Thursday, September 19, 2013

Interactive Model Railroad Exhibit To Open In Old Town, San Diego, California

Construction of the new exhibit will start October 1, 2013, and is expected to be ready with a partial exhibit and gift shop for the 2013 Holiday Season

With millions of visitors each year, Old Town San Diego is recognized as an extremely popular destination for tourists from around the world who enjoy the many shops, restaurants and attractions found in the birth place of California.  Very soon these tourists and their children will be able to experience the joy and happiness that model railroad brings to millions of adults of all ages worldwide: a live interactive model railroad is coming to Old Town San Diego in time for the holiday season.

Today model railroading is more than just a hobby. Serious modern day model railroaders must know their history and must be skilled in many disciplines including carpentry, airbrushing, engineering and much more. Today's model railroad display is light years beyond the Christmas train set we remember.

Gary Hickok heads up the new model railroad project. When asked why at 65 he decided to start this venture, he replied “With my family having worked in the railroad industry in upstate New York for several generations, I became a model railroad enthusiast at an early age. It is a hobby I have been passionate about for decades.  Approaching retirement, I want to build something I can enjoy through my senior years, and help others discover the pleasure and cheerfulness watching a model railroad in action can bring people, while also reminding them of the history of the railway.  When you look at the expression on kids, and also their parents, when they visit a model railroad exhibit, all you see is happiness on their faces.  It is priceless, and it makes my day, every day.”

Once open, the interactive model railroad exhibit will be one of the largest O scale operating exhibits open to the public in the western United States.  When visiting "The Depot", visitors will see many types of different trains, including models of steam engines of the past up to trains of the modern era. The layout will be approximetely 2,300 square feet with plenty of animation, sound, lights, operating accessories and remote control devices. The Old Town Model Railroad Depot layout  has been designed to give visitors a feeling of how life was during the 1950's by displaying a large city with buildings from that time period, a working country farm, a zoo and rail yard engine workshops.  Visitors will also see a large lake and dam with custom built trestle bridges spanning a deep river gorge.

Construction of “The Depot” starts October 1 at 2415 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110.  It will take several months to complete, but the company hopes to be ready with a partial exhibit and the gift shop by the Holiday Season. will give website visitors a preview of locomotives to run at “The Depot”, as well as a historical perspective of the railroad around the world.

For more information regarding Old Town Model Railroad Depot L.L.C., visit the company's website at or contact Danny (Danielle) Hampson via email at


Gary Hickok is a graduate from Youngstown State University.  A former Captain & Reconnaissance Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps,  Mr. Hickok developed his civilian career in the financial industry.  He has been a model railroad enthusiast for decades.


Danny Hampson