Two railway aficionados have transformed a two-car garage in Topsail into a replica of the Newfoundland Railroad, complete with trestles, train stations and businesses familiar to anyone who ever rode the Newfie Bullet.
George Jarvis and Peter Catalano are long time modelers, and started dreaming up the railway about three years ago.
It took the men two-and-a-half years to research and build, painstakingly recreating train stations and other landmarks such as bridges and local businesses.
"It's a very creative process because you're literally creating a world in miniature with people and moving objects and buildings and scenery so it becomes a world in miniature," said Jarvis.
Jarvis was in charge of the scenery. Catalano designed the train and laid every one of the tiny tracks.
Model includes a bit of fun
Jarvis and Catalano have included tiny people in the landscape, including a hunter in the woods caught with his pants down by a tiny grizzly bear. They have also built storylines into their miniature world.
"Aunt Bessie is waiting at the station here and she thought she was going to get on this train, but she didn't realize it was a freight train," explained Catalano. "So she's got no luck. She's still going to have to wait for the passenger train to come through."
Railway operation a group activity
Catalano and Jarvis get together twice each month with six other modelers to bring the miniature world to life.
"So this becomes a real railroad with waybills, switching lists for the yardmasters. The guys are very busy and very intense, so it needed to look like the Newfoundland Railway in order to run like the Newfoundland Railway," pointed out Catalano.
"Sometimes we're a little faster than the Newfie Bullet was, but we have a lot of fun imitating the real thing."
The group is in talks to acquire a larger space where they can design and build an even bigger replica for the public to enjoy.
"History is always important to all of us. We should never forget things in the past," said Jarvis.