Present your case
The place to voice your opinion on potential new models.
2018 has been a year of unparalleled model railway-related content on television. We kicked off with Channel 4’s Biggest Little Railway and, most recently, there’s been The Great Model Railway Challenge on Channel 5. Keep your eyes peeled for a new three-part documentary about Hornby, coming soon to the BBC. So, here’s a question: what’s your favourite model railway TV moment? I loved Bob Symes’ Model World as a child, but my favourite moment has to be the scene in the penultimate episode of The Sopranos, when model railroad-loving mobster Bobby Baccalieri gets clipped in a model shop, just as he’s about to buy a Lionel ‘Blue Comet’. An ‘O’ gauge layout was built especially for the scene, with cameras mounted on the trains. The tension mounts, with Bobby unaware of his fate, as he chats to the shopkeeper about the Central Railroad of New Jersey’s New York-atlantic City ‘Blue Comet’ service. Gunshots come out of nowhere, and each one is met with the camera cutting to a miniature figure with a shocked expression on its face. It’s a brilliantly conceived piece of TV, typical of the quality of writing on The Sopranos. The sequence reaches its climax with Bobby’s bulky figure (actor Steven Schirripa wore a ‘fat suit’) crashing on to the layout and destroying a bridge. The scene closes with a model train dropping through the chasm. Has a model railway ever played such a prominent role in a TV show? I’m struggling to think of anything like this…
The model railroad created for The Sopranos episode ‘The Blue Comet’ is now on display at TMB Model Train Club’s headquarters at Farmingdale, New York (www.tmbmodeltrainclub.com).
Wiseguy and model railroad fan Bobby Baccalieri (Steven Schirripa).