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! rambo1..love my daughter alot both collage now.
Lionel, a sheet of plywood and I still have mine!!!!
Modeling the HO scale something or other RR in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies Alberta, Canada
My blog is here
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 (www.ssmrc.org). 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 & waybills...wow, 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: http://ssmrc.org/images/biglayout.jpg (BTW, the pic in the link is only half the layout...we haven't designed the other 3 legs yet).
Paul A. Cutler III
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....
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.
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.
HaroldASo, how did all begin for you? I thought it might be interesting to hear some stories.
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.
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
Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.
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.
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.
When I was VERY young I wrote a letter to Santa and asked...no, 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
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 at home
AT&SF Modeler at club
Christmas 1976 when I was just 2 years old.
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!
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)