San Diego Model Railroad Museum

At 27,000 square feet, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world's largest accredited model railroad museum. This unique museum contains five enormous scale model layouts depicting railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales. In addition, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting.

The mission of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is to research, collect, preserve and present the heritage of American railroading using educational programs, displays, toy trains, and scale models of California railroads. At every twist, turn, and tunnel we spark curiosity with developing educational programming that includes education milestones like critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. Our exhibits transform little engineers into modelers who tinker with engines and nail down the track to build and transform something from nothing. 

With highly detailed recreations of beautiful train routes, including the Tehachapi Pass, the Cabrillo Southwestern, San Diego & Arizona Eastern, and the Pacific Desert Lines, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum offers an eagle's eye view of some of the most stunning of landscapes.


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Model railroading has a rich history in San Diego, particularly in Balboa Park. Its origins in the park can be traced back to the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition when legendary model railroader Minton Cronkite was asked by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company to build a  replica of the AT&SF railroad system in the Ford Building, the present day Air and Space Museum. Today, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is proud to have pieces from that original display in our permanent collection.