Welcome to Aiguillages, today we’re going to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to discover Train Land, the new animated Railway and miniatures museum that opened several months ago. There, layouts at almost all scales trace the history of railway all over the world. Saint-Dié is the capital city of the Vosges. We are in the East of France near Germany, Switzerland and Belgium : this may be why Train Land says it wants to be international. The museum was created by 3 friends who were train collectors on their own and who met by chance. They got tired of traveling around the Great East to display their equipments and layouts, as they had to dismantle and assemble their layouts again and again to take part in many exhibitions, so they thought about creating a place for permanent exhibition. They got the opportunity of purchasing former commercial premises in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges : the Train Land project was about to start. Daniel Fusilier, Claude Charaud and Jean-Pierre Muntzer then created this association : the Déodatien Model-Making Association. Of course, they had to transform the premises a bit, so that they were adapted to their new use. That’s what the first works were about, during Fall 2015. Then, the priority was to set up the centerpiece of the museum : this large layout with its 3 castles that evokes Switzerland and Austria and whose creator, Raymond Tabary, passed away. The desire to save this work even played an important role in the creation of the museum. They had to go to its creator’s home, dismantle it and then transport it and assemble it again in the museum. This was not easy, as the mountain part alone was made of pure granite from the Vosges and weighs more than 1 ton. We started this museum in September 2015, it took us 4 months to assemble the Switzerland-Ausrtia layout, we recreated it so it is almost identical to what the creator had imagined, as he was dreaming of Bavarian castles, in Switzerland or Austria. He only liked to paint, it was his hobby, and he made it with a second person who liked working with wood and making models, so it’s very authentic, it’s trully a unique and beautiful model. The roofs are made with popsicle sticks, millions of popsicle sticks were glued side by side. It took them 25 years of work, 17 touches of paint were necessary to make one flower, it’s really unique. Many thanks to the family. His family indeed lent this layout to the museum. Train Land also evokes the history of real and miniature trains through a few static models, but mainly through animated layouts. This exhibition is intended to be both informative and fun. Here are the origins of the toy train. Some of the items displayed here date 1890, and most of them are rare or unique. Some come from the personal collections of the 3 creators of the museum, others were lent to the association by ther owners who’d rather see them showcased here than in their boxes at home. We have JEP and Hornby items, from the 1920’s and the 1930’s, that have always stayed in their boxes, they’ve never operated before. We even have a box with a 110 volts lamp that was use to transform the 110 volts into 30 volts. They’re high quality pieces for their time, some date 1900, even 1890, we really have beautiful items. Over time, it gets harder to find those pieces. When a collector is looking for the object he’s missing, he now has to search for it all over the world, through the internet. All times are represented at Train Land : next to the 1900 layout, a model representing the industrial era is set up. Germany is spearheading it with this impressive oil refinery. The activity is intense there, trains drive into the installations. This turmoil is raising tensions among staff. The layout is operated by numeric control. Locomotives have sound and steam engines blow real smoke. A coal mine is running in full swing to resupply them. Small wagons are taking the production to the depot. On a turntable, one of them is about to start operating. Just by turning around, we can find ourselves in a very different universe : the Far West, with its typical buildings, locomotives and wagons. Wind turbins and wood bridges were not forgotten. For a humorous note, children start crying every time a train drives near the kindergarten. Well, I’m not sure they will become train enthusiasts … Train Land has 500 locomotives, the museum spreads on a 500 m² surface. The layouts that are displayed go from the Ho scale to the 1:22 or 1:43 scale, and include the 1:32 scale. Small scales should also be represented soon in the museum with new N and Z layouts. The next big work to be started will be another Ho model. It should be about 100 m². It will be created in an area that has not been used yet. We’re going to make a 100 m² layout that will only represent France, especially the North-West, it will evoke the D-Day beaches, with its bunkers, and England with the Channel Tunnel. It’s an entire construction, that we’re going to make within the next months. We’ll have a mezzanine, the public will be able to admire this 100 m² layout from a mezzanine. The museum should keep getting bigger with its outdoor layout project, and a locomotive may be displayed on the parking lot. Before leaving, I’d like to show you a few more models : Jean-Pierre’s, that we’ve seen at Souffelweyersheim exhibition, is one of those modules that found their place at the museum after traveling from exhibition to exhibition. Last but not least, this incredible “spaghetti” layout : good luck if you want to recreate its track plan, I’ll give you 4 hours ! Train Land is opened every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon from 2 pm to 7 pm, and guided tours are organized by appointment. Aiguillages offers reports about railway heritage or tourist train on the last Friday of the month. Next week, we’ll go to Saint-Lieux-lès-Lavaur for a ride on board the Tarne tourist train. To be sure not to miss any of the next episodes, subscribe to its Youtube channel and to its newsletter, you’ll find it on the site : www.aiguillages.eu You can support Aiguillages by becoming a VIP Aiguillonaute : for whatever price you like, you can access an ad-free version of all Aiguillages’ episodes, and their free HD download.