‘Rail’ enthusiasm: Teen turns his room into SMRT Land



SINGAPORE: Forget posters on a wall, or toys in a cabinet – 19-year-old Isaac Nathaniel D’Souza has his object of passion on full display in his bedroom in the form of “SMRT Land”. It is a miniature city filled with model trains, railway stations, multi-levelled tracks and landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and Singapore shopping malls such as JEM and JCube.

Local News SingaporeA handcrafted rendering of the SMRT logo (Photo: Natasha Razak)

The Jurong malls are a nod to Jurong East MRT station where he is a train service ambassador for operator SMRT and the decision to feature Tokyo Tower is because he travels to Japan at least thrice a year to study its railway system and buy model trains. Isaac is even picking up Japanese as he relies a lot on Japanese-language technical support.

Local News SingaporeIsaac holding a model SMRT train. (Photo: Natasha Razak)

Isaac has been collecting trains since the age of 4 as he loves to “see the way they move in a straight line and the speed which they can reach”.

When he told his parents about his plan to create SMRT Land in his own room, they agreed but left him the responsibility of setting it up and keeping it clean. The result is a self-funded, lovingly built railway set-up assembled over two years.

The teen skipped purchasing tracks with a fixed layout, opting to plot them around the room to maximise the use of space. He started out with seven running train tracks, down from 11 after he found that he could not manage controlling so many tracks.
To keep out insects and other pests, he lined the bottom of his room door with rubber.

His newest addition to the tracks is an SMRT lookalike train which he spent 72 hours painting and assembling.

Local News SingaporeIsaac’s SMRT look-alike train located at the highest track in this photo. (Photo: Natasha Razak)

His hobby has put him on track to realising his dream of a railway-themed cafe, one which will have seats salvaged from trains. Each table in the cafe will have a control panel, enabling customers to drive trains on the tracks running alongside while they eat.

Local News SingaporeIsaac’s sketch for his railway-themed cafe. (Photo: Natasha Razak)

Said Issac: “The cafe will be for members of the public to enjoy the best cake and coffee in Singapore while learning more about what we do in SMRT.

“I hope that this cafe will help build a good reputation for SMRT.”

Local News SingaporeA ticket for the first day of MRT operations in Singapore on Nov 7, 1987, which Isaac plans to display in his railway-themed cafe. (Photo: Natasha Razak)

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