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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It's a great thing and much better than playing PS4, Nintendo or playing on the ipads. After Thomas it may go to Lego trains, which are very cool btw. 

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 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. 

Last edited by German

That's great Mel. Love the smiles on their faces too.

Better not run any tinplate through that tunnel though

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

"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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Grandkids for me is what trains are all about, fun bonding time. I get to play too. The tracks stay up all year without the tree.

Oldmike

sergetrains

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

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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 )

Last edited by AXP889

My grandsons have gotten to the point where they can set up and run their trains – two trains at a time with switches – take videos, and send them to me in e-mails. I am receiving quite a few videos and e-mails every day. Here are two videos.

MELGAR

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You are so lucky to have them and to have such an interest in trains, think they might be following in someone's footsteps....all good.

Ray

More photos and videos of and from my grandson. He has been running trains on my layouts for years and is now a savvy operator of two Lionchief trains at a time on his carpet railroad.

MELGAR

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Last edited by MELGAR

Very cool, the make up a floor layout special! That's playing with trains.

You used to be able to order replacement switch lanterns from Lionel - those pesky lamps are always trying to sneak away.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Building layouts for my grandchildren has been great fun:

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

IMG_2065

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

IMG_0290

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!

 

Chief Engineer of The Gitler Central Coast Railroad

Three Dimensional Art In Motion With Sound ©

Member TCA, LCCA and LOTS

Happy Railroading!

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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 grandson and I ran trains today on my 12’-by-8’ layout. We ran Boston & Albany Railroad Hudson 4-6-4 #606 steam engine pulling a passenger train and New Haven Railroad #793 diesel engine pulling a freight train.

MELGAR

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That young man is doing some serious operations, but looks plenty capable for the task. Great videos.

Have a great day,

ThomasT

 

Life is what it is, and if it wasn't it would be something else.....

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?

"What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

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