Model Shop


The Model Shop

The many dedicated volunteers of the Model Shop proudly show off the wonderful model train layout when visitors come to the museum. The main layout is an HO scale presentation of the Northern Neck Railway, “The Railroad That Never Was.” This proposed railway was planned, designed, but failed in its attempts to raise capital to make it a reality. A complete history of this railway is presented at the bottom section of this page. This layout has trains that travel through detailed recreations of the towns it was planned to run through. The main feature is a wonderful recreation of the main street of Reedville, circa 1920s. Seeing this layout in action brightens the eyes of both young and old.

ms3Looking up Main Street, Reedville

.The Model Shop also features smaller layouts for other model railroad gauges, with hands on items to attract the child in everyone. During our special train shows, all of our layouts are running and the old sounds of the steam engines echo through the room.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis layout features trains of three different scales all running at once

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAA miniature train layout features a speedy little train, the engine that could!

The model also houses an extensive collection of trains of all kinds. Many predate World War II and are extremely rare.


The Model Shop is also responsible for maintaining and restoring the museum’s sailing vessel collection.


The Model Shop hosts an annual train show that starts the day after Thanksgiving and runs on weekends through the the end of December. Everyone is welcome to drop on by and relive those days when trains first started fascinating you! Children and grandchildren of all ages will love the opportunity to see this collection of trains on the move. Also, a scavenger hunt is held every day. Our inventive volunteers have put hidden additions into the layout that require a sharp eye to spot. Can you find them all? Times and dates for the annual train show are posted on this website in the fall, under events and activities. Also, keep an eye out on our announcement page because there are special weekends when the trains also run. This year was the first to have the trains running during Easter vacation and it attracted a lot of visitors. That will be an new yearly event now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA view of the White Stone section of our layout

Every year, the enterprising volunteers at the Model Shop add something new to the layout. In 2013, a new circus came to town, complete with a range of sound effects of the ringmaster calling out and a calliope playing.


For 2014, a scale re-creation of the original Lillian Lumber mill was built, also complete with all the sounds of a working mill. Currently, the crew is building a brand new HO railroad layout that will depict the transition of railroad engines from the days of steam to the more reliable diesel locomotives.


The Model Shop also hosts an annual Model Building Class for children 10 or older. This takes place in early August. This event has always been very popular and most participants come back for the next year. Those that return advance to making a more challenging model, which increases the skill level. Please see below to register for the workshop.


The Model Shop also provides assistance to our Exhibit Department, working on dioramas and models for not only our annual exhibit but also in our permanent galleries. These volunteers are truly artisans and would be happy to have everyone come and visit their shop. Visitors can learn some history of the area, learn what goes into constructing the layouts and get answers to any questions. Make a visit to the Model Shop a part of your Reedville Fishermen’s Museum experience.



The annual model building workshop is an annual event for young and old alike.  The class is limited to just 10 participants for 9-16 year old – in 2019 we’re permitting adults to join the fun!.  The workshop will run from all week and meets daily from 10-2pm (rain or shine). The cost is just $100 per participant. All supplies will be provided but bring your lunch each day! 

To register, please call the museum’s administrative office at: 804-453-6529 or you can complete the registration form below and mail it directly to the office at: PO Box 306, Reedville, VA  22539.  To print the registration form, please click on the following link:

A History of the Northern Neck Railway and Power Company

By Dennis Spillane

In the Northern Neck, there were at least 18 attempts to build a railroad beginning in 1869 and the last attempt was in 1920. Some of the attempts originated from Richmond. Some wanted to use the waters around the Neck as a deep water port for coal from other states; other attempts were only on the Northern Neck itself.


The Northern Neck Railroad and Power Company was the last attempt in 1920. It would have been electrified by using streetcars or other engines powered by electricity. It would have been used for passenger and freight service. Freight would have hauled agricultural produce, timber, and fishing products such as oysters, crabs and menhaden fish. The railroad would have helped development on the Northern Neck.
The line was estimated to cost $5,000,000. Stock certificates were $100 per share. The principal officers were from the Norfolk, Virginia area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe route would include Fredericksburg with a branch line going to the Potomac River in King George County to the Potomac River where passengers would take a ferry to Maryland and take another train to Baltimore and beyond. Another branch line went to Colonial Beach. The line continued to Montross, bypassing Warsaw, and continued to Rainswood (between Callao and Heathsville) where it split into two forks, with one branch going through Heathsville and ending in Reedville and the other branch going to Kilmarnock and ending at White Stone and Irvington.

ms2The railroad never was built. Reasons included opposition from the steamboat lines. Investors felt that the rates would be higher than the steamboats and therefore would not be profitable. The railroad felt that additional factors such as low population on the Northern Neck, lack of housing for transients to build the railroad, weather (i.e. harsh winters, humid weather, mosquitoes), and politics, made the project unfeasible. It was decided to curtail operations sometime in the later half of 1921. The charter was revoked in 1924 for failure to pay charter fees two years in a row. In 1997, work was begun on the Northern Neck Railroad model HO train display and operation. In 2003, it was moved to its current permanent location in the Pendleton Building, on the campus of the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum.


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Reedville Fishermen's Museum