Shoptalk: Mr. Muffin’s Trains

A model-train shop with a famous customer pulls into a small Hamilton County town.

December 2016Add a comment

The steam of locomotives now swirls in the sleepy streets of Atlanta with the arrival of a classic holiday-time depot, Mr. Muffin’s Trains. The little store that could, formerly located in Carmel, specializes in the craft of layouts, designs, and accessories for model trains. The shop sells small-scale versions from all eras—but particularly railroading’s pre–World War II heyday—that run on a three-rail track, called Hi-Railers. In other words, owner Steven Nelson and his customers (including David Letterman) are serious collectors, spending hundreds of dollars on a single engine. But it doesn’t cost anything to admire the store’s elaborate setups, complete with that familiar chugga-chugga sound and a curl of smoke, or the 300 diesel and electric steam-engine models that carry price tags up to $2,000 and represent trains that ran all across the United States (see if you can find cars with Hoosier references, like Monon and Speedway). Nelson also custom-builds tiny replicas of buildings to place trackside. A miniature Atlas grocery store, which Letterman’s sister ordered as a Christmas present for the funnyman, makes his Top 10 list.

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin's Trains

Photo by Tony Valainis

Mr. Muffin’s Trains                                                                                

165 E. Main St., Atlanta, 765-292-2022

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