The Weird, Weird 3 Rail World of Clyde Coil

August 1, 2013

This one’s for the heavy model train nerds, one of which I suppose I am slowly becoming. You have been warned.

There are a couple of short films up on YouTube featuring O scale figures on a three rail Lionel layout. The series is called “3 Rail World” and sadly there appear to be but two of them, both from 2006. My friend Joe sent me these without much comment. The first is Episode 1 - It’s A Fake: fairly rough but a decent introduction to the series, such as it is.

But while Episode 1 feels like an experiment in a new medium (which I suppose it likely is), Episode 2 - Details is something not unlike art. Its surrealism and use of the abstract, static figures as characters is really pretty special. Aside from the conductor in Episode 2, one of the most interesting characters is the priest, who regurgitates Lionel marketing bullets breathlessly (I’m not sure whether it’s actual Lionel marketing copy or something they made up, but the point is made).

I hesitate to say much more about what I found on the origin of these videos (such as who the voice of Clyde Coil is - you can find it fairly easily), as I didn’t know when I first saw them and I think it helps to evaluate them more objectively. This may be one of those entries where 9 out of 10 people reading it think I’m insane and move along, but hopefully you’re one of the 1 in 10!

Here’s to the weird, weird 3 Rail World of Clyde Coil.