Ellicott City: It's train gardens galore this holiday season

It's showtime for a time-honored Ellicott City tradition — the annual holiday train gardens.

This year, the B&O Railroad Ellicott City station museum added a brand new exhibit to its annual Holiday Festival of Trains, a celebration of toy trains and model railroading.


Created by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Lego Train Club, the new train display is a 360-degree walk around multi-level, Lego layout that replaces the annual O-scale layout. The interactive features will allow kids of all ages to activate train lights, motors and sounds.

Look closely at the display's unique buildings and streetscapes, you might just recognize a few.

In addition to the station's new Lego display, check out the other train layouts including a Thomas the Tank Engine G-scale model and a small N-scale layout telegraph office.

Visitors to the Ellicott City Station can receive 50 percent off the price of admission by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the U.S. Marine Corp's Toys for Tots program. The station will offer the Toys for Tots program until Dec. 18.

The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The holiday exhibit will run through Jan. 27. For more information, including when Frosty the Snowman will make an appearance at the exhibit, go to the station's website at http://www.ecborail.org.

The Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department's 15th annual Holiday Train Garden returns this year with a massive 24- by 10-foot multi-level and multi-track display occupying an entire station room. The train garden, complete with coal locomotives, switch tracks, flashing train signals, a circus train, an Amtrak passenger train and a long freight train that course through holiday villages, snow covered mountains and underpasses, is visible from Montgomery Road courtesy of the room's floor to ceiling glass wall.

The holiday display is free and open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Company No. 2 station is at 4150 Montgomery Road near the Long Gate Shopping center. Go to the station's website at http://www.ellicottcityvfa.com for more information.

The Shrine of St. Anthony's Brother Gerry Seipp will display his Christmas Train Garden in the manor house every Sunday in December from 3 to 5 p.m.

As a train enthusiast, the Franciscan Friar has been collecting trains and train accessories since he was a child. This holiday display is Brother Gerry's private collection that he shares free of charge with the public every Christmas. For more information, call the Shrine office at 410-531-2800.

Still shopping for the holidays? Consider a stop at the Linwood Center Boutique in historic Ellicott City. The store features seasonal decorations, as well as new and gently used clothing for children and adults, jewelry, furniture and other items.

The boutique is operated by Linwood Center and provides employment and training opportunity for individuals in the center's programs for people living with autism and related developmental disabilities. Located at 8307 Main Street (lower level behind La Palapa restaurant), the store is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the store at 410-988-5192.

The big man in red will be making visits to Ellicott City neighborhoods with his good friends at the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department. Santa, accompanied by a few fire trucks, will arrive in the following communities between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m unless otherwise noted: Dec. 13, Worthington; Dec. 14, Wheatfield (6-6:30 p.m.) and Autumn Hill (6:30 p.m.); Dec. 15, Gray Rock (3 p.m.) and Dunloggin (5 p.m.); Dec. 16, Mt. Hebron (3 p.m.), Font Hill (6 p.m.) and Fairways (7:30 p.m.); Dec. 17, Burnside and Breconshire; Dec. 18, Greenway and Michaels between Route 40 and St. Johns; Dec. 19, Turf Valley; and Dec. 20. Waverly.

For more information, including specific street names, go to the fire department website at http://www.ellicottcityvfa.com. .