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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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Original Post

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

Last edited by Choo Choo 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 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. 

Last edited by Former Member

"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  

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.

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 )

Last edited by AXP889

Building layouts for my grandchildren has been great fun:

When grandson Mason turned 4, I built this layout for him while in PA:

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A couple of years later, after a move to CA and a re-design and addition this layout was born:

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Landlord (daughter and son-in-law) cancelled the lease and the layout was downsized, then a few years later taken down as sports took over Mason's time.

When grandson Lexin was about 6, we built this layout together in Foster City, CA, actually using some of the plywood from his cousin Mason's layout after the downsizing:

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Great fun building layouts with the grandchildren!

 

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When my grandson was just 2 in these pictures he had already figured out how to turn on the transformer and increase the power!  Now we live too far apart but we play with trains over FaceTime and we both love our time.  He is only 4 1/2 now but wants his grandpa to put certain trains on the track in a certain order.  I of course comply with his every wish.  

 

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STANGTRAIN and OHB1,

Thanks for the posts. I think that trains (model and otherwise) are a very good interest for the grandchildren. These two grandsons have become participants in several sports but have also reverted to trains as they have gotten bigger and can now do almost anything to build or operate the layout. I'm trying to encourage their interest. And they like seeing their stuff posted on the Forum.

MELGAR

This my youngest grandson running the train set that his Great Grandmother gave to his older brother. I had plans to start them out with a near indestructible set of postwar engines and cars. But Grams beat me to it! But I have to say that the LionChief set has held up pretty well. Both boys have a lot fun playing with it! Maybe sometime in the future Pap Pap will have to build a more permanent layout. 7F9465EA-EB70-43A8-9C52-BF166C45F3F8C5E73C02-6AB1-4050-AE56-C7EEA45E626AC6E9CD98-CA7F-4C25-B0F1-F9F8A3009AD5D4E5A9EB-1E46-441D-A389-DF690B07B42D

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My grandsons’ school is closed today so they kept busy by setting up their battery-powered HO train on the carpet and taking a video. They have also gotten to enjoy seeing their videos posted on the Forum – so here it is. Note the tunnel and “structures” by the track. I would prefer to see them running their nice O gauge equipment but…

MELGAR

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MELGAR posted:

....they're interested in building things – in this case a tunnel made from magnet tiles....

MELGAR

 

When I was a kid back in the 60s, I had a bunch of magnets.  I don't know where I got them, but anyway.....I decided to go around the house sticking them to whatever I could find that looked like metal.  It wasn't long before I stuck them to the knobs on my dad's 25" color TV Motorola console.  I also found the colors swirled on the screen.  All of a sudden, the picture turned black & red.  Everything went from "living color" to duochrome (?).  I think my dad ended up having to replcae the picture tube, which probably wasn't very cheap.  Since then, I've been a bit wary when it comes to magnets.  With today's electronics, I believe it's possible to erase and/or corrupt the data with magnets.  I don't know if the electronics on that particular set are shielded from the effects of magnets, but I'm guessing it's possible.

Perhaps someone here with much more knowledge about today's electronics can offer definitive advice on the subject.  Am I wrong?

My grandsons are now building Lego trains. This video shows their first one – a passenger train. They are also working on Lego a freight train. This is an excellent activity for young model railroaders that involves assembling and running a battery-powered train controlled with a remote, but they are not inexpensive. My grandsons also run Lionchief trains – two at a time on the same track. They are more advanced than their grandpa who still runs his trains the same way as he did on the 1950s…

MELGAR

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Video and photos show my grandsons’ Lego railroad with two remote-controlled, battery-powered trains - a passenger train and a City Freight set - running on the same loop. The boys assembled these locomotives, the rolling stock and trackside buildings. I think these Lego trains are more entertaining, more interesting, and more educational for youngsters than a traditional train set.

MELGAR

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