Train enthusiasts will be interested in viewing aircraft technician Dexter Kalloo’s Christmas train showcase in Diego Martin. Kalloo has been building and improving the showcase for the last 10 years.
The showcases consists of six trains running around a 12 foot by eight foot structure built in Kalloo’s living room. The trains are the Polar Express Train, the Christmas Express Train, the Frosty the Snowman Train, the Disney Mickey and Minnie Christmas Train, the Christmas Coca Cola Train and the Orlando Monorail.
Kalloo got his first train as a child from his mother, who he credits with inspiring him to become a creator. “The Coca-Cola Express is a battery-operated train I got from my mother like 50 years ago. She’s the main drive behind this whole thing and the driving force behind me being like this now. She had liked Christmas so much. We never had a village like what I’ve set up but we always had these Nativity sets in the house and it’s from there I got into it, the first train set I got I used to run it around the Christmas tree and it’s from there I started to build. If you go up on YouTube you can get a lot of ideas, once you’re interested in it, about how they build these things.”
He said he started building the showcase about 10 years ago with a single train, increased it to two with some houses the following year and now has six trains with 65 houses on a home-made multi-tier platform. “There are three villages which the trains run through. One is a town where they produce beer, another one has a soda factory, and the Polar Express has a main station with about nine businesses. The complete thing is lighted with LEDs and multi-coloured lights and the trains have sound and steam coming from them.”
The trains are a mix of electric and battery-operated sets. Kalloo said beginners usually start with battery-operated trains, as these are cheaper. “The electric trains cost around US$400 and are quality trains. They’re not available in T&T. I’ve spent about $20,000 over 10 years to put this together.
Kalloo constructs the showcase with the aid of his wife, Rampy Ramlakhan-Kalloo, beginning in November. “It’s stages you’ve got to go through in order to build something like this. She does the Christmas tree, then I do the step form, then we focus on the trains. It takes about a month to do, it takes a long time, every day two or three hours. You need time and patience to do things like this.”
He also helps people in his community in Diego Martin to do their Christmas decorations, as he’s into decoration and the building of models. “I do a lot of aircraft modelling, I’m actually doing a model of an airport, it takes a long time, these things take a long time and patience and a lot of work.”
Kalloo said he welcomes people coming to take a look at the showcase and get ideas on how to build similar things. “I have a lot of ideas about these kinds of things related to the craft and makings of things, I could show you how to do things. I wouldn’t take down these things until near Carnival because it takes so long to put up, it doesn’t make sense taking it down, so I usually keep them up until near Carnival, and keep the spirit going.”
For video of the showcase, see below.