Model train

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For the past year I’ve been compiling a list of model train stores for my model railroading website.  These shops all look like a lot of fun to visit, but what are the most popular?   Here is a list for the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.

The most popular model railroading shops (based on online chatter) in North Carolina and South Carolina are:

10. The Hobby House in Hendersonville, North Carolina

9. Todd’s Train Depot in Wendell, North Carolina

8. Little Choo Choo Shop in Spencer, North Carolina

7. Rail and Spike Trains in Easley, South Carolina

6. The Train Loft in Winston Salem, North Carolina

5. Factory Direct Trains in Asheville, North Carolina

4. Blue Ridge Hobbies in Greenville, South Carolina

3. Time Zone Hobbies and Toys in Aiken, South Carolina

2. Tom’s Train Station in Raleigh, North Carolina

…and the most popular shop for model trains in North Carolina or South Carolina is…

1. Greensboro Electric Trains in Greensboro, North Carolina

Hobby shops not quite making my top 10 were ABC RC Hobby in Forest City, North Carolina; Chuck’s Trains in Landis, North Carolina; Dry Bridge Station in Mount Airy, North Carolina; Hayes Hobby House in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Leland’s Toy Trains and Planes in Hildebran, North Carolina; Zoo Toys and Trains in Wilmington, North Carolina; Hobby Station in Bethune, South Carolina; New Brookland RR and Hobby in West Columbia, South Carolina; SVC Trains in Georgetown, South Carolina; and The Great Escape Bicycles and Hobby Shop in Spartanburg, Anderson, and Greenville, South Carolina.


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  1. Nick Pasquine says:

    Went to Greenville (over 2+ hours) to see Blue Ridge Hobbies. When we walked in guy at the counter did not even look up. Selection of HO engines and rolling stock was miserable. I bought the new Walther’s catalog. At the register this same guy says is that all you found? Later looking at the receipt I also note he charged me $2.00 more than the sign said. Returning to the hobby after many years but obviously we will not be back.

  2. Jim Reece says:

    You might want to check out the Central Railway Museum to add to your list of museums. It is in Central, South Carolina and is run by the Central Railway Model and Historical Association, Inc.( )

  3. Joel Gordon says:

    You should visit The Train Shop in Marion NC. Dan has a great stock of HO,O, and N scale. I do all my shoping there now.

  4. tarheeltrains says:

    Sorry to hear that, Nick. We hope you also voiced your concerns and complaints with the shop.

  5. Rob Ryan says:

    Been to your top two so far and must say I met some of the friendliest and most train knowledgable individuals I’ve encounterd in my 65 years. Both shops are great sources of information and train products, but I would be a little hard pressed to put Greensboro Electric Trains ahead of Tom’s for inventory…prices maybe yes.

  6. Len Allman says:

    Leland in Hildebran, NC retired a few years ago and sold off his stock. Don’t think he is in business anymore.

    Len Allman
    Hickory, NC

  7. greg yaksetic says:

    i have a 1947 lionel train set engine and cars only no tracks or anything else just the train itself and am looking to find a good store that will give the fairest prices . trying to sell it lost job and want the best price for it . in this set i have the rare box car not the baby ruth car but the pennsylvania boxcar with the orange doors not the brown. i have looked up the value of this set so i know what i can get for it reasonably not top value please help me pick the best shops in north carolina to go to dont have alot of time to go across nc or sc so need to stay within 75 miles of i77 and us 421 hamptonville nc thank you

  8. Julie says:

    I just went to Greensboro Electric Trains and The Train Loft and was not particularly impressed, probably because I am using HO and not O (GET had nice helpful staff but the guy at TL kept trying to talk me out of HO). Both of these shops are almost entirely O.

    I’m extremely surprised that The Little Choo Choo Shop in Spencer is so far down on the list. The Little Choo Choo Shop has an AMAZING collection of HO stock. I was able to find so much there. They also carry O, N, and Z guage AND they have a great selection of railroading books and magazines. Plus, it’s right across the street from the NC Transportation Museum where my family and I rode a real train and had a great time looking around at all the exhibits (you also get 10% coupon on the back of your train tickets to use at the train shop).

    If you are looking for HO, do NOT go to Greensboro Electric Trains (which is tiny and crowded) or The Train Loft (which is bigger, but messy and crowded). They are all about the O, but will order HO for you.

    The Little Choo Choo Shop should be number 1, in my opinion!

  9. John Bailey says:

    As an avid user of Tom’s Trians in Cary, NC, I would be impressed with any store that is (a) More Friendly (b) more helpful. I am an HO’er, and if they don’t have it in stock, bring them the walthers sku, they”ll order it for you. I met a couple from Bristol, TN that was there because of the LGB stock.

    I’ll have to take a trip the the Little Cho Cho next spring on the motorcycle – tow birds with one stone.

  10. John Keiffer says:

    Anyone other than me visit the Antique Barn in Wilson, NC? Have a great HO display upstairs. Down stairs they deal in O, O-27, G, HO and N as well as remote control planes, cars and boats.

  11. Mack says:

    I agree with you Julie. You might also try Toms in Raleigh. The have some of all scales.

  12. Thomas Chamberlain says:

    I was just looking over your listing of top train stores and I noticed a listing for Rail and spike in Easley Sc. About a month ago I went there and store was closed. This was during what i presumed would be normal business hours A monday between 1-4:00pm. I could see merchandise inside but I sure looked closed up to me. Does anyone know if they are still open for business and when?

  13. TarheelTrains says:

    Sorry, Thomas. You’ll need to try to contact the store.

  14. John Logan says:

    I went by Greensboro Electric Train Store today and it’s empty, closed. Thats all I know. 9/1/13

  15. Herb Roberson says:

    HobbyTown USA in Asheville has a really good selection of N, HO, and O scale/gauge items, and can order almost anything for G gauge (some items in stock) with delivery in a very reasonable time period. Have always had good results with trips to their shop.600 Fairview Road in Asheville NC.

  16. Angela McKenzie says:

    We have boxes of model trains to sell. It was my father-in-law’s collection. Can you guide me where/how to sell these treasures?

  17. GENE CARTER says:

    The guy that runs Rail and Spike in Easley is semi retired and opens the store when he feels like it best thing to do is call before you go there. Blue ridge hobbies has hardly no inventory at all he does most of his business thru the internet and his website is horrible hard to navigate through it.

  18. dave davies says:

    Purchased a very large collection of O gauge Lionel Trains from the 50′ and 60. and I do mean a very large collection. 919 575 0429 in Butner, NC

  19. says:

    Dry Bridge Station in Mt. Airy is Closed. Posted 10-5-14 Been closed at least 1 Year. Owner retired.

  20. sandi says:

    Tom’s Trains is closed

  21. bryson hill says:

    i have about 15 different boxcars and tankers that are h/o model rolling stock if interested in them please let me know the will be sold at half of retail prices contact me for info on each 336-638-0358 first come first serve Greensboro NC

  22. Mark Hill says:

    The list needs to be updated

  23. Ronald Wolfe says:

    I don’t think that The Little Choo-Choo Shop in Spencer, NC should be at #9, but perhaps it should be at least in the Top 5. I would say it should be at #2 (the second most popular model RR store). Very good selection of model RR items, particularly HO and N scale. Being across the street from the NCTM (NC Transportation Museum) really attracts people after a visit through the museum, especially the children if Thomas the Tank Engine makes a visit!

    I believe that the most popular model RR store would be The Antique Train Barn in Wilson, NC. Why? A vast inventory of model RR items, especially HO scale! Also, in an unrelated hobby, the R/C model car crowd gathers there at the R/C track on occasion. Upstairs, there’s a large HO scale layout that the public can visit (usually a small donation is appreciated).

  24. Mark Hill says:

    I was able to order some of the elusive K-line super snap yesterday from Little Choo-Choo…