Trains.com

Your life around trains?

3362 views
13 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 2,116 posts
Your life around trains?
Posted by Boyd on Monday, June 8, 2009 12:24 AM

Without writing a book length reply, please tell  about your life related to trains fullsize and scale.  When you were  a youngster discovering trains. Getting a layout. How much of the house you can have it in  or can have in the  apartment. Do you have a train or engine displayed in important rooms besides the  trainroom,  in the house like the living room or bedroom. Trains or pictures at  work? A fake knuckle coupler on your rear hitch. Bumper stickers, hats, belt buckles. Taking different routes on the way home to see trains? Odd ideas/fantasies about trains? Obsession? Distraction? Escape?

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 13,192 posts
Posted by wjstix on Monday, June 8, 2009 9:58 AM

For the first part, I didn't really have a choice. I grew up in a house facing a railroad line (Minneapolis Northfield and Southern's "high line") across the street, and our local kids TV show was "Lunch With Casey" with Roger Awsumb as Casey Jones:

http://www.lunchwithcasey.com/assets/images/TVTab5-12-57small02.jpg

Stix
  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Florida
  • 2,215 posts
Posted by traindaddy1 on Monday, June 8, 2009 3:07 PM

I live in an apartment. When one of the "birds" left the nest, the vacated bedroom, small as it is, became a multi-functional retreat. (Trainroom, Computer room, Work-bench project area etc.)  Trains, for me, are not an 'obsession' but I have to admit, that I check E-Bay, now and then, for bargains and I read the Train Forum daily.  Having the layout right there, however, I do tend to play a bit more than I suspect I would if I had to go out of my way to the trainroom.  

In the foyer, we have a curio cabinet. I managed to commandeer one of the shelves for my Hallmark Lionel Ornament collection.

Thanks for asking.

 

  • Member since
    November 2001
  • From: Plymouth, MN
  • 208 posts
Posted by SotaPop on Monday, June 8, 2009 3:33 PM

Lunch with Casey was a great kids show here in Minneapolis and St. Paul back in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.  Channel 11.  Needless to say, my favorite number has always been "11" and trains have been the backbone of who I am.

First layout was HO on a 4x8 that dad hinged to the wall.  When we laid it down flat it rested on my bed's bed-posts.  My kid-brother would climb into my bed and would listen as I ran the trains just above him.

One thing about trains: It doesn't matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

  • Member since
    July 2007
  • From: Philadelphia
  • 409 posts
Posted by PhilaKnight on Monday, June 8, 2009 3:34 PM

I have know idea why I have always been facinated about trains as long as I can remember. Toy trains, real trains I just love them. I would go out of my way to sit and watch a train go by.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: US
  • 1,475 posts
Posted by overall on Monday, June 8, 2009 3:52 PM

That Casey Jones show stayed on into the 80'? Most shows like that went away in the late 60's or very early 70's.

 

George

  • Member since
    November 2001
  • From: Plymouth, MN
  • 208 posts
Posted by SotaPop on Monday, June 8, 2009 4:35 PM

George,

For some reason I thought it was on the AIR into the 80s.

Check out LunchwithCase and PavekBroadcastingMuseum for more details.

Either way - it was the Best Kid Show in the World to me!

One thing about trains: It doesn't matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

  • Member since
    September 2008
  • 1,320 posts
Posted by Train-O on Monday, June 8, 2009 7:58 PM

George,

You're correct about those type of shows, especially about trains, going off of the air sooner, or later.

The Greater N.Y. Metropolitan Area, where I was from, was to hep and hip to keep trains in the forefront, instead being cool was where it was at, at least those of us who still owned and liked trains were surviving and kept the love of trains and train modeling alive, even to today.

I've always loved trains and model trains, since I was young to know and understand about them, as we had river front car floats nearby with freight cars on them, as well, as my father's Pre War Lionel train set and the 1950 Scout sets my brother, two cousins and I received from Santa, as ordered by two maternal aunts, for the Christmas of 1950.       

The rest is history!

Ralph

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 2,116 posts
Posted by Boyd on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 2:04 AM

My parents first farm was 1 block south of the Milwaukee Road tracks in Grand Meadow Minnesota. We would hear   the train and I would go to the front door and count the cars up to around 60+ and  didn't know how to count farther. My dad had some Lionel left from the 30s and my brothers had a 60s Marx set. Neither engine ran but I still pushed the tank car around the track with  cars behind  it. My brothers at one point had trains setup on the floor in one room before I remember. That room was forever called the "trainroom" long after it was used for other stuff. My parents bought another farm 4.5 miles north of town in 73 when I was 6 and I didn't see trains as much as the CGW tracks were 3 miles east of us going through Racine Minnesota. It was 74 or 75  one of my brothers got a new Lionel set for christmas and exclaimed,, a train??? I wanted a train when I was a child (and not at the age he was then). He played with it and let me play some. He gave it to me about 2 years later then took it back, then gave it to me again.  It was obvious to my family that I loved trains. Just about every birthday and some christmases my brothers would give me more new track. I did get frustrated when I wanted curved track to turn the other way and wasn't strong  enough to pull the pins out with a pliers and put them in the other ends and thus needed someone to help me. I loaded the open cars with real corn and would work the  Pennsy 8203 steam engine. I took cardboard boxes and cut openings in them and turned off the lights watching the train go in and out of the box like it was a tunnel. I ran out of smoke fluid and the mall was 20 miles away. My parents were workaholic farmers and  cheap so I put water in the smoke stack instead of smoke fluid. The Milwaukee Road through Grand Meadow went down to 1 train a week and then got abandonned in late 70s or early 80s. The CGW line from Rochester down through Spring Valley was abandonned in the 80s. My parents divorced in 81 and I went to live with my mom in Rochester. My mom bought a nice big house and I got my own room for trains. Our carpenter built train tables in kindof a "U" shape that was 4 feet deep. I added on little extentions here and there and then  built another extention into the closet. I have  several different track setups but nothing permanent or screwed down. With a mom and 2 brothers around I couldn't  get anyone to help me or even show me how to do things period and that frustrated me.  I finally got my first car in 87 and had freedom. In 88 I got a job at a grocery store right next to the DME tracks. The next summer I got a 2nd job at the Napa right next door and got to see trains go by and some switching with that black GP9 flying down the track all by itself on occasion going 50mph or so. Mom had to sell her house in 90 and my brother and I got an apartment. Trains went into boxes until I got my own mobile home in 91. I built train tables in the living room and even built a roundish table in the kitchen area that folded in half and the legs slid on wheels made to go under refridgerators.  Always wanting to be bigger and better I wanted to run the tracks climbing along the wall of the hallway into my bedroom to loop around and come back out to living room onto and upper section. A next door neighbor who  belonged in the nuthouse  changed my plans and I fixed up the mobile home and sold it and moved into a large efficiency. There in the living room I built another train table but didn't get enough time into it to run much of anything. In 95 I moved to this town living with my mom and put everything in storage. I did get to see I think it was the 328 be probably the last working steam engine to visit Stillwater in the summer of 95. I was on a high that weekend. I left the window to my room open so the engines whistle would wake me up sunday morning when it left from downtown. I flew out of bed and chased it out of town and through Lake Elmo. What a fun day that was. We moved into a new apartment in 97 and got a little more space. I finally commandeered room in my new bedroom to build a train table. I think that was 06. For the first time in my life I have built a real layout with roadbed under it and the track screwed down. And it has a YARD! Living near the Twin Cities I can go and watch trains from Daytons Bluff or other various spots. Woohoo!

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: The ROMAN Empire State
  • 2,047 posts
Posted by brianel027 on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 5:25 AM

Boyd, you gave me a good chuckle. After initially suggesting people make comments without writing a book, that last response was getting close. BUT I enjoyed reading your story... guess it was just the irony of your first suggestion versus what you later wrote that made me laugh. People have sometimes poked fun at me for writing a book as a response to a simple question, so I can see myself in this too.

For me, as a one-time artist (even before I got back into trains), I found myself using train references in my work. One of my one-man photo exhibits was called "View From The Caboose" though the show had little to do with actual trains. Even now as a song writer, I find myself making train references in songs all the time... great material for making analogies.

Ever notice how train references can come up in conversations of even non-train folks. Like the common phrase that people feel their lives or personal situations have suffered a "derailment." Or someone "threw the switch" on their plans. Or the other real common phrase of a "one-track mind."

Just goes to show how much trains are still part of the culture, even if they are not part of folks daily lives as they once were.

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Central Texas
  • 318 posts
Posted by Texas Pete on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 11:31 AM

  Bronx born, raised in Manhattan.  When I was a little kid we'd ride the New York Central (now Metro North) up to Westchester to visit mom's brothers, and take the LIRR out to the beaches at Rockaway and Playland.  (This was before the NYCTA took over the line).  The first time I saw a steam locomotive was at North White Plains.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing, it was absolutely spellbinding, and I still can remember the smell (creosote and ozone) of the old Penn Station.

  One of my Westchester uncles neighbor kids had an American Flyer set.  Soon's I saw it and operated it I had to have one!  Got it for Christmas in '50 or '51.  Once my dad took me to the Gilbert Hall of Science and the Lionel showroom, easy walks from each other, I'd beg him every Saturday for a replay.  Sometimes he'd relent, and when he took me to see the NYSME's O and HO layouts in the Lackawanna Hoboken terminal I added that to my Saturday activity requests.

  When we were old enough to ride the subways without parental supervision, my buddy and I would haunt Polk's "Hobby Department Store" at 32nd and Fifth, in the shadow of the Empire State building.  Then we'd walk down to the Gilbert hall and the Lionel showroom.  We rode every subway route in the city to the end of the line and back, which was really cool because in them days you could stand in the front car and see what the motorman saw.  We couldn't believe it when we rode the Canarsie line out to the end and there was a grade crossing complete with crossing gate, flashers and bell!

  I guess I've always dug trains, big and small alike.

Texas (formerly New Yawk) Pete

 

 

"You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light."  - Edward Abbey -

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Palos Verdes, California
  • 3 posts
Posted by AGHR Bob on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:02 AM

I'd like to add a West Coast story....Having grown up in Southwest Washington State my mom and dad would take me to Kelso, on the UP,GN, NP lines from Portland to Seattle to watch the steamers and heavyweight cars pick up and disembark passengers.  It was the 1940s and early 50's. 

   Got my first toy train at age 4 in 1940...Lionel.  The floor in my bedroom had a large linoleum map of the United States and I ran my trains around the map pretending they went from West to East Coasts and back.  Continued to add to the collection.   Best Crhistmas was in 1947 when I received a Lionel Berk with Madison passenger cars! 

   In high school, I built an O-scale layout in the basement of our home and with my dad, built many All Nation freight cars pulled by a SP&S SW-9.   My folks sold my trains and their home while I was in college, so had to start collecting all over...Then came family and no time, money or room to have trains.  My kids weren't interested.

   In 1999, I found the Angles Gate Hi-Railers Club in San Pedro, CA and have enjoyed 3-rail - often several days a week now that I'm retired...and still buying and running trains.

 

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Florida
  • 2,215 posts
Posted by traindaddy1 on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 5:59 AM

TEXAS PETE:   Can't tell you how many hours I spent at POLK's.  Every trip was well worth the climb up the stairs.  I really missed them when they moved.  Thanks for the memories.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 1,340 posts
Posted by Seayakbill on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:46 AM

Born and raised in the Seattle area, the hi-lite of the Christmas season was the Lionel layout at Seattle Sporting Goods in Renton, Washington. First train set around 1950 was a Marx wind-up, fond memories of the sparks shooting out of the smokestack. Graduated to a Lionel 2026 around 1952 followed by the Texas Special a couple years later. Its been electric trains ever since those early years. Now that I am retired I am spending more time on enhancing the basement layout and still buying an occasional locomotive.

Bill T.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month