Train museum

Trains and Model Railroading is a Great Hobby for Dad and the Kids

Now is a great time to visit your local train museum. All 50 states have one or more train museums, often with full-size trains and complex model railways on display. A ride on a vintage train will delight everyone. A great thing about model railways is that they recreate history and illustrate what daily life was like in different time periods and cultures. Trains transported goods and people which helped our country to grow and prosper. There is something for everyone to learn and enjoy; the whole family can embark on a new hobby. You will be able to take exciting photos to cherish and send to the family far away.

Interesting Opportunities

Encourage enthusiasm for trains by setting up a toy railroad, watching train-themed movies, reading fiction and nonfiction books about trains, building a model railway, going to train collector shows, joining a model railroad club and reading train magazines. Museums, toy stores, discount, consignment, hobby and online retailers sell trains and model railroad kits. The whole family can get involved.

Learning, STEM and Careers

Kids can learn about history, geography, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and more from exploring trains and railways. Interesting hobbies may lead to a lifetime of learning, fun and relationship-building with other enthusiasts. Childhood interests influence career choices later on, so maybe your child will become a mechanical engineer or an architect of public transportation systems.

Valuable Life Skills

Hobbies help children learn to plan, organize, set goals, follow directions, make decisions and develop solutions to increasingly complex problems. Hobbies offer the opportunity to excel at something unique and fun without the pressures of school. Kids can relax, explore and build self-confidence.


Trains and railroads played a major part in shaping our country starting in the 1800s. In 1869 the first transcontinental freight train left from San Francisco and traveled across the country to the East Coast. People were able to ride from California to New York in about a week by train. There is so much to learn about trains, from early horse-drawn versions to wood-fired, coal, steam, electric powered and even computer-driven engines: railroading is a fascinating subject.

Cool Facts

1. Trains are more environmentally friendly when compared to many other forms of travel. 2. The actual contact area between the steel train wheels and the steel track is about the size of a dime, thus there is very little resistance, making trains an efficient way to transport heavy goods. 3. Freight trains carry 40% of the world’s cargo. 4. The Seikan Tunnel in Japan is the longest train tunnel in the world. It is 33.46 miles long. 5. The French TGV bullet train holds the speed record of 574 kilometers per hour (357 miles per hour). It braked for 16 kilometers (9 miles) to come to a stop.

Popular Children’s Train Story Books

“The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper “Locomotive” by Brian Floca “Freight Train” by Donald Crews “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg “The Little Red Caboose” by Marian Potter “Thomas The Tank Engine Story Collection” by Rev. W. Awdry

Non-fiction Train Books for Children

“On A Train” by Robert M. Hamilton “Freight Trains In Action” by Adele D. Richardson “Trains” by Susan E. Goodman

Model Railroad Books

“The Wonderful World of Model Trains: A Beginner’s Guide To Building Your Own Model Railways and Creating Stunning Sceneries & Layouts” by David B. Brokar “Building A Model Railroad Step By Step” David Popp “Realistic Model Railroad Design: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Unique Operating Layout” by Tony Koester

Hop on Board and Visit These Websites:

B&O Railroad Museum

Brunswick Heritage Museum

Cabin John Miniature Train

Fairfax Station Railroad Museum (Temporarily Closed)

Gaithersburg Community Museum

National Trolley Museum

Roads And Rails Museum

The Wheaton Miniature Train

Walkersville Southern Railroad

Wheaton Regional Park