Model Railroad Museum of Western Pennsylvania, A Chariot Journey

GIBSONIA, Pa. (WJW) — Just north of Pittsburgh is one of the finest model train museums you will ever find. You have to see it to believe it.

The tracks of the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum authentically recreate nearly 300 miles of countryside, from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland.

“Our screen has three real miles of track racing. We usually run 25 to 30 trains there at a time,” said museum president Ray Mueser. “The exhibit will take you through Lehman, Pittsburgh, Glenwood yard, McKeesport, Connellsville, Ohio pile, Rockwood, Myersdale, Alleghany Station. It goes down the Homesteader curve, then down into Cumberland, Maryland.

All buildings and houses are correct. Each individual property is handmade from historic photos as well as photos taken today.

Mueser said that for a museum visitor, that might have been a bit too specific.

“We have a church here in Cumberland and the wife said to her husband, ‘Do you recognize this church?’ And the husband stood there with a dumb look on his face, and she said ‘You better recognize this church! We got married in this church,” Mueser said.

So how long did this display take to build? The answer will surprise you.

“This is 33 years of work and it’s still not over,” Mueser said.

For young and old, the lower level of the museum is laid out with trains that you can actually drive yourself.

“It’s the children’s area where they can play with the trains. They can press a button here and the train will start. It will take a turn around the track, and it will stop. We have a snack bar. There are hot dogs and sandwiches, soft drinks, candies, hot pretzels. It’s a fun place, especially for kids. The kids really love it and the adults upstairs love it,” Mueser said.

Learn more about the museum here.

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