The Los Altos History Museum’s 10th annual Train Days event is scheduled 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road.
Admission is $5, free for children 4 and under. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
According to organizers, the event is designed to showcase the “joy and wonder” of model railroading. Train Days will feature elaborate layouts and intricate scenery, including scaled renditions of prototypes and whimsical engines and theme cars replete with steam, lights and sound.
Visitors can explore the gauges and scales associated with model railroading as private collectors and clubs highlight and field questions on the mechanics and electronics of their trains and layouts, as well as the history behind the locomotives and railroads that inspired them.
Participants will include the Live Steamers from the Bay Area Garden Railway Society, the Diablo Pacific Short Line, the Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club, the Golden State Toy Train Operators, Peninsula Ntrak and AsiaNRail, the Pacific Coast Division of the National Model Railroad Association and the private collectors of LEGO Layout.
The Swanton Pacific Railroad and California Operation Lifesaver will educate visitors on proper rail safety. The event will feature a glitter tattoo station and train-themed marketplace. Quick Dog will serve hot dogs and Baskin-Robbins will offer ice cream.
In addition to N- through G-gauge models running the tracks, the National Model Railroad Association’s HO-gauge switching demo “The Timesaver” will return for visitors to try their hand at operating a model switch engine to move freight cars to locations around a freight yard.
“We’re delighted to celebrate Train Days’ 10th anniversary,” said Kristen Fuller, event chairwoman. “What started as a small, one-time supporting event for a museum exhibition, ‘Trains Mean Business,’ has now evolved into a communitywide event that includes participants and friends from around the Bay Area that return year after year to enjoy trains and good times.”
Elisabeth Ward, the museum’s executive director, said the success of Train Days over the past 10 years has inspired the museum.
“We are glad the community embraces events like Train Days that bring young and old together in a fun learning environment,” she said.
Trains are integral to the history of the U.S. and the region. For more than 150 years, rail service has been transporting passengers along the Peninsula, with Southern Pacific putting Los Altos on the map in 1907 when its steam railway connected Palo Alto to Los Gatos. Mirroring railroad development through the years, Train Days will highlight the transition from early steam locomotives to diesel engines up through electric and high-speed passenger trains – all scaled to mini- ature.