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What's Up Magazine

Choo-Chooing Toward Merriment

Dec 01, 2011 10:54PM ● By Anonymous

For a uniquely entertaining holiday outing with family and friends, visit the Cambridge Rescue Fire Company’s (RFC) breathtaking display of working model trains chugging through a beautifully constructed miniature village decorated for Christmas.

The annual Christmas Garden of Trains at the company’s old firehouse in historic downtown Cambridge will take place from December 1st–30th, marking the 77th year the RFC has set up the garden for the public to enjoy over the course of the holidays. Everyone is invited to view one of Cambridge’s most well-known holiday customs.

The garden first appeared in 1934 when RFC members brought in pieces from their personal model train collections to create a firehouse display. Since that inaugural setup, the Garden of Trains has grown and, today, uses 14 trains and 750 pieces of railroad track. The tracks are digitally controlled so that each train has its own specific route. This allows the trains to travel on separate courses and avoid collisions. The display features small villages and towns, a separate bustling city, rustic country scenes, and picturesque nature areas. The RFC also includes several emergency rescue scenes such as lights flickering to look like a fire in a house and model fire trucks. In November, RFC volunteers take upwards of 400 hours to set up the train garden. The volunteers focus on every aspect, from train routes to the tiny detailing around the tracks. Amazingly, the garden setup doesn’t follow any sort of blueprint layout; it is different every year. This keeps the garden interesting as many attendees return every December, forming their own holiday tradition from the Cambridge display.

Along with setting up the Christmas display, the Cambridge Rescue Fire Company also collects donations and nonperishable food items for their annual Christmas Drive. The RFC adopts families during the holiday season that often include several children. All food items and monetary donations collected during the Christmas Garden of Trains are offered to these underprivileged families. The Garden incorporates giving back to the community with the excitement of the lively holiday season.

Plan Your Trip

This year’s Christmas Garden of Trains will be open December 1st–30th, Monday through Friday from 6–9 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 1–4 p.m. and 6–9 p.m. The display is located at the old firehouse on 307 Gay Street, Cambridge. The Train Garden offers free admission to anyone who would like to visit. The Train Garden is also available for schools and other groups to tour during the day.