Train Display Open In Snow Hill This Month

Train Display Open In Snow Hill This Month

SNOW HILL – It might be a little cold for a paddle down the Pocomoke, but that doesn’t mean the Pocomoke River Canoe Co. is closed for the season.

Each winter, the iconic building at the foot of the bridge over the Pocomoke River draws in a different sort of visitors from its usual paddle enthusiasts. This time of year, the shop is known for its trains.

The entire second floor of the Pocomoke River Canoe Co. has been converted into a giant model train display. Shop owner Barry Laws opens the exhibit to visitors free of charge each December.

“People are fascinated by model trains that are running,” he said. “I’m not sure what that’s about. It goes back to when people were kids I guess.”

What started close to 20 years ago as Laws setting up the train set he’d had as a child has gradually grown to a display of a fictional Snow Hill — complete with the Pocomoke River as well as some more fanciful additions — on the second floor of the canoe shop. Four lanes of o-gauge track — more than 1,000 feet — circle the room, running between a recreation of the Pocomoke River and an asphalt road. Real water runs from a paper mache mountain down to a moving water mill. It passes under a bridge, underneath which lies a former train wreck, before straightening into the river that circles the rest of the display. Smoking trains travel along it, making stops at Snow Hill’s supposed coal mine, gas station, lumber yard and chicken farm. Many of the structures were built by hand by Laws and the handful of other train enthusiasts behind the display.

“There are about six of us,” Laws said. “We’d love to have more people.”

While they do cringe when young visitors occasionally get a little too rough with the fragile parts of the setup, in general Laws and his friends enjoy watching children take in the impressive display.

“Trains are to play with,” Laws said. “Yes they’re more valuable in boxes but we like to see them running.”

For the younger kids, a small track in the center of the room features a Polar Express train as well as Thomas the Tank Engine.

“Some of the kids when they leave they’re in hysterics,” Laws said. “They don’t want to go.”

He said he’s happy to see the hobby he loved as a child continue to attract interest in today’s world.

“It’s neat to see the kids — and adults, too — light up when they come up here,” he said.

Laws will have the display open to the public each weekend this month from 1-4 p.m. For more information, visit