The Clovis Depot Model Train Museum, located in Clovis, New Mexico is located in the former Santa Fe depot there, a beautiful two-story structure. Along with presenting the history of Clovis’ railroading past (and present, with the BNSF Railway which runs directly in front of the depot) and that of the Santa Fe, the museum also features several operating layouts that are certainly something to see, especially for the youngsters! The museum also has a gift shop located right in the depot so be sure and stop by while you are there. While the museum may not be one of the largest in the country by any stretch it is still a very nice facility worth the time to visit if you have a chance to do. Perhaps the museum's best feature is simply its location where the BNSF Railway's very busy main line sits right outside the front door.
During the heyday of the Clovis depot the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway used the building as its main division offices and a major yard and maintenance/engine facilities were once located there on what was then known as the railroad's Clovis Subdivision. Additionally, Clovis was junction point along the main line where the Santa operated a long branch serving southern New Mexico (such as Roswell, Carlsbad, and Hagerman) and reaching Pecos, Texas where it established an interchange with the Texas & Pacific Railway (the Missouri Pacific). Finally, one of the famed Harvey House restaurants was located in the town of Clovis further adding to the area's once prominence. The Clovis Depot Model Train Museum was fortunate enough to see the building restored to its 1950s appearance and even has documents on hand of the building during its heyday. Along with the layouts featured the museum also showcases historic railroad pieces and memorabilia and in the spring of 1996 the museum was listed on the National Register of Historic Places further securing its future.
Altogether the museum has four operating layouts; one layout features railroading in Great Britian between 1930 to 1970; a second layout features the role railroads played in developing Australia and is presented in HO scale; a third layout, done in HO scale features the history of railroading in Clovis itself during the 1950s; finally a fourth layout is presented in N scale and depicts the Santa Fe operating in the Midwest. While the museum's layouts have obviously become its main attraction there are also other things to see within the building. These include several displays of railroad artifacts and the museum tries to give visitors an idea as to what it was like to work as a station agent and telegraph operator in the building.
Additionally, the displays on hand also try to tell the story of what railroading on the Santa Fe and in the West was like during the days before mechanized technology and computers have made manual labor a less noticeable aspect of the industry today. Along with the exhibits inside the depot you can also watch BNSF freight trains pass by along the platform outside and with the museum being located along the Class I's extremely busy Chicago to Los Angeles main line this means that upwards of 100 trains pass through the town every day! So, if you are interested in the real thing you may want to visit the Clovis Depot Model Train Museum just for this reason.
In any event, if you plan to visit the Clovis area sometime you may want to visit the Clovis Depot Model Train Museum during your stay, they are open Wednesdays through Sundays, between 12 and 5 pm throughout most of the year. They do ask, however, that you call in advance if you plan to visit in either February or September. Along with everything there to see they also offer guided tours and an on-site gift shop. For more information about the Clovis Depot Model Train Museum and planning a visit please click here to visit their website.
For more reading about one of New Mexico's most famous railroads, the Santa Fe, you might want to consider the book Santa Fe Railway from Steve Glischinski, which will give you a general overview and history of the Santa Fe (filled with many, excellent, historical and colorful photographs) at which point you can decide if you are interested in further books of study on the railroad. Even if you are a historian of the ATSF and have not seen this book I'm sure you will enjoy it! Also, for more information and reading about excursion trains and railroad museums you might want to consider picking up Tourist Trains Guidebook from the editors of Kalmbach Publishing's Trains magazine. The book lists and reviews over 400 excursions and museums found throughout the country and is an excellent resource, which has received superb reviews by readers, if you're looking for one to visit. In any event, if you're interested in perhaps purchasing either (or both) of these books please visit the links below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.