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No trains are pulling up to Union Station these days, but there are still trains chugging along inside the station -- in the basement, where two clubs will be showing off their layouts at Model Railroad Open Houses tonight. The 76-year-old Colorado Midland Railway is operated by the Denver Society of Model Railroaders; the layout covers 6,500 square feet, stretching from the plains to downtown Denver to the Rocky Mountains, with trains in both standard and narrow gauges running throughout. Its free monthly open house starts at 7 p.m.; find more information at

The Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club will be running its train from 4 to 10 p.m. tonight, an expansion of its regular Friday hours for the holidays. The club, a "totally volunteer effort," according to spokesman Chris Rand, installed the set -- complete with a scale model of Union Station and a re-creation of the old 16th Street Viaduct -- in a room that was the station's original jail back in 1984, and is already making tracks for what it plans to do when Union Station reopens in 2014.

"We've pledged to work with RTD and the developer," Rand says, even though RTD has not yet announced which developer will get the gig. "We're talking about expanding hours and expanded accessibility."

Admission is free, but both clubs accept donations; for more information, including tips on how to get into the under-construction Union Station, go to
Fri., Nov. 25, 4-10 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 30, 7-9 p.m., 2011


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