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How did it all begin?

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How did it all begin?
Posted by HaroldA on Saturday, September 01, 2012 6:44 AM

In the Layout and Layout Building section a father has a post about building a first railroad - (see Order of Consttruction).  He was looking for some input into the sequence of building a layout and there have been many responses.  The one that made me smile was when he said his son liked to run 'wide open' and his goal was to make sure everything didn't land on the floor.

What struck me was that this more than a father/son project, but it was possibly the beginning of a life long interest in trains.  Just the other day my dad told me about me asking for a 'too-too twain' for Christmas when I was a young kid and they bought me a wind-up Marx train that ran along the floor.  I also remember the old Lionel set I had that ran in a neverending oval on a sheet on plywood - and I managed to launch them a few times. How is wish today I still had that Lionel. But for me, that was the beginning.

So, how did all begin for you?  I thought it might be interesting to hear some stories. 

There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.....

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Posted by stebbycentral on Saturday, September 01, 2012 7:07 AM

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

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Posted by bogp40 on Saturday, September 01, 2012 7:40 AM

I read the story of the father building the layout for his son/s. It really put a smile on my face and brought back memories of over 20 years ago when I experienced the same.

I had Marx, then Lionel when young always had that facination for "trains" like so many.  When my son was 5, he showed such interest in trains, his godmother gave him a "train Set" for Christmas.  It all began from there, Of couse the trains were immediately run on the kitchen floor Christmas day, within a week the good 'ol 4x8 was started. One loop w/ passing siding, elevated section to use the Atlas Chord bridge, 2 small sidings etc. Of coarse replaced all that steel sec w/ Atlas NS flex.  Building this for my son and 2 daughters was such an exciting time for them and myself. Countless hours were spent in the basement running and working on the trains. Such a rewarding experience an bonding with my children.

I joined a local club shortly afterwards due to my renewed interest in HO modeling. After a few years, my kids interest in the trains dropped off as they had so many other social things going on in thier lives.My oldest daughter, however was rather amazing at how she learned  to run cabs at the club. The old layout was a fairly good sized DC/ cab controlled. She knew all the blocks and turnouts and could run a train w/ the best of them, and she was only 9 at the time. Some of the older "veteran" members would almost have fits, seeing a "child" run a cab. Didn't take too long 'til she earned the respect of most as to her ability.

I've belonged to the club since. Now the children are in their 20s and at least know just what to get Dad for B-day or Christmas.

The origional train set is boxed up along w/ the old Riverosi/ AHM items that were their Grandfathers. Of coarse also set aside are the Athearn BB, engines I custom painted for each of them and a good selection of BB rolling stock. I imagine some day when they have their own children the process will be repeated. Only this time they will have their own decent running equipment to use instead of that Trainset stuff that is kept just for  nostalgia.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.

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Posted by trainguy4466 on Saturday, September 01, 2012 10:36 AM
being somewhat in the 'new' generation of modellers (I'm 17) I have memories of watching Thomas on TV and having quite the extensive wooden train collection. I'd build some rather complex layouts and I still have those wooden trains today. My first memories of being exposed to model trains was when my dad took me to a train show when I was about 3. I distinctly remember watching someone run a big boy around one of the layouts. Shortly after, for my birthday/christmas (they're only 3 days apart) I recieved a life-like train set. I played with it so much I burned out the motor in the loco. I got a few more life-like trains but my intrest didn't really take off until about 2006 when my grandmother got me a subscription to model railroader for my birthday. Shortly after we built a 4x6 layout in my room. from then on I began to seriously be involved in the hobby. I joined a local club, and have accumilated a siezable collection of models. My newest and most prominent intrest is the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and I'm working on plans for a layout based on Wilmington, NC circa 1949
modelling railroads in eastern NC
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Posted by Southwest Chief on Saturday, September 01, 2012 1:00 PM

Got to blame my dad for this one Wink

He got me into trains because he was into trains.  Both real trains and model trains.  Got me into trains pretty early too.

Here I am on my first train trip on Amtrak's newly Superliner equipped Empire Builder back in 1980:

I got my first train set for Christmas when I was 4.  An LGB G scale train set.  I've been modeling trains ever since (in HO, O, and G scales)

Matt from Anaheim, CA and Bayfield, CO
Click Here for my model train photo website

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Posted by shayfan84325 on Saturday, September 01, 2012 1:52 PM

As a kid I was into model cars.  Then one day I noticed Model Railroader magazine in the school library.  I picked it up and by the time I was halfway through the magazine I was hooked.  I read back issues and devoured the new one each month.  I saved my money and about six months after picking up that first issue. I bought an N scale train set.  I was dedicated to the hobby until I finished college.  The demands of starting a career just didn't allow much room for trains.

After a couple of decades in the Space Program my life had settled down some, so I got back into the hobby.  I've been back for about 12 years;  It is even more fun, now.

I'm not a rocket scientist; they are my students.

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Posted by Medina1128 on Saturday, September 01, 2012 2:09 PM

When I was about 5, my father, who was a fighter pilot in the Air Force got stationed to Phalsbourg, France. The popular trainsets of the time and place were Märklin. I remember Dad setting it up on a sheet of plywood, complete with pushbuttons to control the turnouts. A number of years later, he bought my brother and I each a Lionel trainset. My brother was more into the toy robot they got him, whereas, I spent hour after hour running my trainset. 

Robot Commando

For me it was no contest.. lol

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Posted by EmpireStateJR on Saturday, September 01, 2012 2:48 PM

I was into the HO scale AFX cars when I was younger and built a nice race track the size of a ping pong table in my basement where I would spend hours and hours racing the cars, fixing the cars and adding scenery to the layout. Neighborhood friends would come over with their own cars and we would race the cars after school. One day a friend gave me some HO scale train equipment to add to the layout. I don't remember much about the trains (but I can remember most of the HO hot rod cars) other than it had a Kellogg's covered hopper. Fast forward to fatherhood and I thought some model trains would be nice thing to share with my son. Add another son to the mix and now we needed a dual mainline so both can have track time.  One son is now 19 and in college and the 16 and in high school. They both have an extensive collection of their own railroad equipment. The college guy will come down to the layout room once in a while when he visits home but I can count on him being there during his Christmas break. The younger guy is a 51 weeker. He comes down to the layout room for about seven days straight and runs all of his equipment. He packs it up when done and I won't see him again in the layout room until next year. I continue to muddle along in the hobby building the layout, maintaining the equipment and enjoying every minute of it.

John R

John R.

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Posted by P&Slocal on Saturday, September 01, 2012 3:44 PM

My greatest influence was my namesake, my Grandfather. He was an railroad engineer and a model railroader. I remember sitting and watching the trains run in his basement as a very young child. He has both HO and O scale. My father always had an O scale train for under the Christmas tree also. When I was in Scouting in the mid 70's there was an ad in Boy's Life magazine for a company that one could sell candles and Christmas cards to "earn" prizes. I sent in and did that so that I could earn myself an HO train set. I still have the loco and cars from that set somewhere. It was a red and yellow Rock Island freight train. When my Grandad found out about it, he bought the plywood and built me a train board for under my bed and he bought me a small ATSF switching engine. I used that until I left home. Everything has been packed away since. I get interested and then lose interest quite frequently. I just hope to finally settle down inthe next year or two and build a layout.

~Rob S.

Robert H. Shilling II

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Posted by galaxy on Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:15 AM

About 4 decades ago I was visiting neighbor's garage sale, and there, under the table was a big box{actually boxES} of Lionel trains and track and transformers. I begged and pleaded with my father to buy it/them. He DID go look and decide NOT to "buy someone else's junk". BUT at Christmas {when I'd nearly totally forgotten about the trains altogether} THERE IT WAS!! Under the tree was an oval of Marx O27 steam train!!!

Later that grew into a 3 intertwined oval layout on an L shaped 2 4x8 sheets layout to play with during my pubescent and teen years, that I had to share with my brother. We could run three trains {one for me, one for my brother, and one for my father to run {which he rarely did}.

Then as a teen, I Had a GF whose parents were moving. Her Father was THROWING OUT Into a very large dumpster a bunch of N scale stuff!!! He dind't have a layout, but "collected"  N scale stuff. I was digging the stuff out of the dumpster. He discovered this and said "don't you think you should compensate me for that stuff?" I said, very clearly, and not earning any brownie points with him, that "you have tossed this stuff into the trash, therefore it has NO VALUE to you and I can take it f I wish to rifle through the trash". So then I had a small N scale layout.

I always wanted HO tough.

Fast forward to 6 years ago. There, on the marque sign the nearby auction house uses, was a telling of a model train show/sale coming up so we {My Other Half - MOH} went as MOH was also fascinated with trains. We didn't see much that was in good shape as it had obviously been stored in a damp dirty basement {why do people do that?}. We declined to buy anything. SO I went digging for my N scale stuff and found it lacking for what I wanted now. MOH said to not throw it away, MOH would be glad to use it!! SO MOH is into N scale and I am into newly purchased HO.

I pushed an issue in the smallest of the bedrooms in our trailer home and built a small HO scale layout. We ran HO and N Scale under the tree at Christmas time.

I have recently torn my HO scale MINI layout down to tracks only as I was going to expand it some, but the room is packed with everything we have no basement or available storage for, so that idea got nixed.

We hope to someday get a house with a basement {dry, clean} to build a couple of layouts.. An HO for me and an N for MOH.

That's my/our story and I'm sticking to it!


-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, September 02, 2012 8:39 AM

My parents gave me an American Flyer train set for Christmas when I was six years old.

Still have that set over sixty years later.


Alton Junction

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Posted by O'Ghoul on Sunday, September 02, 2012 12:23 PM
My late grandfather and father are solely responsible for my interest in trains. My grandfather always had a Lionel layout around the tree, and my father was big on Tyco HO.

When I was little, he had a plethora of Tyco Santa Fe units. I was enamoured with his huge Alco Super 630's.

The year between my aunts death and my grandmother moving in to our lower floor of the house, my father built (an undecorated, but) show-stopping layout that took up the majority of the 15x20 livingroom. I think he wired in capacity to run 6 trains at once, so all the children and neices/nephews could run. I even got to take his precious Super Spirit of '76 for a spin.

One year for my birthday and Christmas, the Burlington Northern arrived in my life. Unbeknownst to me, my parents had gotten me a (Life-Like) C-628. So I had my "big train" and about a dozen BN box cars and gons to haul around the permanent, but rolls under the bed, layout that my dad built for me. Even painted it green, painted roads in, and wired street lights.

Over the years, I customized it (removed the tressel portion when traction tires broke), added urban decay, etc. To this day, that oval layout remains in my parents attic.

Now, I'm 31 and all of my latests purchases? After buying all the Super 630's that I lusted after as a child, I've been digging on BNSF... a combination of his preferred childhood line and my only childhood line.

It all kind of came full circle.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, September 02, 2012 1:36 PM

So, how did all begin for you? 


My dad was a model railroader well as a railroader and one could say railroading is in my blood since I come from a family of railroaders.

I'm told I "ran" my first model locomotive when I was one year old-with dad's help of course.I started running my dad's trains(O Scale 2 rail) when I was three and I haven't look back since.




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Posted by HaroldA on Sunday, September 02, 2012 8:44 PM

I have read all these stories and they are great.  Keep 'em coming!

There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.....

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, September 02, 2012 8:48 PM

 I wish I had something other than an old 8mm movie that I could scan and post, but I was runnign HO traisn by the time I was 2, it's on film. My parents had a room full of HO before I came along - the room they used was my bedroom! I've lost track of the photos of it, or I'd scan them for sure. After I cae along, the railroad was limited to a loop around the tree - this is what I am seen operating a 2. A coupel of years later we moved to the house my Mom still lives in, and we started setting up larger and larger layouts, but without any permanent space, it was only from Thanksgiving to New Years. Started with a 4x4, then my Mom got my Dad an N scale Aurora Postage Stamp set so a small N scale layotu was added, partially overlapping the HO part forming a tunnel. That lasted one season, as I burned out too many N scale switch coils, they were much more delicate than HO. So we moved up to a 4x8 HO layout. Then it gained a 2 foot extension on the end for a yard, then it gained an extension all around the outside for a larger radius loop to handle the Rivarossi Hudson and passenger cars. Somewhere around the era of the first 4x8, I woke up one Saturday to find my Dad had all teh track completed around the loop, so I tried to run a train. It stopped somewhere in the pack, so I poked around and discovered the insulated joiners and the extra feeders that hadn't gotten hooked up. By the time my Dad got home from his saturday half day at work, I had the trains running all around. I was about 6 at the time - is it any wonder I knew before high school that I wanted to become an electrical engineer? By the time of the final layout, I was the only one in the family who could run trains without derailments. My Dad built it all, but when he tried to run trains, he'd get 10-15 minutes in and end up throwing the wrong switch and derailing something. Sometimes I let my little sister run the trolley, or the cable cars going up the mountain. 

 Somewhere along the line I got to have a 2x4 N scale layout that we could leave up all year. I was only 9 when my Dad passed, so I did my best to keep setting up the trains each holiday. Eventually I switched completely to N scale, and built a second slightly larger N sacle layotu that I could leave up all the time. I liked having that, but I still has idead for HO< so I built a 4x8 HO layotu in my bedroom - I had plenty of room, biggest single room in the entire house. It never worked very well, not as well as my N scale layout ran, so I eventually toe that down and built a 3x6 N scale layout. That ran well, given the general poor quality of the Bachmann locos I had. Eventually frustration set in and I sort of let it languish, shortly before all those nice Atlas/Kato locos became available. That was about 9th grade, and I didn't do much else but armchair modeling until after college.



Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


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Posted by rambo1 on Sunday, September 02, 2012 8:57 PM

my son was about 4 wife ask what i wanted for christmas and i said ho train set and it went from there.made her a deal she could have a 2 child if i could expand the layout I won! my daughter alot both collage now.

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Posted by chochowillie on Sunday, September 02, 2012 9:26 PM

Lionel, a sheet of plywood and I still have mine!!!!Smile, Wink & Grin

Tags: Lionel

CDN Dennis 

Modeling the HO scale something or other RR in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies Alberta, Canada

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Sunday, September 02, 2012 10:13 PM
I was 3 years old in 1957 and in my grandfather's big black Buick, driving along what was then called Wayzata Boulevard just west of downtown Minneapolis on an overcast fall day. That road ( now I-394) passed along the Great Northern's Cedar yard and as I looked out the window, I saw all sorts of locomotives moving, and there were, it seemed, a bunch of steam locomotives sitting on tracks. I was mesmerized and from that point, became a train fan. Years later, I learned my grandfathers on both sides were customers of GN in their businesses (wholesale agricultural goods) and that what I saw that bleak November day in 1957 was a bunch of GN steam brought down to the city for scrapping. The memory is so fresh, I could paint a picture of that day if I could! Skip ahead after my first Lionel set, to when I discovered HO on a casual trip to Gager's Hobby store in downtown Minneapolis one winter day in 1965, and my next train set was an Athearn one with a blue and white Santa Fe F unit. Never looked back, never stopped loving model railroading! Cedarwoodron
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Posted by Paul3 on Sunday, September 02, 2012 11:27 PM

My father, Paul, Jr., has been a model railroader & railfan since at least the early 1950's when his father, Paul, Sr., worked at the Western Auto.  The local W.A. used to be a Lionel dealer (and later became a Toy Shop), and my grandfather would routinely bring home trains.  When my dad went into the Air Force in 1957, he switched to HO scale.  After the USAF, he came home and built a 4 x 8.  Then he got married to my mom (who had Marx O-scale trains as a girl) and built a house.  Into the new basement went the 4 x 8, and it became "The Model Railroad That Grows" (see: old Kalmbach book).  I was born several years later, and when I was brought home the first time there was a handmade wooden toy train set waiting for me made by Paul, Sr.  It was therefore rather obvious that I was going to be a model railroader. 

As a kid, I had been on several family train rides throughout New England: Amtrak to NYC, the Wolfeboro RR, Edaville RR,many trips to Boston on the MBTA, and probably many others that I can't recall.  I also went to some train shows every once and while with my dad.  At 15, I started getting more interested in trains and the hobby when my parents and I went to a local train show put on by a local club, the South Shore Model Railway Club (  Not only was the show very interesting and diverse, but the club itself was a marvel to me.  Kadee couplers, multi-cab DC block control, car cards &, it really opened my eyes to what was possible in the hobby.

I kinda nagged my father into joining the club that summer with the idea that we'd only be members for a few years.  Well, 22 years later he's still a member, and when I turned 18 I became one, too.  Next year, I'll have 20 years in the club, and I'm both the Operations Chairman and the Layout Design Chairman.  I'm proud to say I'm a member of one of the oldest and largest HO clubs in the USA, and that the plans that are drawn are becoming reality: (BTW, the pic in the link is only half the layout...we haven't designed the other 3 legs yet).

Paul A. Cutler III

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Posted by nmichael41 on Monday, September 03, 2012 2:06 PM

My Grandfather is responsible for the entire thing! He bought me a LGB G scale when I was 5 for Christmas. Yeah it was the gift I opened and forgot about the rest of the world for several days. I wish I still had it. It was thrown out due to a minimalist mother who explained to me on day after school that I was to old to play with that any more. So I went several years asking for trains and trains only for my B-day and Christmas. One day I was playing in my Grandparents basement and I got to looking around in some stuff my uncle had stored down there. He had boxes and boxes of model cars he put together I was digging through them and I hear what are you doing down there from my grandma. She comes down the steps and there I am in the middle of this old ply wood table with these cars all around me. She went a little crazy ,Put that away, what are you doing, get out of that, etc. So I put it all away and left it for another day I could dig to the bottom without being interrupted (detected). Several days later they had left and I had free rain to get through them model cars. I go through the cars in an hour or so then I saw another box that caught my eye it was full of slot cars and track. Letting my guard down I lost track of time and I hear them get home. I got slot cars all over the basement floor making a track and had an extension cord powering things up. Awe $%@(! I heard about that for an hour while I put everything away with my grandma jawing and my ear. My grandpa comes down stairs to see this great mess I created and he says what's the big deal? I said I was sorry I shouldn't have messed with my uncles things. He says no I was talking to your grandma. He was just playing with the old toys not tearing anything up. So I was then confused. She went upstairs and he helped me put the boxes back on the table. We got all the boxes put away and then he says how come you never played with these, pointing to another set of boxes I had not gotten into yet. So I walk over and have a look and its six boxes full of HO trains!!!! The mother load! I was flabbergasted! How long these been here? Why didn't you tell me? Ya know a billion miles an hour 7 year old kid style...We gotta set these up right now!!! No my grandpa says you better ask your uncle first. Awe rats!! Well lets call him right now!!! No it's to late today how about later this week. Later this week that's a billion hours from right now are you crazy I could die by then. So a few days go by and I ask Grandpa again, hey lets get out the trains. No we don't have time. Well can I just go see whats there? Yea I suppose that's fine but don't get them all out...Yeah OK...and that was the beginning. Several days later my grandpa built me my "Train Table" in my parents basement. It was a 4x8 table and it was going to be amazing. From there I learned about track and rail joiners ac/dc power supplies. It was very crude and barely functional because of the pore storage and missing parts and I was on my own except when grandpa would come over and help and he was my supplier also. I would always have things I needed. Every so often he would stop by the hobby shop when he went to the city and pick me up a few things. It was like Christmas every few months. Now it's 25 years later he's completely blind and he always asks me about my trains. When he comes over he wants to "see" what I've been up to. We head to the layout and hang out and he listens to the trains go by. He can hear the different locos and knows what they are by the motor sounds. I describe everything in detail so he can picture it in his mind. I tell him about my progress and what I have planned. He even runs them with a DT4 I taught him the buttons and he got it from there. He likes the steam engines and likes to hear them run the layout. What a great hobby and memories to last a life time....

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, September 03, 2012 3:34 PM

Not to hijack the thread, but I've always felt there were two types of model railroaders - folks who got an electric train for Xmas or their birthday, or in some other way got into toy/model trains first, and those who were exposed to real trains first, and got into model trains as a way to re-create those real trains.

In my case, I'd be more the second. I grew up in a house that faced a real railroad line, so I saw one or two trains go by every day. I would wave at the railroaders going by, and even got in the newspaper when the trainmen stopped the train in front of my house to give me a railroader's flashlight so I could wave to them in the winter when it was dark. Plus our local kid's TV show in Mpls-St.Paul was "Lunch with Casey", with Casey Jones and Roundhouse Rodney stopping their train work to come in and have lunch and play some cartoons and such. I often went to see them in live appearances, and had a full hickory-stripe trainman's outfit like Casey's.

Sometime around my third or fourth Xmas I got an American Flyer 2-rail train set (with plastic "scale" ties, not tinplate) that I ran by the tree. However, I was only allowed to run it at Xmas time - something that was very common in the 'olden days' - so it never was expanded beyond the train set.

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Posted by Lehigh Valley 2089 on Monday, September 03, 2012 6:35 PM

The oldest train set that I have is probably a Southern 4-6-0 with two passenger cars that was made by Bachmann. Thomas was in the picture as well, but in the form of the Railway Series, the way that Reverend W. Awdry wrote the stories. Lionel came into the picture when I was in third grade with a New York Central 4-4-2 Atlantic freight set. Currently, I am collecting the postwar Lionel items that many of you talked about before me. 

The Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Route of the Black Diamond Express, John Wilkes and Maple Leaf.

-Jake, modeling the Barclay, Towanda & Susquehanna.

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 12:37 PM

So, how did all begin for you?  I thought it might be interesting to hear some stories.

Unfortunately my story isn't very interesting.  To the best of my knowledge I was born with a love of trains and have always had some sort of "model" trains.  I was born in Pueblo Colorado where there are three long bridges across the Arkansas River.  The railroad yards and Union Station are right along side the river.   I used to be so upset with my parents when they would not stop and let me look at all the interesting goings on under those bridges.   Both my Uncle and Grandparents had farms right on the Santa Fe main line and working in the fields I got to watch the whole parade of streamliners everyday.   We had very little money so I got a plastic push train set, I was always envious of the neighbor's massive Brio set.  I had a loop of HO with a siding on a board that folded down from my bed.  I had push trains that fit on that track too, so it was a special treat when I could get out the electric engine and run it.

Side note, that siding was switched with an Atlas fiber tie turnout with a hot frog.  We had other turnouts I could add to change the configuration of the siding(s).   So at 4-5? years of age I learned all about gaping rails and adding feeders to keep those "lectric" trains running.

After my parents divorce much stuff got "lost" in the moves with each one throwing away the others "stuff".  Then there was really no money for trains, so I guess it really "started" for me with one of those Kalmbach magazine books called, "Practical Guide to Model Railroading".  It was my father's 1952 version.  It survived the purge being in a box of other books.  It was my only link to model railroading from 2nd grade to 6th, and I memorized it.    It wasn't until I disovered Model Railroader in the local library that I had new "train" information.  Then I discovered I could actually purchase a monthly magazine so it was a $0.60 monthly trip to the drug store.    I got a subscription in 1972.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 1:42 PM

 Well I guess if I RELLY dug into it, I'm probably in the same category as TZ. You know those cutout letters thay have so you can hang them on the wall, spelling out your baby's name? Well, the ones in MY room were train shaped! FIrst letter a locomotive, last letter a caboose, and the in between ones as cars to make up the train.

 Hard to say if the real traing came before the models or not, I don't have any photographic evidence of me and real trains older than that Christmas '68 running the model trains movie. The following summer was the first of uncountable visits to Strasburg. I'll have to check, there is a photo of my Mom holding me on a caboose at Memorytown USA, that might have been the summer of '68, predating the model trains. Not sure. I do distinctly remember camping at Hersheypark, the summer before I turned 5. Down at the end of the row our site was on was the Reading line, and I would run down there every time I heard a train to watch it go by.


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


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    March, 2011
  • From: Lancaster County PA
  • 158 posts
Posted by JLK on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:05 PM

My parents bought me a Thomas train set. Then a friend named Dennis gave me a HO train set. I wish I could contact him but I don't know were he lives or anything like that. No one else in my family is into trains. I don't think I would be either, except for Dennis.


  • Member since
    August, 2011
  • 805 posts
Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:00 PM

My dad was a hobby guy and that meant planes, boats and trains.  My first train memories are from the late 40's as my dad built a large lionel O gauge layout in our living room.

I didn't take up trains until I got a small Varney HO "l'il Joe" 0-4-0 dockside set for Xmas in 1958 and made my first brass snap-track layout on a spare 4X6 plywood board while in Jr. high.  From there, it was about 7 layouts, all HO, into the 90's and then a long lapse until 2010 and now it is HOn3.

One can't beat having a dad into trains.  Surely, that cranked about 80% of today's modelers into the biz.



If I can't fix it, I can fix it so it can't be fixed

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,062 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:24 PM

When I was VERY young I wrote a letter to Santa and, begged himfor an "olektrik train" (sic).  My wish was granted.  It was an American Flyer, S gage.  When I was about twelve and had a paper route which supplied me with some money of my own, I changed to HO.  When I went in the Navy, it all came to an end.


A few years ago I bought an HO Thomas the Tank Engine for my granddaughters.  Running it around the 36 inch circle of track went over much bigger than  I expected.  They fought over whose turn it was to run around in a circle. 

 I decided that Thomas needed more room to run, so I bought a 4x8 sheet of plywood and we built this.

In the process of building it, I remembered how much fun it was.  It now fills my two car garage and a third grandchild just started school.


Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Colorado (the flat part)
  • 594 posts
Posted by Colorado_Mac on Tuesday, September 04, 2012 7:35 PM

My father bought me a Tyco set before I was even born. I was supposed to arrive on Dec 23 so he boghtt it  to go around the tree. I didn't show up until the 28th, however. 


HO Scale CSX Modeler

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: Hilliard, Ohio
  • 875 posts
Posted by chatanuga on Thursday, September 06, 2012 10:42 AM

Christmas 1976 when I was just 2 years old.


  • Member since
    June, 2006
  • From: Baltimore, MD
  • 1,719 posts
Posted by CSX_road_slug on Thursday, September 06, 2012 3:57 PM

OMG I've answered this question on here so many times I probably should store it in a text file online, so I can just copy-and-paste it in!Laugh

Here are the highlights:

Age 5: A Lionel 2-4-2 with 3 cars and a caboose for Christmas, on a 4x8 in the basement.

Age 12: First exposure to RMC and MR, those mags opened up a whole new world for me.

Age 13: First HO train set, a pair of Tyco C&O F9's (one powered & one dummy) with 4 freight cars plus caboose.  Quickly discovered how much better Athearn 'blue box' trains were, started accumulating them using money from odd jobs and a paper route.

Age 16: Joined a club, built a large collection of Athearn locos painted in B&O.  Discovered the joy of railfanning.

Age 18: Joined the Navy, forgot about trains for the next 15 years.

Age 33: Married, rediscovered model railroading, been active in it ever since!

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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