The last Saturday in January I abandoned the doggie and went with a friend down to the Amherst Railway Society Railway Train Show - four huge buildings at the Eastern States Exposition filled with all sizes of trains - tooting, whistling, clacking along on tracks or silently waiting on table tops for a passers by to decide they couldn't do without them. Train cars, engines, scenery - ready made or in kits - and all manner of accessories - bridges, stone walls (painted or ready to paint), trees, tree kits, people, cargo, dogs, and tracks of all sizes. There were simple to complicated layouts; the layout for the Amherst Belt Lines ran an engine with a camera connected to a TV so you could careen down the tracks and enjoy the sights as if you were the engineer. The artistry, imagination, skill, and technical ingenuity that was on display was wonderful.
One layout had circus cars and dragons riding the engines. When I saw the dragons perched on the cars, I thought - this layout has nothing on our living room trains - where lizards ride the locomotives,
dragons wait for for the local express to come in,
giant burmese pythons lurk atop bridges,
Russian nesting dolls are in charge of the stations,
and Dover, the local godzilla dog, spreads terror among the train masters
as he hunts for hidden tennis balls along the track side wastelands.