Train museum to debut on even smaller scale

The Greenville NewsJuly 1, 2013 

— Developers still have plans to open a large transportation museum in Greenville that could draw visitors from all over the world.

But for now, the proposed Miniature World of Trains project will debut this fall on a smaller scale at 7 Camperdown Way in downtown Greenville.

Frank Ruby, president of Mini World of Trains, the nonprofit group developing the museum, said its Beta version of the Miniature World of Trains, the 3rd Annual Christmas Model Train 2013, and its “Mini Museum” will open in its new downtown location in phases, starting Nov. 30.

Plans for a transportation museum project that would be similar in magnitude to the Miniatur-Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, a railway model that features scenes spanning from Scandinavia to the United States, were initially announced in 2010.

Ruby said the corporation hasn’t had the cash flow and credit to make the project a reality.

“We have not had the large amount of cash come in that we had hoped would come in from the corporations and large private donors,” he said.

Ruby said the corporation has not been able to get into buildings such as the former Sam’s Club on Laurens Road and the Food Lion store on South Pleasantburg Drive “because we have no credit and we have no major cash to put down as a security deposit.”

The museum’s site in downtown Greenville will be its first viable location.

In the 31/2 years the project has been around, nothing like the space at Camperdown Way has become available, Ruby said.

Not only is it located in a fairly central, highly visible area, but the building’s owners “are willing to work with us with our credit and cash flow problem,” he said.

The ultimate plan is to house the transportation museum in at least a 60,000-square-foot facility that is accessible for visitors and tourists.

“This is not just a Greenville or Upstate project. This is a regional, if not national and worldwide project, that we plan on building,” Ruby said. “We know we’re going to wind up eventually creating at least 50 jobs and if we get into a big building, it will be up to 150 jobs, all high paying.”

He said people from across the country have been waiting for the museum to open. The project has an email list and online petition with names well into the thousands, he said.

“We haven’t been told that anybody hates the project or we’re crazy for trying to do it,” he said. “That’s why we keep plugging away at this thing. We just need some cash to get us open. We believe it’s going to be self sustaining, based on everything we know.”

Mini World of Trains is seeking donations from individuals and corporations to make the ultimate dream of Miniature World of Trains a reality.

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