Jim Porterfield shares his views of Grand Central in "Grand Cent - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Davis & Elkins staffer Jim Porterfield gives train terminal lessons in new documentary

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Davis & Elkins College Director for the Center for Railway Tourism, Jim Porterfield, is among historians, railroad fans, architects and authors who share their views of the world's largest train terminal in Grand Central: An American Treasure.

The PBS documentary, to be distributed nationwide, is the latest work of veteran video producer Richard Luckin.

"I am excited and gratified to have an opportunity to comment for a national audience on what is an iconic American railroad building," says Porterfield, who traveled to Grand Central Terminal to film his portion of the documentary.

He returned to New York to attend the premier in Metro-North Television Studio Feb. 1.

The hour-long documentary has been in the making for the last year-and-a-half. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of one of America's engineering marvels of the early 20th century. Opened in 1913, Grand Central Terminal was constructed by the Vanderbilt family, owners of the New York Central Railroad. It is the world's largest train terminal, covering 49 acres in mid-town Manhattan. The terminal has more trains and tracks and track platforms than any other terminal in the world.

The building features metal work, a 14-foot Tiffany clock, chandeliers and stone carvings. The Oyster Bar restaurant, on the lower level, is a popular meeting place for those arriving and departing the terminal, and, having also opened in 1913, is Grand Central's longest operating tenant. Each day, 750,000 people visit Grand Central and on weekdays, 650 trains arrive and depart.

The documentary aired first in Colorado Feb. 1. Check local listings for additional times and dates.

Porterfield launched the Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins in 2012. He is the author of six books, including "Dining by Rail: The History and the Recipes from America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine," and edited and introduced Jack Orr's acclaimed biography of O.P. Orr, "Set Up Running," about a Pennsylvania Railroad engineman from 1904 to 1949, and the reprint of Harry Bedwell's classic railroad novel, "The Boomer: A Story of the Rails."

Porterfield is also a columnist, feature writer and contributing editor for Railfan & Railroad magazine; the creator and host of "Journeys for a Railroad Tourist," a website and blog from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Heritage Travel division; and a frequent speaker at fund-raising events for railway heritage sites.

A graduate of Edinboro State College (now Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), Porterfield was a marketing instructor at Penn State University's main campus for 22 years.