Building a bygone railroad in a suburban Philadelphia basement

Dick Foley's model railroad recreates Philadelphia in 1953

In Dick Foley's cellar, locomotives still rumble along tracks near Callowhill Street lugging box cars of goods: produce for Quaker City Grocery, finery for Lit Brothers warehouse, newsprint for the Inquirer. 

Trains chug past the towering smokestacks of the Willow Street Steam Generation Plant, on their way to Port Richmond refineries and North Philadelphia meat packers.

Handmade models of them, anyway.

"It's your own little world," Foley said, as he worked on his model Thursday, a ragtime tune playing over the chuk-chuk-chuk of the locomotive recordings he pipes into the room. "I just love it."

There is a month for everything. November is National Model Railroad Month. It's a month for people like Dick Foley.

For 13 years now, Foley, who is 77 and worked as a marketer for RCA, has been working to faithfully recreate the railroad of his youth in the basement of his Spring Garden home.

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