Kent Rail

Grand Central Terminal

Holiday Train Show 2012

A visit to New York City in Christmas 2012 provided an opportunity to visit Grand Central Terminal which, at this time, was hosting the 11th Annual Holiday Train Show. This ran from mid-November to late February in the New York Transit Museum’s ‘’Gallery Annex & Store’’, which is located in the ‘’Shuttle Passage’’ on the station’s western side, beyond the main concourse. This being an ‘’annex’’, the main portion of the New York Transit Museum can be found in the long-closed subway station of ‘’Court Street’’, which is located 4-miles south of Grand Central, on the other side of the East River in Brooklyn. Decommissioned far back in 1946, the subway station was re-opened as the ‘’New York City Transit Exhibit’’ on 4th July 1976, in connection with the 200th anniversary celebrations of Independence Day.

Returning to the Gallery Annex & Store, this had started life in 1993 on the main Grand Central Terminal concourse, utilising space vacated by an Automated Teller Machine. Here it remained for three years until renovation works in the main hall necessitated its closure. It subsequently re-opened on a new, larger site in 1999, along the aforementioned ‘’Shuttle Passage’’. The latter was so named because it led to the subway platforms of the ‘’42nd Street Shuttle’’, a train which ran between Grand Central and Times Square, serving these stations only. After a decade of operation, the Gallery Annex & Store temporarily closed on 19th January 2010 to allow for a comprehensive renovation; it subsequently re-opened on 18th March of the same year.

Now onto the Holiday Train Show itself. This debuted at Christmas 2002 and featured a 28’x12’ O-gauge layout, combining a mock New York City skyline contrasting with a rural scene. It was constructed by M.T.H. Electric Trains, a model railway (or, if you like, ‘’railroad’’) company based in Columbia, Maryland, and featured a pair of digitally-controlled loops. A larger 34-foot layout came into use for the Christmas 2005 season, with eight track loops curving through the environs of New York City, a snow-covered countryside, and even the North Pole. Special features included a limited edition model of Grand Central Terminal’s main building (250 pieces made), mock-ups of skyscrapers – including ‘’Met Life’’ and ‘’Empire State’’ buildings – and a section of the Brooklyn Bridge.

3rd December 2012

This first view of the O-Gauge layout in the Gallery & Annex Store at Grand Central shows the limited edition model of the station building head-on. The viaduct running around the perimeter of this part of the layout carries a single track. © David Glasspool

3rd December 2012

Representations of the ''Met Life'' and ''Empire State'' buildings feature as part of the New York skyline in the model, as does the Brooklyn Bridge, the latter being to the lower right. The ''Met Life'' building does indeed sit immediately behind the real-life Grand Central Terminal, occupying the former site of the station's offices. The latter had been flattened by late January 1961, to clear the site for the skyscraper. © David Glasspool

3rd December 2012

When Grand Central Terminal was completely rebuilt between 1903 and 1912 inclusive, all tracks were constructed upon two levels within an underground excavation. The 1912 station was all-electric from the outset, which negated large trainsheds and open platforms to allow the escape of smoke from steam locomotives. The ''underground'' feel is replicated well by the model, with a series of terminating lines at low level. The loops seen in the foreground, passing the ends of the platform tracks, are features shared with the real thing. © David Glasspool

3rd December 2012

Now onto the more rural part of the layout, two further loops can be seen at low level, whilst the double-track from the city diverges to make a return loop. The viaduct is branded ''Lionel'' which, along with ''M.T.H. Electric Trains'', is a major model railway manufacturer in the US. © David Glasspool

3rd December 2012

This final photograph depicts the glazed façade of the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store. The layout can be seen through the glass on the left, whilst the right-hand portion of the store was filled with railway books, posters, and model trains. © David Glasspool



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