The Kalmbach/Model Railroader direction that the other thread went in reminded me exactly why I love models and model trains... When I was in elementary school in the 80s, the school library had a plastic bin full of MR magazines. And every library class when we had our free time to go read, those bins were the only thing I went to! I guess I could also blame MR for my dislike of reading way back when. ;-) All of the scratchbuilding they did and the layouts that they had blazened across the pages made me yearn to build my own model railroad empire!
What got you guys into the hobby? Would love to hear your stories!
Post by The Jade Fog, formerly: Dave on Dec 20, 2016 10:54:07 GMT -5
A. My Dad had a Lionel set from his childhood that was set up only at Christmas and that got all my siblings and myself bitten with the train bug in the early 70s, which led to Christmas of 75 with the AHM-Tony the Tiger-Bicentennial set. Truly a magical Christmas morning.
B. Model Railroader Magazine and Railroad Model Craftsmen- Even as a kid I thought "Gorre and Daphetid" was a stupid name ("Dad, That's not even a real RR name!), but holy cow, could John Allen make a fantasy land of floor to ceiling layouts, huge trestles and the realism.
C. A Dad who took us on our pilgrimages to Strasburg RR, various RR museums, trips to local hobby shops (remember that blue box kits were exactly $2.85 in the 80s in my neck of the woods). We had a family friend who would by tickets for NRHS excursions and give them to us, so I had been to West Point, Front Royal, VA and New York City on freight tracks while riding Amtrak. Unfortunately, kids didn't have cameras in those days, so I have no pix. Amtrak used to have deals to buy one ticket and get the return one for free, so we did a few trips to the Smithsonian that way. One time we moved from our Amfleet car to an old heavyweight car for better legroom and high ceilings (after all, we were young, budding rail tycoons and demanded to travel in style), until the conductor escorted us back to our assigned seats! And there were trips to the Horseshoe Curve that may or may not have had us jumping the fence and crossing the tracks to the mountain side to get cab level photos of dirty and broken down PC and CR locos. I can't say for certain as the statute of limitations has not run out for those kinds of stories...
Actually a 4th-
D. A very patient Mother who did lots of reading while we were out "chasing trains" and probably rolled her eyes secretly when we foamed about all the technicalities of railroading that kids found important
Post by ZeldaTheSwordsman on Dec 20, 2016 11:55:00 GMT -5
Well, I have been into trains for nearly all my life, both from watching Shining Time Station and from seeing the trains on display in and passing through Pocatello, Idaho where I was born. I played with toy trains like the Learning Curve wooden and Ertl die-cast Thomas lines beginning in 1994 (Christmas of that year was when I got my first wooden Thomas, which I still have). I never got any of the Ertl track though..
Anyway, it was during these early years that I first saw electric model trains in action, on a display layout somewhere in town (I believe it was the Westwood Mall but not sure). The main display was H0, based on size and no. of rails.. Anyway, I thought they were really cool. The remote control plus the scenicking.. And the fact that unlike my toys, these steamers had proper working siderods. Ever since seeing that I wanted some of my own. I actually discovered and briefly got into a set squirreled away at my paternal grandparents' house but was deemed not old enough for it at the time.
Skip ahead to Christmas season 2003. I discovered online a listing of the Bachmann Deluxe Thomas, Annie, and Clarabel Set at a remarkable discount - MISB, even. I showed this to my mom, and sure enough I received the set as a present. I was delighted and had plenty of fun. Unfortunately I was not kind to that set.. I wound up breaking Thomas' motor wire connections and then destroying his motor housing in the process of trying to resolder them because I had no idea how to solder... I also butchered Annie and Clarabel at one point in a foolish effort to extend them to be like the book versions... But I'm working on restoring them now.
That first set was the jumping-off point, and from there onward I've gradually built up my collection.
I grew up in a fami;y of railroaders - my grandad and dad both worked for the NYC, and my dad continued through the PC days on into Conrail. He was a dispatcher, and we'd walk the rails (was OK back then!) on down to his office in Charleston WV that overlooked idling switchers and Geeps. His desk was in front of a large diagram of the tracks he controlled, from Ohio into WV and up into the coal mines where most of the rail traffic originated. We saw lots of switching in the yard every day - it was just part of life.
Of course I received the mandatory Lionel set under the Christmas tree. An O27 Air Force train, with a black and red Rock Island FA pulling a Minuteman Rocket Launching box car, a helicopter car, a submarine car, and a satellite car (I guess it was really a Cold War train lol) with a Lionel Lines caboose.
I ran the heck out of that train, but that was the extent of my model railroading until a few years later, when I got an AHM HO set, that had a Penn Central C-Liner pulling a train with a C&O caboose (still have those two pieces). I did get a bit farther into model railroading, but not much. Enough though to name my first freelance railroad - the PC&O (Penn Central & Ohio, a natural combination of the Penn Central and C&O, the two railroads that ran through the Kanawha Valley.
And then....LIFE happened, junior high thru high school and college, and my working days thereafter. Always interested in model railroading and trains in general, but always busy with something else. I even subscribed to Model Railroader for a few years in the 80s, dreaming of future railroad empires but never going beyond the dreams because of other responsibilities that demanded my time. I did still collect a few pieces here and there, only to be stored away. During a trip to visit my sister in Germany in 1984, I even picked up a tiny Z-scale set - I think it was 3 marks to the dollar then? Nice exchange rate anyway. Only problem was, when I got home I discovered it naturally had a European transformer, so it never got run.
Sooo...fast forward to Christmas 2009.
Now I have internet, and ebay...and I can go look for an American power source! I set up that little train around our little Christmas tree, and just had a blast watching it. And after Christmas, my wife said, "You know, you had so much fun with that set, why don't you set up a board in the back bedroom and get out your old HO stuff?"
THAT, my friends, was the turning point, the thing that was like entering the launch codes on the nukes, that was like giving a long abstaining alcoholic a bottle of whiskey and saying "just take a little drink."
I said, "no, you really don't want me to do that." She had no idea of the virtual dynamite she was casually tossing around! "Oh go ahead, you'll have fun!" she persisted. I think I told her 3 times that it would be dangerous, but the poor thing had no idea.
The rest is history, and the shock wave from that explosion is still spreading lol. I did set up "a board" in that bedroom. which turned out to be as big as I could physically fit in it, with two separate loops and a small yard.
From that, it grew into the layout I built for the 2011 WV State Fair, a 8x12 foot 2-piece 'L' with full mountain and river scenery that represented the Department of Agriculture in WV. And I had 2½ months to build it! From the middle of May to the first week of August I did nothing but work on the layout - both at work and at home. So I was being paid to do my favorite thing - finally!
That layout eventually became my home layout. And, I went to work making it mine, removing the Department of Agriculture from it and making it my own, constantly improving and rebuilding. But it still wasn't the BIG layout I craved that would let me run BIG power and long cars.
When I retired in February 2016 and we moved to TX, the layout was loaded in the truck, and is now under plastic in a storage container, waiting for the 'Train Trailer' (a small mobile home on our property) to be prepared. The plan is to incorporate this layout into a bigger one that will indeed have wide enough curves to run some larger equipment.
OH, and the little HO collection I had back in 2009 has grown a bit! My wife looks on all of this in wonder, and I tell her "I'm living the dream!"
Last Edit: Jan 11, 2020 20:39:40 GMT -5 by JNXT 7707
The JNXT Family of Transportation Companies:
JNXT Railroad "The Weasel Route" BRTX Railroad "The Buzzard Route" P&S Railroad "Don't blame us, this isn't our equipment" The Buzzardly Shops "Your GOO Headquarters"
Post by wildecoupe on Dec 20, 2016 14:04:11 GMT -5
I forgot to mention going to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum Buhl Planetarium as a kid and seeing the train room. The layout is now at the Carnegie Science Center and about 2x the size it used to be. Fun representation of Pittsburgh and the industries around.
Post by princetonjctyardmast on Dec 21, 2016 22:48:17 GMT -5
The story goes that my mother used to walk me in a stroller to see steam powered freights on the B&M when we lived in Williamstown and N. Adams, MA. I think it is an apocryphal story since as I understand it, the B&M got rid of steam on the Hoosac Tunnel route by 1945 to eliminate electrification costs of the tunnel. In any event, we later moved to Milford, CT a real "hot spot" on the New Haven where the Maybrook Line and the Waterbury line joined the main line between New York City and New Haven. emember at age 3 or 4 standing with my much older sister watching a orange pin-striped FA-1s pulling a long freight with mainly boxcars, including several ACL ventilated boxcars -- "watermelon cars." But the best was a trip to New Haven on the "hill" overlooking the passenger station (including the passenger car and head end equipment switching, the change from electric to diesel and the endless arrivals and departures); the yards, especially Cedar Hill; and all the switching activity at many very interesting industry sites.
My father was also a influence. When I was five I got a Marx wind-up Hiawatha set. I was crushed, because all the older boys in the neighborhood had an electric trains and several of the Dads had HO scale layouts. Finally the next Christmas, at age 6, I got an American Flyer NKP 0-8-0 switcher set. We had a neighbor who was in management at AC Gilbert, and by age 13, I had about every freight and passenger card Gilbert offered and and many American Flyer locomotives. I loved especially as a youngster going to factory in New Haven to see their display layouts. My father took me to many yards and built me two large train tables.
My much older brother was a strong influence on me. He had exguisite HO scale models he built before he graduated from college -- but no layout. He got me into HO by giving me kits, his old model Railroader magazines and finally at age 10, my very own subscription (which I maintain to this day). He took me to several model train clubs and scale model exhibits. At age 14 I got into HO scale.
Playing with trains are some of my earliest childhood memories. My mother bought me my first set and until yesterday I figured I was about 5 years old. My mother told me last night that I wasn't quite 3 years old and I remember it was an HO switcher set with a circle track that I ran for hours on end. I haven't been without trains since then.
I grew up in Philly and there was no lack of railroading at that time. I was close to the northeast corridor and watched the GG1s running north and south between Philly & NYC. I often rode the Reading Lines to Pottsville, PA until SEPTA took over and stopped service in the 80s. And then there were the trolleys and subways. I rode them to school, work and shopping trips. I even worked for SEPTA for 2 years, maintaining the underground power grid.
My Tyco Century 430 Spirit of 76 can beat up your train!
Post by retiredalex on Dec 22, 2016 9:15:17 GMT -5
Christmas 1954, my parents got me a Lionel 027 set. I still have it and it runs. As long as I can remember I was fascinated by steam locos and would spend hours as a kid sitting by the tracks waiting for a train to go by.
My lifelong love of trains got me into this hobby. I can't remember NOT being fascinated by the real thing, so I wanted miniature versions to play with. When I was very young I got windup and battery powered train sets every Christmas (and probably birthdays too) and once my father thought I was old enough I began receiving electric trains, starting with Lionel's Kickapoo Valley & Northern starter set when I was probably seven. My Dad used to listen to big band music quite often, and two songs that caught my attention (for obvious reasons!) were "On the Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo." So when Tyco introduced its Chattanooga Choo Choo set I just had to have it, and that began my association with HO scale, which continues to this day.
I am reminded of the immortal words of Socrates, who said "I drank what?"
Post by pokemonprime on Jan 9, 2017 19:35:15 GMT -5
A small table at a flea market with some cheap train stuff I bought, thinking "I've been wanting to do this for a while!". though growing up a stone's throw from the Walkersville Southern probably influenced my general fascination with trains.
Walkersville Northern - It's A Walk In The Park With Walkersville Northern! (HO) Sparwick Gypsum Products (OO9)
wks: None of the football teams adopted the Baby Shark theme song. Perhaps that song would give the same good luck that it gave a certain baseball team in Washington to propel them to champions.
Jan 20, 2020 16:01:08 GMT -5
wks: Hapless teams like the Browns Lions Jets should look into that good luck song.
Jan 20, 2020 16:04:09 GMT -5
JNXT 7707: wks, that song makes my ears bleed
Jan 20, 2020 20:29:10 GMT -5
wks: Imagine how the opposing team feels if the home team blasts that song on their stadium's deep sub woofer speakers at full volume.
Jan 20, 2020 21:18:56 GMT -5
wks: Jerry Jones is contemplating using that song at his new Texas Stadium or whatever that stadium is called.
Jan 20, 2020 21:21:02 GMT -5
JNXT 7707: Jerry Jones would sell his soul to get back to the SB
Jan 21, 2020 9:03:42 GMT -5
rbturner: All I need to know about football; Go PACK!
Jan 21, 2020 10:43:27 GMT -5
frankenstein: The shoutbox should be renamed "the huddle"
Jan 22, 2020 10:08:05 GMT -5
wks: Have to locate a Mantua 49ers car to go with the Mantua Chiefs car for a Super Bowl photo.
Jan 22, 2020 10:19:26 GMT -5
burlington77: Still snow/rain/ice mix here. Supposed to keep going through the week. All the kids are getting a second vacation from school.
Jan 22, 2020 12:34:49 GMT -5
wks: Your students must be estatic about the Chiefs going to the Super Bowl.
Jan 22, 2020 12:48:11 GMT -5
JNXT 7707: I need to make a pilgrimage - although I usually do whatever I can to avoid Austin!
Jan 23, 2020 10:17:52 GMT -5
methuener: I'm not a network news guy, but Norah O'Donnell is one fine reason to watch. As for the Super Bowl, I'm hoping Jimmy G and the 49ers get it done.
Jan 24, 2020 19:40:38 GMT -5
JNXT 7707: I'm pulling for the Chiefs, Jim. After the way they demolished the Titans after falling behind 24-0 or whatever it was, I think they are on a mission. Should be a good one either way.
Jan 24, 2020 21:44:10 GMT -5
TK Dave: Football joke anyone? .... A Patriot, a Steeler, an Eagle and a Cowboy, all walk into a bar .... to watch the Superbowl.
Jan 26, 2020 5:51:21 GMT -5