Have you ever been to Northlandz?

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Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby WANF-11--->Chaser » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:28 pm

Howdy,

Back in April I had an opportunity to visit Northlandz Train Museum in Flemington, NJ while on a business trip.

I was wondering what anyone who has been there thought of it?

In my opinion I think it was over priced and disappointing. The layout was operationally in disrepair. I saw perhaps 5 trains that had broken off from their locomotives and ended up head to tail being pushed around the layout. Cars in the yard derailed, damaged buildings, etc. Everything was covered in dust and there was litter in many places on the layout.

Considering that it costs $13.75 to go, I would expect the layout to be in better shape. I do not know if this layout is maintained by volunteers or paid staff, but I think for $13.75 they could clean it up a bit and take better care of it.

Also I think that Atlas, Mantua (two original sponsors) along with Walthers, Bachmann, Woodland Scenics, Life Like, etc, should work together to donate some more modern equipment and technology, like newer locomotives and maybe DCC?

It definitely is a gem, but I think it could be nicer and updated with the newest advances in model railroading technology.

Please chime in with your opinion if you have ever visited Northlandz.

Thanks!

Dave
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Postby ANDY117 » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:47 pm

I was there about 7 years ago, and was impressed at the time, but if your description is true, then yes, i'd hope that they'd get some equipment donations. MAybe trees and ground cover from Woodland. Passenger cars from Walthers, Locomotives from Athearn RTR/ Genesis, Atlas, Kato, and Tower 55/ OMI. Freight cars from Genesis/LBF/Walthers/Atlas. vehicles from Trident. Figures from Preiser, and light up bridges from bachmann.
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Postby steemtrayn » Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:29 pm

Technology? For what? To run a train in circles?
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northlandz

Postby acelaman » Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:30 pm

I was there about a year ago and I could say that I made the same observations. If it is staffed by volunteers(the layout not the snack bar) I can see how maintanence would be deferred(sorta like Amtrak!). But the work that has gone into it and the sheer size of the bldg. and layout is pretty amazing! Yeah I'm sure they could use some more corporate assistance, maybe a call to the manufacturers wouldn't hurt! I'm still jealous though, I would love to have a place that size to model the NEC!
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Postby jmp883 » Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:35 pm

Like Andy117, I was there betweeen 5-10 years ago and everything was clean and operating just fine.

The thing to remember about Northlandz is that is not intended as a traditional layout that is operated like a real railroad but as a display to entertain the public.

What Northlandz could be is a great introduction to the hobby.
Most model railroad clubs have only one or two open houses a year but Northlandz is open year-round. Granted the some of the scenery and some of the structures are rather basic, but it could still inspire people to get into the hobby.

Let's hope the owners and the model companies can get together and restore Northlandz, it could be a great ambassador for the hobby.
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Postby Camelback » Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:54 pm

Northlandz is great for kids and non-model railroaders to visit. But for those of us who are model railroaders there are more impressive club layouts in New Jersey where trains are operated in more of a prototypical manner. The Model Railroad Club in Union, New Jersey is a great layout. The HO layout is all hand laid. There is also a great N scale layout as well. The club is affiliated with the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation -- my old employer.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:09 pm

Complete garbage. Don't waste your time.
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Saw it just after the MR article

Postby metroduff » Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:24 am

Round and round, and no steam to speak of. After about the 3rd room of John Allen wannabe, I got a little frustrated.

All that space and modeling, but no sense of a railroad moving something from here to there.

Still, it was clean and a great introduction to a kind of model railroading for my wife - sad to think it's fallen on hard times. (That same summer we saw Bob Hayden's Carrabassett and Dead River, which in its way was much more impressive to both of us - a comparatively smallish but complete and cohesive world.)

I saw George Sellios' Franklin and South Manchester in 1994 - amazing slightly-semi-caricature New England industry - what is that RR like to visit these days?
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Postby NJTRailfan » Sat Jul 09, 2005 1:29 pm

Don't wase your time or money. I highly suggest that you visit Garden State Railway Club out in North Haledon,NJ and the one in Carlstadt NJ which is not far from Giant's Stadium. Both are excellent clubs with great staff and garantee that thsoe clubs are always full whenever they have an open house. I have yet to visit the one Union But I hope to go to their next open hosue whenever that is. By the way they don't charge anywhere near that ridiculous fee. Even a price of watching a movie at Loews isn't that much!
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Re: Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby R&DB » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:16 pm

Visited Northlandz today for the first time with my wife and 5yo grandson. The only thing that impressed me was the amount of effort that went into this roadside attraction. Great place to visit once just to see the scale of the work put into it. But it is NOT model railroading.
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Re: Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby CNJ999 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:47 am

Northlandz is now a rather old display layout and it has not aged well. A brief visit shown in one of MR's videos made the point that it was really not something that actual hobbyists need bother with, being more-or-less just a highway tourist trap. Its slowly declining state is unlikely to change. Largely the work of a single individual at the outset, the subsequent operating crew has always been limited so maintenance and repair seem to have become quite intermittent, at best.

A far better model railroad venue now is the new and large display layout in New York's Time Square. Patterned after the incredible display layout in Germany, what I've seen of the New York version implies it is also a masterpiece...although on a somewhat smaller scale of size. The big drawback, as one might expect with any Time Square location, is the admission price, which I believe is $25.00 . Nevertheless, for a real model railroader visiting NYC on business, the price for a one-time visit is fully justified. Heck, I typically spend $500-$600 each time I take a couple of my grandkids to the city for the day!

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Re: Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby ConstanceR46 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:11 pm

Northlandz was fun... the first time i visited it. Lately the poor layout is looking bad, with a who's who of 80s stuff. Part of me wants to creatively rehome one of the stuffed-and-mounted athearns on the spur tracks. It's honestly still rather homey to me.
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Re: Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby JamesRR » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:00 pm

I went back in the 90s when it first opened. It was clean and bright then with a lot of trains running. Never the most polished layout, but impressive.

Went again around 2015 and it was really disappointing. The layout is dirty and unkempt, many trains not running - and nothing really added to it. It's a shame as it's in an easily accessible spot on 202.
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Re: Have you ever been to Northlandz?

Postby mp15ac » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:57 am

CNJ999 wrote:Northlandz is now a rather old display layout and it has not aged well. A brief visit shown in one of MR's videos made the point that it was really not something that actual hobbyists need bother with, being more-or-less just a highway tourist trap. Its slowly declining state is unlikely to change. Largely the work of a single individual at the outset, the subsequent operating crew has always been limited so maintenance and repair seem to have become quite intermittent, at best.

A far better model railroad venue now is the new and large display layout in New York's Time Square. Patterned after the incredible display layout in Germany, what I've seen of the New York version implies it is also a masterpiece...although on a somewhat smaller scale of size. The big drawback, as one might expect with any Time Square location, is the admission price, which I believe is $25.00 . Nevertheless, for a real model railroader visiting NYC on business, the price for a one-time visit is fully justified. Heck, I typically spend $500-$600 each time I take a couple of my grandkids to the city for the day!

CNJ999


The place in Times Square is called Gulliver's Gate http://www.gulliversgate.com. It is located at 216 W. 44th Street.

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