Colorado Model Railroad Museum
Where a miniature world of wonder awaits.
As Dave Trussell was preparing to open the Greeley Freight Station Museum in 2009, he circulated flyers featuring images of his hand-built model railroad—the heart of the museum—under the heading, “All Aboard!”
But Trussell’s HO scale masterpiece was perhaps a little too realistic. Those who showed up, it seems, fully expected to board an actual, working train. “They weren’t real happy at first,” laughs Michelle Kempema, executive director of what’s now called the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.
Of course, when you find yourself in the presence of the largest model railroad of its kind in the world—what Jim Hediger, senior editor of Model Railroader magazine, called the finest he’d ever seen—it’s kind of hard to stay angry. Because the 5,500-square-foot railroad isn’t just about tiny locomotives chugging through realistic settings.
What Trussell and countless volunteers have created is a high-tech “immersive experience” for the entire family, says Kempema. Unlike similar model railroads around the world, she explains, the Colorado Model Railroad Museum places visitors in the middle of the action—close enough that, if you look carefully, you can almost see the facial expressions on the 21-millimeter-tall people.
In other words, says Kempema,
It’s designed to be fun.
Who loves this museum?
Everyone! From retired railroad workers to elementary school students, they are captivated by the miniature creations—look closely and you’ll spot first responders at a smoking forest fire . . . walk a few steps and you’ll see a carnival . . . then up some steps and around the corner and you’ll be amazed at the detail of a full-blown mining operation. Visitors have come from 45 different countries to see how hundreds of volunteers have created this mind boggling miniature world that’s easily the largest and best of its kind in the world.
One look and it’s understandable why this is the leading tourist attraction in Weld County. It’s not just the eye-candy detail, the entire experience keeps a smile on visitors’ faces.
- A huge 5,500 sq. ft. operating model railroad
- A layout that enables visitors to stroll through this three dimensional creation while the railroad is in operation
- Three dimensional scenery with rugged mountains, numerous rivers and handmade features
- 16,000 handmade fir, 8,000 deciduous and 4,000 aspen trees
- 2,326 railcars and over 300 engines
- More than 1,000 railroad artifacts
- A real, full-size vintage caboose that you can explore
- Telegrapher’s desks from Greeley and LaSalle
- Pullman car records from the Greeley depot