Teen's love for trains blossoms in display
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A Hartselle teen has engineered and powered an entire city within the limits of his imagination–and his mother's family room.
Frankie Goodwin, 15, recently completed his Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends train display, a project he began designing three years ago in the basement family room of the house where he and his mother, Kathy White Goodwin, live in Hartselle.
Thomas the Tank Engine &Friends began in England in 1942 as a book series and has grown into a television series, feature film, video series, and toy line.
The city Frankie has built for his Thomas the Tank Engine &Friends train display includes all of the characters, places and activities from the story line, but has been designed entirely by Frankie.
"I got my first Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends piece when I was three years old. I've been getting other pieces for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and when I get good grades ever since," Frankie explained.
Frankie's train display includes bridges, railway, streets, a toll bridge, farms, natural scenery, a hospital, a police station, a fire department, and much more. And, of course, the city also has plenty of trains.
"Only 3 percent of the trains are powered by electricity," Frankie said. "The rest are powered by imagination."
Frankie said he has also learned a lot about England and science while constructing his train display, which takes up three-quarters of the family room. He shares that knowledge and his hobby with family and friends who visit his home.
Frankie's mother recently hosted a Senior Circle picnic at their home and invited members to see and hear about her son's project.
"He didn't use a pattern at all," Kathy told her guests. "He did every bit of it from his imagination."
Although Kathy said the tabletop city for Frankie's train display can't annex anymore of the family room, Frankie has prepared for future growth by leaving green space should any new pieces be added to the Thomas the Tank Engine &Friends line.
"The possibilities are just endless," Frankie said.