For train lovers of all ages, the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley is a must-see experience. Colorado Model Railroad Museum (CMRM) is a unique facility that features one of the world’s largest scale model railroads, hundreds of railroad-related artifacts and paraphernalia, and a full-sized wooden caboose.
Located downtown at the Greeley Freight Station, CMRM is Weld County’s leading year-round tourist attraction, setting record attendance marks since opening in 2009. The museum’s main attraction, which has been featured on the covers of three national magazines, is its huge 5,500 square foot HO model railroad. Modeled partially after the real “Oregon, California and Eastern Railway,” this model railroad is one of the world’s largest with some of the most modern model railroading technology. Senior editor of Model Railroader Magazine, Jim Hediger, called it “the finest model railroad” he’d ever seen, a sentiment shared by most that see it. The railroad, designed by Dave Trussell, took over five years and over 30,000 hours of volunteer work to put together and requires a crew of up to 24 people to run it, all of who are also volunteers.
The huge model Oregon, California and Eastern Railway is so big that visitors can actually walk through it while it is in operation. It features over 2,500 freight cars, hundreds of buildings, thousands of trees, and more than 4,000 feet of track. The layout is full of scenery from mountains and trees to rivers and waterfalls, all with handmade features. You can also find firefighters fighting a fire and cars stopped at a railroad crossing. It is so impressive that when CMRM first opened, people came expecting to board an actual, working train. Although real-life train enthusiasts cannot actually ride the train onboard the model, it is fully operational. With the help of fifteen separate wiring systems, the train runs on a 20mph scaled version of and takes about an hour to run over the length of the 1,353 foot mainline.
In addition to such an extraordinary and unrivaled model railroad, the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley has over 600 railroading artifacts including train bells, a switch key, telegrapher’s desks, and Pullman car records from the Greeley depot. Kids will love exploring the full-size Colorado and Southern wooden caboose and playing “Eye-Spy” games to find hidden objects such as dinosaurs, a mystery critter, and a Yeti.
Colorado Model Railroad Museum is a world-class “immersive experience” for the entire family, as its executive director, Michelle Kempema, describes it. It is a one-of-a-kind, fun experience that will keep both young and old entertained. The mission of CMRM is to provide a model railroading experience that educates, inspires, and bring joy to all ages. They have clearly been successful. If you’re in the Greeley area and would like to experience the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, please note their hours below:
Between September 7th and May 30th, the museum is open on the weekends: Friday-Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.
During the summer (May 30th to September 5th), CMRM is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm. For admission prices and further information about this unique museum, visit their website at www.cmrm.org.