Unless your O gauge railroad is freight-only, you need a place for passengers to embark on their cross-layout journeys. There is certainly no shortage of stations in the O gauge marketplace, from whistle-stop sheds to Grand Central Station-style structures. The new train station from Menards is certainly one of the most interesting designs I have seen, due to the placement of two offices (one on each end) and a central – open air – waiting area beneath a single roof.
The station’s decorated wood base measures 11 by 22 inches, and the structure measures 9½ by 20 inches, so you need a good piece of real estate on which to plant this baby.
All the real world train stations I’ve been in are either typical shoeboxes (Baltimore & Ohio, Florida East Coast, Pennsylvania RR, and Seaboard Coast Line) or mega-stations (Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.). This building is unique because it is a two-part structure beneath a common roof. Why two offices? One is the ticket office and waiting room and the other is the express office and freight room.
If you model an era when there is no Railway Express Agency, this is an easy fix. Slap some green paint on one of the buildings and make it a TrainBucks Coffee shop!
Grand Central Traintown
Construction is wood with some plastic bits. Just about everything has texture you can touch with your fingertip.
The wood base is covered with grass material, and you’ll find shrubs and trees strategically positioned. A wood-planked walkway is around all four corners of the building. On the street side of the structure, the base has a brown dirt tone leading toward the steps.
The jack for the power supply (sold separately) is on the left end of the structure looking from the side of the building facing the track. Interestingly, there is also a power jack inside at tabletop level for, I presume, better wire concealment.
The roof and trim are maroon, and the wood is tan with maroon accents. There are two chimneys on the trackside of the roof. The roof has a nice shingle pattern cut into the surface. On our sample the roof peak and the gutter valleys have a few rough spots where excess glue has been applied.
The track side of the facility has the familiar bay-window cupola for the station master/ticket agent/telegrapher. There is a door in the ticket office and five windows.
There are two boxes and two passenger figures standing on the platform.
The central waiting area has six figures standing or seated on a double-sided bench. There is a neat overhang above that suggests there is an attic full of unclaimed luggage and brochures for visiting the 1939 World’s Fair somebody forgot to dump. I dub the second office the express office. There are a door and two large single-pane windows.
Turn the structure around and the ticket office is on the left. It has the same five windows and cupola, but there are two doors instead of one. The express side has no doors, but there are two large single-pane windows and a bulletin board signage for destinations.
The board also identifies the station as “ALLENTOWN, next station Lancaster.” There are additional figures, Jack the German shepherd, luggage, a baggage hand truck, trash and a recyclable bin (okay, it’s a black oil drum).
The lighting package may be second only to the Menards power station. There are two LED power strips attached to the underside of each roof overhang, and they provide both sides of the building with exemplary illumination.
The shape of the structure suggests other uses for the building, even if you don’t run much passenger gear. In my travels I’ve seen old train stations repurposed as senior citizens centers, video rental shops, restaurants, flower shops, and the like.
Heck, in Waukesha, Wis., we have two former train stations. One is used by the railroad as a base for signal and track maintenance crews, while the other is a restaurant with a string of old passenger cars attached to it and serving as extra dining rooms.
I even have a wacky notion – thanks to the central, open corridor in the middle – that if you had an amusement park on your layout, this might make a great entry portal! So the possibilities are limited to just your imagination.
The train station from Menards is a depot design unlike any on the O gauge market and one that provides you with ready-built opportunity to make your “other side of the tracks” a little nicer!