Granby Christmas train display tradition chugs on

The day after Thanksgiving, trains chugged around a tiny Christmas village that has been a Grand County tradition for 11 years. Visitors of every age admired the display to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

The Christmas Trains Display features hours of work and details in every piece. For the first eight years of this tradition, it was built for the holiday season somewhere in Granby and then torn down.

The train display moved to its permanent location three years ago at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum, making it the largest permanent Christmas train display in Colorado.

The museum began its extended hours Friday and will be open five days a week this holiday season.

The first year the display was open, 600 people visited. Now, almost 4,000 come to the display every Christmas season and Director Dave Naples expects just as many visitors this year.

“It gets busier every year,” Naples said at the museum Friday.

Model Railroad Chirstmas Display

Seasonal hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Sunday

Address: 555 County Road 574, Granby

Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $1 for children 12 & under


Around 150 people visited on Black Friday alone and Naples expected 400 more visitors for the weekend.

The Christmas train display has five working trains chugging along the tracks of the model ski town that spreads 1,200 square feet. The Christmas village features two working ski lifts, 150 homes in the village and almost 400 figures.

“It’s become a tradition, with people coming back year after year after year,” Naples said. “I have families that started with us and now their kids are teenagers and they’re still coming.”

Al Warner was at the display on Friday with his son-in-law and grandson. They were visiting from Denver and this was their first time to the Granby train display.

Warner, who is a big train enthusiast, brought his grandson Luke because he hopes to get him interested in trains.

“I think this is super,” Warner said. “I’ve seen bigger ones but this is a great size for little guys. It’s just super to get them close enough to it to where they can appreciate it.”

Families often spend up to an hour and a half at the museum. Part of the display includes a scavenger hunt looking for small details throughout the Christmas village — and there are a lot of details.

According to Naples, it took four people working full-time for four months to build the display. They spend 500-600 hours working on it every year, meaning each year’s Christmas village is a little bit different.

“We can’t wait to come back,” Warner said.

The museum continues to grow as it collects money from grants and donations. Naples hopes to add a kids train ride, complete the visitor center with gift shop, bring in interactive displays and open another building for more model railroads.

“The plans are pretty ambitious but we don’t know how to shoot low,” Naples said.

The railroad display will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 12-4 p.m. Sundays until Jan. 5. The museum is located at 555 County Road 574 next to Kaibab Park in Granby.

For more information, contact Naples at 970-887-9478.

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