Massive holiday-themed model railroad in Spring Valley, Minnesota

Watch a video of this holiday-themed model train layout in action
A Spring Valley man with a passion for model trains is opening up his home for others train enthusiasts to admire.

Boyd Grabau's railroad room is 30 years in the making and once you step into it, you can't help but become mesmerized by the sights and sounds.

Grabau started getting into model trains in August of 1987.

"It's enjoyable and it's really relaxing," said Grabau.

It wasn't until he had a quadruple bypass in 1991 that model trains really became a hobby for him.

"The doctor said 'well you got to get yourself a hobby'. And I've always liked trains, so okay, that's the route we'll go," said Grabau.

Today, Grabau has a separate room in his basement, layered to the ceiling, with model trains decorated for the holiday season.

People travel from as far as St. Cloud and Des Moines to check out his model train room.

"You can turn somebody in their 50s into a little kid and you can turn a little kid into their 50s," said Grabau " 'How do you do this? How do you do that?' A 50 year old will say 'I don't know if I could get into that or not'. But they do eventually."

The past few years, Grabau has featured a donation bucket in his train room. This allows him to share his passion with others, along with giving back to the community.

"I don't charge anything for people to come and see this," said Grabau. "But then I raise [money] for the food shelf, Blessing of the Backpack, the ambulance service, and the fire department. I don't keep any of it for myself. Just the joy of showing the trains off."

Grabau says he likes to hand decorate each train car and says "it's a labor of love."

If you are interested in checking out Grabau's model railroad room you can make an appointment by calling 507-346-2885 or you can attend an open house on December 8-10, 15-17, and 21-22 from 1-4 P.M. at 304 West Courtland Street, in Spring Valley..

The Grabaus ask that you let them know in advance how many people are in your party even if you're showing up during the open house hours.

Watch the video

For helpful beginner tips, get Model Railroader's Basic Training email series.



World's Greatest Hobby on Tour is a lively and family-friendly event.


Thank you to our generous program sponsors.
Model trains in N, HO, O
Model trains in N, HO, O, G
Magazine, books, videos
Model trains in N, HO
Model trains in N, HO, O
Control systems
Manual switch stands