A new exhibition is chugging into the station at Biltmore. Biltmore Gardens Railway, a model train exhibition, will be on view at the estate’s Conservatory and also in Antler Hill Village through September 29. “There is something very enchanting about model trains, especially in an environment as beautiful as Biltmore’s Conservatory,” says Patricia Phillips, entertainment and event programming manager at Biltmore. “We thought it would be a real ‘wow’ experience for our guests and, given the Vanderbilt family’s connection to trains and railroads, it seemed like a natural fit.”
The Conservatory exhibition will feature almost 800 feet of track carrying G-scale locomotives and railcars across bridges and trestles. The varied viewing levels in different rooms will create an exciting journey as the trains weave through exotic botanicals and miniature replicas of estate landmarks, including the Biltmore House, the Stable, the Conservatory, the Lodge Gate, the Bass Pond waterfall, the Gardener’s Cottage, All Souls Church and the Biltmore Village train depot. The second railway display in Antler Hill Village will showcase the travels of George Vanderbilt, traveling across 250 feet of track past replicas of international landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and London’s Tower Bridge.
Many of the materials used in the design of Biltmore Gardens Railway were collected directly from the estate including pine cones, bark, bamboo, grapevines, honeysuckle, acorns, pods, seeds and grasses. All miniature replica structures were handcrafted out of all-natural materials by Applied Imagination, an award-winning crew of artists, botanical experts and landscape designers. “Several years of planning, preparation and collaboration were required to properly express the classic beauty and details of Biltmore House and its estate buildings,” says Leslie Salka, director of Applied Imagination. “It has been an exciting and rewarding process that we truly hope is reflected in our botanical renderings of the iconic architecture of the estate, while also recalling the railway that was an integral component in its history.” Biltmore Gardens Railway is included with regular daytime admission to the estate.
For more information, visit Biltmore.com.