Miniature Railroad & Village®
100 years of engineering memories
If you’ve realized the holidays aren’t long enough to visit ALL the amazing destinations Pittsburgh offers, allow the Miniature Railroad and Village to help! Our miniature village and model trains encapsulate iconic Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania landmarks, from Primanti’s and Kaufmann’s to Fallingwater and the largest train display in Western PA! The best part? Everything, whether it’s the model railroad, model village, or the holiday village and holiday railroad, is scaled down – so there’s a really quick commute, even if you’re going from the town square all the way over to the quarry!
The Miniature Railroad’s story began in 1919 with a man named Charles Bowdish of Brookville, PA. Originally a holiday display on the second floor of his house, it moved to the Buhl Planetarium in 1954, and ultimately found its final home at Carnegie Science Center in 1992.
The Miniature Railroad & Village® features hundreds of wonderfully realistic animated scenes that illustrate how people lived, worked, and played in our region before 1940.
Contributions to the Miniature Railroad & Village® 100th Anniversary Campaign enabled the Science Center to refresh the gallery with new carpeting, fresh paint, historic photo montage, updated signage, a new entrance video, and yet to come, LED lighting.
Visitors now enjoy motion-activated digital text panels and the online digitization and publication of the Miniature Railroad’s expansive 100-year-old archive, featuring photos and letters from creator Charles Bowdish. The project also includes the publication of a limited-edition centennial book detailing the history of the exhibit, its models, passionate caretakers, and never-before-seen photographs.
Now you can purchase a limited-edition commemorative book that highlights the history of the Miniature Railroad and the iconic models displayed in it. The book is co-authored by Robert Gangewere, a published author, and Patty Everly, former Curator of Historic Exhibits at Carnegie Science Center, who has stewarded the growth of the exhibition for more than 20 years. Titled A Love Story: The Miniature Railroad & Village, a portion of the proceeds from the book go toward sustaining the Miniature Railroad.
The Miniature Railroad & Village® Centennial Celebration is sponsored by:
Gus and Yiayia’s Ice Ball Cart
On the North Side since 1934, Gus and Yiayia’s ice ball cart has served shaved ice treats, popcorn and peanuts to generations of fans. Whenever the weather is warm and the Pirates are playing, Gus and his cart can be found at the park, serving up treats to keep the summertime cool. Now, visitors can come visit the cart no matter the weather at The Miniature Railroad and Village®! Whether your favorite ice ball flavor is cherry, orange or something else, all visitors can enjoy coming to look at the bright orange cart that’s been around “since your dad was a lad!”
The Hill District Home of Daisy Lampkin, a Famous Suffragist
Kaufmann’s Department Store
The historic installation for 2019 was Kaufmann’s Department Store, a replica of “The Grand Depot,” the original downtown mecca. Located in the Miniature Railroad’s Main Street cityscape, the model pays tribute to a Pittsburgh icon with 15 miniature window displays, a Swarovski crystal chandelier at its grand entrance, and other elegant details. Learn more about the model and Kaufmann’s history in On Track, our annual publication available at the entrance to the Miniature Railroad.