Roslindale has a train network that would make U.S. Vice President and Amtrak enthusiast Joe Biden jealous—if Biden were one-and-a-half inches tall.
The Bay State Model Railroad Museum is not really a museum. It’s a club, open to new members, that gives members the space to create the train model of their dreams.
“We’re not a full-fledged operational museum, more of a club that started by modeling the period after World War II,” said Bill Rynders, director of shows for the Bay State Model Railroad Museum. “We have lots of steam locomotives, ’60s-era diesels, passenger trains when they were the most luxurious way to travel and old-fashioned trolleys.”
Every Wednesday evening, members come in to work on and run their trains. There are miniscule N-gauge trains (1/160 scale) and larger O-gauge (1/48 scale) trolleys, some of which have been customized to resemble MBTA Green Line trolleys. The club takes up the entire second floor of the building at 760 South St., allowing over 3,000 square feet to be covered by members’ track and scenery.
“I was very, very impressed with how much the club had managed to jam into a relatively small upstairs space,” said Nathaniel Curtis, a JP resident and model train enthusiast. “I remember going up this narrow little staircase and suddenly you pop out into this wonderful room with this incredible train display that’s mind-bogglingly detailed.”
While the club doesn’t sell anything, its members will be glad to recommend items, Rynders said.
“We can direct the public to hobby shops in the Boston area, and give advice on equipment and techniques,” he said.
The club’s members also present two public shows a year, Santa Comes to Roslindale on the first Sunday in December, and a Spring Open House on the first Saturday and Sunday in March.
Model railroading “at its best, is about taking what you see and what you imagine and reproducing it in a way that lets you interact with it directly,” Curtis said.