Information on:

National Toy Train Museum

300 Paradise Lane

Toy trains are for kids of all ages!  While real trains go back to the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, toy trains emerged later. Wooden and metal toys resembling trains were first made in Europe in the 1860s.

By 1901, Lionel made its first electric train for use in store display windows. A number of famous manufacturers, including Lionel, American Flyer, Ives, Marx, Marklin, and LGB have made toy trains. Some of the most historic ones are on display in the National Toy Train Museum. These are commonly referred to as tinplate trains.

"Tinplate" is a term applied to toy trains originally built of thin stamped metal, but more broadly it includes trains composed of plastic parts as well, their over-riding characteristic being that they were built for mass-market enjoyment rather than the precise scale that some of today's model railroad craftsmen build and enjoy.

Model Railroader magazine began in 1934, and by the 1950s, seemingly every boy had a train set.  Around then, there arose a differentiation between cheaper production trains for kids and much more detailed and accurate reproductions pursued by adult train collectors. Some reflect actual trains, while others display general themes. For some, the delight is in the joy of collecting and operating, while for others the focus is on absolute scaled accuracy.

Today, many of the Baby Boomers have embraced toy train collecting and operating. They can be seen in basements, at Christmas exhibits, running in gardens, and in special displays. Many toy trains today feature the latest in authentic sound and electronic control features.

Increasingly, toy trains use digital technology both onboard and at the control panels. This allows greater control, introduction of new features, and new challenges. In fact, wiring has always been a task requiring planning and skill when creating a train layout.

Toy trains prices range from economical to very expensive. Some are repaired, restored, traded and sold, with careful standards applied to their condition and worth. The Train Collectors Association is the largest and oldest group of toy train enthusiasts in the world.

Toy trains come in different sizes, reflecting different rail gauges and scale. Here are some of the more common.


Justin Weber

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016
Have a large collection of trains. Most of them are static on shelves, but they do have a room full of themed layouts. Neat place to bring kids.

Danielle Tilden

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
It was so much fun to take pics of the different reasons and make them run! Would be great with kids!

Mark Rudy

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017
We ( the fry shack) served food for the event

Charles Indelicato

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
This place is great for train enthusiasts, but people not as interested in the hobby will find it fascinating, too. The building houses many different operating model train layouts, and each layout focuses on a different scale (HO, O, N, S, etc.). There are tons of trains on shelves along the walls. Many old model trains are on display, but there are newer ones, as well. The train layouts have buttons that the visitors can press to interact with the trains and accessories. The museum also has a gift shop. I highly recommend visiting the museum if you are in the Strasburg area and like trains, especially model trains of any scale.

Markus Kreuzer

Friday, Sep. 16, 2016
the history of trains is well known by many, but here its about the history of the trains in a model scale. a lot to see and experience

National Toy Train Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media