The South Florida Railway Museum

Much of the time that I spend with Amelie involves trains.  Specifically, we use them to see one another instead of taking the drive.  When Amelie comes up to visit me, I usually pick her up here, at the Deerfield Beach Tri-Rail station.

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Tri-Rail is short for tri-county rail, and it’s a north-south rail corridor in South Florida that connects Miami, Ft. lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and parts in between.

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The Deerfield Beach Station  is also one of several throughout the state that serves as an Amtrak station.  Amtrak is America’s answer to the Deutsche Bahn, except it’s not as convenient, not as cheap, and not as useful.  It’s also not as punctual, because Amtrak leases the rail lines from the freight companies, but that’s a different post.

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One day in late April, I noticed this sign on the street near the entrance.

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Following the sign, I found another one pointing to a nondescript door.  As it turns out, they were doing some work on the external face of the building.  Now, seven months later, there’s a clear sign to indicate that this is an actual museum.   At the time, it looked pretty sketchy.

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Inside, however, it was kind of amazing.  This, it turns out, is the home of the South Florida Railway Museum and Model Railroad Club.   Housed in the old rail terminal building, it’s only natural that the museum contained  model trains.

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This part of the museum reminded me of Miniatur Wunderland.

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There was a lot of detail here, including a tiny herd of tiny cows.

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The rail model was a giant construct in the center of a large open room, but the walls were filled with other things.

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This vintage Coca-Cola machine was actually being used by the museum staffers as a refridgerator-  the place on the left where you’d normally see Coke bottles is being used to keep the coffee creamer cold.

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There were dozens of model engines on the walls representing different time periods and train styles.

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Some of them have specific historic importance, like this one from an old hobby store in Miami.  The store is long gone.

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Even train cars need sweaters when it gets chilly out.

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To a model train enthusiast, this museum is a goldmine.

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This license plate had an inside joke for train engineers, but I can’t remember what the word on the bottom was.

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Cheap plastic sunglasses from the launch of Tri-Rail serve as memorabilia here.

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The museum has a fantastic collection of items from the golden age of rail travel, including an ash tray, a drinking glass, and “pasteurized drinking water” as it was distributed on passenger trains in the past.

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There are lots of ash trays in the museum.  People smoked a lot back then.

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One huge corner of the museum is dedicated to old Amtrak swag.

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I think I had a set of those Amtrak playing cards when I was a kid.

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This old control board is stuffed to the gills with ancient communications gear, and a now-rare example of an analog word processor.  Er.  Typewriter.  I mean Typewriter.

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This old Amtrak sign is about six feet tall, up near the ceiling in the front.

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Here’s more examples of older rail signs.  These haven’t changed all that much in the intervening years.

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One thought on “The South Florida Railway Museum

  1. gorthx

    I love traveling by train! What a fun discovery. There’s a model train museum on one of my regular running routes, but I’ve never been inside.

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