There’s a new local train stop in Queens—so local the whole railroad is contained within a yard in South Ozone Park.
Max Dixon, 54, spent the whole winter season building three train tracks that run the length of his front and side yard. He’s now reaping the benefits of his hard work.
“It’s very relaxing,” he said as three train cars, with their miniature cargo in tow, chugged along at various speeds. “It calms every part of you. Mind, body and soul.”
Dixon is a self-described miniaturist and he has the credentials to prove it. His house holds hundreds of miniature cars, electric and non functioning; two methane-powered helicopters about the size of drones; several model train cars; and three miniature humans, his grandchildren.
“I’m a grandfather so it’s not like I’m a kid. But the kid in me loves this,” he said. As he spoke one of the train cars turned snaked around a bend toward him through flowers and a miniature train station. He noticed that it was missing its cargo of two miniature cars and freight cars. Using a remote control, he put the car in reverse.
“Let’s see if we can do this without it getting derailed,” he said and walked over to the spot on the truck where the cargo unhooked.
“Now that was fun,” he said after the train was put together.
Dixon works for Verizon during the week and said that collecting miniatures has been a hobby of his for more than 25 years, and over the years he’s probably put around $40,000 into his hobby.
“When I was putting the foundation in for the train tracks, it took me two hours just to hammer in the wooden stake [foundation],” he said. “ That’s a ridiculous amount of time. But it shows you how much I love it.”