Newswatch 16 in New York Searching for HBO’s Backyard Train

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NEW YORK CITY -- The train in the Newswatch 16 backyard is in the national spotlight yet again.

John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight on HBO, unveiled a gigantic train set featuring different iconic Scranton locations and told WNEP to come and get it.

It's going to take some work to get the train set here to the backyard but we are working with people from John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show to do just that.

We were told it is 18-feet wide and 16-feet tall, clearly not going to fit in our news car, but we still had a fun day in the Big Apple talking to some people from our area who are all wondering how we are going to get it back.

Oliver unveiled the giant train set on his latest episode. It features a number of landmarks like the Electric City sign, the Scranton Times building, even some fireworks. At the end, he told us, "come and get it."

So on Monday, we found ourselves at the studio on West 57th Street in the New York City.

Because the show is going on a short break, the train set has already been taken down. Now the big question is, how are we going to get all those boxes to the backyard?

Alexis Alu is originally from Lackawanna County and now works in New York City. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw the segment.

"When I saw the video, I was hoping it was going to get picked up and I am very intrigued to see how it is getting back to Scranton," said Alu, a former Dunmore resident.

WNEP is working with members of the show to get the gigantic train set to Scranton.

"Living in New York, it was great to see a piece of home on TV. I appreciated his love for just how passionate the people of Scranton are," Alu added.

"I mean if it's passionate to you then I guess it's fine," said Obryen Matters. "If somebody made fun of me or made silly comments about me, I would come down if I really cared."

Some other people with ties to Scranton think they might take a trip back to the Electric City just to see the train display whenever it arrives.

"It's not every day you get to see Scranton on HBO and get some recognition that isn't the office," said former Scrantonian Mike Ponomo.


  • Cristin Nicholls

    Hi I’m from Guelph Ontario Canada and I watch John Oliver… I truly believe he loves how Scranton residents are involved with its train…he wants everyone to be passionate about the world around them. The fact that you all (or some anyway) are concerned about the train enough to do something ….even if it’s just calling in to inquire about it makes not only John Oliver but a lot of us kinda jealous of the community you are creating. Keep it up Scranton, looks great on you!

  • Charlie

    I said it back in June, and this confirms it. We need a one-day annual celebration in honor of the WNEP train. We make shirts, hats, hoodies, yoga pants, etc. We have mini-trains given out to the first 100 people at a RailRiders game on the day of the festival. We have a company create and sell replicas of the Backyard Train for people who want it underneath their tree on Christmas. We get local food and beverage vendors at the festival along with local entertainment. Make this an all-day celebration. I’m telling you this would be a hit and I will help by being the “conductor.” If you are a business looking to get “on-board” with this, comment on this post. Let’s have some fun.

  • vforba

    Have someone call Jonah Frameworks in Meshoppen, they deliver every week just about to NYC they could bring it back for you!

  • RagingFU

    Please please please…..when you get the train back to Scranton, give John Oliver the key to the city in front of the running train with the fireworks going off. Maybe add some mortar round fireworks as you pass him the key just to scare the bejesus out of him. He tapes in NYC – he’d show. It’d be great for Scranton & Mr. Oliver.

  • Givemeabreak

    Does anyone get that John Oliver was taking a jab at the people in the area for being so concerned with a train instead of all the real issues in the world? I would imagine there aren’t a lot of Last Week Tonight watchers in the area or it’s just over most people’s heads here.

      • Givemeabreak

        I get that it wasn’t directed at me because I don’t care about the train and anyone that puts that much energy into calling the station to complain about the train needs to get a life. I actually think it’s hilarious.

    • Hw

      Lol. There’s actually a lot of us that watch john Oliver and it’s mostly because he doesn’t focus on all the negative crap in the world. So what if he was “taking a jab” at us? At least he knows how to have fun with it. And once they get that set up I have a feeling people will be driving in to see it. Which means consumers which means money being spent in our area. Which we need right now if YOU’VE been paying attention.

      • Givemeabreak

        By that statement I can tell you don’t watch. His show is always about something negative going on in the world as are most news stories. Negative. Watch the first time he talked about the train in the backyard a couple of months ago since I can tell you didn’t see it.

      • Givemeabreak

        OMG you people are dense. I look forward to watching John Oliver every week and have seen every show he has done on HBO. I think he is brilliant. Like I said it just goes over most people’s heads. Again it’s not a jab at me. I don’t give 2 flying Fs about the train like some of the local yocals here. The original joke was about people here in NEPA wasting their time calling the station complaining about the train when their are so many other important real problems in the world.
        Hopefully you will understand it since I spelled it out for you again. Or if you don’t get it, I don’t care. Yeesh. I guess I should know who I am dealing with here after listening to the train comments.

    • Catherine Sarginson

      Sorry I didn’t know see that Oliver was taking a jab at anyone. Goodness don’t be so sensitive. I live in Canada and I thought the whole story was really neat. I loved the idea of your train. I am not offended when he takes shots at us or at our PM. I find his shows extremely interesting and informative. It is great to get background information on what is happening. And sometimes, if we are lucky, something is done about the bad thing he is talking about.

    • ScrantonStrong

      You don’t watch his show at all if that’s what you think. He doesn’t expect people to be focused on everything awful all the time. He has a genuine appreciation of the cute and charming everyday things that make life bearable. My guess is you just want people to resent him. You sound like a miserable person.

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