Drive-a-Train exhibit opens in Aiken Train Museum for Christmas
A new exhibit has popped up in the Aiken Visitor’s Center and Train Museum for the holidays.
Drive-a-Train is a hands-on exhibit where visitors can run several sets of toy trains along a intricately decorated track, which features a mechanical lift, a train station, and an engine that spews real smoke.
Some of the train engines and carts are replicas, but others are original pieces from toy sets dating back to the 20s and 30s, according to Hampton Wayt of the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum.
Wayt said most of the exhibit was donated by Bennett and Lindsay Tucker, the Sacks family, and the Erb family. Additional equipment and pieces of the set were donated by Friends of the Aiken Railroad Depot and the City of Aiken.
What makes the trains fun is the hands-on element, Wayt said. Visitors can use a control panel to run the trains around the track. They can control the train speed, whistles, and bells.
“Some of them have to be supervised,” Wayt said. “They can actually run the train off the track. Just like with any real train.”
Wayt said the exhibit has been a “massive hit” with visitors to the center, and they’ve had children using it nonstop.
Wayt hopes to continue to build on the exhibit by adding bridges and other details. He said three of the small figurines, including a miniature hardhat diver are named ‘Don’ after people involved with the center.
This is the first year of the Drive-a-Train exhibit. After the holidays, the exhibit is slated to become a permanent part of the museum.
The Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday — Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. The building is closed on Sundays.