Biggest model train museum in North America!

HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.
HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.

I could happily spend many hours at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  Not only is it the largest such museum in North America, but it features some of the coolest, most realistic model train layouts you’ll ever see!

Located in Balboa Park, the model train museum contains five huge sections.  The Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit is in O Scale, the same size as Lionel toy trains. The San Diego and Arizona Eastern, and the Southwestern Pacific-Santa Fe Tehachapi Pass exhibits are both in the popular HO Scale.  The Pacific Desert Lines exhibit is in tiny N Scale.  Finally, there’s a toy train gallery crammed with Lionel-type trains and many amazing moving accessories, including cars and people.  One train is mounted with a Choo-Choo cam which provides an engineer’s moving view of the dazzling layout.

I took lots of pics yesterday afternoon.  Many of the shots taken through glass or in darkness didn’t come out so great.  But I did get some fairly good ones.  Enjoy!

Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO scale exhibit is amazing.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO Scale exhibit is amazing.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
A stretch of desert highway in HO scale.
A stretch of desert highway in HO Scale.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
These huge train exhibits are a child's fantasy come to life!
These huge train exhibits are a child’s fantasy come to life!
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.

UPDATE!

Almost every day this blog post is receiving visitors from Pinterest.

Welcome!

I decided to visit the museum again in May 2017 to get more photos!

The layouts are so huge and detailed it would take some time to describe exactly what the photos depict and from what position they were taken. So I’m just going to insert a bunch of random photos for you all to enjoy.

Feel free to share any of these photos if you’d like. It’s all for fun! And if you ever have a chance, make sure to visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. The place is truly incredible!

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Are you a railroad or streetcar enthusiast? Do you love railway history?

You might like to check out my cool photos of the National City Depot museum and streetcars!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

9 thoughts on “Biggest model train museum in North America!”

  1. I agree with the fact that model trains are super fun to watch and assemble, but to be completely honest, I have a passion for flying devices such as drones, RC airplanes and RC helicopters. I also like these because of all the physics and everything involved in the process of actually making them fly (gears, motors, and all that), and I think this is the #1 reason why I really love these gadgets.

    Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures. I actually enjoyed watching them.
    Too bad not all of them came sharp.

    Blessings 😀
    Jose

    Like

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