I am a Retired Radio Communications Manager having worked for 50 years in designing and maintaining Public Safety Communication Systems. I have been an avid HO Model Railroader since 1951. I got my inspiration from John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid Railroad. John was a professional photographer and his hobby was building and taking pictures of his HO railroad. John Allen was my hero, when I was 14 years old I went to the store with my Mother and found an issue of Model Railroad Handbook and she bought it for me. It's a Fawcett Book Number 133, it cost 45¢ in 1951. That was a lot of money in 1951, a 24 bottle case of Cokes was 65¢ back then. There is an article starting on page 28 on John Allen's railroad, there is only 4 pages on his layout but I was hooked on HO scale from that day on.
I still have that book and it is still my greatest railroad treasure because of the article about John Allen. The book also gave me all the information I needed to get started on building my first layout. The handbook is a little worn but still in very good condition. That trip to the grocery store set my model railroad life in motion. I have loved model trains since 1945 when my dad gave me a 2-6-2 three rail O-27 gauge Lionel train set for Christmas but that issue of Model Railroad Handbook locked me in to HO gauge for life. There is an article starting on page 36 on hand laying track and I did that for years. I made my turnouts and laid track by hand with the help of that book and the H&H Hobby Shop on Pershing Drive in El Paso, Texas.
I grew up in El Paso, our next door neighbor worked for the Southern Pacific. He arranged for me to ride in the cab of a Cab Forward from El Paso to Alamogordo New Mexico for my 14th birthday present, on the return trip I rode in the cab of an AC-9 back to El Paso. That day is still my greatest railroad moment.
I now reside in Bakersfield California so I have lived on both ends of the Southern Pacific's Cab Forward Southern Route. I model the Southern Pacific Railroad of the mid 1950s Steam Era. I have a fleet of 13 Cab Forwards, 3 AC-9 Yellowstones (all 3 are kitbashed Cab Forwards), 3 GS-4 Daylights and 3 GS-4 War Babies, 5 three truck Shays, one 2-6-0 Mother Hubbard Camelback and one 2-6-6-2 articulated logger. And of course my very first HO locomotive an MDC 0-6-0 slope back tender from 1951. I have total of 39 steam locomotives and 30 diesels from the 1950s era.
I also have a Blog that I try to keep updated:
My Model Railroad . . . . http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/