Thursday, October 22, 2015

End of the Line for the Twin City Model Railroad Museum?

The Twin City Model Railroad Museum has received a five-month reprieve. Read more here.

One of the best model railroad displays in the U.S. is facing closure.

The Twin City Model RailroadMuseum in St. Paul, Minn.—which features an amazing O scale layout of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in the 1940s-50s—may have to vacate its home of 31 years as early as Oct. 26.

The museum, which was founded in 1934, moved to St.. Paul's old Union Depot in 1939, leaving there in 1978.

It was without a home until 1984, when space opened up in a new shopping and tourist attraction called Bandana Square (formerly the Northern Pacific Railway's old Como passenger car shops).

Unfortunately, the idea never really worked out. In 2003, the Square was sold to new owners and converted into office space.

The Railroad Museum survived in two buildings: The layout is housed in one, and the Toy Train Museum, which has about 20 operating layouts plus displays, is in another. 

Although the number of visitors has been increasing, the Museum has been unable to afford to pay its rent—it is $30,000 in debt. It is slated to close Oct. 26, but members hope to stay open through the Christmas season for its popular Christmas trains show so it can earn additional revenue.

The Toy Train Museum, however, will close on Nov. 15.

What the Museum, really needs is a new and less expensive location; a fundraising drive has been started to help with that, and members are looking for a new place to set up.

Club members estimate it will cost about $50,000 to move the layout, to say nothing of the huge amount of work it will entail.

“We knew we were going to have to move and it's just unfortunate that it's happening now right before our busiest season,” said club spokesperson Brandon Jutz said, adding the current landlord has been flexible and willing to negotiate.

“It’s just business,” he said.

I have visited the Museum twice. In my opinion, it is one of the finest layouts in the U.S. I hope it can stay open for the rest of the year.

If it does stay open until the end of December, all I can say is that if you live near Minneapolis-St. Paul, or are planning a trip there soon, make sure you visit the Museum—it might be your last chance.

For more information, check out this article in the Minneapolis Start-Tribune. 

You can also read more at ABC News. 

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