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Update the fabulous TCMRM layout has located a new home! 


This deeply saddens me.. Deeply

Another great o scale railroad faced with destruction.

Guys let's support them.



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Last edited by Erik C Lindgren
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From the press release today.

TCMRM Faces Eviction and Closure
Just as we are getting ready to announce a move to a new location we have been hit by a double whammy of horrible news. We face eviction from Bandana in late October due to our inability to keep up with rent payments. Also, our month to month lease of the Toy Train Division (Chimneys Building) will have to come to an end due to the building being put up for sale.

Our History:

The Twin City Model Railroad Museum has been a Twin City attraction for 81 years and has been in Bandana Square since 1984 (31 years). Museum admission revenue has not kept up with the pace of our current expenses. Our landlords have been very patient and we appreciate their support of our museum. With the situation changing daily we are unable to comment on specifics but we hope to announce our next steps in the coming weeks, negotiations with our Bandana landlord are ongoing.

How the public can help:

Thank you to all our past donors and our amazing customers! We hope to regroup and reopen at a new location that is sustainable and allows us to grow. While we face a massive challenge now, we are optimistic for our future.

Anyone interested in supporting the museum can click the PayPal link on our museum homepage at

Building Status Specifics - Bandana Square:

The museum is currently facing eviction from Bandana due to inability to meet lease payments. Negotiations are underway now to prevent the closure of the museum and catch up on missed payments. We appreciate their patience as we work to meet our lease requirements.

Building Status Specifics - Toy Train Division (Chimneys Building):

The Chimney's Building has been leased month to month for several years. We have known that the building was for sale and were offered the chance to lease or buy the building. (Despite some media reports we are NOT facing an eviction from this space) At this time the museum cannot afford to lease or purchase the building which means we must vacate by November 15th so that the owner can make improvements and show the space to potential buyers. We plan to keep the space open till November 15th on weekends.

Our Chimney's Building landlord has been INCREDIBLY patient and is credited for saving the museum which has allowed us to remain open as long as we have.

If you have questions or concerns please direct them to Museum President, Rick Moore, via email at

This news saddens me as well, especially since it's local to me and a place I have frequented for years.  I will surely do my part to continue to support them and hope others do the same.  It's a must see for any model railroader who ventures to the Twin Cities and will entertain the old and young alike.  It's truly awesome!


Thank you for posting. 



All is not lost yet guys.


The museum consists of two distinct parts in two different buildings on the same property. There is the original 2 rail club in the main building, and the much more recent toy train division in the smaller building next door. It consists of a number of smaller displays, including many 3 rail O, some S gauge, N gauge, HO gauge, Z gauge and a G scale layout. My personal favorite is a Dunham Studios 3 rail layout which was donated by a private individual.


Both must leave their current locations but their situations are different as are their landlords and the timing for them to be out. The toy division will be open this weekend, after which the moving will begin. The 2 rail layout will remain open until the the end of February. The ultimate goal is to finally bring both together in one building at a new location.


I just spoke with someone in the club today, and he said they have plans in place to cut and move the massive 2 rail layout at the end of February, and feel that they can have it up and running again within two months of finding a new location.


Since those articles were published last week, they may have found an entity to help with the funding. The real trick is going to be to find a location with a large enough building to house everything and has parking etc. Not an easy task.


Personally, I'm quite optimistic after today's conversation, and I trust my source. BTW, I was a member of the club in the late 80's and helped build the 2 rail layout. So I have an above average interest in seeing this matter successfully resolved.



Originally Posted by Simon Winter:
Originally Posted by bob2:

Still, 81 years is quite a long time.  They had a winning strategy, and now it no longer works.

What that tells you is that sooner or later it is going to happen.





Almost 30 years ago when "the club" (and that's what I will always call it) moved into Bandana Square the rest of the building was retail shops, and they were considered an attraction and paid little or no rent. Admission was simply on a voluntary donation basis, and all was good.


As time went by the retail concept began to fail and the section at the far end of the building was converted to offices, and then the rent began. It was an unsavory concept (I was on the board at the time) but it was still way better than moving for the second time in under ten years.


Eventually the donation box gave way to a straight up admission charge, but things were manageable. It wasn't until the last year or so that the escalations got to them.


As I mentioned earlier, the money isn't as big a hurdle as finding the right new space.

Keep in mind, the more they've grown, the bigger the problem has gotten. When they moved from the depot to Bandana, the salvage from the old layout was minimal. Now they have the 2 rail layout, and the toy division, to house. They are victims of their own success.


I was also told that there is a meeting coming up, and someone from the city of St Paul would be there. If they can help remains to be seen, but at least they are interested enough to listen.


The writing has been on the wall for 25 years. It was simply a matter of when the bubble was going to burst.


I just received this email:


OK, now this announcement is official.  It has come from Oscar Lund, Treasurer of

the Twin City Model Railroad Museum.  You can spread this news to all your friends.

1.  We are pleased with the results of today's hearing, based on a mutually agreeable resolution by the parties,

allow the Twin City Model Railroad Museum to remain open in Bandana Square through March 2016, including

the entire upcoming "Night Trains" season.  The Toy Train Division, as it has been known in the Chimneys

Building next door, will close to the public on November 2nd in order to consolidate our activities in the single

facility in Bandana Square for the near term.  We graciously thank the Chimneys Building owner, John Dustman,

for underwriting the original launch of this Division and giving us so many great years in his building, providing

us the chance to grow and expand the outreach of our museum.  Some interactive exhibits and layouts from the

Toy Train Division will be moved to the existing Bandana Square location for the interim.

2.  Early next spring, the museum will consolidate all layouts and exhibits, many which have been long in storage,

to a new facility yet to be determined.  The cost of the anticipated move and reopening of the museum will be

substantial.  Additional resources will also be needed in the future to fund professional staff as we move from a

100% volunteer organization in order to better manage and guide the future course of the organization.  The

museum is beginning immediate efforts to secure grants, donations and corporate sponsorships to this end and

to help prepare for a move and re-opening.

3.  Our membership and executive board are incredibly touched by all the community support and attention the

museum has received during this challenging time.  We appreciate every single donation and we assure our

supporters that all funds received will go towards ensuring that our museum's legacy lives on through a new

facility, improved layouts, exhibits and attractions.

4.  Please consider making a donation using PayPal at and share our story with your friends,

families and coworkers.  Your continued support will allow us to keep this inter-generational historic treasure

alive in our community, and to continue bringing joy to"children" of all ages for another 81 years.

I just received this email yesterday. Sounds like things are moving along pretty well. Of course they still need money, but then who doesn't? I think the real key here is that they have multiple locations to consider. The money will come, they still have a few months. There was a link to donate, but I left that out. It's on the website.



TCMRM Museum Update
Museum Move Update
We want to thank everyone who has pledged their support for our museum move by making a donation in recent months. We are nearly halfway to our goal of $100,000. The museum continues to work with outside partners to raise the needed funds to move in March. 
We have several great potential locations in the works. The museum board continues to work on identifying our new home soon. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest information. 
If you or someone you know wants to make a tax deductible donation to the museum please make a donation through our secure PayPal link below!
Thank you for your continued support, we hope to see you at an upcoming Night Trains event! 

I'll keep the updates coming as I get them. I'm very curious as to their potential locations. I've heard a rumor that the now unused "Amshack" is in the running. That would be a pretty good location, near the light rail and with free parking. The question is does it have enough room for all of their displays, and room to expand. They really never want to move again!!!


Maybe I'll give my guy a call, though I'll probably be sworn to secrecy, if he tells me anything. I won't post it until it's official.

Hey all,

This is Brandon Jutz, VP of Marketing and Public Relations for the Twin City Model Railroad Museum. Consider this an official update on our status We have an active fundraising campaign going (you can help by clicking the PayPal link at to help fund the cost of tearing down, moving and rebuilding all our layouts. Our goal is to get everything under one roof with some room to grow.

For now our popular O scale layout is open through February. The Toy Train Division closed November 1st but we have wedged a few smaller layouts into our museum for now.

The big issue is the new space. We definitely want to get it right but 11,000 to 14,000 sf of non-profit friendly rates in the Twin Cities makes things difficult. We do have a short list of options but need to find something pretty quick. We have not made an official decision yet on the new location.

In the meantime, if you find your self in St. Paul be sure to come visit the layout during its final Night Trains season in Bandana Square!

Found these in my email this morning!!!

Twin city model railroad museum ANNOUNCES NEW LOCATION


St. Paul, MN, January 22, 2016 – Thanks to tremendous community support from an ongoing fundraising campaign, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has announced they will be relocating to 652 Transfer Road in St. Paul, Minnesota. The new location is near the former Amtrak Depot just north of University Avenue. The building is also home to local favorites - Buttercream Cakes and Chocolat Célste.

For the past 31 years the museum has been located at 1021 Bandana Boulevard East in Bandana Square. The new Transfer Road location will allow the museum to become more financially stable while creating new and improved exhibits, interactive model train layouts and other displays.


Museum volunteers will begin moving existing train layouts and start building new exhibits in February. The goal is to reopen at the new location in early spring with a grand reopening date to be determined sometime in the near future.

Their last day at the Bandana Square facility will be Sunday, February 28th 2016. Until then the Museum will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-3pm, Saturdays from 10am-5:00pm, and Sundays from 12-5pm through February.


The popular “Night Trains” events will continue to run every Saturday evening from 6pm-9 pm through February. Many nights feature special guests including book signings, artists and Operation Lifesaver.


The Twin City Model Railroad Museum has been a St. Paul attraction since 1934. The museum is an all-volunteer non-profit whose mission is to celebrate toy trains, the model railroading hobby, and the railroad history of the Twin Cities. If you would like more information about the museum and their upcoming move or wish to make a donation to help them relocate, please visit the Museum website at You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.


It's Official!  The Twin City Model Railroad Museum Has A New Home.

Model train museum to arrive at a new station.

Twin City Model Railroad Museum moving from Bandana Square site.

With a new building and a more affordable lease, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum is back on track.

Faced with eviction from its old location at St. Paul’s Bandana Square, last fall the nonprofit museum — with model trains built as early as the 1930s on more than a dozen tracks— embarked on a fundraising drive and a search for new digs.

Both efforts appear successful.

A new, 11,000-square-foot space at 652 Transfer Road will accommodate all of the existing displays and include a little extra room for something new, said Brandon Jutz,

the museum’s vice president of marketing.

“It’s not a big expansion, but the open space allows for more exhibits and better flow. We can build larger displays and rotating exhibits, which we wanted to do for some time,” Jutz said. “Right now, we get a really nice blank canvas.”

Best of all, Jutz said, the new space— just south of the city’s old Amtrak depot in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood— has open windows overlooking the active Midway train yard and rail line, run by Minnesota Commercial.

The extra room also will allow the organization to bring some unseen displays out of storage — and new ones that have been donated but never collected for lack of room.

“It’s also a good chance to rebuild what we had: add more interaction, more durability, allow (displays) to be more hands-on for visitors,” Jutz added.

The museum will continue night displays at its old location at 1021 Bandana Square, off Energy Park Drive in the southwest corner of St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood, through Feb. 27, and will begin to move into the new space that month.

Much effort will go into moving what many consider to be the museum’s central display: a depiction of the Twin Cities in the 1940s and 1950s, when the area was transitioning from steam to diesel power. Landmarks include the Stone Arch Bridge, the Bandana Square Complex — and a playfully added scene from “Grumpy Old Men” — but the added space will now allow for some expansion.

Jutz said the museum hopes to reopen in April, if all goes well.

In October, museum officials said they owed $30,000 in rent, with Jutz noting that as the tenant structure of Bandana Square changed, rent increased to where it became unaffordable.

The museum — which has only one paid, half-time employee and survives largely on donations and the efforts of 150 volunteers — kicked off a $100,000 fundraising drive to cover the costs of a move and expansion.

So far, Jutz said, $80,000 has been donated.

“We were getting responses from all across the country … and a whole lot of local residents pledging support. Some business owners offered square footage, just to make sure it was saved. That really shocked us,” Jutz said.

A payment plan has been agreed upon for past rent and the museum would leave the old space on good terms, Jutz said.

The Midway space’s rent is cheaper, he said, and the museum is counting on added income from a new slate of events, including birthday parties, demonstrations, and special guests and authors.

The museum kicked off in 1934 when a bunch of enthusiasts created an “O-gauge” model railroad under the name of the St. Paul Craftsman Club. O-gauge models were defined by tracks with rails that were typically 1.25 inches apart, and some of the trains built by the first club members are still running on display.

It started in a small space on Grand Avenue, then moved a couple of times before finding a long-term home in the old Union Depot in 1939. The museum lasted there until 1978, when it essentially became a mobile museum that only attended events.

In 1984, it moved into the newly redeveloped Bandana Square. For a time, the museum wasn’t required to pay rent, and admission was a free-will admission box.

The club officially became a museum in 1998 and began charging admission. But in time, the surrounding space changed and is now a mixeduse office space and medical complex.

Those wishing to learn more about the museum can go to; those wishing to donate can go to the same Web page and click on a PayPal donation link.

Tad Vezner can be reached at 651-228-5461 or follow him on Twitter @SPnoir.


They did it!!!



Hey All!

This is Brandon Jutz, VP of Marketing and Public Relations for the Twin City Model Railroad Museum. The news is true! We just announced the move today officially after an all-member meeting last night. Our grand reopening date is TBD but the new space will house our famous 2-rail layout as well as a new and improved Toy Train Division as well as other exhibits about the history and science behind toy trains, electricity, and the hobby. 

We have a lot of work today over the next few months and it will be truly all hands on deck. If you have an interest in helping please let us know at We are also still raising funds to help the rebuild, if you can make a donation please go to and clickt eh "PayPal Donate Now" button. 

In the meantime, stay tuned! 

Sunday was the last day the Museum was open at Bandana Square. Deconstruction of the layout starts Monday morning.

I went over there for the "going away" party, and had a good time talking with a few of the guys from back in the days when I was a member, as well as some of the "newer" members. I use that term loosely, because from my point of view, that's anyone who has joined within the last 25 years.

I met Brandon Jutz and offered to help. I doubt I'll get a call, but I'll swing by mid week and offer again when the crew is actually working. They have to remove all the trains and structures first. They only have until March 31st to be completely out.

This thing is going to be trouble to move without doing serious damage. It came into the space as raw lumber, and now has to leave in chunks. To compound that problem, over the years, the old entry was redesigned and rebuilt. It originally featured French doors, but is now reduced to a standard single door. Even though the benchwork was designed in sections, it was never intended to to fit through a small opening like that.

If it was up to me, I would punch a proper opening through that wall in the entry. It's not as if the next tenant isn't going to remodel it anyway. The only problem with that is there are still the main building doors that have to be negotiated, and they can't be expanded. Whatever they measure is the limit.

This isn't the first time the organization has had to move, but the last time, they didn't try to preserve the layout. The only things remaining from that layout are a few structures. This is a new experience!!!

Erik, it's time for another title change. "Moving the TCMRM or How are they going to get Winnie the Pooh unstuck?"

Finally, a few parting photos. It is going to be a while before it looks this good again.



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I stopped by the Museum Wednesday afternoon, and was absolutely amazed at what had been done in less than three days. All the railings had been removed from around the layout and the skirting was off. The backdrops were gone, as were the trains and almost every structure. Many of the large bridges had been freed from their places and were ready to go as well. Much of it has already made the 2.6 mile trip to the new space.

As I said before, they have to be out by the end of the month, but at their current rate that won't be a problem. The bigger issue will be the reassembly and making the layout operational again. Time is money, and the rent is due.

I remember when we put up the backdrops. It's been almost 30 years since the north windows have been visible from the front of the layout.


The "lumberjacks" have been through here. This will be the first section to leave the building, and will establish the layout's position in the new space. The top of the hill will be removed along the upper track line. Because the trestle was built in place, it cannot be removed, and will have go through the door turned on edge.



One of the last structures is the grain elevator wrapped around the post


It sounds as if the layout will start to be taken apart on Monday. I check back then to see if they need help. By then they might.


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I spent the afternoon at Bandana today. The deconstruction is moving right along. While the new photos may not look like much has been done since last week, nothing could be further from the truth. The entire area under the layout has been cleaned out in preparation for the cutting. Everything has been dewired. Here are some of the relay panels. I'm not sure if these are going to be reused or not.


I try to take the same shots every time to show the progress. I spent much of the afternoon working and consulting with Matt about how to best divide the layout into sections that will fit through doors and around obstacles.


The hilltop is now partially cut off. It should be done tomorrow.


These tops will have to go too, in order to get through the doors.


There are plans to make some changes during the reassembly process. Small areas, normally hidden from the public, were destroyed and will be improved.


The Third Avenue bridge in the foreground, and the Stone Arch Bridge in the distance pose some of the biggest challenges of the move. They are very attached to the layout, and the plan is to make them their own chunks for the move.


The head poking out of the layout on the left is Matt. He's armed with a roll of tape for marking the cuts.


He does have a body, at least half of one.


The next couple days will see the start of the cutting.


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Big day today, the hilltops came off.


Bit of a learning curve, the big one was being stubborn.


A sawzall made short work of this one.


Rail segments were removed along the cut line, then the circular saw was run through. This was the first cut.


I removed these rails for the second cut.


Bryce on the left, and a second Matt on the right are ready to help free the section. First Matt is under the layout prepping.


Legs are out, and temporary supports are in.


All four of us recorded videos of this major event as we separated the first section from the layout.

One down and more than 20 to go, with 21 days to do all of it.


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Last edited by Big_Boy_4005

The layout is now fully disassembled into 22 major pieces. The truck showed up Saturday, and the moving got serious, with more than half the layout getting over to the new space. The job wraps up Sunday, with the reassembly probably beginning later this week.

This piece was too big to fit through the door and needed some last minute trimming.


The very fragile Third Avenue bridge section is covered to protect it. It will go Sunday.


This video shows the route all the pieces will take to get out of the old space and off the property.

Once they make it to the parking ramp, they are loaded onto flatbed trailers, and driven down to the waiting truck.


The two buildings in this photo are just part of the Bandana Square complex. The entire property was the former NP passenger car shops. The one on the left was the blacksmith shop AKA the "Chimneys building" which housed the toy train division. The one on the right was one of two main buildings, and the 2 rail layout occupied the the second floor from that garage door, above the truck, over to the corner for the last 32 years.


Today was the first time I got to see the new space. The only thing I can think of to describe it is "vanilla box". It's going to take a lot of work to make it look like a museum, but these guys and gals will get it done.

Here we see that first piece coming off the truck at the new space.

The first piece ended up over against the wall, and another larger piece is carried in.


Pieces are placed in their relative positions on the new carpet.


It was a long day, and Sunday will be another one.


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OK gang, the 2 rail layout is now almost completely back together. There are just a few small pieces left to be reattached, and they were left off on purpose, to give better access to a couple spots. They should go back on next week.

Track and scenery repairs have already started, but wiring may still be a month out. The talk is about having the layout operational by November. My opinion is it will be much sooner than that, though after all that was done in March, the guys doing most of the work are a little worn out. It was an amazing month.

If you look back up the page to my first video, you'll see us removing the first piece of the layout.  In this photo, you'll see the same piece, the left side of the curve, being set back in place.



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