Model Railroads fascinate people, especially when they have detailed scenery and many operating accessories. Tom Fowler Sr. is constructing a portable layout, in the Tarpon Springs area of Florida, consisting of 55 steel modules that assemble into a layout 55 X 85 feet in size. When completed, it will utilize the MTH DCS system that will be computer controlled utilizing Train Control software. For the sake of control and other considerations, the layout is being built with three rail track rather than the scale two rail track.
The work is being done by Tom Fowler Sr. with volunteers, Jerry Silver, Bob Garrelts, Tom Breslin, David Demerssemen, Ed Fleig, Tom Fowler Jr. and occasional visitors. Work continues five days a week not including Wednesdays and Sundays from about 10:00 AM to about 4:30 or 5:00 PM.
One of the highlights of the layout is the main passenger station which was constructed from scratch. The large curved roof spans eight tracks and the associated passenger platforms. The roof has been built and finished to look like it was copper clad and has weathered to the green patina. The underside contains 96 light emitting diodes that provide illumination.
The front facade of the station has three large arch topped windows with entrance canopies and one includes a working revolving door. Three chandeliers hang from the ceiling and are constructed using 2,500 Austrian crystal beads, all strung by hand. Eight light emitting diodes supplement the chandeliers.
A corridor runs underneath the tracks and contains several store fronts. Lighted signs hang from the ceiling showing the quarter inch scale people where such things as the escalators to the track platforms are located. Of special note is the animated Barber Pole. The Smoke shop also sports a "Cigar Store Indian". The floors of the corridor and the main lobby have all been finished to look like polished Marble. The rear of the station also contains a freight area.
Several animated areas will be included in the final layout such as a working lift bridge that spans the water way. The lift span was created to allow a working car ferry to travel underneath. The water way (real water) has a working Lock and Dam to raise or lower the ferry. Other scenes will include construction scenes, a quarry, Circus tents, snow scenes and feature two large roundhouses with working turntables. Much more will eventually be built.
We are looking for Model building and Electronics savvy people who would like to volunteer to be a part of this project. If you have any interest in helping, call Tom Fowler Sr. at (727) 942-0715 for details and directions to the building location.