Trains Made Exclusively for Hobby Clubs and Organizations

Toy Train Operating Museum

Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum is a must see for any toy train enthusiast visiting southern Arizona.  Located in Tucson, Arizona just off I-10 at the Prince Road exit (3975 North Miller Ave), the Museum boasts a huge O gauge layout (28’ x 69.5 ‘) that was featured in the March 2010 issue of Classic Toy Trains.

 

The Museum grew from group formed in 1981 by the late Ken Sharman, owner of Arizona Trains.  Originally a Lionel collectors club, the group expanded into the public display of modular operating layouts.  At one time the club was a Division of TTOS and hosted the 1988 TTOS annual convention in Tucson.  As a feature of that convention the Museum was first opened. 

 

The Museum’s original home was the Foothills Mall in northwest Tucson, but moved to its own 6000 square foot building in 2000. The Museum is a 501 (c) (3) Arizona non-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. About 100 members belong to layout committees dedicated to keeping toy trains running on Standard, G, O, S (American Flyer), HO and N gauge layouts. In 2011, a new 7 ½ gauge live steam outdoor layout, now in construction, will be operational. 

 

The mission of the Museum is to preserve the toy train hobby and the history and operation of the railroad industry as is modeled by toy train layouts.  The organization has weekly work sessions, monthly public meetings, at least two public open houses a month and sponsors three train shows a year - January, June and November. 

 

The Museum is public supported through annual sale of Lionel cars, train shows, donations, and sales from its gift shop located in the Museum.  Although the majority of members live in the Tucson area, associate members from around the country support the Museum. 

Custom Trains

Another feature of that 1988 convention was an Anaconda ore car. Museum Ore Cars built by Lionel celebrating Southern Arizona mines and railroads have become an annual offering and the economic engine of the Museum. By banking the proceeds of annual sales the present Museum is independent of all debt and continues to operate in the black.

The Anaconda ore car was followed by ones for Magma and Phelps Dodge. Every year a new and exciting car has been made available.  These limited production cars have been hugely successful and are very collectable today. We are grateful for collectors who have all 22 ore cars and welcome new enthusiasts who are discovering our current production cars.

The 2009 Port of Tucson car – a private rail spur serving Union Pacific – was produced in white with six applied colors: red, blue, yellow, green, gray and black.  The  2010 car honors Rosemont Copper and the 2011 car American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO - Grupo Mexico).

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