Choo Choo Barn - Atlas Obscura

Choo Choo Barn

Strasburg, Pennsylvania

This extraordinary model train layout covers over 1,700 square feet, with multiple trains running simultaneously. 


The result of a labor of love spanning decades, this must be the mother of all model train layouts. Many different trains are running continuously across a wide variety of simulated landscapes, through mountains and farmland and cities. It’s not just trains that are moving, there are other vehicles too; a firetruck leaves the firehouse to go to a fire, a paddlewheeler chugs along with live goldfish in the water, excavators work in a quarry, and a ski lift and tramway run their usual routes.

The trains pass by a ballfield with a game in progress, a band playing, a circus, loggers felling a tree, a mill with a flowing water wheel, and streets with houses, trucks and cars. There’s even a subterranean view into a cave and an Amish barn-raising with animated figures.

The room lights go through a day-night cycle every few minutes or so, and when the surroundings are darkened the abundant lights on the layout and figures stand out more prominently.

The whole layout is contained in one large room, where you walk clockwise around the outside. There is so much seething detail, however, that you’ll undoubtedly see things you missed if you take a second or even a third walk around.

Know Before You Go

The Choo Choo Barn is in a small shopping plaza just south of Strasburg Road on the eastern side of Strasburg. There is plenty of parking in the plaza. Check the Choo Choo Barn website for hours and current admission prices.

Other railroad-related attractions in the immediate vicinity, which are also worth attention, include excursion trains on the Strasburg Rail Road, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the National Toy Train Museum.

The area lies at the edge of the Amish country and horse-drawn vehicles will be encountered on the public roads. Take care accordingly.

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January 16, 2024

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