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what was your first model train?

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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, September 15, 2022 8:14 AM

GN24

I remember when i was in first grade my first model train set was a bachmann pacific flyer set. I am wondering what you guys had to start out with?

I like the thread. 
 
Mine was a Bachmann as well.  An N scale train set given to me by my Grandfather for my 11th birthday some 47 years ago.
 
 
I some how happened to hang on to the U36B locomotive all these years and it sits on my fireplace mantle.
 
 
It was a Spirit of 76 train set and I've managed to re-collect it piece by piece, finding new old stock one at a time through quite a few years.
 
Still trying to find a couple of the other cars I added to that set with my lawn mower money back then. 
 
It is my thoughts, I'll have Toy Train Day with this set periodicallyLaugh
 
 
 
I've tried to post to this thread twice before and got 403 Forbidden both times.  I was glad the post went through finally today.
 
 
 
 
TF
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Posted by Attuvian1 on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 11:22 PM

1951 or '52 for Christmas.  Seven or eight years old.  It was a Lionel O gauge PRR S-2 turbine.  As I recall, it came with triple axles on each of the tender's trucks, not the 4 axle trucks of the prototype.  Heating grate under the stack - drop in those little smoke pellets.  Surely I must have run out of them, but have no idea how they were replenished.  Have no idea what happened to it.

John

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 11:06 PM

I would guess around 1970. These being the first train items I brought with my own money. I rode my bicycle about one mile to get to the Department store. Tyco SF Engine #4015 and UP Gondola #29500.

Looking closer at the engine, I now see that I added lead sheeting in the shell, lift rings on the nose, brass wire grab irons and jewels for marker lights.

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Posted by Mr Ron on Sunday, September 11, 2022 12:11 AM

The Marx set around the Christmas tree in the late 40's/early 50's didn't make it for me. My first "real" scale model was an HO Mantua camelback switcher. My friend had a Varney Dockside. That started me on my way and I am still going strong.

Smarter than the average bear
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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, August 28, 2022 12:27 PM

NVM, I already posted the same thing upstream.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 27, 2022 6:19 PM

First model train - an entire 90 sq ft layout with grades, bridges, plaster mountains, powered switch machines, two loops of track, PennLine GG1, Mantua Pacific and Mikado, Varney F3 AB set, Athearn heavyweight passenger cars, misc freight cars, lighted structures, Aristo trolley bus and even hidden staging tracks behind the mountains.

Built by my father and given to me about age 10.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, August 27, 2022 5:19 PM

American Flyer steam engine, 1947.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by drgwcs on Saturday, August 27, 2022 4:59 AM

cefinkjr

I don't remember it, of course but I was told that my first train was a Christmas present when I was 6 months old. The story goes that Dad got me out of bed after midnight on Christmas Eve (Christmas morning), sat me in the middle of an O-27 circle of track and ran 'my' train around and around me. This was MY train, understand. Wink

That was Christmas, 1942 and I'm still running model trains and chasing 1:1 scale trains.

 

Love it and wonder how many times "it's for the baby" has been used? Probably 20 years ago my wife and I were at a national train show walking behind a couple with the dad pushing the baby stroller. Underneath it were at least 6 boxes of Oriental Limited brass. I told my wife what the were and "But honey they are for the baby" She doubled over laughing in the middle of the aisle..... (wonder if the fellow ahead of us got the same reaction?)

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Posted by Medina1128 on Friday, August 26, 2022 10:46 PM

My father was a career fighter pilot and when we were stationed in France, he bought a trainset by Marklin.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Friday, August 26, 2022 10:23 AM

My first train set was a battery operated G Scale 2-6-0 locomotive with handheld power control. Next a Life Like HO Main Line Santa Fe GP38-2 power (short nose).

What really hook me to model railroading was the Life Like N Diesel Charger with two Conrail GP38-2. Also have Model Power Amtrak 4 car pack Phase I heavyweight coaches with a F40 Phase III.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by JDawg on Friday, August 26, 2022 7:25 AM

Mine was a Tyco train set with awful steel track. I soon upgraded to Atlas track, then got a Walthers Trainline FA-1 lettered for SP&S. I took a brief hiatus during highschool and picked it up again later. Got started with an NCE PowerCab, a Great Northern Atlas S2, and some Accurail freight. The rest is pretty self explanatory. 

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow is a Mystery.

But today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present. 

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Posted by cefinkjr on Thursday, August 25, 2022 3:00 PM

I don't remember it, of course but I was told that my first train was a Christmas present when I was 6 months old. The story goes that Dad got me out of bed after midnight on Christmas Eve (Christmas morning), sat me in the middle of an O-27 circle of track and ran 'my' train around and around me. This was MY train, understand. Wink

That was Christmas, 1942 and I'm still running model trains and chasing 1:1 scale trains.

Chuck
Allen, TX

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Posted by mobilman44 on Thursday, August 25, 2022 9:23 AM

I guess I was 10 when I got a Marx set - with the "streamlined" steamer.  I bought more cars and track from the local Kresges and had fun with it all - BUT - in my heart I wanted a Lionel!  When I was 12 I got a job delivering the Herald American (6 afternoons and Sunday mornings) and made enough that first year to get a basic Lionel set, and that really started me off on the Hobby.

In 1960 I was introduced to Athearn HO and quickly (too quickly?) traded my Lionel for Athearn locos and car kits, Atlas track, and an MRC power pack.  And the rest is history......

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 25, 2022 12:26 AM

Thanks for all the offers guys, but the Tyco trains will need to come from outings with my wife. It is kind of a cool thing we do together.

I did buy the ATSF locomotive on ebay, because most of the ones I see have beat up noses, and I really wanted the yellow horn version.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by csxns on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 3:10 PM

SeeYou190
WESTERN MARYLAND tractor car, and a MAXWELL HOUSE boxcar.

I have a Tyco maxwell house hopper and the tractors that went with the WM flatcar.

Russell

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Posted by mikeGTW on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 2:46 PM

SeeYou190
WESTERN MARYLAND tractor car

Kevin  I have that one also a Mantua AT&SF one same car just a cast frame 

or this set bought  Jan 1962 for $12.94   receipt still in the box

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 12:47 PM

SeeYou190
Thanks for the offer, but I rather have a few things on my want list. My wife loves going to Antique Malls, and me looking for Tyco train cars gives me something to do while she looks at glass birds! I am in no hurry at all to add things to the collection. I need something to do in those places.

Are you sure? Because it's here and it's yours if you want it, no charge:

But I totally get it. I periodically find some first edition, first printing book that I've been looking for for years when I stumble into some rat warren of a used book store in some small town, and it's the BEST experience. I could find everything on my wish list immediately, affordably, and in very good condition (sometimes "fine"), but it's not the same as finding it on a dusty shelf  on a back highway. I hear you sir. But let me know if you change your mind.

-Matt

P.S. My brother must have had the Santa Fe piggybacks, because I remember them very clearly, but mine are Internationals. Hmm. C'est un mystère!

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 12:35 PM

crossthedog
So was this one boxed set that you started with? I don't remember buying all these Tyco cars separately, but I cannot imagine they all came in my original train set.

I was given "Genuine Tyco" trainsets every year for Christmas until I was 9 or 10 years old. I am sure I had a huge variety of freight cars, but only certain ones seem to have any memory connection for me. They must have been my favorites.

There are no pictures of my Tyco layout my dad built in the garage in my childhood home in Gainesville. I am going on 100% fifty year old memories on all of this.

crossthedog
I would happily send you any of my Tyco that matched what you're looking for.

Thanks for the offer, but I rather have a few things on my want list. My wife loves going to Antique Malls, and me looking for Tyco train cars gives me something to do while she looks at glass birds! I am in no hurry at all to add things to the collection. I need something to do in those places.

Laugh

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 12:26 PM

@Kevin, I got memory whiplash when I saw your piggyback car. I had that one too (still have the trailers rolling around in a box somewhere), and that's the ATSF caboose I had. It's confusing, because that's my brother's Warbonnet Santa Fe engine, and I even have that Heinz 57 car but it was a later purchase. So was this one boxed set that you started with? I don't remember buying all these Tyco cars separately, but I cannot imagine they all came in my original train set.

I would happily send you any of my Tyco that matched what you're looking for. Not sure what the road name is on my pulpwood* car. I'll have to check.

*When you say "pulpwood car", this is a flat car but with uprights at the ends and loaded with what looks like large Duraflame logs, right?

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 11:05 AM

crossthedog
I believe mine was a Tyco boxed set. My train had an orange Shell tank car, the Western Maryland pipe flatcar mentioned above (I did not have the building, ramp, and offloading equipment), a load of cordwood, a green Penn Central boxcar, another flat car with cable spools, and a red Santa Fe caboose.

I have been slowly gathering the pieces of my Tyco trains I remember from my childhood.

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

The freight cars are getting Kadee trucks and couplers. A few are done already. The F unit has been repowered with a Proto-Power-West chassis with a Sagami can motor.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

It runs much better now!

I still am perusing around for a SOUTHERN pulpwood car, WESTERN MARYLAND tractor car, and a MAXWELL HOUSE boxcar.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 11:01 AM

I got a Lionel set for Christmas when I was five. A Milwukee Road F3 A&B with a freight train - featuring Lionel's operating milk car  and a DIFCO side dumping gondola with coal  (prototype cars were really MOW, not revenue equpment, mainly used for ballast - note the prominent air cylinders to power the tilting mechanism) . When I was 14, I joined the junior division of a club and started my transition to HO with a Gilbert PRR B6sb 0-6-0. Still have it and it still runs well. The only thing I've done to it is replace the X2f couplers with Kadees. I may upgrade the motor with supermagnets, but I'm not going to replace it with a can motor or add DCC. You don't mess with an antique!

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 10:52 AM

 My brother and I each had an F-7 -- he a Santa Fe Warbonnet and I a Union Pacific -- with a few cars. I believe mine was a Tyco boxed set. My train had an orange Shell tank car, the Western Maryland pipe flatcar mentioned above (I did not have the building, ramp, and offloading equipment), a load of cordwood, a green Penn Central boxcar, another flat car with cable spools, and a red Santa Fe caboose. I'm not sure but the log car and and noisy log dump station may have been a later acquistion (it's in the photo at left, and the button is affixed next to the ol' MRC transformer).

My brother had the silver Texaco tank and the brown bay-window caboose pictured, perhaps the caboose was a Southern Pacific. I don't recall whether that was all he started with -- didn't care, I was not a very good big brother. Ben doesn't think his was a boxed set but rather a collection of singletons. 

We both still have all these things. Most of mine are in a box waiting to be given away, along with the Plasticville freight station and pax depot; I don't run those items any more.

-Matt

 

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 9:45 AM

drgwcs
As for the little hustler I took it to the club to use their kadee wheel cleaner. We used ctc16 which applied a constant 14 volts to the track. I just tapped it to the track to test and it got away. It rocketed down a 10 ft section of straight track like a scalded cat being chased by a pack of angry Rottweilers hit the first gentle curve at about warp 9.5 went airborne and skidded across a lake and about three or four feet of scenery. As a kid of about 12 I felt every eye focused on me for a few seconds then everybody started cracking up.(including myself)

This made my day. I love stories like this.

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by ripvanwnkl on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 9:33 AM

My late father, a career Army man, gave me an O scale Lionel steam loco at Christmas in 1947 while he and our family were stationed in Fort Clayton, Panama Canal Zone.  Being only 3 years old at the time, I don't remember it but Dad vividly remembered that I dropped it off our two story balcony to a concrete driveway.  Neither one of us bought another model train until we each retired from the military, him in 1968 (O scale) and me in 2004 (HO scale).  

Dave

USAF (Retired)

 

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Posted by philo426 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 8:55 AM

Apart from a cheap battery operated train set,the first real train that I received in the early 70s was a prewar 1666 with a tin tank car and caboose  .Dad found it in the classified section of the local paper ,came with 4 powered switches and some track.Set the hook for my love of model trains;!  

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Posted by drgwcs on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 8:20 AM

dfdf1995

At Christmas 1957 when I was ten I received the Athearn "Hustler" train set I had requested. It cost my folks $10.98, which, adjusted for inflation is equivalent to about $115 today. $11 was about a day's pay for my Dad. I assumed, that coming from a reputable company, Athearn, that despite the set's low price, it would be a workable model. Of course I was completely wrong; the Athearn Hustler was absolutely worthless. It could not run slowly enough for switching and it's top speed was something like 350 smph at 12 volts. The sintered iron wheels made only occasional contact with the always oxidizing brass track so the Hustle rarely Hustler for long.T

Today, of course, I would immediately return it and demand a refund but then, being just a kid and knowing how much my parents had sacrificed to buy it, I pretended everything was fine.

What annoys me still is that Athearn must have known what a worthless POS this was and regardless, put it on the market. As I said, my parents made a sacrifice to buy this for me. Our family was poor, not poor like today's poor with big screen TVs, food stamps, Medicade, Section 8 housing and $200 sneakers. Actual poverty. And to be ripped off by Athearn.

 

Most of Athearns stuff about that time was rubber band drive and with the Brass track it is a wonder any of us stayed in the hobby. I had one of those little hustlers although that was not my first HO train which was a tyco that had to be sent back with a burned out motor. Later the power pack overheated and started smoking. The house smelled like burned rubber for a couple of days. 

As for the little hustler I took it to the club to use their kadee wheel cleaner. We used ctc16 which applied a constant 14 volts to the track. I just tapped it to the track to test and it got away. It rocketed down a 10 ft section of straight track like a scalded cat being chased by a pack of angry Rottweilers hit the first gentle curve at about warp 9.5 went airborne and skidded across a lake and about three or four feet of scenery. As a kid of about 12 I felt every eye focused on me for a few seconds then everybody started cracking up.(including myself)  Tough little engine, didn't run worth shooting but no damage. 

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Posted by dfdf1995 on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 7:06 PM

At Christmas 1957 when I was ten I received the Athearn "Hustler" train set I had requested. It cost my folks $10.98, which, adjusted for inflation is equivalent to about $115 today. $11 was about a day's pay for my Dad. I assumed, that coming from a reputable company, Athearn, that despite the set's low price, it would be a workable model. Of course I was completely wrong; the Athearn Hustler was absolutely worthless. It could not run slowly enough for switching and it's top speed was something like 350 smph at 12 volts. The sintered iron wheels made only occasional contact with the always oxidizing brass track so the Hustle rarely Hustler for long.T

Today, of course, I would immediately return it and demand a refund but then, being just a kid and knowing how much my parents had sacrificed to buy it, I pretended everything was fine.

What annoys me still is that Athearn must have known what a worthless POS this was and regardless, put it on the market. As I said, my parents made a sacrifice to buy this for me. Our family was poor, not poor like today's poor with big screen TVs, food stamps, Medicade, Section 8 housing and $200 sneakers. Actual poverty. And to be ripped off by Athearn.

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Posted by Southgate 2 on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 1:56 AM

Small Tyco set with an ATSF F7, BN boxcar, UP hopper, a caboose. Maybe another car, not sure. Short lived, long gone. Dan

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Posted by NorthBrit on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 11:47 AM

Hornby clockwork. by Bear, on Flickr

 

 

Mine was similar to Bear's  except it had N E  on the side of the locomotive.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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