The winter months are preparation time for the Northern Minnesota Railroad Heritage Association in Crosslake.
Association members upgraded the layouts for visitors coming this summer, including a new coat of paint here, a different display area there, and pretty soon members made major changes.
The association is selling raffle tickets to win a complete 4- by 8-foot O scale model railroad layout. This will raise money for operating expenses. Come to the building, view the layout and purchase your tickets.
The estimated value of the layout is $1,100, and the association will sell 600 tickets for $5 each. The drawing will be held Dec. 7.
The association has member-operators wearing badges around their necks to answer visitors’ railroading questions. The HO historical layout is so authentic with mining and lumbering displays you will think you are back to the years of 1905-30. There are many local towns and lakes you will recognize.
There is also a G scale train running high in the ceiling to show another modeling scale that is used today. This scale will be used in a new outside layout north of the building that will be in the construction mode this summer by club members.
The club also has a store where visitors may purchase an engineer’s hat, shirt and other railroad memorabilia. The children’s layout in the store is also available for those young train engineers to operate.
Outside the building is a half size model of the Wm Crooks engine and cars. The Wm Crooks was the first engine to run in Minnesota. This is a great place to take a picture to remember your trip to Crosslake and the train exhibits.
The association could use help from visitors and friends in raising money for the non-profit association. One way to help is by donating model trains and accessories of all scales that you may still be saving and would like to donate. The association will provide a donation receipt for the market value of the model trains for donors to use as a deduction on income taxes.
The association will keep and/or sell the gift to help improve visitors’ experiences at the association building.
Donations can be dropped off during open hours or by appointment. Call 218-692-1900.
Visit the railroad displays at 35170 County Road 3, Crosslake. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays. Last year, more than 3,000 visitors came through the exhibit, a record number.
Large groups of 10 or more can call 218-821-8357 for a tour during the week.