(Help) Imported Object away from grid

Hello fello artists. I am now getting serious about learning Blender. I am currently studying the basics of the interface and how to do basic stuff…I am still very green.

I created a model of a train in Sketchup and imported it as an Obj file into Blender 2.62. The train ended up away from the center where the origin is…far away. How do I get it to be centered on the grid?

Also note that the object shows 984 meshes. Is that normal? The train is very complex and was made with quite a few groups in Sketchup. I did a select by type and snap to center and the model did not stay in one piece. It kind of exploded to the center. Why did that happen and can the meshes be locked as one object?

What triggered me wanting to get the model to the grid is my attempt to do a quick test render to try out the Blender render engine. The camera is down by the grid so all I would get is a sky rendered and not the object. I know I can add another camera by the model but I would rather keep the scene clean and have a fresh start from the grid and origin instead of feeling like I’m working up in space. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

To move the object to the center of the scene, select it and be sure your Navigation panel is open (it appears to the right of the 3D view). If not, press N while your cursor is in the 3D view. At the very top of this panel are the location, rotation, and scale of the selected object in the scene. Just change the location to 0,0,0 and your object will be in the center. Btw, you can also do Shift-S, click “cursor to center”, then select the object, press Shift-S, and click “selection to cursor”. The Shift-S menu is extremely useful and I recommend you get familiar with it.

As for your second question, if the object consists of multiple meshes, and you want to move the train in some way other than using the mouse while keeping the train in one piece, you can join the meshes by selecting them and pressing Ctrl-J. If you want to keep them as separate meshes, you can parent all the meshes but one to the mesh you want to act as the center. Then just move the parent mesh to where you want, and all the children will come with it. You parent objects by first selecting the children, then the parent, pressing Ctrl+P, and clicking “Object” or hitting enter. A quick way to get the parent to be the one you want it to be, since there are so many meshes, is to select all objects, the de-select and re-select the one you want to be the parent.