After 65 years of tradition, Duke Energy Holiday Trains have moved across town from the old Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company, 139 E. 4th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, to the lower level of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45203.
The magic of the train display may be in a different location but it is in a special place. The trains have brought in as many as 9 million visitors since its opening holiday season in 1946 at the Fourth and Main Street offices of the gas and electric company.
Christmas 2010 season estimated attendance was over 300,000 and even with the holiday trains moving to Union Terminal they are expecting big crowds there as well.
One difference between the old building and the new is the absence of windows. The new display does not have windows and all the focus will be on the train display.
Currently the 2,021-square-foot-train layout is being assembled in its new permanent home. It will not be set up, taken down and stored each year. It will forever be on display.
Several men are in the process of setting up the display removing corrosion from recently-soldered tracks, connecting 1,000 square feet of miniature railroad track, and mending electrical connections.
Others are working diligently to uncrate the many handmade houses dating back to 1937 when the train display was created as a touring promotional tool for the B&O Railroad. Nine years later, in 1946 the layout came to Cincinnati and has remained.
The Duke trains will be part of rail-related events beginning November 5, 2011 and run through January 1, 2012. During the holidays there will be several events taking place at the museum center, including tours of the terminal control tower, see film screenings of “Rocky Mountain Express”, tour the old train terminal, Holiday Junction, the terminal’s long running display of model trains, Cincinnati in Motion, a permanent display of the Queen City on a scale model, and last but not least, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains.
The relocated trains will continue to stop people in their tracks, creating memories that last a lifetime, put a spark in the eye of a youngster, and urge visitors to go back in time.
Duke Energy Community Train Program
Duke Energy Photo Credit