern railroading
from Seattle to Chicago. The overall museum attracts 2 million
visitors per year.
Miniature World in Victoria, BC -- Probably the best-known
public model display in Canada and nestled among other miniature
displays, it has 2 model railway layouts, one in HO scale* and one
in Z scale, combined occupying about 4,000 sq. ft.
There are a few other similar facilities in the 5,000-10,000 sq. ft. range,
many of which are club layouts with little opportunity for public
access as well as several high-quality private layouts under 3,500
sq. ft. with little or no public access.
One of the largest club layouts in Canada is located in Montreal.
The HO layout occupies 6,000 sq. ft. in a 9,000 sq. ft. warehouse
leased from Canadian National but is only open to the public once or
twice a year. After operating in the building as the Canada Central
for 38 years at very little cost, the club has been given 18 months
to vacate in order for CN to repurpose the property.
Generally speaking, for railway museums open to the general public,
floor space needs to be 2 to 3 times actual layout space in order to
accommodate both viewing and operations.
* Z scale (1:220 - max. car height 1.5"); N scale (1:160 - max. car
HO scale (1:87 - max. car height 3.5"); O Scale (1:48 - max. car
G scale or Garden scale (1:22.5 - max. car height 15").