Tuesday, June 14, 2011

“Tracks Ahead” makes stop at the Greeley Freight Station Museum

GreelyTribune (Colorado): “Tracks Ahead” makes stop at the Greeley Freight Station Museum
The Greeley Freight Station Museum has a starring role in an upcoming episode of the PBS series Tracks Ahead. The show, in its eighth PBS season, came to Greeley on Monday to film introductions for the show and a nearly nine-minute segment on the museum.

The museum features more than 2,500 model cars and has dispatcher functions similar to those used by real trains. It took more than 300 volunteers more than 27,000 hours over the course of five and a half years to build the exhibit. The museum is located between two actual railroad properties, the Union Pacific on the east and the Great Western on the west, so visitors can see actual trains during their visit.

Executive Producer and Director of the show David Baule could not say when the show would air, but he said the museum will be the first segment of Episode 802.

“The train community is very connected and if someone sneezes, we hear about it. We’ve heard great things about this model train museum, and we knew we had to film here,” Baule said.

Starting at 8 a.m. the crew filmed throughout the day in various parts of the museum to recite introductions of future train stories from around the world. The introductions were frequently interrupted by the constant noise from several trains, a plane and traffic. Spencer Christian, the show’s host since 1995, remained focused, finished his readings and described his love for trains.

“There is something about railroads that has universal appeal, because they are so relaxing and you have time to enjoy your surroundings,” Christian said. “I enjoy reading the stories of people’s lives relating to trains and seeing model trains like this one in Greeley. There are not too many models like this layout. This is probably the greatest one I have ever seen.”

Michelle Kempema, executive director of the museum, said the museum offers plenty of hands-on opportunities for train lovers.

“The museum is unique because the visitors are able to interact with the trains rather than walking down a hallway looking behind glass,” she said.

“The museum is one of Greeley’s best-kept secrets because we get many people from all over the world, but the locals aren’t coming. Greeley makes up 15 percent of our tourists,” said museum manager David Trussell. “We hope ‘Tracks Ahead’ will get more people from the surrounding community to come in.”

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