The story below is an excerpt from our Sept./Oct. 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
One focus of the Luray, Virginia's train depot model is education.
Luray’s train depot in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia looks so shiny and clean that you would expect it was open for passengers.
Well, for sure, it is open again to visitors—especially anyone wanting to see the newly opened train museum sharing the story of “The Rail Road Comes to Luray” and how “This depot once bustled with life…”
Look for two, new levels of model trains under glass. “The lower level is supposed to depict the passenger station when passenger service was in the valley,” says 81-year-old David B. Lipscomb, the treasurer of the Page Valley Rail Historical Society. “The upper level shows the freight lines.”
More than models, the train station museum includes the re-creation of the ticket agent’s office. “And that’s where everything occurred in the station,” Lipscomb says. “The attraction, I think, is basically more educational about what trains used to be.”
The Luray station was built in 1907, mysteriously burned and was rebuilt in 1908. It was restored, most recently, over a 15-year span, beginning in 2000 and culminating with the museum’s opening earlier this year.
Like Luray, the handsome train station of Pulaski, Virginia also caught fire—actually, a couple of times. After the most recent fire, in 2008, the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum moved out. But its contents didn’t chug away too far. Today, an expanded “Ratcliffe” has reopened within sight of the old station—and boasts seemingly miles of miniature tracks, showing off the mountains of Pulaski County—about 200 miles down the line from Luray. New this year at the Ratcliffe are lights scattered among the museum’s mammoth model train layout.
For more: theratcliffemuseum.com