I got another opportunity to show you the train project we’ve been working on. This week I got a chance to talk to the visionary behind the whole design, Paul. I took the camera out and decided to do an impromptu interview with Paul.
The video isn’t great quality (as usual), the sound has a bit of echo from the acoustics in the shop, and Paul is a soft spoken guy so he’s a little hard to hear because of that. The video is also a bit longer than our usual stuff, so all me to hit on some key points here so you’ll be able to follow along a little better.
I ask Paul 3 questions (with added colorful commentary, all ad-libbed by me of course). Paul answered those questions and told us the story of how everything came about. Here’s a basic summary of the questions that were asked and the answers given. Scroll to the end to find a link for the actual interview.
Q1. Paul, you’re a train lover, and were looking around on YouTube at other model train enthusiasts and you noticed there weren’t any real ‘educational’ train sets out there right? Is that why you decided to put this model together?
A1. Yeah, basically. The idea of using a train to promote education about sustainability and renewable energy is sort of a no brainer. The world we live in is becoming increasingly more concerned about miles per gallon and how efficiently our fossil fuels are getting put to use. It’s been a well known fact for a long time that trains are the most fuel efficient use of that resource, speaking specifically in terms of miles per gallon per unit shipped. I mean they’ve been a part of our economy since the transcontinental railroad was established 150 years ago.
Q2. So, lets talk for a minute about the portability of the model. The guys were telling me a bit about the legs underneath each portion here. How they fold up underneath each section and it can be carried out piece by piece. How are you handling the tracks with that? Are they getting cut on the joints?
A2. Actually yeah. Each piece is being measured and placed on 4′ by 6′ 8″ doors for ease of portability. We designed them to be movable by two guys and a pickup truck. There’s an elevator they had to fit in also so we spent a lot of time in design to make it fit right.
Q3. Cool! Ok, so there’s a lot of foot traffic in the place where this is ending up, I think we spoke to someone who said around 750 people a day come through. Of course, not all of those people will go upstairs but enough of them will that there will be a significant local interest. One of the things that I think is interesting about this model is that you have the Wilder Dam and the High bridge already built, so there are local landmarks actually built into the model so people will recognize them. Of course, the Wilder Dam is significant because it’s a huge source of renewable energy to the upper valley. That’s a big utility sized example of sustainability, but are you going to have models of other, smaller scale residential things on here too? Things that people can do on their homes?
A3. Well yes. This is going to be a museum quality energy display. It happens to have trains on it because I like trains, no apology offered, and they draw attention. We’ve discovered from the smaller scale versions of these we’ve built that if there’s a train on it, then everybody who see’s it will go over to it and learn from it. When we add the train to education about products that promote sustainability and renewable energy then we found that we have a winner. We want people to come over and push a button and watch the train go around, and when it passes by things on the model, it will draw their attention to them so they’ll learn from them
So there you have the summary. Here is the link to the video on our company blog. Here’s some pictures of the train sitting on the model version of the High Bridge in Claremont, New Hampshire and it’s in front of the wooden model (which will be painted to look like the real thing) of the Wilder Dam on the Connecticut River.
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