December 20, 2000
Here's where you can see holiday train gardens. Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department: Half winter wonderland and half country town, the Arbutus train garden reflects the season and still shows off some of the best props in its collection including miniature farms. Through Jan. 1 (closed Christmas and New Year's Eve). Open weekdays 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. 5200 Southwestern Blvd., Arbutus; 410-242-6601. B&O Railroad Museum: The museum has working model trains year round, but its holiday display runs for just a week: Dec. 23 through Dec. 30; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas.
December 7, 2012
An Ellicott City firehouse will be home to a train garden geared toward providing holiday gifts for needy children now through Jan. 1. The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services is holding the free open house for the 15th year, fire officials said. Visitors may bring money and new, unwrapped toys that will go to needy children in the county. The train garden is at Ellicott City Fire Station No. 2, 4150 Montgomery Road. It is open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekends, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve. The train garden is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Christmas Day. Group tours can be arranged by calling 410-313-2036.
December 24, 2011
The neon sign flashing "Casino" seems out of sync with the rest of the idyllic Christmas village on display at the Ellicott City Fire Station, reminding onlookers of Pottersville, the racy city that would have replaced homey Bedford Falls if George Bailey hadn't been born in "It's a Wonderful Life. " Down the hill, amid tidy drifts of fake snow, a worker puts the finishing touches on a billboard for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad that entices riders with the slogan "Sleep like a Kitten," written in old-timey cursive.
December 6, 2009
T he man dressed as Santa enters his garage, turns on the lights and seems for all the world to have switched on a miracle. A miniature village sprawls in all directions, the townspeople going about their business in driveways, at restaurants, on ski slopes. Ferris wheels spin, headlights flash, bridge spans rise and fall, and with a low roar that rises to a din, 13 trains on 700 feet of track come to life, climbing hillsides, rounding bends, belching smoke. The light falling on John Sturgeon's face, complete with his paste-on white beard, reveals a man wholly in his element.
December 29, 2012
For many Carroll residents, a visit to the Pleasant Valley Christmas Train Garden is a touchstone of the holiday season that brings them back year after year. And each year for the past 30 years, there have been others who discover the garden's magic for the first time and make plans to return to the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company station in pastoral hamlet of Pleasant Valley for a visit the following December as well. Mike Chrest, of Union Mills, a long-time volunteer firefighter, has been the principal curator and keeper of the roughly 18- by 18-foot HO-gauge train garden, which casts a warm glow in the dimly lit gallery-sized room where it is housed.
December 23, 2007
The Miniature Railroad Club of York, Pa., is hosting its annual train garden, open to the public on select dates through Jan. 6. This year, the club has a new and expanded steam locomotive servicing facility with turntable, roundhouse, repair shop and coaling station. There is also a tiny video camera installed on the front of one of the trains so that visitors can see this view on two overhead monitors as the train travels the HO-scale layout. The club, which was founded in 1943 and incorporated five years later, will hold open houses 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, Saturday and Dec. 30 at 381 Wheatfield St. Admission is $3; 50 cents for ages 6 to 12. Call 717-225-5470 for other viewing dates, directions and more information.