It’s always Sunday at the Model Railway Museum

Everyone needs to unwind every now and then. In Semaforo, you can enjoy the never ending lazy Sunday vibes.

According to old wisdom, people never get tired of watching running water, fire and playing children. To this list can very well also be added trains chugging along tracks.

The heart of Kouvola’s Semaforo Model Railway Museum is the Trenorama model railway itself, which has a railway station with railway yards and platforms. Next to it is an idyllic little town where it is always sunny.

Tiny people go about their daily business. There are balloon sellers and fishermen. A nun and a man with a tame bear. A couple waving goodbye, a porter wearing a turban and a group of trainspotters. And what is most important, the trains actually move.

Trains from many countries and periods

Kouvola’s Semaforo Model Railway Museum is the result of a collection by Swiss-born Erwin Stämpfli begun when he was a little boy. His wife, Marja-Leena Heinola-Stämpfli runs the Kahvila Onkapannu French-style cafeteria in the museum.

Semaforo means ‘semaphore’, the hand signals used to direct train traffic. They too are visible in the scenery around which the model trains run.

On the tracks, a steam engine, the Repin train to St Petersburg and VR’s red and white Intercity train chug along in perfect harmony. The high-speed SNCB trains operating in central Europe, Thalys Tin-Tin and Sapsan, also stop at the town’s station.

Every detail just right

People of all ages visit Semaforo from daycare groups to pensioners. The furthest visitors have come from Japan. The trains that each one wants to see are put on the tracks. The museum’s train collection comprises 30 trains from eight different countries and four different periods.

The scale is 1:87. This means that 1 metre on the model railway corresponds to 87 m in real life. A difference from reality is that the trains are shorter as a 16-carriage caravan would be too long for the model railway. That would require a platform 8 m long.

The details have been carefully considered. When a Pennsylvania passenger train from 1930s America stops at the station, an announcement booms out in American English. If you listen carefully, you can even hear the sounds of the train doors closing.

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