…you probably had to be there
The Doclopedia #757
Unusual Small Towns: Train City, Texas
After the success of Spoonly, North Dakota, New Think Inc. decided to try a really innovative design for a small town: one built on a giant train. With the enthusiastic help of the Texas state government and the city of Amarillo, NTI got the right of way for a set of dual train tracks, each set of tracks 15 feet across and with 500 feet between them, that would run a total of 210 miles around the countryside northeast of Amarillo. After the first two miles of this colossal track was finished, work began on the train that would be a mile long, 700 feet across and 150 feet high at the peak. The massive train was made of solid steel, much of it recycled from old US Navy ships.
Train City, population 15,000 is made up of 10 huge cars, each with a high steel and glass cover. Inside you’ll find all of the usual things a small town has to offer, from diners to schools to a library and a city hall. There are also parks, community gardens and a small arena for concerts. The tallest buildings are hotels, because Train City gets a couple of million visitors a year.
Since the train only moves at 2 miles per hour, it is entirely possible for it to do things like take on water or dump sewage as it passes near Amarillo. In fact, city buses are able to drive onto and off of the train, so locals can go into town during the 20 hours it takes the train to pass by.
So far, Train City has survived 5 direct hits from tornadoes because, as the mayor says, “it’s just too damned heavy to move”. In 2009, construction was started on 490 more miles on track that would create two new routes for Train City. One runs south of Amarillo and the other runs west/northwest. In 2010, construction was also started on ChooChooville, a second train town.
The Doclopedia #758
Unusual Small Towns: Treeville, Nevada
Imagine two huge man made trees way out in the Nevada desert near Winnemucca. Each of these trees is 150 feet across at the base and tower 800 feet into the air. Their branches intertwine and both trees are covered in windows, balconies, pathways and even hanging gardens. 16,000 people live and work here and in the hotels and other businesses down on the ground, most of which are in the giant exposed roots of the trees.
It took NTI seven years to build and populate these two tree buildings. As with other NTI town renovations/creations, this town is a huge tourist draw. It is also one of the greenest towns on Earth, since it recycles almost everything.
Some folks wonder how these large fake trees fit in the environment. The answer is that they fit in surprisingly well. The secret is in the fact that the trees have tens of thousands of planters built into them, allowing for everything from grasses to small trees to grow hundreds of feet above the ground. Each year, many thousands of birds nest in the trees, while some birds live there year around. In addition, squirrels, bats, native mice, snakes, lizards and frogs live and thrive in the trees.
As this is being written, NTI is considering a plan to build two more trees, thus expanding the population of Treeville by 20,000 people.