Childhood train influence?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Sep 19, 2008.


How did childhood memories influence your interest in trains?

  1. Main Reason

    27 vote(s)
  2. Partly The Reason

    12 vote(s)
  3. Not The Reason

    3 vote(s)
  1. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I just like trains..........

    OK...You caught me.
    Had to be growing up near the New Haven's Berkshire Division main. Dad would take us all down to the tracks and watch the trains. At the time, early sixties (1960's....I know someone was thinking 1800's...I'm not that old!) the NH was running at least twelve trains a day(six north.....six south).
    For hair cuts, there was a barber shop in Cannan Ct, called Mario's, right across the street from the station, and pretty close to the tracks. When we heard the horns of a diesel(RS3's, were the main power for the "Berk"), Mario would have to stop cutting hair, so I could run out and watch the trains, my father, right on my heels! (That must of been a sight to see, an eight year old boy standing on the sidewalk, with half a haircut!)Wasn't too long after that, the "Berk", saw only four trains a day. Then for a couple of months, the orange and green painted RS3's changed to black, with white PC's on them. After that...nothing but weeds and trees occupied the main from Cannan south to New Milford. Cannan then saw only two trains a week. Black Penn Central, RS3's were replaced by Guilford GP38's. They would come south from Pittsfield Mass, to service the Phizer limestone plant, and B&D's hypo needle factory. I was able to catch a couple of these in high school, though the pics I took are long gone.
    While I was stationed in Germany, in the early eighties, a tourist railroad was started up, with the same name as original railroad that actually built the Berkshire(before being gobbled up by the New Haven) The Housatonic started running south from Cannan to Cornwall Bridge(where I grew up, watching NH trains). When I came home from the army, it became tradition every Memorial Day weekend, for us(me, my fiance at the time) to take the first ride of the season on the "Housy". Now...even thats gone. The Housy runs frieght only from Pittsfield Mass, to Maybrook Yard. It services the Kimberly-Clark plant in New Milford, and the Guilford GP38's that serviced Phizer and B&D are replaced by Housy GP35's.

    Gees....I'm sorry.....It was suppose to be what influenced me, and I'm rambling on about a personal history of New Haven Railroads Berkshire Division.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Around can ramble about trains as long as your fingers hold out....The more you ramble...the better we like it..!! :thumb:
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I got to say that as a kid I was somewhat fascinated with trains, but never could afford to do any modeling or even run "toy" trains that I can remember, and never knew anyone that did either. We had freight trains running about a half mile from us, the Erie RR ran passenger service not far away either and there was a huge freight yard between us and Jersey City. I used to ride the trains into New York, and even rode them across country. But regardless, there were still no models, not until I decided that I needed to do something with my free time. I looked at several different hobbies, but saw that I was still fascinated with trains, and now I had the resources to follow through.
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I would also say Childhood expiriences led me to the hobby. Trains were never really part of my everyday life, but somehow enough embers kept warm to do so.

    My grandparents bought me a lionel set for my birthday when i was six. It would only really come out for christmas until later (in fact, for a couple years, the set couldn't run do to a blown fuse that took forever to be fixed).

    At this same time, much of my Family lived near the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey. as a child, i'd always get off the Garden State Parkway, and pass Metropark station. There would always be set of New Jersey Transit's EMUs out there, and if i was lucky, a red white and blue toaster would shoot by like a comet. On one occaision, when i was seven, an E60MA with a train load of rails was nearby. At the time, i was clueless about trains, but it always stuck out to me. later on, spotting the old bachman E60CP model (there by identifying the mystery mammoth locomotive) would make me decide to go into the hobby.

    The final push was around the summer between the 7th and 8th grade. I had tried to increase my Lionel fleet, only to realize it cost to much. I was about to drop the hobby again, when a combination of rough times, and the fact that HO was cheaper, convinced me to just buy a few trains to fiddle with. being in those early teenage years, with so many things not going as planned, it was good to have a hobby where i could be as successful as the work i put into it.

    It makes me feel old to now pretty much say i'm on the last few miles of my "younger" years. i don't think they would have been nearly as great without the hobby.
  5. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Like so many others, I started with a Lionel outfit. Don't remember when I first got it, but it developed into quite a layout in my parent's house. One thing led to another, and I visited an Aunt and Uncle in the summer, and sometimes would go by train -- ALL BY MYSELF. This got me interested in the real thing, and I spent quite a bit of time with the station agent. The town was West Cornwall, CT and the agent was Frank Brothers. This was a very long time ago (I am now 70), but I still have fond memories. Thus developed my favorite railroad, the Housatonic Branch of the New York New Haven and Hartford. When I went off to college and in the Air Force, my interest waned somewhat; but when I settled in the Ithaca, NY area, my interest was renewed. Now I have lots of rolling stock (much of it New Haven) and plans in my head for the Housatonic and Cayuga (a freelance road with NH overtones), but no layout yet.
  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Not exactly on topic, but I'm reminded of the first time I went swimming in fresh was in the Housatonic river, and I instantly realized that fresh water wasn't anywhere near as bouyant as salt water!!
    I learned the meaning of the word, "sinking" :eek: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    One heck of a way to find out isn't it! :p

    For me there was the childhood influence, I was 12 or 13 at at the time, so not a child by any means when my uncle first got me into them. That got me started. However I don't think it would have stuck if I already didn't have that fascination with the big steel rolling across the tracks. I just like trains. :thumb:
  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Yep, definitely childhood influence. My dad and especially one of my uncles were both train fanatics and it kinda rubbed off on me. It was my dear old departed grandma who got me my first locomotive though.
  9. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    My father works for a company that does the railway's IT so he used to get a yearly free pass. We would take the Trans Karoo down to Cape Town to visit family and reaturn with it.

    I used to think I was the only one who loved trains untill 1996- I was 10. I saw a British model railway magazine with a Flying Scottsman Key Ring. My uncle bought it for me. I think it was alled Railway Enthusiast. Three years later though I met someone locally- who also liked trains- for the first time. He was at school I took along a 'Trains' magazine and he told me his father also had the same mag.

    Now I have many friends! :mrgreen:
  10. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Hey, I have a Bachmann N Scale loco like that diesel- for my future coffee table layout.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I chose "partly"...

    My childhood memories of trains do not really have anything to do with what I actually model, but there are a few key events that sparked my interest in general, and brought me (back) into the hobby as an adult.

    - I used to cross the CPR Orangeville yard tracks at least twice a day going to and from school.
    - For some of my youth, I lived right next to the CPR line as it exited Orangeville.
    - I got a Tyco train set for Christmas when I was about 6 or 7. I still have it today, and contrary to a number of detractors, the loco runs very well even today.
    - I am not old enough to have seen steam in regular everyday use, but did see some excursion trains when I was 6 or 7.

    So why do I model CNR in the 1920s and 30s then...? Andy Sperandeo summed it up nicely: "Mine is the truest form of nostalgia - the fond memory of something never experienced." ;) :D

  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I can sort relate to this. My Dad was a huge RR fan so I was constantly exposed to railway influences as a kid. My fondest memories of rail-fanning with my Dad, waving to the train crew and watching for various road names on freight cars. Also, as per my avatar, I enjoyed operating his layout with him.

    However, I mainly model British steam railways from the 1930s-60s. Growing up in Canada in the 1960s/70s, this obviously was not part of my every day experience! However, having an English mom, and now English wife, lots of family in Britain, and being an "Anglo-file" for most of my life, has led me to really enjoy British trains. And now I like seeing them when I visit Britain every 1-2 years.

    Growing up, I was generally aware of British steam trains and how they were similar and different from ours.

    So I too have nostalgic memories of things that I never (quite) experienced!

  13. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    Hi Guys,i think the biggest influence on me getting into MRR was a Friend of mine,His Dad had a HO layout in his basement that we would play with our matchbox cars on (Lester i hope you remember that).I was so inpressed with it that when i got older i had portable layouts that i moved when i moved.Now i live out in the woods i built a room off the back of the house just for the trains.I also work with full scale trains at Amtrak. Harold

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