Comstock's magazine 1218 - December 2018 - Page 121

more images at WORKING ON THE RAILROAD Jane Howard (above), the exhibit technician at the California State Railroad Museum, meticulously maintains 375 feet of electric toy train tracks, which equates to about the length of a football field. Four days a week, she climbs into a glass case on the third floor of the museum to delicately remove accumulated dirt and lubricate the curves of the track to avoid derailing the trains. Howard also pulls the trains out of the case to clean the wheels and do routine maintenance. The California State Railroad Museum, founded in 1982 and located in Old Sacramento, curates one of the most comprehensive toy train collections in the world, including over 7,000 toy trains and landscape artifacts in its core collection. Curator Melanie Tran (bottom left) individually packages tiny street lamps from a newly-donated World War II-era collection, which is being rotated out after being on display since the museum’s Toy Train Month celebration in August. “The story is that it originally came from a gentleman who was a U.S. soldier in World War II stationed in France and went to Göppingen, Germany to the Märklin toy train factory,” Tran says. “He purchased this set with a Hershey's chocolate bar and a box of Lucky Strike cigarettes and brought it home for a birth gift for his son.” n December 2018 | 121