Science Center unveils new addition to miniature railroad exhibit


Photo of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher courtesy of Jill Rible

By Alyse Horn

On November 17, the Carnegie Science Center reopened its Miniature Railroad & Village and unveiled a new addition to the exhibit—a model of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher.

The Miniature Railroad & Village has been at the Science Center since 1992, but originated from Brookville, Pa. and was created by a man named Charles Bowdish in 1919. The exhibit displays “how people lived, worked, and played in our region during an era spanning the 1880s to the late 1930s,” according to the Science Center website.

The newest addition, the Westinghouse Atom Smasher, was created in Forest Hills in 1937. According to a press release, it “was a pioneering laboratory for one of the world’s first large-scale nuclear physics research programs.”

The model was created using 3-D printing technology by the Science Center staff, and it is the first piece of the exhibit to be created using a 3-D printer.

Jill Rible, marketing and communications manager for the Science Center said the railroad and village are “fantastic” and that it is one of the “premier miniature railroads in the country.”

Rible said this past May, Atlas Obscura dubbed the exhibit one of nine “most incredible model trains in the world.”

“I have been working here since 2008 and still notice things in the railroad that I haven’t noticed before” Rible said. “There is so much wonderful detail that is highlighting Pittsburgh from the 1800s to 1930s.”

“All ages can enjoy it – from 8 to 85 it is something that will pull you in even if you’re not a model train enthusiast.”

The Miniature Railroad & Village, presented by Lionel Trains, is open during the Science Center’s regular operating hours and is included with general admission.

For more information about this or any other Science Center exhibits, call 412-237-3400 or visit

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