A group of model train enthusiasts want the city’s support in developing a model railroad museum in Washington.
Don Burhans, a leader in the effort, said they would like to find a place in Washington for the museum and called the old freight depot, which is owned by the city, an “ideal” location, especially with the recent completion of the new Front Street parking lot to the west of the depot.
“We’re asking you to support the effort to bring one to Washington,” Burhans told the council Monday night.
He and two other model train buffs brought in samples of a display that could be built in the museum.
Lots of people will come to visit such an attraction, Burhans said. “It will bring tourism to the city,” he added. “We would love to get some assistance to get started.”
The city currently leases the old 1865 freight depot building to a company that prepares and packages gourmet food items, it was pointed out.
Burhans said model train buffs from around the country and the world would come to run their trains, and take photos, on the model train layout that would be built here.
He also said Union Pacific Railroad will provide free advertising for the museum.
“We would work with the historical society to make sure our layout is historically accurate,” Burhans said.
Tourists who come to see the interactive layout would stay in hotels and eat in restaurants here, he said.
Several council members said they have visited model train museums and they have been packed with visitors.
City Administrator Jim Briggs said he has some ideas he wants to research about the proposal and that he would make a report back to the council.
“Let us put our heads together on this,” Mayor Sandy Lucy remarked.