Model Railway Museum Rescued

The Old Town Model Railroad Depot, a small model railway museum based in San Diego’s historic Old Town district, will remain open under new ownership.

I can’t resist either a model railway or a good news story, so this is a welcome piece of news.

The Depot, which was founded in 2014 by Gary Hickok, was scheduled to close on Saturday (30 Nov). However, a month prior to the anticipated closing, David Lizerbram and Mana Monzavi, a married couple based in North Park, San Diego, acquired the Depot, renewed the lease, and are keeping the Depot open. Hickok will remain actively involved in the Depot, as will the many model railroad enthusiasts who operate their collectible trains on the O-gauge tracks.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to help this wonderful museum live on for years to come,” said Lizerbram. “My father and I spent many hours working on our train layout when I was growing up in North County, San Diego, and it’s an honor and a pleasure to share this hobby with our visitors from San Diego and around the world.”

In September 2019, Lizerbram and Monzavi visited the Depot for the first time with their two-year-old son, Miles. They fell in love with the museum and were upset to find out that it was soon to close. They couldn’t bear to see it disappear. A few weeks later, they found themselves in possession of the keys to one of San Diego’s hidden gems, and with big plans for the Depot’s future.

The 2,000 sq. ft. Old Town Model Railroad Depot is set in the 1950’s. The highlight is a city at night including over 100 buildings with lights and flashing neon signs, a ballpark, zoo, depot, industrial district, and a drive-in movie theatre.

And here’s the thing – admission is free (donations encouraged)!


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