Decidedly the most whimsical and transportive of the hidden gems at Sky Lodge, the Station House is a must-see for any curious visitor—not to mention the perfect rainy-day destination! The extensive, automated model railway museum provides a full tour through a New-York-to-New-England time capsule, as tiny, meticulously constructed occupants feature in classic seasonal scenes.
An experience for the whole family, one can study the exhibit from top to bottom and still discover new secrets and hard-to-spot details. Against a stunning background of a mid-century New York City skyline, windows and signage blink. Hitchcock’s Bates Motel of Psycho fame stands on a hill, an eerie light brightening a second-story bedroom. An illuminated drive-in theater screens High Noon to a packed audience of miniature 1950’s cars, wedged in the middle of a bustling industry town. Further along, visit the Catskills and an active mountain community, complete with a nod to the brickmaking and mill past of the area. The Adirondacks provide the view for the next chapter, as a mini homage to the Grandma Moses folk landscape presents a cozy holiday scene—look out for the ice-skaters, and even a furry friend or two!
Designed by Tony Award-nominated Broadway scenic designer, Clarke Dunham, the model railroad features several treats for the avid train-enthusiast. In every stage of the journey, three levels feature four tracks, running the entire perimeter. Sixteen individual trains run autonomously, prevented from any small-scale collisions through a “block signal” system of wired sensors—an operation that is still used by full-sized railroad signal systems. The exhibit features time-authentic, multi-sized “O” gauge, “S” gauge, and “H-O” Scale train cars, a means of giving creative dimension and perspective to the scenes. Trains shuttle coal and freight between factories, switch engines, and feature a number of diverse locomotive designs. More than fifty artists and craftspeople contributed to the original display.
The full exhibit highlights the four picturesque Northeast seasons from spring through winter, allowing a year-round glimpse into a quintessential vintage life. The high-tech lighting system transitions the diorama from day to night lighting every three and a half minutes, a chance to fully understand the artistry behind its staging, as each shadow cast gives the scenery more depth. There are over 25 independent animated scenes around its perimeter. With 27 automated signals, 70 train controls with 18 separate speeds, and 30+ trains and trolley cars running at once, the exhibit hums with life.
Plan to experience the train museum yourself when you visit Sky Lodge! Tickets available here.