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Miniature World of Trains plans to showcase hobby

By Hal Miller
Published: August 26, 2010
Plans are moving ahead for a facility designed to showcase model railroading on a grand scale. After years of research and planning, Miniature World Of Trains (MWOT) will be creating the nation’s largest HO-scale exhibit that will include a railroad history museum, restaurant and hobby store, all located in Greenville, S.C. The facility will include a 30,000-square-foot model railroad layout depicting famous U.S. railroad scenes. Future plans call for an additional 8,000-square-foot European prototype model railroad.

According to a release from Frank Ruby, owner of Blue Ridge Hobbies in Greenville and a principal in the project, the purpose of the undertaking is to expose model railroading to the masses. The layout will feature “the use of current technologies to educate and entertain the general public in state-of-the-art miniaturization and electro-mechanical automation and control systems.” All forms of transportation will be modeled including aviation, automobiles and trucks. The rail component will feature freight and passenger operations including light rail, high-speed rail, trolley and funicular incline. Boats, ships and even magnetic levitation transportation systems will be displayed. Most models will be computer controlled with sound.

Ruby is hopeful the facility will attract visitors from around the world. His hobby store will be part of the facility when completed.

The first part of the project includes refurbishing the building that will house MWOT. State of the art heat and cooling will be installed as well as lighting and lighting effects, ”green” construction materials and a sound system. That’s taking place now and will run into early 2011. Railroad construction will commence after that.

Phase I is scheduled to be completed in early 2012 and will feature the East Coast with high-speed and commuter trains, plus freight traffic for both rail and highways in the Northeast Corridor. South Carolina and North Carolina will be featured heavily in Phase I to highlight the region where MWOT is located. This will include North Carolina’s Spencer Shops and Charlotte’s Siemens Westinghouse Facility with its heavy load Schnabel cars for transporting turbine generators. Upstate South Carolina industries such as BMW Manufacturing and GE Turbine will be there too, as will featured and the world famous Saluda Grade. The city of Greenville and the old Southern Railroad Station and Greenville Yard also will be modeled.

With the help of numerous volunteers to help create the massive layout, the board of directors expect to employ 100-150 full-time paid staff when MWOT is in full operation. Positions will include management and hourly employees for positions from ticket admission and customer service support and maintenance for daily operation.

For more information on the project, contact Frank Ruby, 864-255-4671.