Edgerton Model Railroad cover

Edgerton Model Railroad

Fans of transportation heritage and Rochester history will love visiting the Edgerton Model Railroad. Each of the four season-themed layouts tells a different story of life on the move in the 1950s, with operating model trains touring throughout each scene.

Explore the details of each display during the open house layout tours on the last Saturday of each month from 11 am – 2 pm.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Four Seasons, Four Displays

Edgerton Model Railroad winter display
Winter Scene

Winter in the Mountains

The winter scene represents a serene and beautiful wonderland. Enjoy nighttime in a small town on Main Street, lit by black lights, giving it a magical appearance. See if you can find a snowman-building contest, a spot to photograph with Santa, a parade, and Christmas trees for sale.

Edgerton Model Railroad summer display
Spring Scene

Spring in the Countryside

The spring scene brings us to a railroad junction in rural America. The valley is complete with mountains, farmhouses, and an arch bridge. 

train Room spring display
Summer Scene

Summer in the City

The summer scene depicts Rochester in the 1950s. You’ll find familiar landmarks that makeup Rochester’s skyline, like Kodak, Sibley Tower, Powers Building, the University of Rochester, and the Genesee River and Lake Ontario.

Edgerton Model Railroad autumn display
Autumn Scene

Fall in Letchworth State Park

The fall scene is a mash-up of the Henrietta area around Jefferson and West Henrietta Roads, plus the Penfield Road underpass and a small town near Letchworth, with a gas station and drive-in movie theater. There are even hot air balloons floating over the falls!

Edgerton Model Railroad train room building
Edgerton Model Railroad train room building

More information about the Edgerton Model Railroad

Passionate Edgerton Model Railroad Club volunteers are the stewards of this historic community treasure, originally known as the Police Athletic League (PAL) Model Railroad Heaven. As they say, it’s landmark preservation in miniature! Visit their website to learn more about this Club and how you can get involved.

Take a free tour on the last Saturday of every month between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with expanded open house hours during December. Edgerton Model Railroad Club is in the Edgerton Community Center at 41 Backus Street.

Looking into the diorama-like display

History of the Model Train Room

From the City of Rochester website:

“The Edgerton Model Railroad Room was launched on October 27, 1950, when Governor Thomas E. Dewey officially opened the “Model Railroad Heaven” with a ceremony that included his driving a miniature “golden spike” into the exhibit’s track!

“The Model Railroad Room was created at the tail end of Rochester and America’s bustling train travel era. Although trains aren’t as commonplace in Rochester as they were back then, the magic and mystique of trains persists.”

From the Edgerton Model Railroad Club website:

“These four layouts in O scale were started in 1950 by the City of Rochester and the Police Athletic (PAL) with assistance from the Lionel Corporation. These layouts depict the four seasons, and the Rochester Art Club painted the backdrops.

“The Lionel Corporation donated $5,000 worth of trains, tracks, and other accessories. The City of Rochester supplied a crew of carpenters who built the train room.

“In 1991, Lionel again donated a large amount of stock and accessories. In 2004, a significant contribution of locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories was received by donations from many O Gauge manufacturers with the help of the Train Collectors Association (TCA). 

“In 2010, the Eastern Division of the TCA donated money for these layouts. Throughout the years many other individuals and companies have made donations to these layouts.”

The Edgerton Model Railroad has been featured in a music video! The video was recorded at a vintage train station in New York. The videographer contacted Lee Wood, the Edgerton Model Train Room curator, to film and incorporate the model trains as part of the video. Learn More

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Have you been to the Edgerton Model Railroad?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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