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Celebrate the Holidays with a Favorite Union County Tradition: the Annual Holiday Sound and Light Show

A favorite Union County tradition returns this year with the annual Holiday Sound and Light Show hosted by The Model Railroad Club.

The centerpiece of the festive extravaganza is the club’s sprawling, meticulously detailed HO scale model train layout at the A. Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center, conveniently located in a mixed-use area of Union County’s Lenape Park off Route 22 East in Union Township.

“The Holiday Sound and Light Show is a wonderful holiday tradition for the whole family, and The Railroad Center is a unique community resource open for all to enjoy,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “I still remember fondly taking my now-grown son to the show when he was younger and fascinated by model trains."

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This year, the Holiday Sound and Light show begins on Friday, November 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Shows will continue from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays until December 10.

“The show is designed to capture the imagination with a ‘you are there’ feel, and the layout itself is a decades-long labor of love at the heart of our mission,” said Railroad Club President Tim McCollum.

The Model Railroad Club is dedicated to preserving and sharing the art of model railroads while providing the public with a unique window on the history the New Jersey-Pennsylvania rail corridor.

The Railroad Center is open to the public every Saturday during the year, and each November the layout is transformed into a living theatre complete with sound and lighting effects and professional narration.

The Sound and Light Show repeats continuously on each scheduled day from November 24 to December 10. Attendees can stay as long as they like to enjoy more than one show, view an elaborate N-scale layout and other displays, grab a bite to eat at the snack bar, and stock up on train-themed holiday gifts at the gift shoppe.

For the convenience of attendees with babies and small children, a play and rest area is also located on site.

Discounted advance tickets to the Sound and Light Show may be purchased online through the Railroad Club website,themodelrailroadclub.org/advance-show-tickets. Advance tickets are $7.00 for adults age 16 and up, $5.00 for teens age 13-15, and $4.00 for children age 3-12. Children under age 3 are free.

Attendees can also purchase tickets at the Railroad Center. Tickets purchased at the Railroad Center for a future date are at the discounted rate. Tickets purchased on the day of attendance are at the regular rate of $1.00 over the discounted rate.

The Railroad Center ticket window is open on during regular Saturday public hours between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on November 4, 11, and 18. It is also open during the scheduled hours of the Sound and Light Show beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, November 24 and ending on December 10.

The Model Railroad Club, Inc. is a non-profit organization that built and runs the Railroad Center through an arrangement with the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Work on the HO display began 40 years ago with the construction of the Railroad Center in Lenape Park, and it has been enhanced and expanded since then. Work on a major expansion is under way, practically doubling the size of the original exhibit.

The Model Railroad Club has been a part of Union County since its founding in 1949 by Master Model Railroader Paul Mallery. Today, it is one of the largest model railroad clubs in the region.

New members are always welcome to join the Model Railroad Club. Current members are on site during visiting hours and are happy to provide information about Club activities. Prospective members can also request information on joining by email, at info@tmrci.org.

All proceeds from the Holiday Sound and Light Show go towards funding the Railroad Club’s activities.

Directions: The A. Paul Mallery Center is conveniently situated in a mixed-use area of Union County’s Lenape Park, off Route 22 East in Union Township, behind the Home Depot at 930 South Springfield Road. Enter the Home Depot parking lot from Route 22 East or from South Springfield Road, and go to the far (west) end where the Home Depot garden center is located. Follow a small sign to find the service road behind the garden center. The Mallery Center is at the end of the road.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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