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Hobby Shopping Around Chicago (and Atlanta)

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Hobby Shopping Around Chicago (and Atlanta)
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, December 03, 2018 4:41 PM

Well, I have no excuse for this one. I went on Google and looked for hobby shops in the Chicago area. One of the places that popped up was York's Trains in Highland, Indiana, just across the state line.

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This place had terrible reviews, and I could not believe that any hobby shop anywhere could really be like that, so I jumped in the explorer and checked it out.

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I have never said anything bad about any local hobby shop online, and I am not going to change that policy today, but I will say this... You can believe the reviews.

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Shame too, because it looked so promising from the outside.

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On the plus side: I went to a place called Schoops Burgers in Hobart, Indiana for lunch, and it was amazing!

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I plan to do a lot more hobby shopping and train stuff this week.

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You cannpt tell from the picture, but I was freezing! I need to shave.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, December 03, 2018 6:52 PM

I went to a Menard's as I was leaving Indiana.

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They had an impressive holiday display with HO scale train sets, three rail O scale freight cars, and HO & O scale built up structures. It kind of reminded me of Christmas Past and the displays at department stores.

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Very nice.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, December 03, 2018 8:38 PM

Maybe check out Lombard Hobbies.  They used to have a booth at Trainfest, in Milwaukee.  They had great deals on NOS Kato locos, which is out of your time period, but just maybe?  a place to check out?

Lombard is a town/suburb West of down town Chicago, about 12 or 15 mi.?

https://lombardhobby.com/

Mike.

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, December 03, 2018 9:05 PM

Lombard is well worth a visit as is Des Plaines Hobbies.  What I like best about Des Plaines is that you can find stuff there that was issued long ago but they still have on the shelves, which are groaning with stuff.  Chicagoland Toys and Hobbies is also one I like to visit when I make the trek down there.

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, December 03, 2018 9:20 PM

dknelson
...What I like best about Des Plaines is that you can find stuff there that was issued long ago but they still have on the shelves, which are groaning with stuff....

I was rather impressed with it, too, but, unfortunately, was not driving a Brinks truck on that occasion.

I stopped-in mainly for their Viking roofs...

...but to save the drive, now order from them on-line (for more of those roofs).

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 03, 2018 10:04 PM

mbinsewi

Maybe check out Lombard Hobbies.  They used to have a booth at Trainfest, in Milwaukee.  They had great deals on NOS Kato locos, which is out of your time period, but just maybe?  a place to check out?

Lombard is a town/suburb West of down town Chicago, about 12 or 15 mi.?

https://lombardhobby.com/

Mike.

 

Yes, make a trip to Lombard Hobbies, worth the trip. Also, check out Walt's Hobbies in Crest Hill, just north of Joliet.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by drgwcs on Monday, December 03, 2018 10:15 PM

In the two years that I lived in the area I never caught York's open- looked in the window and I couldn't tell if if it was a hobby shop with a hoarding problem or a hoarding problem with a hobby shop.....

There are ton's of great shops in the Chicago area. Of course Des Plaines was already mentioned. There are many other great ones Zientek's model trains on 18th in Pilsen is a haven for old and out of production stuff and an absolute must stop. RAM hobby shop on Higgens is very good but with irregular hours. On the north side is Chicagoland Hobbies on Milwaukee. Also on the northside is Grayland station on West Devon- hours are a little irregular- check their website, small shop but absolutely packed to the gills- great selection of N scale too. Golden Spike was in Burbank- but Google maps is marking them closed. I had never made it out to Lombard Hobbies but heard it was good. In Indiana G&G hobbies in Griffith was a smaller shop but was good for basics. There is a smaller shop in Crown Point- the one in Dyer closed. There are some others in the western suburbs but did not get out there much.

Hope these suggestions help.

Jim

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 4:46 AM

drgwcs

There are ton's of great shops in the Chicago area. 

That might be a bit of an overstatement. There used to be a ton of hobby shops in and around Chicago, but not anymore.

I will once again point out that Walt's Hobbies in Crest Hill, a suburb on the north edge of Joliet, is one huge shop catering to model railroaders. To me, for anyone making a trip to the Chicago area, Walt's Hobbies is a must stop. And, as Jim mentioned, Lombard Hobbies is a pretty good shop with discount prices.

Rich

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Posted by LenS on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 9:26 AM

richhotrain
I will once again point out that Walt's Hobbies in Crest Hill, a suburb on the north edge of Joliet, is one huge shop catering to model railroaders. To me, for anyone making a trip to the Chicago area, Walt's Hobbies is a must stop

I will echo the sentiment. Walt's has been my 'goto' place for decades now. If Bob doesn't have it in stock... he'll get it for you. Scores of locomotives in all scales, shelves of all manufacturer's freight/passenger cars, paint, supplies and everything you will need for your hobby. Plenty of RC equipment, plastic model car/plane kits and a decent selection of literature. It's also the unofficial 'official hobby store' of our railroad club.

Len S

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:07 AM

drgwcs
I couldn't tell if if it was a hobby shop with a hoarding problem or a hoarding problem with a hobby shop..

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I really think it is a hoarding problem with a hobby shop. I saw stuff in there I will never understand.

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-Kevin

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Posted by drgwcs on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 2:59 PM

richhotrain

 

 
drgwcs

There are ton's of great shops in the Chicago area. 

 

 

That might be a bit of an overstatement. There used to be a ton of hobby shops in and around Chicago, but not anymore.

I guess it is all pretty much relative- loved the variety of shops when we lived there and got spoiled. (may not have been as many as there used to be but it was way more than I was used to.) The trade off was a little apartment with little room for a layout. Now I have room but the closest hobby shops from Danville VA are in Raleigh and Spencer NC about 1 1/2 hours away. (there was a small one here that closed just before we moved here due to the owner's health) That has been the story of where we have lived through the years. We are generally an hour away or more from a hobby shop. The only place where we lived where there was a hobbyshop close besides Chicago was when I was in Bible College years ago in Springfield, MO. (although one could argue that with Chicago traffic even a hobby shop 20 blocks away could be an hour....Hmm) Strangely I have always found a club or group of modelers wherever we lived though. We have a great club in Danville.

Jim

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 9:06 PM

I made time to get to DesPlaines today. This was a great store. Even though I had never been there before, the whole staff treated my wife and I great. Everyone and everything about this shop was A+.

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Even though it cost me $12.00 in tolls, it was still worth it.

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I picked up a couple of automobiles and a bunch of detail parts.

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Yes, if you are in the area, you must stop here.

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I am freezing in this picture. It is so cold outside!

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Oh... and I shaved!

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:24 PM

It's Chicago in December. Grow the beard, invest in a coat. Pneumonia is lurking just around the corner. Tongue Tied That's in the better parts of Chicago. It gets worse near the yards...Wink

Mike Lehman

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Posted by fmilhaupt on Thursday, December 06, 2018 5:33 AM

Has anyone been to RAM Hobby in the past several months? When I've called during his typical business hours, all I've gotten is a recording about being closed for now, due to health issues.

RAM is usually a regular stop on my gang's annual Chicago hobby shop run, but we bypassed it this year in favor of Zientek's, based on the phone recording.

-Fritz Milhaupt, Publications Editor, Pere Marquette Historical Society, Inc.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, December 06, 2018 8:11 PM

Still getting around the Chicago area.

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I went to a couple more hobby shops. I started at Lombard Hobbies. Found a whole bunch of Walthers code 83 rail joiner that I had been looking for. That was a good stop.

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Also made a stop at Walts Hobby Shop. This was an excellent example of a full line hobby retailer. Great store.

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I also went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They HO layout was impressive, but no one told me they had a Zephyr in there! That was quite a treat.

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I will keep on making my way around Chicago. It is still real cold, and I still am freezoing in all these outdoor pictures.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, December 06, 2018 10:15 PM

Kevin, glad to see that you made it to Lombard Hobbies and Walt's Hobby Shop.

Two of my favorite places.

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, December 07, 2018 12:05 AM

SeeYou190
I also went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They HO layout was impressive, but no one told me they had a Zephyr in there! That was quite a treat.

That would be a pleasant surprise if you didn't know it was lurking. IIRC it is a rather recnt addition like in the last couple of decades.

There's also a submarine. The whole place is not to be missed. At one time, the place had a connection to the Chicago Tunnel Co RR, too.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, December 07, 2018 4:07 AM

mlehman
SeeYou190
I also went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They HO layout was impressive, but no one told me they had a Zephyr in there! That was quite a treat. 

That would be a pleasant surprise if you didn't know it was lurking. IIRC it is a rather recnt addition like in the last couple of decades.

There's also a submarine. The whole place is not to be missed. At one time, the place had a connection to the Chicago Tunnel Co RR, too. 

Kevin, if you like to visit museums, head out to the Illinois Railway Museum this weekend. It is a 1 hour drive northwest from Chicago. This time of year, it is only open on weekends. Quite a place.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, December 07, 2018 5:15 PM

richhotrain
Kevin, if you like to visit museums, head out to the Illinois Railway Museum this weekend. It is a 1 hour drive northwest from Chicago. This time of year, it is only open on weekends. Quite a place

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Thank you for the suggestion, but this will not be possible this time. Hopefully when I come back through in April/May 2019.

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Saturday will be spent in Lafayette, Indiana, and then I will head towards Atlanta.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by tommymr on Saturday, December 08, 2018 8:29 PM

Stopped by RAM on the way home tonite.  Sign in window says closed during week for now, but open fri & sat 10-3 and sun 11-3.   At least gives you an idea of when to call.

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Posted by zstripe on Saturday, December 08, 2018 8:43 PM

Kevin,

You mean You did not go in the coal mine at the museum? Was one of the first gotta see/experience exhibits since the thirty's. One of My favorites.......

https://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/coal-mine/

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, December 08, 2018 9:01 PM

zstripe
You mean You did not go in the coal mine at the museum?

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I went into the coal mine, but after repairing mining equipment for two decades, it was one of those things that was too close to work to be enjoyable.

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Some pictures of me when I was young, slender, and muscular:

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My specialty, the Manitowoc Model 4600 Synchronized Drag Line. I know this magnificent beauty inside and out from top to bottom and one end to the other. These were good times for me.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, December 08, 2018 9:57 PM

I finished my trip around Chicago with a Northward run to Wisconsin where I stopped to visit the offices of our hosts, Kalmback Media.

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Everyone was very friendly, and I had a great time. The work that goes on in the Kalmbach offices is truly impressive. What a great team these people are.

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The highlight for me was seeing the only remaining GORRE & DAPHETID locomotive, 4-10-0 number 34. What a beautiful item. I was so surprised to find that it was not kept in a secure vault with armed guards.

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I stopped at the Walthers Showroom, but did not get a picture, whoops.

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Then I went to South Side Trains, which is a very small shop. In spite of the small size, I still managed to spend over $150.00 in there. Lots of good stuff for sure.

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Well... time to hed back South... towards Atlanta. Hopefully it will not be freezing. I managed to survive a week by the Great Lakes without ever putting on a jacket, or even long sleeves.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, December 09, 2018 7:09 PM

I finished the week with a trip to Mr. Muffin's Trains. Mr. Muffin used to be in Carmel, Indiana, but they have moved to a new location in Atlanta, Indiana. They also have a separate cafe and shop now.

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Mr. Muffins is a magnificent display of three rail Lionel O scale. It is really something to see. They do not have the layout fully put together yet, but it is still great.

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On to Atlanta (Georgia, the real Atlanta).

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:59 AM

SeeYou190
Well... time to hed back South... towards Atlanta. Hopefully it will not be freezing.

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Well, that did not work. It was freezing this morning. There was patchy ice on the overpasses this morning in Atlanta. Schools had a delayed start due to the weather.

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I think I need to make a trip to a good old Atlanta hobby shop to make myself feel better.

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-Kevin

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 1:24 PM

SeeYou190

Still getting around the Chicago area.

 

I also went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They HO layout was impressive, but no one told me they had a Zephyr in there! That was quite a treat.

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I will keep on making my way around Chicago. It is still real cold, and I still am freezoing in all these outdoor pictures.

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-Kevin

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    The Chicago museum is truly a great museum. I haven’t been there since I was a kid but I remember loving it. The Zephyr and the U-Boat were there back then and so was the coal mine exhibit. The model railroad was different however back then. It was an O scale layout which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. It was one of my first encounters with model trains and made a huge impact on me. I had to go see it every time I went there. I’m glad you got to see the new HO scale layout. I’m sure it’s pretty nice. They also had a dam exhibit that was a pretty neat model of a working dam, lake and river.
    Back in those days the downtown department stores always had electric train displays in their front windows this time of year. Good times.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 5:59 PM

I'm glad Kevin had such a great visit to the upper Midwest -- there are shops in Milwaukee he didn't get to but would have liked -- but really, we have to get that lad a jacket or coat!  Coffee

Dave Nelson

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 6:57 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe
The model railroad was different however back then. It was an O scale layout which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. It was one of my first encounters with model trains and made a huge impact on me. I had to go see it every time I went there. I’m glad you got to see the new HO scale layout. I’m sure it’s pretty nice.

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I think the new layout depicts Chicago to Seattle. While I was in the museum, there were about 10,000 school kids in there. I could not read the explanations of most of the layout scenes.

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It is an impressive display, but it is in need of serious dust removal!

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dknelson
I'm glad Kevin had such a great visit to the upper Midwest -- there are shops in Milwaukee he didn't get to but would have liked

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Thanks Dave.

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I wish I would have had more time to spend, but it was an unplanned trip and I had an awful lot of stuff I needed to do while I was there. I went to absoluely as much fun stuff as I could squeeze in.

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Hopefully I will get back to the Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana area again and have less stress and more time.

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-Kevin

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Posted by drgwcs on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:56 PM

Glad to hear that you had a great time. Been following the thread but unable to log in. The current layout at MSI follows the BNSF from Chicago to Seattle. The Chicago citiscape is really amazing and well done. Most of the buildings are custom built in that portion. It is neat from above too in take flight in the aircraft above. I had seen the original one as well- If I remember right it was built by Milton Cronkite (sic)  The zephyr is really neat to go through too- excellent restoration. Just have to share this story about it. In the baggage compartment they have an audioanimitronic Zeph the donkey that talks with the tourguide. The first time we went through it our eldest was three or four. The other kids really thought it was neat- the problem was Jimmy had just heard the story of Baalam and the Donkey in Sunday School the week before. He thought he was in trouble and started crying, then to compound the situation in the next car there are statues that talk that are all white. Not sure how the Sunday School teacher described the angel but it must have been a man in white.........Crying CryingTotal crying fit.......... Took us a little while to find out what was wrong. Everytime we went there afterward we all laugh about it. Jim

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