Did your Dad get you into this hobby?

Yes. Just not sure why?

Mom and Dad gave me a Lionel set for Christmas back in 1952. I sold them all in 1959 . . . for the princely sum of $100!

For more than 50 years, the bug lay dormant. Oh sure, there was always a "maybe some day" aspect that never let go. 

It burst forth again three years ago, with startling virulence! 

No, my father did not get me in to trains. He has been dead for 74 years and I am 74. He was an Army Air Corps fighter pilot  who flew a British Spitfire and was killed in action during WW 2 when I was 2 months old.  My grandfather liked real trains and got me to like them also. 

Although I had a Christmas garden at an early age, Lionel trains just didn't look real to me, and in 1955 I got my first O scale trains when I lived with my grandparents and set up a permanent layout.

Currently I have what I refer to as an O scale 2 rail Christmas garden that I keep up year 'round. I worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Penn Central, and the Steam Locomotive Corporation of America, and if I were younger I would do it again if only they existed.

My maternal grandfather and my dad both got me into it.  My granddad gave me a Lionel freight train set in 1954.  When I was older, my dad built me a small layout on an 8' x 4' piece of plywood.  He put coasters on it so it could roll under the bed in my room when I wasn't using it.  I still have the original train.  I had the locomotive refurbished and repainted in the Brisbane & Bushong  RR livery.  MattLionel Locomotive in the B&B RR 

Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.
Edward M. Forster

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My dad worked for the SP when I was born, he was a signal maintainer and road on a speeder.  He was also a professional photographer and kept a camera with him at all time when out on the line.  My mom would take me North of town and meet him on his way in and I would ride into town on his speeder with him.  Sure wish I had that speeder.  Dad was also a model railroader but he was into HO and he had scratch built an SP AC-9 out of brass.  So he was mainly responsible for me and my love of trains, my uncle Larry had a Marx set, it had a SF warbonnet paint scheme two "A" units and 4 or 5 cars plus a caboose.  We literally ran the wheels off of it.  I always believed it was a Lionel set until about 10 years ago when he informed me that what he had was a Marx.  Those memories of those fun times are what actually got me back into O gauge.  My dad built me an HO layout, it was the one called an "HO Railroad that Grows."  He built it in my bedroom and then we moved it to the garage where he finished it and I could run trains.  He started the scenery but it never came to finished state.

I just love trains period.  What a fantastic hobby to be in.

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

No we were poor in rural Oregon and all my dads time was took up providing for our family. I do vaguely recall that I had a Marx set that i played with that I remember wasn't very real looking but I was grateful to have it. I remember playing with erector set more.

San Fernando Valley CA. Joined August 2009

My dad did, yes.  I found and played with his Marx 999 & 666 steamers and cars along with the AF596 water tower and Lionel #85 telegraph posts.  All those trains lived a hard life with me as a youngster and frankly did not survive very well.  I killed Tonka trucks as well... anyway that was my start.  Next came a Lionel DT&I switcher set in 1972 along with some Athearn HO trains in the same year.  I still have most all of it.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

My dad did not buy me my first train, my Uncle did because he lost a bet that I would walk before Christmas '53, I walk at 9 mos old 2 weeks before Christmas, my uncle bought me the Lionel Silver Chief Set with a ZW Transformer and still have both and still use the ZW on my last layout. My dad would stay up all night Christmas Eve setting up the tree and my Santa Fe Silver Chief set and all of the Plasticville he had(I still have all of it today). In my teen years when we know it all and nobody can tell us anything My my dad did do was to grow his and my interest by getting me to go to local meets in Miami, he joined a group called the Gold Coast Train  Collectors. I worked at the same job he did making the same money so I bankrolled the hobby for him. It turned out to be the one thing he and I loved to do together. To this day I still pick up Post War Lionel that he always wanted and never acquired. My current goal is to complete the 6464 Series Box Cars in his memory. Last year I was finely able to pick up a Lionel Post War "J" for him. Sadly I lost my dad in 1984. I still miss him and think about him all the time. Love you Dad.

Rick

PRRT&HS 8473

State College, PA

"Riding that carpet made of steel"

   "This trains got the disappearing railroad blues

 

 

 

My parents bought my first Lionel set for Hanukkah 1955. My dad wasn't a hobbyist, but he was handy and he and I built the platform. The rest was up to me. I did all of it, scenery, wiring, purchasing, modifying...all of it. I'd get stuff each holiday, but mostly it was me going to the big department stores in Philly's center city after Christmas and buying all the battered and broken stuff that was used in their displays. These were really great deals! I'd make the repairs and they were good as new. They did buy me a new 2343 Santa Fe which was my most sought after object that I can remember in my whole live. I worshiped that engine.

The two girls that lived next door had an uncle who gave them the Santa Fe streamliner set and a Berkshire steam set which their father ran around the tree every Christmas. It was were I spent many hours drooling over theirs. I got my Santa Fe in 1957. It was produced in 1954, and was still new in the shipping carton at a hardware store about a mile from our home. I located it up on a top shelf and biked home with the news that I found it! It cost $20.00. Best 20 bucks my parents ever spent on me. I was missing a B unit. I found a 1958 version at those department store close outs. It was on sale for $5.00. The fixed coupler had been knocked off. I found it, and put it back on. I drilled out the portholes, painted the ugly black trucks silver and it matched my double A units. The early Santa Fes were painted silver and the later ones were silver-gray plastic, but I didn't care. I now had my own A-B-A Santa Fe.

My parents never gave me any trouble about the trains. They loved that they knew where I was and what I was doing. I had an uncle who was a mechanical engineer at Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, PA. One weekend (I was very young... probably 7) he took me to the plant where I watched steam and diesel engines being built. They were no longer selling steam in the USA, but were making them for export. I then had a ride in a diesel switcher in the yard next to the factory. I was totally, and in every other way, hooked on trains. There's the Santa Fe sitting on the never-finished high line. The mountain was chicken wire and paper maché. These were the only existing picture of my trains as a kid. Now I have several thousand pics from the new railroads I've built all thanks to digital photography.

The first layout circa 1958

 

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Great memories!  One thing we all have in common it seems, is that we all had mentors that got us started. Not always Dad, but someone. 

Returning to the theme of  "what manufacturer will be left" topic, seems we all have something in common that isn't there anymore. No matter how detailed or what technology is included, it's our time with a mentor that brought us into the hobby. Buying a train set for a kid isn't enough. It goes in circles, and doesn't matter what noise it makes, or if it can go 1/8th scale mph. That's for us, not the starting out family, or single mom in 2017. The lack of a mentor is what determines how the hobby survives. 

Trainman2001 posted:

My parents bought my first Lionel set for Hanukkah 1955. My dad wasn't a hobbyist, but he was handy and he and I built the platform. The rest was up to me. I did all of it, scenery, wiring, purchasing, modifying...all of it. I'd get stuff each holiday, but mostly it was me going to the big department stores in Philly's center city after Christmas and buying all the battered and broken stuff that was used in their displays. These were really great deals! I'd make the repairs and they were good as new. They did buy me a new 2343 Santa Fe which was my most sought after object that I can remember in my whole live. I worshiped that engine.

The two girls that lived next door had an uncle who gave them the Santa Fe streamliner set and a Berkshire steam set which their father ran around the tree every Christmas. It was were I spent many hours drooling over theirs. I got my Santa Fe in 1957. It was produced in 1954, and was still new in the shipping carton at a hardware store about a mile from our home. I located it up on a top shelf and biked home with the news that I found it! It cost $20.00. Best 20 bucks my parents ever spent on me. I was missing a B unit. I found a 1958 version at those department store close outs. It was on sale for $5.00. The fixed coupler had been knocked off. I found it, and put it back on. I drilled out the portholes, painted the ugly black trucks silver and it matched my double A units. The early Santa Fes were painted silver and the later ones were silver-gray plastic, but I didn't care. I now had my own A-B-A Santa Fe.

My parents never gave me any trouble about the trains. They loved that they knew where I was and what I was doing. I had an uncle who was a mechanical engineer at Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, PA. One weekend (I was very young... probably 7) he took me to the plant where I watched steam and diesel engines being built. They were no longer selling steam in the USA, but were making them for export. I then had a ride in a diesel switcher in the yard next to the factory. I was totally, and in every other way, hooked on trains. There's the Santa Fe sitting on the never-finished high line. The mountain was chicken wire and paper maché. These were the only existing picture of my trains as a kid. Now I have several thousand pics from the new railroads I've built all thanks to digital photography.

The first layout circa 1958

 

Loved your story, I could sooooo relate to wanting the 2343 Santa Fe. Took me another 65 years to finally get one. Trying hard to make up for lost time now.....

Yes. 1955. I was 7. He was not a modeler, but he loved and understood anything mechanical - trains, ships, airplanes, automobiles, industrial installations. He was an Alabama Power Company electrician and steam plant foreman.

He ("Santa") built a layout for me for Xmas 1955 - 4X8, 027, one passing siding and 2 spurs, 2055 Hudson and cars, 1033 transformer. Uncoupling sections; Marx spotlights, Marx/Lionel crossing signals. Scratch built a station, stores, a house (our house), barn.

The layout was in the corner of the dining room year-round. I used it a lot - along with everything else a boy did in the 50's - 60's. (They bought me a go-kart in 1960. Even more fun than the trains.) It was easy to use. No tedium setting it up and the like.

So, yes, his fault. My mother also actually liked me and had no problem with a train layout in the corner of her dining room. For that reason, she shares half the blame.

Except for the actual layout wood, I still have every bit of it. Not the go-kart, sadly.

Regarding kids and trains...

The problem is choices. When I grew up in the 50s when I was settling in on my interests, if you wanted the coolest toy in the world it was Lionel or AF trains... period. You had building sets, some great earthmovers in the likes of Deopke "Model" toys, and board games. That was it. There were no computers, a million addictive games, no quad copters, or RC cars, or RC anything. You could build rudimentary flying models when the Cox 020 engines came out. But it was a no-brainer. Trains were it. Besides, in the 50s steam and diesel were actually still on the rails. Passenger flying didn't really take off (no pun intended) until the jet age with the B-707 flying in 1957. In the late 50s plastic model building took off and believe me, I made a zillion of them (still love it). 

Kids are busier, have less free time, and what time there is competes with many enticing interests. Model trains is way down on the list. Kids don't have the exposure to trains in many parts of the country as more and more grade crossings are eliminated for safety reasons.

I grew up in Philly and remember seeing GG1s running. What can compete with that today?

That being said, both of my grandsons played an active and creative role in building my railroad. Both are now teenagers and all those things I mentioned above a stealing their 'train time'. We just need to be more persistent. The model train shows in Louisville do get nice crowds with young kids thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Trainman: Love your post it took me until about 2 years ago to complete my Santa Fe set with a "B" Unit. I had to Post War Shells and one unrestorable PW Frame so I had the shells restored one with portals and one without and purchased  B unit frames and trucks from Lionel and built 2 "B" Units. Now the set is complete even have bot Baggage Cars Large and Small Door. In Honor of my Dad.

Rick

PRRT&HS 8473

State College, PA

"Riding that carpet made of steel"

   "This trains got the disappearing railroad blues

 

 

 

Yes, he would set up his AF Royal Blue set he got as a kid for me. Then when I was 8 he got me the RI 4-8-4 with a set of Williams PRR pass. cars. Been in the hobby ever since, he likes to joke he had no idea of the monster he was creating.

Bill

Yes, for sure..as a Toy Buyer for a Department store, he watched me play with the train set in the Toy Dept at the Anderson Newcomb Dept Store in Huntington, WV. So Santa took action and in 1954 at the age of 9...I received the Lionel 682 Steam engine set...the rest is history. When I got interested in other things, he careful stored it all away and 30 years later got them out and I still run old 682 to this day.

C & O Kanawah  2-8-4. let the WV Lumber & Coal roll.

 

In the very beginning, I don't know who got me started in Model trains, because I received my set at 2 yrs old.  I was told it was under the duress from my mother's friends that a baby that young and little didn't need a train set so early but my mom and dad stood their ground.  I remember running the trains every Christmas for a few weeks and waited for the next Christmas to come around because our apartment was too small for the 4x8 board to remain in the living room however when we moved finally into our new home after a couple of additional Christmas runs, my father all of a sudden put together a nice size train table for me.  Sad to say, I was already caught up with martial arts, basketball, girls, partying at clubs,etc.  Eventually when I got married and joined the military, they were put away and I saw and touched them from time to time. They somehow always remained in the back of my mind in their own little corner; my mother hid them from me because she believed I wanted to sell them when she had a conversation with me on their value and how much they had appreciated.  With time and my parents passing, I was able to rediscover them (they needed a little TLC) and I'm happy to say I now have the original set and a rather nice sized collection with which I'm about to start my layout with.  Both of my parents started my on this journey and in their own way they established what I've done so far, my mom, I believe in wanting me to have the trains because she loved electronics, cameras and all sorts of gizmos and my dad because I believe he was instrumental in making sure I had them out every holiday and eventually building my first train layout for me.  I'm blessed to have had them both.  MARSHELANGELO

GREG

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U.S. ARMY RETIRED PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER

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CEO, COO and any other set of O's @ MARSHELANGELO'S UNDERGROUND MODEL RAILROAD

 

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. 

 

That's for sure! He's holding the camera. I'm doing minor "layout detail work" , and my mother, who helped him craft those houses, considered the layout also hers, of course, is off-camera saying, "Move out of there, Frankie."  But I wasn't moving, obviously.

Mom & Dad's Christmas layout

I would not have know about model/toy trains except for this layout, having had hundreds of other toys, esp. cars & trucks, to play with. This layout shown here was not my playpen. It was only a Christmas special treat and got removed from the dining room after New Years.

I esp. enjoyed laying flat on my back under it, behind that brick-paper skirting, looking upward and listening, when my father ran the trains. I also liked pretending I was "running things". He would let me dump that load of sticks in the dumper-car, and then go and retrieve them for the next re-load.Christmas layout

Frankie M.

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Moonson posted:

I esp. enjoyed laying flat on my back under it, behind that brick-paper skirting, looking upward and listening, when my father ran the trains. I also liked pretending I was "running things". He would let me dump that load of sticks in the dumper-car, and then go and retrieve them for the next re-load.

Frankie M.

That's a good reminder - when my grandson appears to be laying around just watching, it's important to remember he's probably day dreaming and imagining all kinds of things ... or just simply enjoying the sound! I know I do 

GeoPeg posted:
Moonson posted:

I esp. enjoyed laying flat on my back under it, behind that brick-paper skirting, looking upward and listening, when my father ran the trains. I also liked pretending I was "running things". He would let me dump that load of sticks in the dumper-car, and then go and retrieve them for the next re-load.

Frankie M.

That's a good reminder - when my grandson appears to be laying around just watching, it's important to remember he's probably day dreaming and imagining all kinds of things ... or just simply enjoying the sound! I know I do 

Yes, GeoPeg, and I remember the peace of it, laying under there, awash in all the sights and sounds and the joy of being in the midst of something that was important and joyful to both my father and mother. They were so very happy when sharing their layout with friends and family that I felt included in something very, very special.

And now, with my own layout, the same is true for me. I love when my wife and I have guests in our home to enjoy the trains, which we consider everybody's. And in some cases, I mean that literally, as you can see on this cousin's face when I gifted him with some cars directly from the layout...IMG_0272

FrankM.

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As a young child during the 1950s, I remember the excitement of the holidays and asking my father to take me to see the trains layouts in the major department and hardware stores of the  time.  I also clearly recall a vacation trip to Chicago and visiting the Museum of Science and Industry to see the model train exhibit and spent the better part of the visit being mesmerized by it.  I visited it again some 50 years later and had much the same feeling.

My father, seeing my keen interest, purchased a Lionel switcher work train set for me the following Christmas.  It was pulled by a 1615 steam switcher locomotive and had a Bucyrus Erie crane car, gondola with barrels and caboose.  He set up a loop of track along with two manual switches on a 4X8 sheet of plywood.  Scenery was a pressed cardboard tunnel, a bridge and a few Plasticville building.  Two years later for Christmas, I received a Space and Military set with a missile launcher car, exploding box car and two flats cars, one with US Navy helicopter and the other a miniature submarine, all pulled by a NW-2 switcher.

It was apparent that the layout needed to grow.  It just happen that following this holiday season the local hardware store decided to eliminate its toy department and had a large amount of Super O track to sell at a bargin price.   My father, being a remodeling contractor at the time, also had a client with two heavy-duty regulation size ping pong tables that no longer went along with his wife's idea for a makeover of the family recreation room.  Out of these two events was born my 10'X9' Super O empire.  It reigned for over five years until my father's new job as a construction supervisor required the family to move regularly over the next four years during which  time the trains went into storage.

Other than periodic and partial resurrections at holiday times the trains resided in storage at my parent's home.   With the passing of mother six years ago, my father now gone for 30 years, I moved them to my own attic.  Surprisingly upon unpacking, I found them in remarkably good shape given the time that had passed.  I began the task of restoring them, thinking that building a new layout might be something enjoyable to do in retirement. 

Now in semi-retirement I enjoy  revisiting this interest of my childhood and remembering times spent with my father building a Super O empire.  The arrival of a grandson two year's ago has also spurred my passion to play with trains again.  I am purposely rebuilding my new layout in modular format, so to make easier the ability to hopefully pass along my trains to another generation. 

Jim Hartley, CAE

My father definitely was responsible for my interest in trains, both real ones and models. He was born in Cincinnati in 1897 and around 1906 he received a Carlisle & Finch electric outfit (made in Cincinnati starting 1896) powered by a special C&F water turbine/generator that could be attached to the faucet of the laundry tub in the basement, because his parents' house did not have electricity and was still illuminated by gas. He told me his mother allowed him make two small holes through the living room floor so that the wires from the generator could be brought up to the rheostat for operation at Christmas (and maybe other times). My father indulged me with a substantial American Flyer layout in the living room at Christmas, and then later in a spare room in a permanent setup. After college (late 60s) I became interested in O-scale and eventually had the space to build a 2-rail system. Like many others on the forum, I remember happily lying on the carpet while my AF trains ran around the Christmas tree, day-dreaming about my future railroad empire. My dad also read to me a book about I.K. Brunel and the Great Western Railway, and I spent some of my early years thinking I would become a civil engineer (didn't happen).

My dad and my grandfather got me into this hobby as my grandfather started collecting trains prior to serving in WWII.

Jonathan Peiffer

Modeling the NY&LB in Arizona

TCA Member 01-53047

PRRT&HS Member 8880

SFRHMS Member 6739

Paradise & Pacific Railroad Member

Friendly Rivet Counter

No,my dad wanted me to like the "normal" things he liked and did.Such as recreation league softball and basketball (going to all games and practice sessions) and golf,plus any kind of sports on TV. My love affair with trains started when I was 12 in 1980;that's  when a Southern steam special with Royal Hudson 2839 stopped behind my church as I was about to enter Sunday school. In the consist of the train was a Southern FP7 diesel and Amtrak super dome car on the headend. Well a couple of weeks later I was in a Toyland toy store and spotted a Lionel Amtrak  Lake Shore Limited set and fell in love with it.  I asked for it  and luckily I got it for Christmas two months later. It was my mom who followed up and got this for me. I remember when visiting the big toy store with my little brother and my mom that my dad would usually wait in the car as he had no interest in any toys.

Johnny Winkler

Yes, he did. His intent was for his sons (four of us) to develop an interest in things mechanical and the like. He knew carpentry, masonry, repairing cars etc. Trains were supposed to be the start. Unfortunately for him, I never progressed beyond trains. However, I do elements of what he liked within toy trains, so his memory lives on.  He was also good in mathematics, had a subjective ability with numbers. My speciality , however, was in words. So it goes.

 

 

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