Day trips: Railroading memorabilia abounds at Clovis museum

Compiled by William P. Thompson

Remember playing with choo-choo trains when you were a kid? You can rediscover the fun of model railroads at the Clovis Depot and Model Train Museum. The depot has been restored to the same condition it was in the 1950’s. An operating telegraph station is inside and there are plenty of old-fashioned toy trains including American Flyer and Lionel model trains from the 1920’s -1940’s.

There are even displays of historic British and Australian model railroads and trains. Real train operations can be viewed from the depot’s platform just 35 feet away from the rail line and you can see trains from the dispatcher’s position inside the depot.

For the serious train buffs, a reference library of the Santa Fe railroad is on site. A gift shop has all the model railroad supplies you could want as well as train books and New Mexico souvenirs.

HOW TO GET THERE
From Portales take U.S. 70 up to Clovis and just turn left on First Street. The historic depot is at 221 W. First St.

HOW OLD IS THE DEPOT?
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built the depot in 1907 and at the same time established the township of Clovis. The reason the depot was restored to its condition in the 1950’s is because the 1950’s represented the railway’s transformation from steam to diesel.

The rail line that runs through Clovis today is one of BNSF Railroad’s busiest lines. About 75 to 100 trains pass by the depot daily.

HOURS AND FEES
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Adults get in for $5, Children 5-15 get in for $3 and Seniors are admitted for $3. Families of two adults and two or more children pay a flat fee of $15. Call 762-0066 for more information.

MAY ANYONE PLAY WITH THE TRAINS?
Visitors to the museum are welcome to push buttons that send the model trains into motion around the tracks. One model railroad is 32 feet long and six feet wide. If trains fall off the tracks, attendants will quickly set them back up on the tracks for you.