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All Aboard! Upper Valley Man Offers Tour Through Enormous Model Train Display

A model train lit up inside with passengers.
Betty Smith
Bob Kivela's 60-foot-plus model train display may be the largest in New England, and he's opening it up to visitors for the holidays.

An Upper Valley man has created what is perhaps the longest home model train display in New England.

Over the holidays, Bob Kivela opens up his home to anyone who wants to stand in wonder in front of the display, which measures over 60 feet. VPR’s Betty Smith took him up on the offer.

Listen to the audio postcard above.

Under the eaves of an old farmhouse in Piermont, New Hampshire, Kivela’s setup stretches across most of his home’s second floor. There's a train station at one end, a Christmas village at the other, and a crazy quilt of scenes in between.

Kivela pointed out one that reflected his own house.

“We got the pond across the street, and this is Piermont railroad station,” he said. “I gave Cabot Creamery a little plug over there.”

A person standing in front of a model train set up.
Credit Betty Smith / VPR
Bob Kivela, who lives in the Upper Valley, has spent 20 years building a model train setup on the second floor of his Piermont, New Hampshire home.

It’s taken Kivela 20 years to construct it all, and it includes a replica train that used to run through White River Junction, authentic-sounding bells, track noise and conductor calls, and real, liquid smoke puffing from an engine.

Once upon a time, model train sets were at the top of many a kid’s Christmas list, and Kivela himself remembers a toy train set under his childhood tree. These days, he holds an open house for two weekends around Christmastime, offering guests a glimpse into holidays past.

For more information or to schedule a visit, call 603-272-5878 (before 8 p.m.) or email  r_kivela@yahoo [dot] com. Entry is free, but donations are accepted.

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