The Newbern Depot Museum is in the process of a major refit of its HO-scale train, in the south room of the depot. The existing 12-by-6 foot train layout was demolished in January to make way for a newer, more functional setup. The original layout had major track issues, including problems with its underpinning. This made the track unlevel. Trains would often derail, or simply disconnect while running. It took a crew of two just to try and keep the board working during visitor hours.
The new layout is still being planned. It will include two standard layouts for American trains, and a smaller area for the popular Thomas the Tank Engine, and James trains, from Great Britain. The new area will also include a rail yard for storage. At the moment, all excess cars are kept on a shelf, and in no specified containers. This is leading to damaged cars, and a junky appearance on that part of the museum. The new construction will also feature glass retainer walls, to keep children from reaching over and touching the trains. This has been a problem with the original board ever since it became operational again in 2013. Layout operators will have an enclosed area to operate trains from.
The original layout was constructed in 1997, for a Dyersburg hobby shop owner. After his death, the board was donated to the Newbern Depot Museum, where it lay in the floor not used for several years. In 2013, efforts to restore the board were begun. The results were mixed, and it was eventually decided that the underpinning of the layout made repairing it unfeasible. Also, the glue used in the track roadbed was beginning to rust the rail joiners needed to keep electricity moving through the tracks.
In January 2016, the layout was demolished. As much of the scenery that could be saved was, and this scenery will be added back to the new layout being planned. It is hoped to have the new layout completed by sometime in March.