November 29, 2013 through January 5, 2014

With a collection of trains including 150 locomotives and 300 freight cars that run on nearly 2,000 feet of track, the model train display at the Brandywine River Museum is a popular holiday exhibition, delighting visitors of all ages. Toy trains in the collection are mostly Lionel products dating from 1915 to the present, often supplemented with trains loaned by visiting engineers. A "must see" for the youngest train fans is Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends from the Isle of Sodor, UK. 

The first train display took place in 1971, the year the Museum opened.  In 1973, Kirk Lindvig and Jeff Punderson.  established O-gauge as the size for the trains, which means the distance between the rails is 1 1/4 inches.  They operated and improved the display for over four years.  Our present train expert, Steven Clarke, assumed responsibilities as "chief engineer" in 1976.  He has entirely rebuilt the display, adding to it while overseeing operations and maintenance.  He is on hand throughout the holiday season to operate and repair equipment, to keep the rails clean and to answer questions posed by visitors.  David Jensen has worked with Steven for 29 years and has contributed many additions and improvements.  A dedicated crew helps move and assemble the layout and serves as guides during the Christmas holidays.   Take a look at the view from the "rail cam" by clicking here.

It takes seven people six days to build the display each year.  Click here to see a video!

Some quick facts about the Brandywine River Museum Railroad:
  • Trains are O-gauge (the distance between the rails is 1¼")
  • Layout size and shape - 40' x 60' in the shape of an "E"
  • Layout surface - approximately 1,220 sq. feet
  • Track length - approximately 2,000 feet
  • Number of trains running at one time - 5
  • Train length - the longest train is more than 70' long, pulled by two locomotives.
  • Time period represented in display - late 1940s, early 1950s
  • Video cam added in 2004
  • Drive-in movie theater added in 2006
  • Otto's BMW dealership and "Polar Express" train added in 2010

The Brandywine River Museum of Art's train display is part of A Brandywine Christmas,

on view from November 29, 2013 through January 5, 2014.

The museum celebrates the season with fabulous holiday displays including a display of antique dolls
and thousands of whimsical Critter ornaments on holiday trees.

A Brandywine Christmas is supported by Otto’s BMW, Herr Foods, Inc., and The Frelinghuysen Foundation.

Photos by Carlos Alejandro.

Brandywine River Museum of Art, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141
Chadds Ford, PA 19317 • Phone: 610-388-2700

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