A Model Train Museum is Now Open in Taylors Mill

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Does your little one love trains? A great addition to Greenville’s list of indoor kid spaces is the Model Trains Station at Taylors Mill. Our KAG writer Anna Artz was fortunate to get a one-on-one tour with chief Engineer aka Model Train Station Chairman, Bob Rayle. For a list of even more train related things to do in the Upstate see our list Trains in Greenville.

About the Model Trains Station

Mr. Rayle is the quintessential train hobbyist whose eyes sparkle when talking about the new Model Trains Station, “It’s run by train enthusiasts and made for families to have fun. We enjoy seeing smiling kids and see them getting excited when they see the trains and of course, to promote the hobby.” The Model Trains Station is run by volunteers. It is a registered 501 (c) 3 and charges a minimal admission fee. They also have a donor program and family membership for avid fans of trains. Bob also talked about phase 2 of their plans for future education programs. The Station plans to “…teach electricity to little kids, all about light bulbs, circuits and switches.” They are also open to hosting birthday parties, corporate events and meetings.

Where Is the Model Trains  Station

Housed in Taylors Mill Development, an upcycled old mill building complex, the Model Trains Station occupies about 16,000 square feet of space alongside artist studios. Visiting the Model Trains Station is like going to a giant train workshop. The building itself is fascinating, a former textile bleachery, the space is raw and full of history. The Model Trains Station joins the rest of the creative Taylors Mill group in making historic buildings an alternative venue for  the community. The mill gets busy when the weather gets warmer. (See their March calendar for special events, food truck festivals, a weekly farmer’s market and the Made South Craft Fair in the fall).

Model train on track next to rocky mountain with tunnel

The Model Trains Station opened last December 2017 with their fantastic O-scale Christmas village set-up. Presently, the holiday decor has long been removed but the three running Lionel train lines continue to be a source of fun especially with a scavenger hunt designed for the kiddies to explore and enjoy the train village. My kids enjoyed running around hunting for the hidden figures. They were also delighted that they could play engineer themselves and operate a Thomas the Train railroad within the village.

Also featured in the exhibition space is a donated model of the city of Baltimore (HO train). Beautiful and professionally done cityscape, children will have fun viewing the trains running thru an urban landscape. On the other side of the room, is an HO scale model of Waynesville. Beautifully done by a master artist, the mountains surrounding the realistic lake are a labor of love.  Lots of little scenes to spot in this scene, but you may have to lift your child to get a closer look or bring a step stool. (MTS plans to add a viewing platform in the future).

When you and your tots are tired of looking at trains on the move, MTS has a play corner where toddlers can tinker with wooden toy trains. The play area is located right beside a structure which will house their train repair depot. MTS plans for the office to have glass windows so visitors can see trains being repaired. Currently also in the works is a G scale railroad German Village donated to MTS, in pristine condition. There’s also the really cute N scale railroad set-up by the children’s play area.

Our visit ended with soft rumble of the Norfolk Southern Line in the background. Yes, the mill is situated right next to a train track! One of the staff mentioned that they will most likely have an outdoor camera hooked up to a TV inside the building so one can see the train as it passes by. Meanwhile, railroad enthusiasts can view the dispatcher ATCS display of train locations along the NS, in real-time. Little details like this combined with the knowledge and enthusiasm of its volunteers is what makes this place truly special. We’re so glad they’re here to stay!

How to enjoy the Model Trains Station

Play the scavenger hunt which can be found at the Lobby. Submit your completed form for a chance to win a raffle.

Play engineer and run Thomas the train track in the Lionel O display.

Talk to the resident volunteer engineer and ask them about how the models were made.

Check out the dispatcher ATCS display.

Learn about the different types of model train scales: G, O, HO, N, while examining the display cases filled with trains and model villages.

For tots, play with toy trains in the children’s area.

Model trains on glass shelves

A few things to know

If you’ve never been to Taylors Mill, be prepared to drive thru a seemingly group of old buildings. Look for a red sign.

To view some of the exhibits, you will need to carry your child to see some of the details. Bring a step stool if you can. Our visit lasted about 2 hours.

Inside the development, there is a big parking lot across the former bleachery buildings or Dock 2. Model Trains Station is in the building called Print Works 1, to the right of Southern Bleachery. You’ll have to climb a few steps to get to a glass door entrance. There is no ramp for strollers. Upon entry, the first thing you’ll see is a multipurpose hall, keep on walking till the next set of doors that leads to the artist warehouses and the train museum.

Public restrooms available (but not as spotless as one would like).

Visit the Model Trains Station

Hours: Friday and Saturday, 11 am – 5:30 pm, Sunday, 1 pm – 5 pm

Spring Break 2018 Special: Open from Tuesday through Sunday

Children (2- 12) $4, Children under 2 are FREE

Adults $6, Seniors $5, Military $5

Visit their website here.

250 Mill St. Suite BL1250, Taylors, SC, 29687

Tel. 864.605.7979

Would your kiddos love a visit to Model Trains Station?

About the Author
A Greenville transplant, Anna, is a former fundraiser for art museums and charities in NY and NJ. Before heading south, her husband's job brought them to Pune, Shanghai and her hometown, Manila. She and her family are happy to settle in Greenville and enjoy hiking the beautiful parks of the Upstate, visiting museums and historic places, and last but not least, hunting for the best BBQ in town.

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