The Magic of Scale Model Railroading Gallery

"The Magic of Scale Model Railroading" exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento is now open!
To watch a 20-minute video tour of the exhibit hosted by former NMRA President Charlie Getz, click on Tour.
To read the story of how the exhibit was built, click HERE
Or just enjoy a few photos of the exhibit:
Photos by Chrisopher Palermo.

This impressive 40-foot display depicts the history of model railroading from its first mention in an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, right up to the current day.  Model kits, tools, and other time-dated items illustrate the progression of the hobby.

Within the display is a "typical" model railroader’s workbench, containing tools and materials most modelers use to build items for their layout.  This lets non-modelers know that not many specialized tools are necessary to have fun in this hobby.


Many non-modelers wonder how popular model railroading is.  The answer is "VERY". This part of the exhibit contains hundreds model railroading magazines from all across the globe, spanning from its earliest days to the present.  

“The Magic of Scale Model Railroading” contains half-a-dozen impressive pieces of real modelers' layouts.  Here, an imposing scratchbuilt ore dock loads a waiting ship.  The dock is a reduced-size version of one that stood in Michigan.


The exhibit also features a fully built model railroad, the San Juan Central, which was featured in a series of "how-to" articles in Model Railroader magazine in the 1980's.  Museum visitors can see how a highly detailed layout doesn't have to take up a lot of space.


One of the most impressive parts of the exhibit is the "Wall of Trains". This display depicts real 1:1 trains that ran over the rails in the U.S. in the 50s and 60s. The trains are car-for-car replicas, based on actual trains manifests.


Specially built for this exhibit, the "layout in progress" display shows the steps of an entire model railroad being constructed.  From raw benchwork on one side, to foam insulation hills in the middle, to full scenery on the far side, visitors can see exactly how a model railroad can be built.