Railroad museum on track for big changes

The county-approved Fourth of July cookout at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum was a success, and the museum’s director is looking forward to an exciting season.

The cookout kicked off the model railroad museum’s summer season with 135 people attending the socially distanced event.

The museum has seen major changes this year as executive director Dave Naples works toward completing a dream that has been more than a decade in the making. The biggest feature this year is the newly completed visitor center.

A Walt Disney crew built the visitor’s center in 1957 as the fun house attraction for the Magic Mountain Amusement Park. The building became the Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden in 1971. It was added on to and became the Wedding Bell Chapel.

The Moffat Road Railroad Museum saved the building from destruction in 2018 and brought it up to Granby. The bell tower and steeple have been added to the roof and work has been completed on the inside, including a display of historical artifacts.

“We’ve been having a lot of great feedback and congratulations on getting some of the work finished that’s making it look like a museum,” Naples said. “That’s been very encouraging.”

Asphalt has been freshly laid on the two parking lots at the museum, and Naples is working to finish the storage and shop building on the property. There’s also been some landscaping and a new flag display put up.

That’s not all he’s planning this year.

The museum will soon start laying the track for its outdoor children’s train ride, which should be completed by the end of September. Naples plans to add on to one of the buildings on site and work on the caboose this winter. More exhibits are expected to open this fall.

This work and more is Naples’ long-time vision coming to fruition. As thrilling as all the changes are, the best part for the museum director is the fact that he’ll finally be able to complete it.

“I’m most excited about getting it done,” Naples said. “I’ve been working on this for almost 14 years.”

His goal for completion is summer 2022. Before then, Naples is expecting to add steam locomotives, another caboose and a few other railroad equipment pieces to his museum collection.

He’s planning on seeking pieces that are either from Moffat Road or similar to Moffat to keep on the theme of the museum.

Due to COVID-19, entry to the museum is limited and face masks are required. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

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