Lemme weave you guys a tale.

I was born a decade and nine years ago on December 26th of 1999. About 2 hours shy of getting presents cheated out of me. My earliest memories of trains take me back to 2002 and 2006. In 2002 I was given my first ever actual train set by my mom, a Tomy Thomas & Friends "Giant" Train set. Unbeknownst to her, she introduced me into a hobby that will last until the day I kick the bucket. In 2006, I got two separate train sets on two different occasions. The first was a Bachmann N-Scale Santa Fe "Explorer" Set, a tooth fairy present (to this day I still wonder why the box shows a UP Boxcar whereas mine came with a GB&W Boxcar). The other was the Lionel #31960 Polar Express on Christmas Day, the real start to my O-Gauge collection. My Uncle got me the Polar Express, and in frequent occasions still throws in a boxcar or two on Christmas day every year.

I started growing and growing the collection of Thomas and Lionel but once I became the dreaded pre-teen (like most of you guys), they all went into the boxes and storage bins. Even the Polar Express saw limited use under the tree. I started finding interests in other things, such as those mystical creatures we call girls, video games and other forms of toys. The big chugging steamer became "old news" and I was the only child in most of my classes who still had an interest in trains. Even during my pre-teen years, my uncle still gave me some cars (George Washington Boxcar is one I remember) but they remained "collectors" items and stayed in the box.

Middle school was very rough for me. I trekked through differing forms of bullying, hard assignments and it just devastated me. One time during a break, I was in one of those complete and utter boredom situations. TV didn't suffice, all the games I've played, reading was OUT of the option, I didn't have anything to do. Tucked away in the corner of my room was my Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer set (SKU #30018), and I decided I might as well run it for a bit just to cure my boredom.

Running that train suddenly reminded me of my younger years once more. It took me to a time when I didn't give a care about anything. Issues in the world, gone. Bad day at school, gone. Boredom? OUT the window! Over the course of 2014 I have managed to amass an impressive collection of Lionel and three "oddballs" in my O-Gauge roster. Everything grew to its current, and growing, size of 8 sets, 2 separate sale engines, and 69 pieces of rolling stock. All together, this totals up to about 108 individual items. Even Thomas, who unfortunately still lives in the storage bin, gets occasional use when I have younger cousins come over. I also recently bought my first Thomas item in ages, a Troublesome Van (Growing up I never had one of these cars. Now I do!).

I don't use the Thomas or my N-Gauge stuff as much anymore, but every now and then I still yearn to take them out and remind myself of the days when I yearned of making a big layout on a door. Same thing applies for Thomas, although the layouts kinda became reality as I had plenty of track and engines at my disposal. Only limit was when my family started complaining about accidentally knocking over stuff ^^; Whenever my cousins come over, layouts are made but they will never be as grand as they once were.

Right now my "Layout" is currently the room of my floor and the living room when Christmas rolls around. Our garage has been the subject of debate for a possible layout but I've accepted the fact that it is not going to happen because we have too much stuff stored. The attic is too unstable and we do not have a basement. Doesn't bother me, I like the floor layouts. NOTHING beats dropping to the ground and seeing the little engines whiz by.

I plan to pass this stuff down to my children one day and let them experience the same emotions and feelings I did.

lionel_family_photo___1_25_19_by_tno_794_dcy0jv4-fullviewthe_bachmann_explorer_by_tno_794_dar092g-prea_troublesome_van_by_tno_794_dcizzsv-fullviewthe_little_blue_engine_that_started_it_all_by_tno_794_daw9p8b-pre

The tracks ahead are rough, but I can still see a bright future for the hobby of model railroading. We've just got to show our youth that the hobby of railroading is just as fun as any video game.

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Tinplate Art posted:

Do you REALLY have to ask???

Well, yeah. It varies from person to person.

Some of us can't really say how we developed the interest (I sure can't, there was no big RR activity where I grew up, nobody in the family worked for a RR, so I wasn't exposed to trains any more than any other kid, growing up).

Not long ago, I found a wood steam locomotive toy my Dad made for me when I was a little kid. It's simplistic and lacks a tender, but he did a good job on it (Dad would have made a phenomenal model railroader if he'd taken up the hobby, as he's the best craftsman I've ever known). But that in reaction to my interest in trains, not the cause of it.

What do your trains mean to you?

My trains give to me a moment in time to escape the reality of todays troublesome world and the worries. While running or working on layout, equipment or engines my thoughts go to the trains and its little world I created. Afterwards the real world is easier to handle and many times solutions come up.

Odd, but when running my trains, it is no longer a layout, nor toys or models, but a time and place I wish was real.

My love of trains came from my maternal grandfather, William Schubert, who worked 44 years on the Pennsylvania Railroad and retired the year I was born in 1951. As a young child, I went on train rides from my home in Baltimore, Maryland to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and NYC. I got an insider's view of the railroad that few are fortunate enough to get.

When I was 3 years old, Santa brought me a Lionel train set with a 736 Berkshire locomotive and freight cars. Over the years, my father built platforms and an annual Christmas train layout that began around our tree and, as it got bigger, migrated to our basement. I used to love working on building the layout with my father prior to each Christmas. From working with my father, I learned carpentry and electrical circuitry. The time spent with my father was priceless.

Like most of us, the trains were packed away when I was at university and music school. It was not until my only son, Chris, was born in 1995 that I decided that some day I would do a train layout for him. Christmas of 1997, a Lionel "Thomas the Tank Engine" appeared on a platform under the Christmas tree. From then, on, Chris' interest in trains blossomed as did mine when I was young. Our layout has gotten quite large. From working with me on the layout, Chris, from a very early age, learned to use hand tools, carpentry and electrical work as I did from my father and we spent much priceless, irreplaceable time together both building and operating the layout.

Randy Harrison,

President of the:

Great Northeastern Railway

The Standard Railroad of the Basement



 

 

My trains mean everything to me. My Late father and I shared this passion he passed in 2014 but I have since recovered from his loss and am moving forward and planning and purchasing again. It has also lead me to meet some great people in this hobby as well as some not so great people and has made wiser.

Shawn Chronister

Arnold D. Cribari posted:

With trains, it's so nice to come home after a hard day's work.

Even if you have no energy left to do anything with the trains, it's so nice to know they are there, making your home more like heaven. Arnold

I came home with no energy today, Arnold.  But I am sitting at the computer with my two trains above my head on the Ceiling Central RR and one train sitting on the Blackwater Canyon Line.  I am happy! 

josef posted:

Odd, but when running my trains, it is no longer a layout, nor toys or models, but a time and place I wish was real.

I agree fully. I built a layout for a time and place that did exist, but with a RR that had pulled out a decade previously. If someone offered me only ride on a time machine (with a guaranteed return, of course), I'd go ride the ET&WNC 3-foot line out of Johnson City, TN to Cranberry, NC and back, at the end of WW2. Then, I'd go talk with my grandfather (a WW1 vet who passed before I was born) and my one uncle who passed away in an airplane crash in the 50s, after his time flying in WW2.

My layout, to me, represents my mind's eye of what that place and time might have been like, if certain historical events taken place, like a branch line into that valley and the Army taking interest in it as well.

My parents never owned a car and not a lot of money we travelled everywhere on public transport life was tough, but I never knew, everyone else around us was the same. My father had chickens in a shed out the back with a concrete floor he sold eggs to help with the bills and killed a chook at Christmas yeah, one chicken a year! He passed away at an early age the chooks were sold and I had a playhouse after it was cleaned out so the "Chook Pen" turned into a "Train Pen" with Hornby Clockwork trains. Because we travelled on trains a lot through industrial areas I saw lots of sidings, lots of local freight trains I was fascinated by them and the industries they served. I removed the Clockwork mechanism from the Hornby engines so I could switch my trains around the sidings by hand my factories were cardboard or wood blocks rough but when your young you have a vivid imagination (I think I still do!) .

Trains and model trains have been a lifelong interest for me I can't imagine a life without them they are just in my mind forever, sadly, the world has changed but I still have my memories of how Railways dominated the transport industry. 10 years ago I made a Thomas the Tank Engine table for our grand kids and it will sit in our lounge room till we pass, the bigger trains in the next room will probably be left to my operators first and the local club second my wife agrees, our children and grandchildren have other interests.

Roo.

 

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My trains mean the world to me. I grew up with ho trains never knew O guage trains were made.Had a small ho layout in the shed 4x12. Ran those for yrs,then one day I went on a blind date after couple weeks decided to show now girlfriend what a kid I was.So I showed her my hobby.Then she said wait till u see what my father has.So as time went on she took me down to her fathers basement there they were wall to wall o guage trains floor to ceiling all pre war and post war trains. I was in shock didn't know what to think.So that started me in the Great world O guage trains. So make a long story short after 10 months I married my best girl. now 30 yrs later I have beaten alcohol do to my trains and friends.When my father in law passed away the family sold all his trains.What a sad day.But my trains are the world to me cause i'm a simple man.And they bring me great pleasure in running them when I have a bad day at work.I have 3 good friends to talk trains.One of these friends I can take my trains and run on his awesome layout.Another thing trains are the best hobby in the world. Thx for this forum for letting me bore u guys with this message

Rick R posted:

My trains mean the world to me. I grew up with ho trains never knew O guage trains were made.Had a small ho layout in the shed 4x12. Ran those for yrs,then one day I went on a blind date after couple weeks decided to show now girlfriend what a kid I was.So I showed her my hobby.Then she said wait till u see what my father has.So as time went on she took me down to her fathers basement there they were wall to wall o guage trains floor to ceiling all pre war and post war trains. I was in shock didn't know what to think.So that started me in the Great world O guage trains. So make a long story short after 10 months I married my best girl. now 30 yrs later I have beaten alcohol do to my trains and friends.When my father in law passed away the family sold all his trains.What a sad day.But my trains are the world to me cause i'm a simple man.And they bring me great pleasure in running them when I have a bad day at work.I have 3 good friends to talk trains.One of these friends I can take my trains and run on his awesome layout.Another thing trains are the best hobby in the world. Thx for this forum for letting me bore u guys with this message

So glad to hear, Rick, how your trains have provided lifelong benefits to you.

Many of us feel that way.

This reminds me of the McComas and Tuoy model train video featuring Elliot (Big Boy) and Entertrainment in the Mall of America, when Elliot says that when he was a teenager and other kids were making bad choices and getting into trouble, he was home playing with his trains. 

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

A good point, Arnold, via Elliot!  Besides keeping a teenager out of trouble, Think of the things that wives can get upset about their husbands doing for hobbies that take them away from home too much.  Then the things that husbands can get in trouble doing.  My wife knows I'm right downstairs.  Now that she can't always count on me hearing her call, she telephones me on the phone in my pocket, and I go right upstairs to see what she needs.

Mark Boyce posted:

A good point, Arnold, via Elliot!  Besides keeping a teenager out of trouble, Think of the things that wives can get upset about their husbands doing for hobbies that take them away from home too much.  Then the things that husbands can get in trouble doing.  My wife knows I'm right downstairs.  Now that she can't always count on me hearing her call, she telephones me on the phone in my pocket, and I go right upstairs to see what she needs.

What you say about your wife, Mark, is true of my wife. She has told others, in my presence, "I'd much rather have him (referring to me) home, playing with his trains, than have him God knows where, playing with some blonde.

My wife, Shawn, is a brunette. LOL

I bet there are many other Forum members whose wives have said similar things. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

josef posted:

What do your trains mean to you?

My trains give to me a moment in time to escape the reality of todays troublesome world and the worries. While running or working on layout, equipment or engines my thoughts go to the trains and its little world I created. Afterwards the real world is easier to handle and many times solutions come up.

Josef, what you say reminds me of the relationship book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

In that book, it is mentioned that when men have a problem, they typically don't want to talk about it right away, unlike women who do want to talk. Men, instead, want to retreat to their cave, mull things over, maybe come up with a solution on their own, and then they are ready to talk.

We are very fortunate, when life's problems arise, to be able to retreat to such a delightful cave like a model train layout. Arnold 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Well, let's see:

Got my first Lionel train in 1957(?) and kept adding to it until the mid-60s.

Once I enlisted in the USAF in 1968 I knew I'd probably never tote all that weight from base to base (military personnel have weight allowances that if you exceed them you'll have to pay for the excess weight and I knew I'd never have room in a barracks/dormitory) around so first time home from basic I packaged them all up and put them in a corner of my parent's house.

In spite of not having my trains around, I still have a love for my trains.

In 2009 a friend told me that Lionel had been licensed by the Boy Scouts to product some 100th Anniversary Boy Scout train and rolling stock and accessories. So I started my collection.

It grew and grew and grew (you know the addiction!).

I am about to move from a one bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom apartment so my second bedroom can be dedicated to my trains.

I generally collect only specific topical items. One of the most "personal" items is a box car with a picture of me re-enlisting in Jan 1988 in front of Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin Germany.

You can read my entire story here: http://www.dog-walker.org/trains-modern.htm

paulp575

I came very late to the model train world, around the ageof 50

My best friend since my early 20's was an avowed train nut and he copped YEARS of ribbing from me lol

I have however ALWAYS had a fascination for things of age, and from era's that highlighted the creativity of humans and as such have collected many things in my life even extending to early motorcycles ( I still own and ride occasionally my 1928 Triumph Model N DeLuxe! )

I found myself tho attracted to many things mechanical, so after a particularly nasty motorcycle accident in 2003 I found my lifestyle altered and my career pretty much ended due to injuries that have been and will continue to be degenerative. So I set about making a much simpler life for myself, consolidating things and planting myself on a small acreage in a fairly remote section of Victoria here in Australia ( the town I am part of has 6 residents lol )

As such I am indeed in a little timewarp and life is much simpler than the world would have you believe is possible. I suppose because of this to keep mentally active and interested in life, my mind turned to toys of a simpler time. I grew up not poor exactly, but did not have a wealth of toys etc so I coveted many of my peers and relations as they played with Mamod steam engines etc , something I knew I would never own...

Fast forward that 40 years later and as a disabled fellow living a frugal lifestyle, I found that I could indeed revisit my youth a little and set about finding and tinkering with the toys that had evaded me !

That lead to my desire for a Hornby Model Train Set , but it HAD to be clockwork ( As the engineering , the period, just the "feel" of it was appealing to me )

Being a cheap arsed bugger I spent a fair while looking for a bargain, and when I found a set at a really good price I was overjoyed and snaffled it up immediately... from the moment of holding that locomotive in my hands I was hooked

Thus the challenge was set ... Lets collect the best, most varied, eclectic mixed bag of items I could afford , and again ALWAYS looking for the bargain in the rough, or the one that slipped under everyones radar and landed in my lap ... from humble beginnings came forth a love for all clockwork locos from the preriod before the cheap and nasty mass production of the 60's ( of course there are some quality items from that period that appeal as well tho , but you know what I mean)

 

Over the years I have been lucky enough to have sourced and acquired some amazing items ranging from a 1900's Ernst Planck locomotive thru to the late 50's with a personal affinity for French/European as well as very hard to find Australian offerings ...

 

So what do they mean to me?

A challenge?

The Joy of the hunt?

The opportunity to study, learn, appreciate?

Recognition and appreciation of the amazing ability of man to create design and manufacture things by hand?

Art? Social relevance? TOYS! ?

All of the above I guess , and an interest in life I can participate in when many of my old past-times have now proven too hard or painful to pursue

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwork guys have a spring in their step!

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