The Guinness Book of World Records declared Train Mountain Railroad Museum the world’s longest miniature hobby railroad in 2004. Thirteen years later, Southern Oregon’s popular attraction claims fame to thirty-six miles of 7.5-inch gauge miniature hobby railroad track spanning a chunk of land approximately the size of Manhattan’s Central Park.
Open year-round, the Train Mountain Railroad Museum features a self-guided walking tour open (and available) to the general public between the hours of 10AM and 3PM during the summer and between the hours of 10AM and 2PM during the winter. A membership-based operation that depends heavily on volunteer upkeep, special events, and visitor donations, the best way to experience Train Mountain Railroad Museum is from the comfort of a cushioned chair mounted to an open air passenger car that is pulled by a replica 1.5-inch scale miniature locomotive engine.
Two free tours by train are available to visitors and are generally available on weekdays during the summer months, one at 10AM and one at 2PM (reservations recommended, otherwise first-come, first served). Tracks run through the property in a complicated (but organized) network of twenty-two different divisions. Trains carry passengers under bridges, through tunnels, and past scale model towns, industries, mines, and replicas of frontier railroad history. Member volunteers build and maintain all of the structures on the property. Train Mountain Railroad Museum is also home to the world’s largest private collection of cabooses; you will see several of these rail cars on your journey.
About halfway through the one to two hour ride, trains park at the Railroad Garden and allow passengers to use the bathroom and stretch their legs on the paths that wind through miniature artifacts. In general, the train tours are not recommended for small children that cannot sit for long periods of time (Klamath & Western Railroad, located just down the road, offers rides that cater to the toddler crowd). Open toe shoes are required to ride the train (no sandals or flip-flops).
Back at the Central Station, make sure to find the museum’s indoor gift shop. Covered outdoor seating is just out the back exit and offers an excellent vantage point for watching the turntable that can accomodate up to ninety trains at one time.
Located halfway between Crater Lake National Park and the city of Klamath Falls, Train Mountain Railroad Museum is an excellent “halfway” point for families running between these two destinations. Advertised as a free attraction, a $3-5/person donation is greatly appreciated by members and volunteers.
Happy trails and happy rails!