Granger Man Rebuilds 1965 Railroad in his Granger Basement

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

John Underhill has a time machine back to 1965; a third of his spacious Granger basement is covered with his model railroad.

"I’m really playing with trains again, I’m 8 years old again and it's just great, I just love it," says Underhill.

It has been 60 years since john was eight but this hobby, no, make that his passion has really taken off for him in the last 15 years.

Underhill reflects, "This is my world, that's right, I can do what I want to with this one. I'd like to change the other one, but I can't.'

It starts in the fictional town of "River Bend" similar to South Bend.

Both the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads are represented something that would never have happened in real life because of the fierce competition between the two.

That eventually faded when "Penn-Central" was formed.

Underhill's layout is so detailed and well-planned that back in August, it earned him a spot on the cover of "Model Railroader Magazine".

"This is really an expression of my youth in a sense that I really had a lot of toy trains when I was a kid back in the 40's and I’m sort of living the dream of having a railroad of this size now and I really enjoy it," says Underhill.

A miniature layout complete with more than a hundred train cars,
26 engines and 500-feet of track all remotely controlled.

"We can talk to the engines directly with this antenna. So we've just dialed-in engine number 33 and this one setting in front of us is 33," says Underhill.

Underhill says, "to me this is a 3-dimentional mural and I’m enjoying painting this mural and it's not done yet, there are a lot of things to do with it yet."

Underhill says on one building alone he spent 105 hours.

Robert Borrelli took a trip back in time to when he was a little boy, tune-in Saturday morning for our "Saturday Morning Test Drive" of John's train layout.


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