Very often, when I arrive at the home of two of my grandsons, ages 7 and 5, I find an amazing model railroad on the playroom floor – which was the case today. They have been building their own model railroads since they were about 2 or 3 years old and continue to amuse themselves with this. From an early age, they began to watch and run trains on my two basement layouts, which they can now operate without directions from me – although advice may sometimes be helpful. They also have a carpet layout with 2 locomotives and 2 switches which receives similar attention from them… When they were smaller, we often visited the local train station and spent hours watching Metro-North and Amtrak trains come and go. We have also taken a few train rides together.

I’m not sure whether the boys or I benefit more from our activities together. But, from these two pictures, it is plain to see that their model trains are a creative and enjoyable activity for them and their grandpa. I think their interest is a good thing.

MELGAR

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Great seeing your grands so interested it floor trains and your layout. 

When mine were young they had good interest until I showed them some Darda cars and race track.  Must faster and more wrecks.  The trains lost out.  Now that they are older it is soccer for boys and girls.  A couple of the girls still like my layout some but the three boys are all soccer.

Charlie

Melgar,

Thanks for your post. I have been fortunate to have as a railroading buddy, my now 15 yr old grandson. He and I have had quite a few adventures together and he is still enthusiastic about railroading, even with his other interests and hobbies. His 3 1/2  year old cousin has caught the Thomas bug and gets excited whenever we take along some of our old Thomas track to add to his empire, screaming "More Track, More Tack"! . He has all the makings of a model railroader. Times and interests change, but is a gift to enjoy our hobby with them while we can. Thanks again for sharing.

 

Earl

 

 

I think you should build them a duplicate to that track plan, in Gargraves w/ Ross Switches, Legacy control!!!

 

Just kidding.  I also have gotten my grandchildren interested- 2 girls. 1 boy.  I got them Lion Chief sets for Christmas over the past three years/ two different families.  There IS "magic" in trains, still!!

My grandsons continue to do construction on their carpet central railroad. Of course, there has been some provision of railroad equipment from their grandpa. I'm happy that they're interested in building things – in this case a tunnel made from magnet tiles. Future engineers?

MELGAR

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I love seeing kids engaged in pure play like this, using their imaginations while playing with trains. I can still remember being that age. Motivated by Vic Morrow on TV, I would have my plastic army soldiers defend their Lego fortresses from soldiers of the other side, attacking from Lionel gondolas and flatcars. In our quest for realism and frustration over the wrong marker lights on an engine, we've forgotten the magic the hobby once meant to us. It's a shame you have to grow up. 

"The magic of the hobby …"

How true. I recently bought my 4 year old grandson a Lionchief+ engine to run on our layout. I dug out some old 9500-series Baby Madisons for it to pull - complete with flickering lights. I have found myself running that train as much as my scale items and, for a few moments, I'm that kid that I once was.

Fortunately, building a kid-friendly layout and buying THOMAS series trains for the youngsters in the family to enjoy -- in my case, two great grandsons, Matthew (age 6) and Hudson (age 5) -- is an effective "cover story" to my wife for my indulgence in the hobby. My L-shaped layout provides running room for the THOMAS (and other) trains, and the Christmas holiday season is a legit excuse for trains at the base of the tree.

Currently, the competition of their attention isn't soccer, but dinosaurs (books, videos, toys, T-shirts). So I bought Lionel's "Dinosaur Train Set" and placed toy dinos in a DINO PARK on the main line. They place the animals on that train for a ride and explain that the dinos need transportation to their summer feeding grounds.

Mike Mottler
mottlerm@gmail.com

 

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Great to see these young kids interested in trains and building layouts.  My grandson and I just finished his setup.  Although he can run LC remote control he still prefers  "pushers", as he calls them, those Williams dummy engines he "borrows" from my layout to push and pull his trains by hand.  I'm amazed at how much fun he has operating his railroad this way.  RICH

Thanks to all grandpas for sharing your stories ...

The train hobby fosters a marvelous intergenerational exchange. Grandpas get an "infection" of youthful enthusiasm based on the "gee whiz" experience of grandkids and great grandkids.  The youngsters benefit from the rub-off effect of practical wisdom from their grandpas who may advise, "The best junior engineers know it's best to drive the train safely and arrive on time; no reckless speeding."

Mike M.
mottlerm@gmail.com  

I was in Charles Ro on Saturday when a grandmother told her grandson to go and see what grandpa found. The other thing I noticed was a father directing his 5 or 6-year-old son upstairs because the trains were running on the layout. I guess that's what it's all about.

MELGAR

My grandsons visited for two days this week. We ran lots of trains that I didn’t even know I had. It was lots of fun but it will take a week or so to put the train room back in order. The boys now can operate the layout by themselves – running three trains at a time on six blocks with five switches – but we do have to be careful to watch the speeds. These sessions justify every cent of the expenditures on the trains and layout during the past twenty years.

MELGAR

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MELGAR posted:

My grandsons visited for two days this week. We ran lots of trains that I didn’t even know I had. It was lots of fun but it will take a week or so to put the train room back in order. The boys now can operate the layout by themselves – running three trains at a time on six blocks with five switches – but we do have to be careful to watch the speeds. These sessions justify every cent of the expenditures on the trains and layout during the past twenty years.

MELGAR

 

What... no New Haven power??? I am a-Pauled!!! (Sorry - couldn’t resist).

Great video Mel.

Paul

Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 TCA 15-70689

LCCA RM-39621

LOTS RM-9326

MELGAR - the video of your grandsons running the train is priceless  Judging by the looks on their faces they are absorbed in the moment.  They are two serious locomotive engineers! 

Cheers and Happy Railroading,

Patrick W  

CEO - The Free State Junction Railway 

" Where the music is sweet and the trains always run on time"

Home Office - Patsburg, Maryland 

Apples55 posted:
MELGAR posted:

My grandsons visited for two days this week. We ran lots of trains that I didn’t even know I had. It was lots of fun but it will take a week or so to put the train room back in order. The boys now can operate the layout by themselves – running three trains at a time on six blocks with five switches – but we do have to be careful to watch the speeds. These sessions justify every cent of the expenditures on the trains and layout during the past twenty years.

MELGAR

What... no New Haven power??? I am a-Pauled!!! (Sorry - couldn’t resist).

Great video Mel.

Paul and Patrick,

One of the boys is a Metro-North fan. The engine on the outside loop (running faster than MN ever does) is a K-Line Metro-North F7 and the cars are Atlas O MN.

MELGAR

MELGAR posted:

My grandsons continue to do construction on their carpet central railroad. Of course, there has been some provision of railroad equipment from their grandpa. I'm happy that they're interested in building things – in this case a tunnel made from magnet tiles. Future engineers?

MELGAR

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Get them more trains.If you have a near by train store.Or give the used trains a try.I have done so and gotten some good deals.You can get some early rail king locomotives pretty cheap.I hope your grand kids have fun with their trains.

My niece is turning 3 next week.  I got her one of the wooden sets as she had played with the one I had as a kid (I told my sister I'd like to save that one for my own kids) and recently she was at a children's museum which had a big wooden setup and was hooked.  Surprisingly last Christmas she did very well with the stuff I had under the tree.  She quickly learned how to work the big orange handle on the CW 80 so she could stop the train, put her stuffed animal on a car, run it around, snatch the stuffed animal off, and repeat the process.  She was getting a kick out of it.  I have an old NYC Flyer that was one of Lionel's staple beginner sets in the 1990s that'd I'd be happy to give her; it's a cheapo set so no big deal if it get's roughed up by little hands, but I'm on strict instructions from my sister to wait another year or two.  (But what are uncles for besides breaking the rules )

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