Brief History of Model Railroading

CD-turntableTurntable Scene from Chuck Davis' Lehigh Valley, Wyoming Division Model Railroad.

Model railroading is a hobby that has been enjoyed by people all over the world for over a century. The origins of model railroading can be traced back to the early 19th century when tinplate toy trains were first manufactured. These early trains were typically made of tin or lead and were powered by clockwork mechanisms. These toys became increasingly popular and by the end of the 19th century, the first commercial model trains were produced.

The rise of model railroading as a hobby can be traced back to the early 20th century when companies such as Marklin and Lionel began producing electrically powered model trains. These trains were much more realistic than their predecessors, and the hobby of model railroading became more popular. During the Great Depression, model railroading was a way for people to escape their troubles and enjoy a hobby that was both challenging and rewarding. The hobby continued to grow in popularity through the mid-20th century, and by the 1960s, plastic models and HO scale trains had become the most popular form of model railroading.

Today, model railroading is a highly sophisticated hobby that attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. Advances in technology have allowed for incredibly realistic models to be created, and the hobby has become much more accessible to the general public. From train shows and exhibitions to online forums and communities, there are many ways for model railroad enthusiasts to connect and share their passion. Model railroading remains one of the most popular hobbies in the world, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing down.

GH-BridgeBridge Scene from Gary Hoover's Norfolk and Western Model Railroad.


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The Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads will be a fantastic community center based on running, operating and even building your own model railroads! There's something for every age here.

Learn about the real history of this area and how important it was in the building of America. Watch how railroads were built, the people involved, where America's roots were formed. 

As they build their own railroads, students will be learning about science, electronics,  architecture, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the art of 3 dimensional model landscaping. They can earn rewards for completing projects and winning contests.

Try to solve yardmaster problems on a switching layout like getting the lumber from the forest to the furniture store, by way of the saw mill and the lumber yard.

Run your train around blockades and other trains to get to the station on time without speeding or crashing.

Play railroad monopoly using model railroads. Winner is the one who can collect the most cars into his yard within an hour.

There will be programs for autistic and special needs kids, disabled adults and veterans.

School tours. Holiday Shows. Library and video rooms. Scouts are welcome. Even youngsters will have their own wooden models to enjoy. Classrooms and hands-on clinics for adults. Learn how to get started in the hobby. Or just enjoy the fun.

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