Growing up, Roger Farkash loved trains a lot – so much that he turned it into a full-time job.
His first train was a wind-up train – but he also loved the trains that would pass his backyard.
“When I was about three years old, my dad bought me a little windup train,” he said. “It’s got a little spring loaded motor in it and it was made by a company called Marx Toys and it had a circle of track and I would wind up that train and just run it and run it and run it and run it.”
And when the real-live trains would chug past his house, he would go outside and wave at the engineers.
Now, he owns TW Trainworx, and is in charge of getting the displays at the Trains at NorthPark ready every year.
“We’ve been doing it for 10 years,” said Farkash. “And they’ve been doing the trains for, uh, gosh, I think it’s more than 30 years now – almost 30 years.”
This year he said six people (including him) worked for three weeks to get everything set up.
“We’ve been working on it for about three weeks this particular year because of the restrictions from COVID,” he said. “We weren’t able to do it all at one time. So it’s actually taken longer in weeks, but it was the same amount of hours.It actually went up pretty quick. And it’s ready to go.”
Farkash used to live in New York, and he said that is why one part of the train display at NorthPark is his favorite.
“I think my favorite part is still the big centerpiece, which looks like a freight house and it has New York City in it that has a Grand Central Terminal and the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said. “And hat has been a very consistent show stopper. People always enjoy seeing that one and I liked that one too, because I lived right near New York City for about 15 years – so I got to see all of those places that are on that layout and all the trains there were near my house.”
When he is not at NorthPark setting up the trains there, Farkash works at his train company. He sets up displays for different events and for people who love trains.
Some of his displays are very big, and some are small.
“We’ve got some really big layouts here,” he said. “Some are 40 feet long.”
“We do it for people all over the United States,” he added. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a job that you come to every day and never know what you’re going to be doing because we have new layouts and new customers and every layout is different. So we create these magical little worlds for people all over the country and museums and displays like the NorthPark.
“It’s a really fun career to have. I love every minute of it.”
You can listen to our whole interview (and find out what model train engines are Farkash’s favorites) below:
John Erickson, the son of deputy editor Bethany Erickson, is a fourth-grader at Chapel Hill Preparatory in Dallas.