Cincinnati Museum Center Duke Energy Holiday Trains return for their 70th year

CINCINNATI – Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Friday, November 6 at Cincinnati Museum Center. This year marks the Duke Energy Holiday Trains’ 70th holiday in Cincinnati.

Holiday TrainsExperience hundreds of model trains zipping around a winter wonderland as the priceless Duke Energy Holiday Trains join Cincinnati Museum Center’s family-favorite Holiday Junction exhibit. Admission is free to Duke Energy customers with a special confirmation code. Click here to get your code.

“It’s no exaggeration to say this is the most wonderful time of the year,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Families reconnect against the backdrop of this Cincinnati tradition and this year we’re especially excited about several new additions alongside the incredible Duke Energy Holiday trains.”

A Cincinnati holiday mainstay since 1946, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains are celebrating their 70th year this holiday season. At 36 ½ by 47 ½ feet, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains are one of the largest portable models in the world. The trains are authentic “O” gauge, meaning that a quarter inch on the model is equivalent to one foot on a real train. The rail cars, tracks and buildings are 1/48 actual size. During the holiday season, the trains will travel more than 100,000 scale miles!

“We are looking forward to another great year with the Duke Energy trains at their new permanent home at Cincinnati Museum Center,” said Casey Ruschman of the Duke Energy Foundation. “Seeing visitors’ faces light up with delight and enjoyment while visiting the train display solidifies that moving them to a permanent location was critical for their continued success and operation for many holiday seasons to come.”

This year there’s even more for families to love about Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains. A raised platform surrounding the Duke Energy Holiday Trains gives visitors of all sizes and heights a better view of the iconic trains. Santa’s fireplace makes for a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss as you document your child telling Santa everything on their list this holiday season. And you’ll want your camera ready once you see the incredible locomotive engine built by Santa himself! From the track to the stack to the wheels, the entire locomotive is carved and painted by the big man in red, a gift to the Museum Center for being extra nice.

A group of OKILUG (Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO® Users Group) members have done their own elf impression by building a LEGO train layout you won’t want to miss. Spot some of your favorite Cincinnati landmarks bustling with over 100 minifigs, including celebrities like Spiderman, Batman, the Ghostbusters and the gang from Scooby-Doo. The layout measures 12 by 24 feet, or, in LEGO terms, 448 by 768 pips and uses 336 baseplates, each with 1,024 pips.

Also new this year is a rare Carlisle & Finch train set dating back to 1904. Headquartered in Cincinnati, the Carlisle & Finch Company invented the first electric toy train in 1896, featuring metal cars and locomotive that ran on metal rails two inches apart. The extremely rare 1904 set includes both a train and trolley, complete with overhead wires. At the start of World War I the government ordered Carlisle & Finch to cease toy train production and instead focus on producing searchlights for the United States Navy and Coast Guard. The company never returned to build toy trains but their invention inspired a legacy that has lived on in the basements, garages, living rooms and underneath Christmas trees for over a century.

Your other holiday favorites are back, too, with some minor improvements. Our resident reindeer have done a little home improvement project and you can stop by their new digs for the Pogie and Patter Super Spectacular Holiday Fun Hour. Join them to hear some of your favorite holiday stories and songs. Little train lovers can escape to their own winter wonderland as they ride through an elf workshop. Tokens to climb aboard the kid-size train are $1 per child, per ride. Cincinnati Museum Center Members receive one free ride per visit for each Member child.

The observation deck overlooking the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is back and provides a bird’s eye view and photo opportunity of the historic trains. You’ll also see examples of popular Garden Railway, “N” and “Z” scale layouts and a collection of Lionel trains, including an exact reproduction of the Lionel dealer display layout of the Super “O” Track, complete with interactive push buttons.

Santa’s also filled our expanded gift shop with plenty of trains and other toys for gifts and stocking stuffers.

While Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is open to the public from December 26 through January 3, only Cincinnati Museum Center Members can enter at no cost. An All Museums Pass ($14.50 adult / $10.50 child) or admission to the Cincinnati History Museum ($10.50 adult / $8.50 child) includes entry to Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains.

Available through December 24, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky customers can visit to print a personalized admission voucher, or if you don’t have the ability to print the voucher, to simply retrieve a personalized confirmation code. In either case, the printed admissions voucher or the confirmation code must be presented at the Museum Center Box Office for exhibit tickets.