Trains, Dinosaurs and Kiddos
By John Halajko, TCA #84-20653 (Spring, 2022)
The herd awaits a ride on the train.
As a Baby Boomer my classmates and I were not fascinated with Dinosaurs even though we visited the Museum of Natural History in NYC, but as a child our Generation X son caught Dinosaur Fever. What caused the fever to infect Baby Boomers, Generation X and successors is not well documented on the Web. My frequent co-author, Leon Duminiak, attributed Baby Boomers watching an Adventureland Episode of the Walt Disney Show called Walt Disney’s Disneyland as the infection source for Baby Boomers. This well received TV show was all about dinosaurs. Leon’s Philadelphia School District realized their popularity and promoted it. This happened in the mid-1950s. Can anyone else provide some insight on this infectious disease?
So why are kids of today fascinated by trains and dinosaurs? It is fun to surf the web and ask that question. Here are a couple of worthwhile links to enjoy.
I asked the question to the TCA TTML without the benefit of stating the mid 1950’s Disney Show date. The most interesting response back was from Dr. Joseph Lechner of John Allen’s “Emma” hard at work on the Gorre and Daphetid Railroad.
John Allen’s Emma
The TCA Atlantic Division operates a highly animated layout with an Amusement Park Theme that has lots of buttons for the children to press and enjoy the animations. In keeping with the spirit of allowing children to interact with the trains, I elected to run a loop for my Dinosaur Train during the Greenberg Show at Oaks in January 2022. Some of my Dinosaurs talk to each other but I was unable to hear their voices due to the large open-air space. Voices can be heard if you’re in a bedroom or den thanks to the wall reflection. What I was able to do was to have the children interact with the herd as a photo op.
Auxiliary Loop that kids enjoyed.
Here is a link to the layout in operation.
The highly animated kid friendly Atlantic Division Layout shown in the photo below is setup several times a year at train shows and other public events. Interacting with the layout gave me the idea to supplement the younger engineer’s imagination by allowing them to interact with more trains. First up was my Dinosaur Train and the Herd. Here are some of the results. )Parental Consent was obtained to publish all photographs.) You can see that everybody that operates the AD Layout gains many pleasant memories, both children and adults.
And then there were the spectators!
Over twenty-five years ago I tried to talk my sister-in-law, Cindy, into helping me to write a screen play about a dying planet that suffered multiple nuclear disasters like Fukushima. The population jumped to the stars to find a new home. They left a group of Biologically Cloned Dinosaurs that were integrated using Nanotechnological to Machines that would clean up the planet in under one thousand years. After cleanup frozen embryos of planet life forms would be reseeded on the land and in the oceans. The integrated black engine shown (Stan the Stegosaurus) breathes in nuclear particles and vitrifies them. This process of encasing in glass allows the nuclear waste to be safely handled and buried. Ground water is not contaminated.
The Herds of Dinosaurs each have a specific environmental task to treat the plant life by first digesting it modifying the chemical composition. Nuclear radiation is filtered out and accumulates in the modified mammary glands then processed in the milking stations to be vitrified. I got as far as modeling a prototype, Stan, that lived at Mike’s Train House for about three months in the early 1990s. They elected not to use the idea and Cindy elected not to start the screen play project.
Stan was built by cutting apart a plastic stegosaurus and cutting open his underside and neck areas to fit onto an inexpensive plastic Lionel locomotive. BONDO was used to fill the gaps, and black paint was used to blend in the BONDO. Stan needs more leg and tail room than most other engines.
Wow, this train is cool!
There are many more accessories and trains that can be displayed using the O27 loop as a sidebar to the Atlantic Division Layout. This allows UCS track and their associated accessories to be integrated into the layout along with the giraffe cars and cop and hobo cars.
Goodbye Humans, we hope to see you once more in 2023 and 2024.