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Well-Known Member
Hello all, I've decided to take a few days to head south and warm up, and explore a little of Saguaro National Park.

I'm planning on flying into Phoenix and driving down to Tucson. Are there any hobby shops in either of those cities, or in between, that you all recommend? Also, any museums that can't be missed? And finally, what's traffic like on the Sunset Route these days? Is there any good train watching down that way?

Thanks, Eric.


"An Affair With Trains" is several miles north of Sky Harbor airport, but worth the trip.
I believe they have a website.
I found several items in their consignment section that moved to a new home in Alabama.


Section Hand
I'm not sure if Roy's Train Store is still in business in Phoenix since its been a few years since I purchased a Santa Fe box car from him. Check the back section of Model Railroader for hobby shop by state that advertise in MR.

I found that many of the hobby shops in the southwest are primarily N Scale or Narrow gauge due to space limitations for model railroad layouts. This may have changed since my last visit to Phoenix.

Have you considered driving up to Jerome, Arizona? Jerome is an old mining town in the mountains and I believed it burned down twice. Many of the buildings are constructed out stone and brick to be fire proof and still remain. It's a scenic drive up the mountains from Phoenix to Jerome at approximately 7,200 feet in elevation.

Model Railroader did a project layout, the Jerome & Southwestern, constructed by John Olson in the early 80's and MR published a book on the layout's construction.

Enjoy your trip.

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Well-Known Member
I’d second An Affair With Trains. Great shop. There was a Roy’s Train World in Mesa that closed down a couple of years back. Roy retired.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies everyone. I only had a couple days out there, and spent a good part of one day hiking in Saguaro National Park, so I didn't have much time to explore for hobby purposes. I did manage to swing by two:

-Hobby Depot in Phoenix, specifically in the Tempe area. Medium sized store with fair selection of plastic kits, some HO stuff, I think they had N-scale too. Friendly employee working the counter.

-Hobby Place at Ace Hardware, Tucson. Decent sized hobby department, N, HO, O scale trains, plastic kits, RC, other miscellaneous hobby items. HO selection not bad (but not huge either), prices average. This is the second Ace hardware I've seen with a hobby department, the other being the Ace in Berkeley, California.

Didn't see much along UP's Sunset Route. Would hear a few horns during the night from my hotel room, but didn't see much action, although I didn't really have any time for actual train spotting. On my way back to PHX, I did drive along the frontage road next to the tracks from Tucson up to Red Rock, about 30 miles; didn't pass a single train.

I did take a couple hours one day to check out the Titan Missile museum just south of Tucson. It's the only remaining Titan II ICBM site in the country, and you can tour the underground control room and missile silo. It was pretty cool.

Thanks for the suggestion on Affair with Trains, but unfortunately they are only open Wednesday thru Saturday...days I was not there. And Jerome was just too far away in the other direction, I hardly had enough time to get to Tucson and back.

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