Model trains are coming back to Depot Park Museum during the first two weekends in December.

The Christmas Train Show will run from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 6, 7 and 8, and from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15.

The Sonoma Valley Historical Society, operator of the Depot Park Museum, and the Coastal Valley Lines Modular Railroad Club have joined forces for the first Christmas display of HO scale model trains running in the museum main exhibit area.

Small-scale model trains have their roots in the 1930s, when Depression-era budgets had modelers searching for a way to operate model trains in tight quarters and economic problems.

Today about 74 percent of modelers in the United States are in HO. HO is the most popular railroad scale, so named because it is half of the size of O gauge, the scale of the once very popular Lionel train sets.

The Coastal Valley Lines (CVL) is an informal association of novice-to-expert model railroaders from around Sonoma County. They operate their HO modular railroad at public and private events, and also gather for clinics, work sessions and regular monthly meetings.

The members all agree to use a set of standards (technical guidelines) for the construction of their modules. Members also follow standards to prepare their rolling stock (cars and locomotives) before operating them.

Dick Foster, a lifelong model railroader from the Depot Park Museum and Steve Lewis of the Coastal Valley Lines got together early this summer to begin planning a layout that would be easy to setup and fun for kids and adults alike.

Each member has their own special train, and at this exhibit you will see some of them from the Napa Wine Train, to passenger and freight trains being pulled by steam locomotives. Technology has moved model railroading into the 21st century with wireless operation, realistic whistles and bells.

A donation $1 for children, $2 for adults or $4 for a family is suggested. Depot Park Museum is located at 270 First St. W. in Sonoma. For further information, call 938-1762.