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This Place Looks Like Grand Central Station
Have you ever heard anyone say something like, “This place looks like Grand Central Station!”? I remember that phrase from when I was young – too young to really understand what it means.
The real life Grand Central Station, or Grand Central Terminal, is located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in New York City. It is currently (and probably always will be) the largest such structure in the world.
The chief similarity between the New York Grand Central Terminal and the GeoTrax Grand Central Station, other than the fact that both service commuters with trains, seems to be the large archways of which there are many in the real station.
The GeoTrax Grand Central Station set is one of the most popular of all GeoTrax sets. The original set has almost 3 dozen pieces, not counting the several that make up the Station proper. There are many ways to layout and play with the 14 pieces of track. You get 3 minifigs – one engineer and two passengers – in this set which always make for a more enjoyable experience.
Let’s take a look in detail at what you get in each of the Grand Central Station sets.
Grand Central Station Basic Is Nothing to Sneeze At
The first appearance of a Grand Central Station set (Fisher Price product ID L3133) happened in 2007. It seems that this was the featured set of that year. Many others were produced but none could compare in size and scope to this one.
The centerpiece of this set is, of course, Grand Central Station (or Terminal) itself. The building is made of eleven pieces. There are two towers – a cargo tower and an elevator tower. The elevator tower does move vertically emulating a real elevator. Adjacent to one of the towers is a deli-like store where passengers can (pretend to) buy food and drink. Other pieces of the building include the main concourse with an arching canopy overhead. Within the canopy is a sign showing the schedule of arrivals and departures of the trains. There is an escalator (which does not move) and a cargo ramp. Two supports help hold the building up, and two lamp posts (no real lights) keep the place illuminated. Since part of the track is built into the station itself and that area is raised, you have little choice with the placement of some of the track. A few pieces are designed to get your trains from ground level up onto the main concourse. The rest of the pieces, however, you can arrange in many ways. Unique to Grand Central Station sets are two purplish bumper tracks which you can use to terminate sections of track. I’m not sure why the designers decided to make them purple, but they used the same coloration on the guardrails in this set.
There are two platforms in this set. One is for passengers, and one is for cargo. The cargo platform features a small crane for moving cargo from the platform to a train car and vice versa. Speaking of trains and passengers, you get a train (and its two passenger cars) known as Aero and his engineer, a slick-looking dude, called Eric. Besides Eric, you can also play with two passengers who (I think) are called Yvonne and Jarod. Yvonne is a blonde dressed in pink with a blue purse slung over her shoulder. She is carrying a bouquet of yellow flowers in her right hand. Jarod is wearing what might pass for khakis and a blue shirt. He’s holding a cup of coffee (or perhaps espresso) in one hand and what may be a laptop in the other.
Grand Central Can Be More or Less
Later in 2007, both Kohl’s department stores and Toys R Us had exclusive versions of the Grand Central Station set.
The Kohl’s set (M2809) is called the Grand Central Station Mega Set. It appears that it includes everything described above in the basic set plus a few new items. The set called Ambulance with Stat and Stewart is included. (I’m not sure if this also includes the patient minifig.) Woohoo and Opie the Most Confused Team round out the components of this combination set. The Toys R Us version (M3235) consists of everything from the basic set plus a bonus. You get a neon yellow truck (or engine) and cargo car as well as a blue railroad crossing sign and a cargo cube.
The last Grand Central Station set (T4497), released in 2010 as another Toys R Us exclusive, was stripped of all the extras to include only the terminal itself. I would assume that this set originally cost less than those above. Maybe it was issued in response to consumers who wanted the train station but thought the others were too expensive.
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