The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum (CBRM) presents The Honeysuckle Express, a new visitor-operated model railroad exhibit. The display depicts the former rail line from Seat Pleasant to Chesapeake Beach and the beach resort as it was during the 1920s.The full line traveling from Washington, D.C. to the destination resort was known as the Honeysuckle Route.
The layout is the creation of the Friends of the CBRM Model Railroad Committee.Features of the model exhibit include an operating carousel complete with music, the Great Derby roller coaster, the main pier, Chesapeake Beach and Seat Pleasant railway stations, trestles, bridges, farms and an exact replica of train engine #3 that plied the route.
The model is built to scale. One inch on the exhibit is equal to 4 feet in real life. The train even travels at a “scale” 20 mph, making authentic whistle and chugging sounds. Visitors can interact with the exhibit by simply pushing a button to get the train rolling.
To date, the committee’s enthusiasts have spent 18 months and 1,200 hours building the model. The volunteers used techniques acquired over years of railroad modelling and built most of the buildings, bridges, trestles, farms and scenery from scratch. Children and visitors contributed to the exhibit, painting scenery and helping to build features under the guidance of the seasoned model railroaders.
Children can participate in a scavenger hunt to find objects that are built into the layout. The popular game teaches youngsters to look for not-so-obvious objects that may otherwise go unnoticed.
The Honeysuckle Express is fully operational but, as a living exhibit, it is far from finished. Small improvements and additions offer returning guests new details to discover. Visitors are encouraged to make suggestions and perhaps to lend a hand on the project. The museum plans to host volunteer-led model railroad activities for those who want to learn or sharpen their modelling skills and the club is always looking for new members.
CBRM, located at 4155 Mears Ave. in Chesapeake Beach, presents the history of the early 20th-century Chesapeake Beach Railway and the Chesapeake Beach Amusement Park through photos, memorabilia and artifacts. The museum building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only surviving depot from the railway. CBRM is open daily April 1 through Oct. 31 from 1-4 p.m. with extended hours from June 1 through Aug. 31 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit www.ChesapeakeBeachRailwayMuseum.com for a full list of operating hours or to learn more about the museum.