The Colorado Model Railroad Museum is located in Greeley, Colorado. The museum was founded by Terry Holloway in 1996. In 2003, the museum bought its current building and moved from Arvada to Greeley.
There are about 15-20 full-time volunteers involved with maintaining the model trains. Since the move to Greeley, it has been reported that attendance has doubled from 8,000 visitors a year to 16,000 visitors a year according to the Denver Post article “Trains roll on for small museum”.
A yearly special event at the museum is a party for children where they are given free rein to play with the model trains.
The Colorado Model Railroad Museum’s mission statement To promote and encourage an interest in railroads, as well as provide education on how to build a quality railroad layout.
There are three large rooms filled with model trains that visitors can tour. There is an operating HO scale model train layout that was built by Otto Thiessen, a retired engineer for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. The Colorado Model Railroad Museum also has an operating G scale model train layout and a small Z gauge operation.
The museum features many different types of railroads from all around the world including well-known American railroad companies like Amtrak and Union Pacific as well as some more obscure railroads such as the Cass Scenic Railroad and the Denver & Rio Grande Western.
Visitors can explore historical railroad lines in single cars or through O scale dioramas. The “tool room” is located outside of the building and it features tools used to build the museum’s train sheds and tracks. There are also tools on display for visitors to see how the trains are built, repaired, and maintained.
The model railroad building features:
- Several large operating layouts at various scales
- HO scale bits and pieces in three rooms such as freight cars and locomotives (over 40 HO locomotives)
- G scale bits and pieces of rolling stock, cabooses, track fixtures, etc. in one room: a former Union Pacific office car.
The Colorado Model Railroad Museum is not just a collection of rails and trains but also supports many different educational programs with the focus being ‘hands-on’. Some recent program topics include; Operating an O Layout, Building a Diorama, Model Railroading 101, and N Gauge. The museum has been visited by schools from all over the state of Colorado.
The Colorado Model Railroad Museum also has a library with over 1000 books on railroads and model railroading. The following are just some of the resources available.
- Books by Terry Holloway, editor/publisher of Trains Magazine
- Books devoted to living steam techniques (over 30) including building boilers, molding brass; jigsaw puzzles; locomotive painting; making track sections; tools used in construction live steam layouts, etc.
- A book detailing the O scale railroading basics, a valuable resource for those who are just starting to build layouts and those who need an overview of basic techniques found in the creation of layouts and how they differ from HO or G scales. It covers such topics as tools and materials used, track gauges, scenery ideas (for example snow on mountain passes), electricity used in modeling, etc., with a chapter devoted to building a layout using your computer.
The “Locos” is an indoor HO scale operating railroad that the museum uses to show how different kinds of locomotives can be used on the same rail line. The Loco features three separate train sets: a passenger service, a freight service, and a switching operation. This allows visitors to see one model railroad layout at work in several different possible roles.