This special time of year brings us the magic of Train Gardens! These fascinating miniature worlds are enchanting to all. It is especially fun to watch small children delight as determined engines move their loads around the elaborate little towns. The endless hours of very careful work are apparent and easy to appreciate.
In Maryland we are fortunate to have many fine examples of these wonderlands.
The following list of train gardens includes information taken (with permission) from the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society. Their list was compiled through the efforts of kidstreetnews.com, a fantastic website full of activities for families; Chris Hancock of Sykesville and Patapsco Railway see his website trainsrcool.com, (trains really are cool!); and the assistant webmaster of the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society. Click through to their list of other displays outside the Baltimore area, there are many!
They have graciously allowed me to share them with you by way of this blog post. Be sure to click through to their webpages, all are great ways to explore the world of trains.
Here are some train garden events going on in and around the Baltimore area:
Arbutus Auto Painting and Bodyworks, 4621 Leeds Ave., Arbutus, MD. is hosting its 11th annual holiday train garden. November 29 through January 3. Monday through Friday, 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturdays 10am - 8pm and Sundays 10am -7pm, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Closed on Christmas and New Year's Day. There is a collection box for non-perishable food items for Southwest Emergency Services. (Please note, NOT open during business hours, website is out of date.) arbutusauto.com
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD. Holiday celebration of toy trains and model railroading layouts beginning with the arrival of Santa by locomotive on Friday, November 28. The festival features many different layouts including the Museum’s “HO” model train layout in the C&O #725 passenger car and the outdoor “G” scale layout. Children can ride the train with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays through December 21. Train rides Tuesdays through Saturdays. November 28 - December 30, Monday through Friday 10am - 4pm. Saturday 10am - 5pm. Sunday, 11am - 4pm. Closed on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year's Eve and Day. 410-752-2490, www.borail.org
Baltimore City Fire Department, Engine Company 45 and Truck Company 27, 2700 Glen Avenue, Baltimore, MD. Continuing a longtime tradition, the Baltimore City Fire Department has opened its 52nd Annual Holiday Train Garden. Each year the garden features displays with themes relative to the Fire Department and current issues. The Train Garden occupies almost half of the station and is expected to draw more than 10,000 people. Operating daily 10am - 9pm from December 6 through January 4. 410-396-0171.
Baltimore Society of Model Engineers, 225 W. Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD. Open House 2nd Sunday of the month, 1pm - 5pm. Two large (12'x65') layouts featuring diesel, steam trains, and trolleys in HO and O scale, operating Thomas the Tank Engine model. Additional static model displays, 34 authentic railroad heralds, and railroad manufacturer's publicity photos. Special Holiday open house dates: December 6, 14, and 20, January 1, 4, 11, 18, and 25, and February 8. Santa will be there on December 6 & 20. 410-837-2763 (Friday evenings), www.modelengineers.com
Centre at Glen Burnie, 6711 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD. Claus Toy Company Train. See this huge, hand-constructed G-scale model train featuring Santa's Toy Company and Distribution Center November 1st through December 31st, during mall hours. 410-766-6529, www.thecentreatglenburnie.com
Dundalk Patapsco Neck Historical Society, 4 Center Place, Dundalk, MD. This year's train garden trains running on four different levels, some down right where the little ones can see them Modeling Maryland from Ocean City to our hometown of Dundalk, with over 25 action scenes. Open December 5 through the January 4. Open seven days a week Noon - 8pm. Closing at 4pm on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day. The museum will also feature a display of German incense burners, "whirlies", stuffed animals, and ornaments. Call 410-284-2331 for more information.
Ellicott City B&O Railroad Museum, 2711 Maryland Avenue, Ellicott City, MD. "Holiday Festival of Trains" Bring the family down to the Ellicott City Station for the ALL NEW 2008 Holiday Festival of Trains. The star of this year’s Festival in Ellicott City is a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine G-scale model layout along with a brand new custom-built, multi-level O-scale model train layout. Opening November 28 and running through January 25. The museum will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11am – 4pm, closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Saturdays, December 13th & 20th, Santa Claus will greet visitors in station’s very own red caboose. 410-461-1944, www.ecborail.org
Ellicott City Fire Company #2, 4150 Montgomery Road Ellicott City, MD. 11th Annual Train Garden. A 24 x 10 Foot display that largely fills a glass-walled room. Coal locomotives, Switch tracks, flashing train signals. In all there are eight trains, including a circus train, an Amtrak passenger train and a long freight train that course along various tracks, on various levels, chugging into tunnels, disappearing into and then emerging from snow-covered mountains. There’s a carousel and a North Pole scene, complete with Santa Claus and his elves. Open December 6 through January 4. Hours are Saturday and Sunday 11am - 8:00pm, Wednesday through Friday 6:30 - 8:30pm. Call 410-313-2036 for additional information and additional hours.
Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Road, Lutherville, MD. "Trains of Christmas" Come see the Holiday train garden! Open every Saturday only November 29 through December 20, Daily December 27-30, 10am - 4pm. 410-321-7500, www.firemuseummd.org
Glyndon Volunteer Fire Department, 4812 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD. First annual holiday train garden. The 12 x 32 ft "O" scale layout took volunteers over 1550 hours to create. Lots of interactive buttons for the kids to push and a scavenger hunt to follow throughout the garden! There are 5 trains on the layout and many fully operational accessories. The man in the red suit will be visiting on weekend for children who want to have pictures taken with Santa. Monday through Fridays 5:30pm - 9pm, Saturdays and Sundays Noon - 9pm. 410-833-1262 ext. 5, www.gvfd40.org
Marley Station Mall, 7900 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD. Holiday Train Garden. A tradition in Glen Burnie for 15 years. Created by the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, this legendary display features a 300-foot landscaped garden and includes a number of interactive elements for the enjoyment of parents and children alike. Opening November 15 and running through December 31. 410-766-2033, www.shopmarleystation.com
Morton's Model Railroads, 2000 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD, Open houses beginning November 29, Saturdays & Sundays, 2pm - 6 pm. mortonmodelrailroad.com
The Shops at Kenilworth, 800 Kenilworth Drive, Towson, MD. "Making Tracks to Kenilworth for the Holidays". Every year for the past 20 years The Shops at Kenilworth has presented its renowned holiday train garden. This fascinating tradition has become a holiday spectacle for hundreds of people who arrive at the mall in anticipation of the vast electric train display. The vast exhibit of trains, bridges, and animated figures has been expanded this year to be more exciting than ever. In addition to an extra 32 feet of viewing area, there are more figures, bridges, and interactive push button animations. This spectacular 92-foot-long electronic train display pulls into the station on November 28 and runs through January 9. Monday through Saturday 10am - 9pm and Sunday Noon - 5pm. While you're there, check out the train layouts down in Stebbins Anderson too! 410-321-1909, www.theshopsatkenilworth.com/
Sykesville and Patapsco Railway, Downtown Sykesville, MD. This display of railroad history includes a 1910 Pullman Parlor Car, 1927 B&O Caboose, 1910 Interlocking Tower with N, HO, O, G-gauge and American Flyer model train displays. Open house Saturday December 6, Noon to 9pm, in conjunction with the Sykesville tree lighting ceremony, which runs from 6pm - 9pm that evening. Train displays also open Saturday December 13 & January 3, Sunday December 7 & 14, January 4, Noon - 4pm. Open houses are normally held the 1st Sunday of each month from 1pm - 5pm. 410-795-3157, www.sykesvilleandpatapscorailway.org
Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Department, 214 Wise Avenue, Dundalk, MD. 28th Holiday Train Display. November 29 through January 4. Weeknights 6pm - 9pm, Weekends Noon - 9pm, closed Christmas Day. 410-288-0710. Here is a photo from the Wise Avenue display in 2007.
And here are some that you still have time to catch in Carroll County:
Carroll County Library Headquarters, 1100 Green Valley Rd., New Windsor, MD (formerly The New Windsor Middle School). The Four County Society of Model Engineers will have their Modular HO layout set up during the Holiday Season. November 28 through January 4. Wednesdays, 6pm - 9pm (no Christmas and New Years eve), Fridays, 6pm - 9pm, Saturdays, 9am - 6pm, Sundays, 12pm - 6pm. 703-759-2771, www.library.carr.org
Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, 3209 Main Street, Manchester, MD. Manchester Train Garden, Come and see this Spectacular Holiday Train Garden with over 500 sq. feet of entertainment for the whole family which includes Antique Trains, Hot Rods, and Disney Characters. November 29 through December January 4, Saturdays and Sundays Noon - 6pm. Also November 28 and December 19, 6pm - 9:30pm. 410-239-2286, www.manchestervfd.org
Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, 702 N Main Street, Mount Airy, MD. 4th Annual Holiday Train Garden November 29 through January 4. Saturdays & Sundays Noon - 6pm. 301-829-0100 ext. 17, www.mavfc.org
Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company, 2030 South Pleasant Valley Road, Westminster, MD. "Christmas in the Valley" The train garden has been redesigned for the 2008 holiday season and features several new attractions as well as some favorites from past train garden displays. Grand Opening November 15 from 9am - 3pm, then each Saturday and Sunday November 22 through January 4, from Noon - 4pm. Christmas Eve 3pm - 7pm. December 26, 29, 30 from 4pm - 8pm, December 27 and 28, from Noon - 6pm. 410-848-1977, www.pleasantvalleyfire.org
If you are coming from Harford County or Northern Baltimore County one of these might be convenient:
Applewood Farm, 4435 Prospect Road, Whiteford, MD. "Christmas at Applewood". Eight model train displays and The Applewood Express, a miniature 1870's vintage steam train that will carry guests on a scenic 6/10 mile tour. Plus Christmas trees, reindeer programs, hayrides, petting zoo, kiddy maze, snowball bowling, reindeer antler toss, & 1773 log barn. November 29 through December 21, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am - 4pm. "Brite Lites Christmas Train" night time train ride, 5pm - 7:30pm, November 29, 30, December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28. Special Brite Lites train to benefit Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, November 28. 410-836-1140, www.applewoodfarm.org
Chesapeake Susquehanna & Western Model Railroad, 36 Porter Road, North East, MD. 10th Annual Christmas Model Train Open House has been under construction for the past 11 years and continues to change each year. Tues 12/2- 6:30pm to 9pm, Sat12/6- 11am to 4pm, Thurs 12/11- 6:30pm to 9pm, Sun 12/14-1pm to 5pm, Tues 12/16 6pm to 9pm, Sat 12/20- 11am to 4pm, Tues 12/23- 6:30pm to 9pm, Sat 12/27- 11am to 4pm, Tues 12/30- 6pm to 9pm. Also our Garden Railroad and Christmas lights will be open each Saturday night in December from 6pm to 8pm weather permitting. 410-658-4297.
Glen Rock Fire Department, Hufnagel Public Library, 32 Main Street, Glen Rock, PA. Annual Christmas Train Display features 4 large layouts, HO, American Flyer, O, and G. With all of the trains we have over 1800 square feet of trains. There is lots of animation. See the real water and fish on the Garden layout. November 28 through January 4. Fridays 6pm - 9pm, Sundays 2pm - 6pm. Special Christmas Eve show from 9 pm to midnight, before the Glen Rock Carolers start their trek. www.grfd.org
Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company, 3825 Federal Hill Road, Jarrettsville, MD. 27th Annual Train Garden open from November 28 through January 18. Open 6:30pm - 9pm Fridays, 1pm - 9pm Saturdays and Sundays, Also 6:30pm - 9pm December 29-30. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve. 410-692-7890, www.jarrettsvillevfc.com
Liriodendron Mansion Holiday Model Train & Village Show, 502 West Gordon Street, Bel Air, MD. For the second year, members of the Harford Modular Railroad Group will fill the downstairs rooms with a model train layout that will run in one continuous display through the main rooms. Upstairs rooms will feature a train shop, a hands-on train set up for kids, and three rooms of villages. The mansion will be decorated for Christmas. A great event for all ages! December 12-21, Tuesday through Friday 4pm - 8pm, Saturday 10am - 8pm, Sunday 10am - 6pm, Monday the 15th, special day for seniors and foundation members, 10am - 3pm. 410-838-3942, www.liriodendron.com/index.html
From the the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire department display from last year, 2007, here are a few photos:
Our Beloved Bromo Seltzer Tower
Here is one corner of the display, it is different each year and takes the fire fighters 6+ weeks to build.
Take some time to indulge your inner engineer. Chooo-chooo!
And if you are wishing for a house a little bigger than these give me a call, I would love to help.
mls listings search at HelpShop.com
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday.
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