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In addition to trains, I have many other hobbies: Jazz, cooking/baking, gardening (all very humdrum). The three "oddball" hobbies for me is horology (study of time and time keeping devices), book collecting, and anything Jean Shepherd.

Mechanical watch movements always fascinated me and as a kid, I always wanted to know how things work. I have a modest collection of pocket watches, wristwatches, and clocks. This winter, time permitting, I plan on rebuilding the movement in a Ball 1604B wristwatch.

I was brought up reading versus watching TV, so I can blame my parents for this hobby. The earliest books in my collection are antebellum (1790 is my earliest book). Sadly, I have run out of shelf space for any new additions but I keep buying books; I need to build more bookcases... This past Thursday, I just purchased two textbooks from the1890s and Robert Grimshaw's "Locomotive Catechism " (1923 edition).

My family listened to Shep in the early 1960s - late 1970s. As a young kid I was introduced Jean and his radio show. My father would play the broadcasts when we were in the car going somewhere. Needless to say, I got hooked! Fast-forward 18 years later and I have over 3,000 recorded broadcasts, all of his books, signed artwork, and unpublished manuscripts.

Bryce

I don't think you can pigeon hole model railroaders or any sub area, like 3 rail O.  There are some general assumptions, it tends to be a hobby where the age skews to be older, it tends to be something people come back to later in life once they get more established in life. Some things tend to come together, lot of train people IME tend to be car people, too for example. The common perception of people burrowed in their basement and not interacting is one that honestly bothers me, while I know that type exists, most of the train people I have met are pretty gregarious (ask a train person something, and don't be surprised if the answer takes a while.  Likewise I have found very few who are snobbish about the hobby. Yeah, there are some, have run into those into operations who pooh pooh, 'running trains in circles', or 'toy trains', but they are rare. Most of the time have seen the opposite, people who are happy others are into the hobby and go out of their way to help, been blown away by that. At the show I asked one of the modular club guys about the merits/faults of the ZW-L transformer they were using , and really gave me a good run down on it and have found the same thing with other things,too.

@ajzend posted: Many years ago I thought that many train people were mama's boys.  There seemed to be a certain lack of machismo amongst them.  Now, I'm not trying to be judgemental about this;  it's just a personal observation.  Am I a mama's boy?  I don't thing so, but I can't speak for other people's opinion of me.

We're not exactly the hunting/fishing crowd (probably especially not the hunting types). However, with that said I think most train people are fun and good people.  I think that we tend to be a bit more intellectual and educated.  If in the event of an EMP attack the others will still be able to eat.  We'll sit around lamenting that we ever switched to command control as we starve to death.

Alan

I have exactly one "train buddy" ... he's literally half my age.

My Labrador Retriever "Annie" and I were shooting ducks on a snowy January afternoon at a woods swamp not far from my house. Along the road, I noticed Atlas O coal hoppers on the seat of another hunter's truck. I caught him at the end of the day. Turned out he had picked them up earlier at the little train store, and he's an avid train guy with his young family.

You never know ... we genetically-wired train people ... are of all walks of life.

Luckily for us, both of our wives don't mind cooking the critters that we bring home. And, also, don't mind the train stuff ... they both just smile and roll their eyes when they see us doing the trains. lol

Happy railroading.

@EBT Jim posted:

I have exactly one "train buddy" ... he's literally half my age.

My Labrador Retriever "Annie" and I were shooting ducks on a snowy January afternoon at a woods swamp not far from my house. Along the road, I noticed Atlas O coal hoppers on the seat of another hunter's truck. I caught him at the end of the day. Turned out he had picked them up earlier at the little train store, and he's an avid train guy with his young family.

You never know ... we genetically-wired train people ... are of all walks of life.

Luckily for us, both of our wives don't mind cooking the critters that we bring home. And, also, don't mind the train stuff ... they both just smile and roll their eyes when they see us doing the trains. lol

Happy railroading.

As I previously said my observations are a generality and not an absolute.  I have also noticed, as a generality, that many train guys or not married. Of course, most are.  
Alan

This may get deleted, but here are my comments.

I was brought up on 17 sets of Lionel standard gauge. Dad would start setting up in September, & would all be running by Christmas. Mom insisted that the trains came down  by Easter.  My mother worked in the toy section of our local Woolworth's store. That is how dad got into doing repairs, was for mom's Woolworth customers.  We later would take the Reading Railroad passenger train down to Philadelphia, with my red wagon containing 2 bushel baskets of repairs loaded into the baggage car. I was only about 10 years old at that time. When we arrived at the Reading Terminal, we would off load my wagon, go around the corner on 11th street to Wm. Becker's train shop, and then on to Nicholas Smith's shop. Each had 1 of the bushel baskets loaded w/ repairs. We did this for several years starting in September and lasting thru January.  As I grew older, the next important thing in my life , was my 1954 Dodge w/ a replaced bored and stroked Hemi engine.  I was 21 when I married my hot wife and fathered 3 of the greatest kids on the earth. We have been married 58 years, still in love and still playing w/ trains .  Our life has been very blessed and the train hobbyist are the best.  Our business is 82 years old this past September.  Thank you all for your patronage thru the years.   Harry

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