One of my favorite Christmas traditions has been visiting the model trains at the NorthPark mall in north Dallas.

The Trains at NorthPark, so aptly named, have been a holiday staple at the mall for over 27 years now. For most of those years, it was in one spot in the “old part” of the mall and in the middle of an atrium area.

But in recent years, it’s been moved around. From the first floor, to the second floor and back to the first floor, it’s always an adventure to find it’s new home.

This year its home was on the first floor and with a much different layout.

After years of moving around, it appears that the Trains at NorthPark have found a place and layout that works for everyone.

After years of moving around, it appears that the Trains at NorthPark have found a place and layout that works for everyone.

Instead of the typical dark setting, there was more light everywhere around the display, which is always great as a photographer. There was also much more room to move around and not run around. It can’t be understated how much better it was not to be bumping into people all the time.

And the biggest improvement over the past couple of years is that this is no longer a linear layout. A number of years ago, the layout moved people in one direction, which is great for crowd control, but not great for people who might want to go back to the beginning to see something they might have missed.

Instead, instead it’s more open and everyone is free to move about from section to section and visit one part as much and as long as possible.

As for the trains themselves, they still good even after all of these years. I’m not a big fan of Lionel, but the folks working the Trains at NorthPark do a good job shaping the layouts. No, it’s not the type of quality that you would see at a local model railroading club, but it’s good enough for the general public and still enjoyable.

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Even through all of the years, going back to the Trains at NorthPark is still one of my highlights of the Christmas season. I recommend you make it a part of yours.

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