Museum History

On May 1, 1934, a group of modelers met to form the St. Paul Craftsman Club and begin building an O-gauge model railroad. From these humble beginnings, and through several location and name changes, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has grown to a world-class museum.

The group started out in a back room of a Grand Avenue business, but not long after the club acquired a large room at the bustling St. Paul Union Depot where we ran model trains depicting the real trains on the tracks just outside. In the late 70’s with the demise of the depot moved around to several temporary homes.

Fortunately, thanks to a grant from the Wilder Foundation the club moved to the historic Bandana Square, the newly formed Twin City Model Railroad Museum built an exquisitely detailed model panorama of railroads of the Twin Cities during the 1930′s, 1940′s and 1950′s. This was a time when both steam and diesel engines shared the rails.

Thousands of volunteer hours have faithfully reproduced Twin City’s railroad history in O Scale (1/4 inch equals 1 foot), an impressive sight and well worth your visit. Come watch the Empire Builder speed along miles of track through the Twin Cities, rumble over St. Anthony Falls on the famed Stone Arch Bridge and down the Mississippi. Freight trains haul the goods to and from the industries that made the Twin Cities famous.

In 2009, the museum opened the Toy Train Division in the adjacent Chimney’s Building thanks to the support of a wonderful community business partner. This space allowed us to better exhibit the full variety of toy train scales and modeling techniques.

Most recently, the museum moved to a new space in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. This new space gives us the flexibility to display touring layouts and expand our toy train layout collection! Stop in to see our new home and the 10,000 square feet of interactive train layouts!

The Twin City Model Railroad Museum is a non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide family entertainment for the young and old alike, while preserving this era of Minnesota railroad history.


Book Chronicles 75 Year History of the Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Twin City Model Railroad Club/Museum 1934-2009

The storied history of the Twin City Model Railroad Museum is chronicled in a new book titled The Twin City Model Railroad Club/Museum 1934-2009.

Remaining supplies are still available in the Museum’s gift shop; cost is $20 including tax.