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National Toy Train Museum

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

All aboard! If you want to feel like a kid again, make a stop at the National Toy Train
Museum in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Not to be confused with model trains, which are built by hobbyists, these are actual toy trains, like the familiar Lionels and American Flyers.

Everything from circus trains, passenger and freight trains and turn-of-the-century street
cars race through tunnels, around mountains and through villages. Most are electric, but
there are also wind-up trains on exhibit, as well as toy trains that were made out of
cardboard during World War II, when metal for toys was not available. There are lots of
buttons to push, and you even can blow the whistle on a steam locomotive. Of particular
interest is a Carlisle and Finch train, which was the first electric-train manufacturer in
the country. The toys come in all sizes, from Standard, O, S, G and HO gauges. The Standard gauge toys highlight tinplate trains from the 1920s and ’30s, and the O-gauge layouts include trains from the 1940s through current toys. The HO trains curve through scenic layouts representing all four seasons. The museum, which is in a building reminiscent of a train station, is open daily May through October and on weekends in April, November and December.

National Toy Train
Museum
, (717) 687-8976.

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