March 14, 2018

Blast from the Past - Bush Terminal

Lance Mindheim's new project N Scale Brooklyn layout reminded me of the Bush Terminal layout I built for a cover shoot for MRP in 2002. I shot slides for the cover, which now, I have no clue where they are. But I do have this scan of the cover. That's my hand in the image too!

My lead paragraph to this article was one of my favorites too as it reminds me of my dad,

"In the city known for some of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, the buildings that most fascinated me as a young boy were the warehouses and docks known as the Bush Terminal. As a child growing up in southern Brooklyn, NY during the 1950s and 60s, I had ample opportunity to observe the Bush Terminal, usually from the back seat of my father’s car as we drove past on the elevated Gowanus Expressway. From this lofty position looking over the plains of brownstone apartment roofs my gaze was fixed not on the glittering Manhattan skyscrapers visible in the distance, but on the stark white eight-story concrete warehouses boldly emblazoned with the Bush Terminal logo in high contrast black letters. The seemingly endless maze of identical block structures, connected by bridges and catwalks, with shadowy alleys, crisscrossed by railroad tracks and adjacent to long fingers of piers captured my attention. What went on there I wondered, sometimes with a touch of dread when my young imagination got the best of me."

A work in progress photo of the layout. The building on the left is
a paper cut out. The white buildings were scratchbuilt from styrene.
The layout for this article was the size of a  small 3-ft book case. Later, I did a room filling layout design of Bush Terminal for my first track plan book.

Last year, I visited Tom Fausser's HO scale switching layout in Tulsa. It's a large Brooklyn, NY theme layout that includes Bush Terminal. The photo at the right shows his work in progress as of 2017. It is a neat layout. I'd like to get a chance to operate it some day.


  1. That issue of MRP is probably the one I re-read the most. I even have that issue in my backpack right now.

  2. It was an interesting issue. However, many of the layouts cheated by using drop-tables on the ends. As a whole, it reminded me of a collection of display modules rather than model railroads. I think the space limitation was artificial, and I doubt many were built.

    That being said, I liked the cover and the Japanese(?) N scale engine on it?.

  3. Nice story, I lived on 30th street in the 1950's/60's and saw the buildings a lot. I recall seeing the motto: Industry city, a great industrial city within a city. Painted on the first building at 29th street while riding along the Gowanus Expressway. Our neighborhood wasn't called Sunset Park, it was Bush Terminal.