September 23, 2017
An "almost irresponsibly large" train set gifted to a Pennsylvania news station by HBO's John Oliver to smooth over any hard feelings between the two parties is now on display for anyone to see.
The set which stands at 18 feet wide and 16 feet tall was unveiled at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton on Friday, just weeks after Oliver surprised WNEP-TV with the present on an episode of "Last Week Tonight."
The model took an entire day for museum officials to set up but was shown off to the public Friday where it will live permanently, according to WNEP-TV. The museum is offering free admission from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. throughout the weekend for those who want to catch a glimpse, it wrote on its official Facebook page.
The journey began during an episode of "Last Week Tonight" that showed over the summer. Oliver featured the station for causing some local controversy through a train set regularly shown in the background of some of its weather forecasts.
WNEP has aired responses from viewers who have called in to voice their hatred or love for the model, one expressing that they're "sick of hearing about these idiots worrying about the stupid train set" while another said he'd rather "put a quarter stick in that train and blow it up."
Oliver compiled some of the best comments to share with his national audience, which caused Scrantonians to believe that he was making fun of them. The host cleared the air in a recent episode, remarking that he's not making fun of anyone at all.
"My only criticism of your train set is I think you deserve a better one," he said on the show. "An almost irresponsibly large one, and that is why, and I hope you don't mind, we have used HBO's resources to make something extra special."
Oliver presented the grand gesture which included "every Scranton landmark that [the show] could find on Google," and instructed the station to come get it from a warehouse in New Jersey.
Reporters used a donated tractor-trailer to pick up the train set last week after ironing out some logistics. The station also announced that it wouldn't appear in its backyard as intended.
"Anybody can go and see it [at the Electric City Trolley Museum]," WNEP-TV reporter Carmella Mataloni said in a Facebook Live video on the day of the pickup. "This was a gift to our area and it's going to be nice for our area and the people in it to go and be able to see it whenever they want, which is a really nice thing."
Check out WNEP-TV's coverage of Friday's unveiling below: