Let Your Imagination Ride The Rails At WPMRM

Achievement: #74. See a Miniature Railroad

Well, readers and friends, if you can believe it, we are just a few hours away from the end of 2015. Did that seem to go by faster for you? Because it did for us!

We knocked off a lot of the Achievements on the list this year, but we just ran out of time to post about a number of them. Fret not – we have rolled these over for ‘re-do’ in 2016, so they will be covered. But today, as our last post of 2015, we wanted to bring you one more awesome event from 2015 that you can still enjoy, well into the first month of 2016: the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum.**

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
The WPMRM is located in Gibsonia, so it’s about a 45 minute drive from the city. But once inside, you can travel all the way to Cumberland, MD.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
Oh yes, that’s right, the Western PA Model Railroad Museum’s more than 6,500 feet of track takes you along the very route we took in 2013 and 2014 on our bikes: the railroad that laid the groundwork for the Great Allegheny Passage!! This sign is from the Capitol Limited, the Amtrak train that runs between Washington, DC and Chicago, which is the train that you can take home to Pittsburgh after you bike to DC (now with roll-on service!!!)

So, basically, what happened at the Model Railroad Museum, was an hour of me running around going, ‘HONEY WE’VE BEEN HERE!’

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
The main train display is on the second floor, and as you climb the stairs, you are greeted with photos from the old days of railroading. If you love trains even a portion of the amount that I do, you will be totally into this place.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
While the GAP steps off at the Point, the railroad here starts at a very familiar location: Station Square, complete with the Monongahela Incline in the background.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
The official name of the railroad featured here is the Mon Valley Railroad, which is a fictional rail system based on the Western Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Lake Erie railroads. The Mon Valley trains run in every direction on many different tracks as you make your way along the route from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
We loved trying to catch photos of the trains as they sped along through the towns.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
And one of the coolest things about the museum is that the lights overhead change as if days are passing rapidly. So if you see a location during daylight, and you wait a little while longer, you will get to see how the lights change and buildings look different as darkness falls! Loved the way the McKeesport Bridge looked at dark here.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
And of course, the resident goth girl found the cemetery. I don’t know what cemetery this is, but there are two we ride past, Dravo and West Newton, so I want to believe that it’s one of those!

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
The attention to detail on the model train set is AMAZING. You could spend all day picking out the different things you see in the scenes. This was one of my favorites, from the Ohiopyle section.

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
In fact, you are encouraged to look closely at the detail, as they hand you a scavenger hunt sheet at the ticket booth when you come in. We were able to find all of the items on here, but I admit, some of them took a little bit of hunting!

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
My other favorite part of the museum? PINKERTON TUNNEL!!!! Yes, as we all know, this is my favorite thing this side of the Paw Paw (especially now that it is rideable!)

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
Here is a favorite place of ours on the GAP Trail, shown in miniature: the Salisbury Viaduct. I commented that this seemed so much closer to the ground in the model version, and one of the docents informed me that it really is: the model set scale is 1/87th of real life. So, we were 87 times higher up in the air when we crossed this on our bikes!

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
From start to finish, we loved the entire model train set at the Western PA Model Railroad Museum. The attention to detail is just amazing, and it was so fun to see all of the places we know so well from our bike trips as a functioning railroad – even the minor disasters, like this fire in Cumberland!

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
Fittingly, we reached the full moon near the end of the set just as dark was falling over the rails. Then it was back downstairs to hit the gift shop and stock up on some really unique items that any railroad fan would love!

Western PA Model Railroad Museum
You have until January 17th to check out this awesome little piece of Pittsburgh intrigue. The WPMRM is open Friday evenings from 6-9pm, and Saturdays & Sundays from 11am until 5pm. They will be closed tomorrow, for New Year’s Day, but you still have 8 chances to experience a great little piece of Pittsburgh history, in miniature form!

**Disclaimer: we received complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for an honest review on our blog.

1 Comment

Filed under #74, #74-15, pittsburgh, tour, trains, western pa

One Response to Let Your Imagination Ride The Rails At WPMRM

  1. Woubbie

    This is so cool! Bub loves these things and we were just talking about how we should start doing cool things like you guys do! Thanks for the info, sounds like fun!

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