One of the largest model train displays in New Jersey has a permanent home in the Union County Parks system, and every year it pulls out all the stops for the Holiday Sound and Light Show featuring dozens of trains and non-stop activity.
“The Holiday Sound and Light Show gives us all an affordable way to kick off the holiday season with a unique, family friendly activity that everyone can enjoy,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “It’s a great family tradition and I guarantee you will be astonished by this hidden gem in our County Parks system.”
The action is all thanks to an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, The Model Railroad Club, Inc. Over the past 40 years The Model Railroad Club has constructed the enormous HO scale layout at its headquarters, the A. Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center. The Mallery Center is located in Lenape Park in Union Township, through an arrangement with the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation.
"It is always wonderful to see guests of all ages at our show," said Bob Nalbone, President of The Model RailRoad Club. "I can't tell you how many people come up to me and tell me that they've been coming for, literally, decades. It spans generations."
With The Mallery Center’s multi-level design, visitors can stroll above and within the 40’ x 40’ layout while rushing passenger trains and slow freights pass over deep canyons on soaring bridges and through bustling cities, disappear into dark tunnels, and reappear in meticulously crafted landscapes of a central New Jersey – Pennsylvania railway, bringing the region’s agricultural, commercial and industrial past to life.
Visitors can also explore the “bones” of an expansion under way, that will more than double the size of the layout when fully built out. The new section will be 50’ x 80’.
After the show, visitors can explore N scale and G scale layouts at the Mallery Center, refresh themselves at the snack bar, and stock up on train-themed presents for the holidays at the gift shop.
All proceeds from the Holiday Sound and Light Show go to help fund the Railroad Club’s activities, which include hosting public observation days throughout the year.
“Union County is truly fortunate to host this dedicated group of volunteers, and the Freeholder Board is proud to support their efforts,” said Jalloh.
Order tickets in advance and take advantage of the discounted price: $7.00 per adult ages 16-59, $4.00 per child age 3-15, $5.00 for seniors age 60 and up.
Opening Day is Friday November 27, offering special extended hours for the day after Thanksgiving from 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m.
Shows continue every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until December 13.
For a complete schedule and advance ticket information, including convenient online ordering, visit The Model Railroad Club online at tmrci.org.
To purchase tickets in advance in person, come to the ticket window at the Mallery Center is from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Information by phone is also available on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 908-964-9724, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more photos and videos, visit The Model RailRoad Club on Facebook.
The Model Railroad Club always welcomes new members. It was originally founded in 1949 in the basement of the late Paul Mallery, a pioneer of the hobby of model railroading who established the educational mission of the organization.
Directions: The Mallery Center is conveniently located in Lenape Park behind the Home Depot, 954 Route 22 East, by Springfield Road in Union Township. Enter the Home Depot parking lot from Route 22 or from Springfield Road, and go to the far end where the garden center is. Turn left and a small sign will direct you to a road behind the Home Depot. The Mallery Center is at the end of the road.
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