This year, I was excited for Christmas to come because, now that we live in a house, I would finally have enough space to set up all my elf houses. I have been accumulating them from my mom for the past several years. They’re from the “North Pole Series,” so I’ve got things like the Reindeer Inn, the Polar Power Company, the Wind-Up Toy Factory, an ornament design studio, and the radio station, KOLD. They all light up, of course. My plan was to arrange them all around the base of the tree, plug everything in, and enjoy.
Mark had grander plans. As we were driving to get the tree, I mentioned the houses to Mark.
Mark: You know those things are going to cause me a problem, don’t you?
Me: Why, because they’ll make you want a train, too?
Mark: … I was going to say because I needed to build more interesting terrain for them to sit on, but now I want a train!
So we have a train in progress now. Here’s the plan. The sort of gray parentheses lines in a circle represent the tree.
Note that due to the water, the track will involve a viaduct and a bridge, and then as it travels behind the tree, there will be a tunnel.
In order to fit all of this onto the table and still have it allow the train to make interesting enough turns (in Mark’s opinion), he had to go with N scale. For those of you not up on your model train scales, this is 1:160, otherwise known as very, very small. It is not at all in scale with the elf houses, but as Mark discovered as he took them all out of their boxes for comparison at the beginning of this project, the elf houses aren’t even in scale with each other, so we’re ignoring that. Or, if we get bored, we can have the Godzilla-sized elves attack the train.
I’ll post pictures as Mark progresses through the building phase. Right now, he’s working on getting the track set up first on it’s inclined risers. He’ll fill in the rest of the terrain later.