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Outdoor garden scale model train on display in Crosslake

A large outdoor layout was built with trestles, a carnival, a small town, waterfall, mining pit and many G scale model trains. This layout is a work in progress, with new features being added.

A garden scale outdoor train is running at the Northern Minnesota Railroad Heritage Association (NMRHA) in Crosslake.

A large outdoor layout was built with trestles, a carnival, a small town, waterfall, mining pit and many G scale model trains. This layout is a work in progress, with new features being added.

The indoor interpretive exhibits highlight an explanation of model railroad scales and gauges, framed historic "Cross Crossings Cautiously" posters that promote safety around trains and tracks, and Operation Lifesaver posters and information that teach children and adults how to keep safe around trains and tracks.

These exhibits offer a fresh look around the large HO scale layout. There are also several glassed-in cases of various scales of model train engines, cars, cabooses and other types of train cars and their associated gauge tracks with informative labels so visitors can learn more about the varied types of "toy" trains.

Children can run a model train located in the store area, ring the bell in the O scale room, have fun with a scavenger hunt to find various model train items on the layouts, and climb on the 1/10 scale Wm Crooks train located outside next to the garden scale layout. The museum also gives stickers, coloring books and colors and other Operation Lifesaver trinkets to young visitors. The store offers books, engineer hats, whistles and other railroading paraphernalia for sale.

The O scale model train layout features a replica of the St. Paul Union Depot, a circus, logging, a small town, a haunted house, coal mining and engines, passenger cars and other model train cars running on the track. Due to its size, O scale model trains are popular and easy for most model railroaders to work with.

The NMRHA is located at 35170 County Road 3, just south of Crosslake. The museum is open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays year-round. Summer hours start June 14, when the museum will also be open to the public from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays through the middle of August.

There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome and are used to keep the trains running.

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