FLEMINGTON, N.J. (PIX11) – Some things come to life at Christmas, but the world’s largest model railroad doesn’t need the holidays to shine.
“The adjective people use to describe this most often is ‘amazing,'” said Patrick Bentz, manager of Northlandz.
Inside a space in Hunterdon County is a visual and engineering marvel: about 100 trains and 400 bridges carving through canyons deep and wide. A staple underneath many Christmas trees, this year-round model train wonderland is kept on track by train enthusiasts.
“I have been involved in the hobby of model railroading for 50 years,” said Bentz, who knows that once places like this go away, they don’t come back. Northlandz could have very well shut down a few years ago when it was put on the market by the previous owner, and then was visited by a local company.
“They were looking for more warehouse space,” said Bentz. “Came inside, saw the railroad that was in here — 44,000 feet of railroad in a 52,000-square-foot building — and decided they had the funds to buy the building to preserve this.”
Chugging along to present day, Bentz says they’ve had their biggest attendance in years.
“I’ve had people here five, six hours,” said Bentz, “and they’re just like, ‘wow.'”
Part of their mission is to show kids there are fun times waiting for them on the other side of their phones and tablets.
“There’s a world outside your electronics,” said Bentz.
In a time when we often find ourselves saying, ‘they don’t make it like they used to,’ it’s a chance to enjoy something the way it used to be.
“It’s like nothing else in the world,” said Bentz.