following article appeared in the April 2008 issue of
"All aboard the Solar Express"
Florida Parenting Magazine
Visitors to the
exhibit at the South Florida Science Museum can't quite hop
onboard, but they can certainly serve as the train conductor
for this G-scale sized model train set and learn about saving
energy at the same time.
As the name
implies, the train exhibit operates solely on solar power.
Boca Raton resident Rick Newman, who is a member of the
museum's board, designed the exhibit and wanted to pay tribute
to the origins of Florida being tied to the railroads.
the Sunshine State, so it made sense to use solar power to run
the trains," he said.
In addition to a freight
train complete with livestock and a passenger train, the
exhibit includes a replica of a town circa 1950's, with a
factory, oil platform, railroad crossings, a Ferris wheel,
homes and moving people. Visitors are able to start and stop
the trains and other elements in the town by pushing buttons
on a control panel.
Solar panels that
are hooked up to a charge controller, deep cycle batteries and
a power inverter power the train system's transformers.
Newman said the
idea "came from the kid in me." The adult in him recognized
an opportunity to increase focus on environmental awareness
and bring attention to the use of solar power at the same
Express" is a permanent exhibit at the South
Florida Science Museum which is located at 4801 Dreher Trail
North in West Palm Beach. For more information, visit SFSM.org
or call (561) 832-1988 .