Hours of Operation

April 1 through May 1, 2013
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Closed Sunday

May 1 through May 23, 2013
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 - 4:00 PM
 
May 24 through Sept. 3, 2013
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 - 5:00 PM
 
Sept. 4 through Oct. 27, 2013
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 - 4:00 PM
 
Oct. 28, 2013 through March 31, 2014
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Closed Sundays
 
HOLIDAY CLOSURES
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Easter
 
Hours subject to change - please call 910-763-2634 for latest information.

Support the Museum

Special Notice - Many local businesses are supporting the great work of the Museum as it enters a new era of service.  Click on "a business" below to see who is helping!


Click Here to find out about how you can add your support:

 as an individual/family

 as a business!

 

The Model Railroad Committee Maintains Three Operating Layouts

In the following series of pictures you will see some of the many aspects of the Museum's model railroads.  All told, we have 20 operating units in four scales throughout the Museum, demonstrating the craftsmanship of this fascinating hobby.  If these inspire you to investigate model railroading further we recommend a visit to the web site maintained by the National Model Railroad Association.  Their introduction to model railroading information page can be found at www.nmra.org/beginner/.

More photographs of our model railroad layout can be seen on "flickr".  Click on this URL to have a look -http://www.flickr.com/photos/47241512@N06/show/

In the Children's Area 

You will find our Lionel/O-Scale layout with six operating units, including Thomas the Tank Engine.  You'll also see lively action accessories, such as McDonalds, a gas station, and playground swings.  Blow the whistle for added realism!


Thomas makes his rounds.

An overview of the O Scale layout as it nears completion.


Several of our smaller visitors get creative with their own layout in the Children's Hall.

In the Model Hall

Craftsmanship and attention to detail make this layout a marvel.  Based on images and history of railroading in the coastal areas of North Carolina, the model is set in the transition years between steam and diesel early in the 1950s.  Double mainline tracks carry passenger and freight trains, sawmills and lumber yards are served by a branch line, trolleys are operating in the re-creations of Wilson and Wilmington, and shuttles haul loads to a powerhouse or switchyards.  All told, more than a dozen units operate at the touch of buttons located around the layout.


A view of the HO operating layout under construction in the Model Hall, June 2007.  With 1500 sq. ft. of floor space, dedicated volunteer modelers create scenery and realistic structures.  Here are a few details about the layout, along with conversions to real-size equivalents, where applicable.

 

         Layout area: 750 sq. ft.

         Scenic highlight: Re-creation of ACL Wilmington freight and passenger terminal area and surrounding buildings as they were in the 1950s

         Length of dual mainline: 286 ft. (4.72 scale miles)

         Total installed track: 1200 ft. (19.80 scale miles)

         Viewing perimeter: 198 ft.

         Volunteer time so far: over 25,00 hours total and counting.

 

With countless details of buildings and scenery, the layout continues to be refined.   There already are twelve operating trains, and many scenic features illustrate real-life prototypes.

The start of the model of the Wilmington Train Station in 1950.



 




At work on the control electronics in the Model Railroad Workroom.

The "Wilson" area of the HO layout in December, 2007.


 

 

The Smith Creek Yards on the HO layout in December 2007.

A view of the Wilmington roundhouse and turntable, showing where engines were serviced.


 

A wedding party exits at the church at Third & Red Cross Streets in 1950 (replaced by a gas station)

A rock quarry and  stone crusher help to show how limestone is extracted for cement making.

 

With ACL Building B (foreground), the railroad district reaches another level of realism.  Wilmington's Union Station with the roundhouse in the background. Street tracks next to station carry the trolley to Wrightsville Beach (although Thomas has been known to show up instead).

A tobacco farm adjacent to the coal fired power plant.

 

A re-created pine forest and logging diorama represents North Carolina's role in the lumber industry.

 

Now in Wilson!  A visiting carnival sets up, complete with midway, rides, and music.  Buttons activate the different features in this new attraction.