The Northern Minnesota Railroad Heritage Association (NMRHA) train club in Crosslake has spruced things up for visitors this holiday season.
The Christmas Train is running and there are several displays of Christmas train villages and other décor inside and outside the facility.
A scaled replica of the actual remodeled Saint Paul Union Depot (SPUD) is nearly finished and is on display on the O-gauge layout at the club. Club members designed and built the SPUD.
Club members come from all over the area — from Mille Lacs, Aitkin, Brainerd, Ossipee, Crosslake, Hackensack and elsewhere. The NMRHA is always looking for new members — people who want to learn about model trains or train history, or just want to “play” with model trains.
Members will operate and explain the trains and layouts, and can provide a history of the trains that ran here in the Brainerd lakes area and surrounding north-country. There is a train that children can operate and a store to purchase an engineer hat or a book about trains. There is an operating telegraph system and visitors can try sending a message in Morse Code.
The club provides a great opportunity to learn how to build a model train and scenery, make new friends and attend train shows with other members, including the show in St. Cloud in March 2014.
The club has monthly social events, and members and spouses will celebrate together this year at an annual Christmas party at Antler’s in Breezy Point.
The train club is located on County Road 3, just south of Crosslake. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Groups of 10 or more people can arrange a special visit (such as a birthday party) by calling 218-821-8357 for a tour during the week.
Anyone with a train set or cars/scenery to donate for a tax deduction can stop in with the items.