logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad



Zachary Waiting

An excited Zachary waiting for the arrival of AMTRAK train #29, The Lakeshore Limited, at 3:00 a.m. in the morning of June 30, 2008. For once, the train was on time arriving in Elyria, Ohio at 3:17 a.m.

Chicago's Union Station

The scene outside of Union Station in Chicago shortly after our arrival on the train. The number of people on the street and the many tall buildings reminded us both that we were no longer in "small town" America.

Burlington Zephyr

This is a Museum of Science and Industry promotional photo of the fully restored Burlington Zephyr. The train has been beautifully restored and is quite impressive as it sits on its concourse in the Transportation Wing of the museum. Unfortunately, on the day of our visi8t to the museum they were having trouble with the exhibits animatronics. In spite of that we enjoyed our tour of this classic streamliner from yesteryear.

Museum of Science and Industry

My eldest grandson Zachary, is an enthusiastic model railroader and rail fan. He has wanted to see the Museum of Science and Industry's new HO layout since it was featured in Model Railroader. At the end of June 2008 we took Amtrak's Lakeshore Limited from our home town of Elyria, Ohio to Chicago to see the layout and some of the sights in my hometown, Chicago, Illinois. Here he is posed on the steps of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry while we waited for the doors to open on July 1, 2008.

Chicago Skyline Along the Lakefront

A panoramic view of part of the Chicago skyline I took from in front of the Museum of Science and Industry. Zachary was very impressed with all of the tall buildings. A trip to the observation deck in Sears Tower the previous day had illustrated the proliferation of skyscrapers in Chicago.

GTS Chicago

A view of part of the City of Chicago as modeled on the Great Train Story layout inside the Museum of Science and Industry. These buildings are an impressive display of modeling. Sears Tower, the tallest is more than 10 feet high. The photograph does not do it, or any of the others justice.

GTS Union Station

GTS version of Chicago's Union Station complete with underground tracks. Here an AMTRAK train pulls into the station. In another area of the layout there are underground station tracks for commuter trains.

Panorama Chicago

A panoramic view of Chicago as modeled on the Great Train Story layout taken from the balcony of the Transportation wing of the museum. Sears Tower can be seen at the right. City housing and the commuter train loop are at center left. Zachary, in the red shirt, is taking in the scene. He spent nearly eight-hours watching the trains and looking at the many features of the layout. I literally had to drag him away to view the U505 and some of the other major attractions in the vast museum.

High Level Bridge

A BNSF freight winds under one of the high level bridges on the GTS layout. Unfortunately, I took the picture just after another train had crossed over the bridge.

High Level Bridge From Above

A panoramic photograph of the high level bridge I took from the balcony. There is a train crossing the bridge, but not one to be seen on the mainline. A rare occurrence as there are at least 30 operating trains on the layout.

Small Town America

A pair of freights pass near on of several small towns modeled along the extensive main line. Sorry for the burred image. I took it without a flash, as I did most of the photos here, and the camera could not 'stop' the motion.

Heavy Industry

A lake freighter at the pier, a siding full of waiting freight cars and a smelter make up this scene. The GTS layout provides an overall picture America and what makes it great as it winds its way to the west. another of the many small communities on the layout can be seen in the background. Somehow, I missed getting of photograph of one of several grain elevators modeled in this area of the layout.

Raging River

A BNSF freight moves at a steady pace over an unnamed raging river via a carefully modeled bridge. A second, more ornate bridge spans the same river in the background. The waterfall in the background reminds me of Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State.

Hard Rock Mine

Push a button and with a flash, a bang and the rumble of falling rock, part of the tunnel wall falls. This mining scene was a favorite of my grandson. Over the course of the day he probably pushed the button to activate this scene 40-times.


Push another button and with a call of "Timber!!" the light colored tree at the left-center, crashes to the ground. All part of a well detailed logging scene on the GTS layout. Another of the animated scenes on the layout, this one too, was a great favorite.


Seattle at last. The famous Space Needle can be seen in the foreground. Part of Seattle's bustling waterfront is at right. The dark glass and steel column of Columbia Tower is in the background, center right.

PRR #1361

Zachary at the throttle! The restored cab and back-boiler from PRR K-4 #1361 is one of the exhibits near the Great Train Story layout. Zachary has a model of this locomotive and was thrilled to come in contact with a part of the real thing.

Our June 2008 trip to Chicago, Illinois to visit the Museum of Science and Industry and see their new HO layout was a resounding success. The AMTRAK train ride to the city is something Zachary will never forget. The visit to the museum brought back many memories for me. My father used to take me there to see the sites when I was a youngster. I'll never forget my first trip into the coal mine or walking through the U505. Another trip to the city of my birth is on the agenda for the future. The City of Big Shoulders has a lot to see and do. A trip to the Museum of Science and Industry to view the Great Train Story Layout is a worthwhile trip for any train enthusiast.

logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad
Copyright by Allan Coates 2004-2016. All Rights Reserved.