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Miniature world lurks inside model railroad museum

Bill Humphrey watches trains on the first floor of the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum on Saturday, Nov. 26. Justin Guido/Butler Eagle

GIBSONIA — There’s a difference between a tin plater and a railroad modeler.

A tin plater is slang for someone who is content to set up a Lionel train to run on a circular track around a Christmas tree base.

A railroad modeler will build a 40-by-100-foot train layout for up to 24 HO-scale trains and keep it set up all year round in a building erected specifically for the layout.

That’s what the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum, 5507 Lakeside Drive, has on the second floor of its building, an intricate and meticulously created combination of tracks, trains, buildings, vegetation and animals forming cityscapes and countrysides that recreate the area between the Point in Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md.

HO scale means model trains of this type use a 1:87 scale in relation to a full-sized train, and the museum modelers do their best to keep their buildings, streets, factories and landscapes in the same scale.

Visitors can see this detailed landscape for themselves as the museum has opened its doors to the public for its 34th Holiday Train Display.

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