Friday, October 30, 2015

How big of a model would you have to build to recreate the entire Island of Sodor using Thomas toy trains?

It doesn't appear anybody out there in the blogosphere has asked or answered this  fascinating   question.How big of a model would you have to  build  to recreate the entire Island of Sodor using Thomas toy trains?

I'm not a  mathematician and I know very little about model trains. I am  not sure I have all the proper  variables, but here goes.  A napkin calculation, if you will.

Thomas the Tank Engine's home, the Island of Sodor is  62 miles from east to west, and 51 miles north to south. That converts to a grid of of 3162  square miles including the surrounding sea. The actual land territory of the island would be less than that. Nobody seems to have taken a guess at the actual land area.  The land area would between 1 and 2 million acres. We know the Island of Sodor is about this size because the island is supposed to be able to fit cozily in between England  and the Isle of Man.  3162 square miles is something like 2 to 3 times the size of Rhode Island or half the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut together. There are numerous maps of  Sodor -based on the author's Rev. W. Aldrey's original map. Mapping the island for a  model wouldn't be a problem.

So this model we are  building has to  show every inch of the island, has to to be the scale of Thomas the Tank engine toy trains.  Those trains are said to be of a scale of 1:32 of real tank engine.  So that's 3/8 of inch to a foot. So your model  setup has to be something like 1/32 of the real thing.  

How far in   feet is 62 miles?  327, 360 feet.  A real Thomas train engine would be at least six feet wide and run on 4 feet wide tracks.  The original British WWI era  train (called the E2) that   Thomas based on was 33 feet long.  So lengthwise with no clearance, 62 miles is   something like 10,000 trains lengths.   The main line on Sodor that goes East to West is actually 80 miles long because of curves.  So even allowing for proper  clearances, that's a lot of trains. So imagine this with model trains. Your model has to be big enough to accommodate a rail line that could  line up  10,000 model  trains back to back.

So anyway 1/32nd of 327, 360 feet is 10,230 feet. That's about the distance between the US Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.   So  the model would have to be nearly 2 miles long.   1/32nd of 51 miles is around 8500 feet.  10230x 85000 =About 86,000,000 million square feet. A 86  million square feet foot warehouse  to house a model of the  island of Sodor would be four times the size  of the world's largest building by footprint.  That does Seems awfully big. About 3 square miles.  When  I calculated it  the first time I got a smaller area, so my number could be wrong  but however   big  the model is it   couldn't  be in a building. So you would have to landscape a park just to create a  outdoor model of the island and spend millions on fake trees, building  models, non-moving people, and  train tracks. To make it look realistic you would have to cover up all the grass, and not have any  real trees. You might have to build a moat to create the effect of Sodor being an island. 

Now model trains, suitable  for  being outside  (so-called Garden railways) are often bigger than Thomas toy trains. So  the layout might have to be even bigger to reflect that.  Can you imagine a little toy train traveling for miles on end simply on batteries? I imagine they can't unless they have some kind of souped- up engine.

A full scale model of Sodor would probably just be too big to build.   Maybe just a portion of Sodor could be built.  Or Maybe you could just CGI the whole thing....

Hey's It's Thomas!

P.S.  The creator of  the Thomas the Tank Engine   TV show, Britt Allcroft is actually a women.
I didn't know that. She hasn't worked on  the TV show for years. I didn't know that  She is very rich-I knew that.

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