THE TRAIN EXHIBIT- Voted most popular exhibit for our visitors!
**Come in and see the newest addition to the model town and railroad...Kochevar's! This bar is as old as Crested Butte and is home to another legendary story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Forest Queen building was also recently installed...interesting fact- it took 250 hours to build from scratch! If you think the town of Crested Butte is minature, you should see our model town! The train will take several trips around the town for just a quarter!
The Train Exhibit continues to grow and is a major draw for visitors of all ages. Susan Anderton painted a realistic mural for the exhibit, recreating the bench, Colorado Fuel and Iron buildings, and Gibson’s Ridge. Dedicated volunteers, including Tom Bielefeld and Dave Watkins, have spent many hours scratchbuilding replicas of the structures that were in Crested Butte in the 1920's and adding scenery for the depiction of the 1920s in Crested Butte. The engines and rolling stock (freight and passenger cars) are also scale replicas of the actual Denver & Rio Grande Western trains used at that time. The diorama is HO scale(1:87 proportions) and the trains are HOn3 gauge. HOn3 Gauge is a narrow gauge railroad, which was better for travel through mountainous terrain.
Come in and see the many little scenes showing what life was like in the coal mining era. You'll recognize historic buildings like City Hall on Elk Avenue and Second Street, the Old Rock Schoolhouse and the Crested Butte Hardware/Conoco Gas Station. Pay attention to the fact that Coal Creek has already been diverted from its natural course and now meanders through the town. Residents work in their yards, tending their livestock, planting gardens, and hanging laundry. Notice how the deep snow took a toll on the homeowners' fences around their yards. Check out details like the baseball field, whose fence is lined with advertisements from the 1920's.
Observe the mule path near the tipple. Mules were used to haul mine carts loaded with coal from the mine to the tipple, where it was sorted into lump coal, and slack coal. The slack coal was then hauled to the coke ovens where it was baked into coke for a more dense, cleaner-burning fuel. The lump coal was shipped out in gondola cars to the Eastern slope of Colorado, for use in home and commercial furnaces.
The model builders have done extensive research to make sure this exhibit is historically accurate so that it helps tell the story of everyday life in Crested Butte during the mining era.
Click here to view our Historical Train Photo Gallery
Click here to view our Model Train Photo Gallery