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Want to see even more model train layouts? Check out the Model Train Festival

Rapt and in a model train moment of his own, Owen Rash of Tacoma looks over an HO scale model layout during the 2014 Model Train Festival show at the Washington State History Museum. This year’s show opens Saturday.
Rapt and in a model train moment of his own, Owen Rash of Tacoma looks over an HO scale model layout during the 2014 Model Train Festival show at the Washington State History Museum. This year’s show opens Saturday. Staff file, 2014

Model trains of just about every scale will be on display when the 21st annual Model Train Festival opens Saturday at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

This year’s festival will feature even more model train layouts than in the past, as well as exhibits in the Great Hall of Washington History, said Erich Ebel, the marketing and communications director for the Washington State Historical Society.

Visitors can look at intricate model train layouts, hear stories about model railroading and learn how railroads influenced Washington’s history.

The museum is home to the largest permanent model train layout in the state. The Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineer’s Club continues to add to the layout. The HO-scale display depicts Tacoma railroad scenes in the 1950s, ranging from Point Defiance Park in Tacoma to the Stampede Pass tunnel in the Cascades. Work on the layout began in 1996, and it was considered “finished” in 2011, according to the club.

New exhibit: The Great Hall of Washington History will be the location of a featured railroad area that looks at how the railroad industry influenced the growth and development of Washington, Ebel said. The exhibit includes train-related artifacts.

Talk to experts: Members of the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers will be on hand to answer questions about model railroads, as will representatives from model railroading clubs around the Northwest.

Activity room: There will be thousands of Lego pieces ready for young imaginations in the activity room on the second floor. Children and grownups will be able to create their own train creations. This is a good place to head when parents or grandparents need a break but the young ones still have plenty of energy.

Pictures with Santa: Festival visitors can have their photo taken with Santa Claus 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 21-23, compliments of the Historical Society. This will take place in the Community Gallery area of the museum store.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

Model Train Festival

When: Saturday-Jan. 1. During the festival, the museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Where: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Tickets: $12 adults; $8 for children ages 6-17, seniors (60 and older) and active or former military; free for 5 and younger, and historical society members.

Information: washingtonhistory.org.

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