Most of my childhood friends (say 7 to 12 years old) had trains. Mostly Lionel. One with his father Gilbert American Flyer. Late 50's-early 60's time frame.
I remember climbing on 4x8 tables with them building layouts (mostly just track), Combining trains and track for one day floor layouts with them, having a tug of war between my friend's Erie Lackawanna Trainmaster and my 2338 Milwaukee Road GP7 (and never understanding why I always lost) and watching another friend's father's Gilbert Flyer "adult" layout in awe.
As much as we all enjoyed playing with trains, as far as I know, I'm the only one who stuck with the hobby. I have a lot of train friends, but all met as adults. Your thoughts?