Saturday, May 11, 2013

Parade of Trains

In conjunction with National Train Day (see last post) the Grand Centennial Parade of Trains is on at Grand Central Terminal this weekend, May 11-12. Details here

I swung by today. I hadn’t expected vendors selling historic railroading items, but there they were. I bought more than I meant to but less than I might have. (I mentioned idly to one vendor’s wife that I wasnt buying an antique brakeman’s lantern — reasonably priced! — because I knew in my heart that I had no real use for it. She assured me that her husband had gotten good service from the old lanterns during Hurricane Sandy. With oil and a good wick, the things still work! Well, why wouldn’t they? Still, I stayed strong.) 

Then it was on to the modelers, where I spent some time drawing the terrific N-scale setup shown above. I got to speak with Charlie Sanborn, who along with his partner in very small trains Walt Palmer constructed the scene, an imagined town and valley inspired by the landscape around New York’s Shawangunk Ridge. They drove the model in from upstate in the bed of Walts pickup truck; this made easier than it might sound because the model was precision designed to fit the truck bed. Like a great, busy, Richard Scarry spread, the model invites the eye to wander, rewards with interesting details, and suggests narratives. There’s a lonely hilltop house, a farm, cows, a city, a bridge, tunnels, hairpin turns, even a bit of graffiti on the cliff face (“Class of ’49”), a whole little world. If you’re near Grand Central tomorrow between 10 AM and 4 PM, it’s worth slogging through the crowds (the considerable crowds) to get a look!

Click the images for larger versions.

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