It was my dad's 1950's Lionel UP PA set that I first was interested in trains. The closest tracks were 20 miles away and closed in the 70's before I could really get interested in the real thing. Mom bought me a HO set pre teen but I lost interest as we never built a layout. Always other work to do on a dairy farm. Many years later, my Dad and I happened to visit a train store near Seattle. About 2 years after that for Christmas, I bought him a MTH UP Turbine set. My father tested as a genius and love physics and mechanical engineering, as do I. We had a falling out when we left the farm and really didn't have a relationship during my adult life. After that Christmas, we always could talk about trains and baseball. He had become my best friend by the time he passed late last year. He suffered from dementia in his later years towards the end, could not even manage a conversion about either. I now have our collection, and struggle with the decision to continue in this hobby or leave it.
This is one hobby where sharing makes a big difference.