Location, Location, Location

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Bob Collins, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    I believe someone not long ago addressed this same topic somewhere here on The Gauge, but I'd like to bring it up again.

    I really enjoy knowing where people on The Gauge are actually located. I've had the good fortune to do a lot of traveling over the years and sometimes it's fun to be able to tell folks you know this or that about their locations. I, for one, really believe it adds a great deal to the flavor of the various forums here.

    Anyone have any heartburn about letting us know where you are hanging your hat, cap, sombrero, bowler, etc.? I guess you can just go into your profile and add the data there. I promise I won't come to visit without an invitation


  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Local location located


    I live in Huntsville, Texas. It is the headquarters for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. There are seven prisons in town and in the surrounding areas, including the infamous Death Row at the Ellis Unit and the even more infamous execution chamber at the Huntsville Unit (aka, The Walls). To most of the world, we're known for the prisons and the occassional execution of some crazed, lunatic mass murderer who somehow has gained celebrity status.

    Huntsville was originally founded as an Indian trading post by Pleasant and Ephraim Gray. They named it after their home town of Huntsville, Alabama because the terrain looked similar. They traded with Bidai (bee-die), Alabama and Coushatta (coo-shot-a) Indians, and relations with the natives were generally peaceful. Trade along the nearby Trinity River brought more people to the area, and settlers moved in to take advantage of the rich farm soil and abundant timber.

    Huntsville is also famous for being the last residence of General Sam Houston, who led the rag-tag Texas Army to defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto (fought near Houston, Texas). That was the final battle in the Texas Revolution, and General Houston went on to become President of the Republic of Texas, then a senator after Texas became a state of the U.S. His career pretty much came to an end, though, when the War Between the States (Civil War) started and he wouldn't swear allegiance to the Confederacy. He retired to Huntsville and died here in 1863. We have a sixty foot statue of him at the southern entrance to the town along I-45. You can see it from several miles away as you approach Huntsville. Egads.

    Huntsville is one of those few towns that never really depended much on the railroad for its survival. Most of the shipping was done via the port on the Trinity River at Cincinatti (now under Lake Livingston, I think) and by stage. In 1856 there were plans to build the Huntsville Railroad to connect with the Houston and Texas Central Railway near Cypress, Texas; but they never built it (the H&TCR was put on hold until after the Civil War). The prison system provided a steady source of employment for the locals. Construction on the Huntsville Unit began in 1849. After it was completed, a cotton and wool mill was added to make the prison self-sufficient. It provided a great deal of cotton and wool to the Confederacy during the Civil War.

    The Houston and Great Northern was building a line from Houston to Palestine, Texas and wanted Huntsville to pay them a bonus to connect to their town (I think it was something like $200,000). The city refused to pay, so the railroad passed the town just a few miles to the east. In 1871 the Huntsville Branch Railway Company was chartered, and citizens contributed money to build a branch that joined the H&GN at the town of Phelps. Most of the line in town has been been taken up, but there is a concrete plant that still uses it.

    Sam Houston Normal Institute was established in 1879 (on the site of Austin College, which had moved to another city). In 1923 the name was changed to Sam Houston Teachers College, then Sam Houston State College in 1965 and finally Sam Houston State Unversity in 1969.

    For a time, logging and lumber mills were big business in the area. U.S. Geological Survey maps show where the old tramways used to be. There used to be a sawmill town just north of Huntsville, too. I forget the name at the moment... You can follow the paths of the old railbeds (on the USGS maps) right to where the mill used to be. My father-in-law has promised to take me to the site sometime this winter (when the old foundations aren't obscured by the trees).

    Huntsville's main employment comes from TDCJ, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville Independent School District and service industries. I think that it is generally considered one of the nicer places to live in Texas. I certainly enjoy it.

    I'm a transplant from a horrid little town called Porter,which is located a few miles north of a horrid city called Houston (located on the western edge of the Armpit of Texas). Porter's claim to fame are its numerous bars (for those in other countries, think "pub" except very low-brow), mud, rednecks, and more mud. Did I mention that it's muddy there? Lots of swamps. Alligators, too. Yech. The mosquitoes will carry you off, beat you up, take your wallet, go down to a local bar, get drunk, come back, beat you up again, throw you into the mud, then suck your blood. Compared to Porter, Huntsville is virtually paradise.

    The Houston East & West Texas (HE&WT or "Hell, Either Way Taken") was a narrow gauge railway that ran up through Nacogdoches, crossed into Lousiana and met with the Shreveport and Houston Railway and ended in Shreveport, Lousiana. The line was nicknamed "The Rabbit" because the engines had the habit of hopping off the rails. :) On July 29, 1894 the entire line from Houston to Shreveport was converted to standard gauge. At least that's what the history books say! Apparently it involved a great deal of company, inmate and volunteer labor. Southern Pacific took it over in 1899, then it was merged with the Texas & New Orleans (another notoriously bumpy railroad). It's now owned by Union Pacific. Anyway, the HE&WT ran through Porter--right by my old elementary school. Porter was just a small sawmill town in the early days. I think they used vicious, drunk mosquitoes to haul the logs to the mill.

    The HE&WT is also the railroad that ran through (or near) the towns of Teneha, Timpson, Bobo and Blair. American servicemen during World War II used to say "Teneha, Timpson, Bobo and Blair" for good luck when playing dice. Someone...my memory fails me...wrote a song about it. The HE&WT in that region is one of my candidates for a future layout... :)

    Well, I seem to have written quite a bit! I'm going to stop now! hehehe

  3. Catt

    Catt Guest

    I live in Sliver City,Mich. (Grand Rapids = Furnature Capital of the world :D

    When I'm online I hang my here,or Trainboard,or Great Lakes Rail.

    I have my own twisted little websiteBoylerwerx

    I am chief cook and bottlewasher for theNorth American Rail Alliance

    For anybody thats curious about NARA . NARA is a cyber group of North American railroad modelers. We come from all over this rock called earth.What does it cost to join you ask? Well ya gotta let us know ya want to.:D :D
  4. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    That is very interesting. I promise I will do my best to tell you a little about where I live in the next day or so. Actually, where I grew up was much more interesting as there were division points for eight railroads in the city of 50,000 or so, which makes it pretty much a railroad town.

  5. Peirce

    Peirce Member

    Hi, Bob. This is a good idea.

    I live in Southbury, Connecticut. I can be found at the Danbury Railway Museum, in Danbury, CT, at least twice a month, sometimes more. Because of my work schedule I am usually there on a Wednesday. If you plan to visit, and will be there mid-week, let me know in advance to see what my schedule would allow. It would be nice meeting any of you face-to-face.

    On the web, I hang out here, railroad.net, Trainboard, PhotoPoint, and Photo Critique.

    As far as travelling is concerned, I could turn up anywhere, including outer space ;) (see my Star Base Vegas album on PhotoPoint).
  6. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    New Loation

    Hi every one ,sat down wanting to let all my friends out there know that after a few weeks of inactivity I am still in the land of the living. Having sold my house,in which I lived for 38 years I am now relocated in a small town south of Johannesburgcalled Alberton. Packing up that workshop of mine was a major undertaking to say the least. Like the Idea of talking about the place one lives in. as a traveler of long standing, I enjoy hearing about places I may one day visit, please keep it going.?
  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    As Jimmy B knows, I live in Georgetown Ontario Canada. A double track CN mainline runs through town. There is an old station building here that was built in the 1850s and is still in use. The CN has a bottleneck here in the old iron bridge that crosses the Credit River. It is single track. Doubling it is prohibitive so we often see a train waiting for the bridge to clear.
    Not much else happens here. Population is about 40,000. We are some 60km north west of Toronto
  8. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Checking in at the south end of the States.
    I'm in Southwest Florida. Little place called Port Charlotte. Ain't a town or anything. To many people keep voting it down, extra taxes don't ya know. The rail lines seem to be crumbling away down here. Gotta travel a good distance to see much of anything. Oh well... Things are always changing.:rolleyes:
    Heart is halfed between here and Ohio. Cleveland area particuliarly, used to live in Medina Co. The place where that Steamer Tractor blew-up. :(
    Anyways... That's me. By the way... N scales my gauge of choice. Freelanced Line the OFXT. But this is all another story, or is it a thread? :p
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    I guess since I started all this I ought to step up and offer my two pence worth, but before I do that I wanted to say to Jimmy B that I spend most of the month of March in South Africa and I guess about as close as I got to where he is located is that we spent a couple of nights in Potchefstroom which can't be all that far from where you are located. We traveled cross country from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth then up through Grahamstown, Queenstown, Maseru, Ficksburg and then to Potsch.

    So, enough of my travelogue. It was interesting to note that at least all the South African trackage I saw was narrowgauge. It also appeared that, like in many countries, the railroad industry had fallen on bad times. I actually saw very little rail movement while we were there. Did see one absolutely spectacular railroad scene though. That was a big steam engine with a consist of freight crossing the bridge at Victoria Falls from Zambia into Zimbabwe. The bridge with nothing on it is quiter a sight, but with the train too is really something.

    I live in Rolla, Missouri, a small city of 15,000 in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri. I actually live about 15 miles north of the population center of the USA and 30 miles west of the geographic center, so I guess that makes us pretty "centered" :D

    Rolla sits along what was the mainline of the Frisco RR. There is a preserved 4-6-2, Frisco 1501, with a Jim Crow passenger car here in the park along side what is now a mainline (single track) of the BNSF. Can anyone of you railroad buffs out there tell the others what a Jim Crow car is? I understand the one here is one of only three that remain in existence.

    During the American Civil War Rolla was an important place because it was the railhead to the south west of St. Louis. It was held by the Union thoughout the war as they recognized it as an important part of their transportation network.

    I actually grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, located directly across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska. Council Bluffs is the place where Abraham Lincoln actually stood on the bluff overlooking the river and declared it the eastern terminus of the transcontinental railroad.

    Since then the railroads there have sort of come and gone. When I was growing up there in the 40's and 50's there were actually eight railroads in the city. Of course the Union Pacific had it's eastern terminus there. I addition there were division points for the Chicago Great Western, Chicago, North Western, Milwaukee, Rock Island, Illinois Central, Wabash and Burlington. Needless to say, it was sort of like heaven for any kid who enjoyed the trains. You obviously had many opportunities to see them and be near them!

    I've also had many opportunities throughout my life to ride trains in exotic places like Japan, Korea, Vietnam, England, France, Germany, Austria, etc. Living in Germany (Munich) for three years only whetted my train appetite more! I don't think I've ever met a train I didn't like. We have some plans to do more traveling and hope to ride more trains in the process. We are planning to visit in Turkey in 2002 and go to Australia in 2003.

    Like many of us I also started out with a Lionel under the Christmas tree. As I recall I just about ran the wheels off of it. Was mounted on a board with the standard two switch arrangement which made the loop within a loop. Had a crane with a magnet and a coal chute too.

    Have wanted to do something with HO for years. In 1960, shortly after I entered military service I bought a diesel engine (UP, of course) and half a dozen freight cars and a UP caboose. All went into boxes shortly afterwards as we moved almost constantly. We built a house here in Rolla 15 years ago and left the basement unfinished, thinking we would do something with it later. Later has come and nothing had been done so now it has the makings of a 10' X 21' HO layout right in the middle. Since I build the benchwork around the two basement support poles I guess it will most likely take a chainsaw to move it! I announced to my wife that if we ever move the layout stays!!

    I can't believe that I still have probably a years worth of work to accomplish before it is finished?? and I was looking the other day to see how I could expand the layout. Shear madness I would imagine!!

    Anyway, that gives you a sense of who I am and where I am. I have really enjoyed the posting in this thread and I hope others will join in too.

  10. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I retired to Cape Cod Massachusetts after living/working in the lower New York State area. Getting to the Cape has been a long time dream because the location is superb and the people are fantastic. Great down to earth life style with little hype except for us newcomers who bring a lot of our habits and attitudes with us.
    I've joined a local train club (Nauset Model Railroad Club) and enjoy the comadery plus advise I'm getting on tackeling the many skills needed to pull my layout together.
    Take care, Jim
  11. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    My Life !

    Okay, here goes. I live in Shropshire, England, and was born in 1937 in a City called Leeds Yorkshire. When I was around 2 years old my family moved to Scarborough in Yorkshire where I grew up. At the age of 7 I started this great hobby of ours with an 0-scale Bing loco set I had been given for my Birthday and the bug has stayed with me all through my working life. (Now retired)
    I was in the British Army in 1958 as a P.T.I. Came out of the Army in 1960 and went straight into the world of Showbusiness as a professional Harmonica Player (My website has all the info on that)
    I suppose I have had or built well over 40 model railroads either for myself or other people, and I am still at it for a friend of mine here in Shropshire, only he models in British Outline. In fact only this morning I was taking photo's of his layout for publication at a later date.

    To date I have had over 30 publications of my model layouts world wide including Model Railroading/Continental Modeller/NMRA/Roundhouse and various others. Well thats about it I think, still working on new projects, because I love it.
  12. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Short and sweet. My name's Michael, and I hail from Edmonton Alberta Canada. I grew up in a smaller town about 3 hours east, and what I remember most about trains growing up was passing them as they flew by along the track parallel to our highways.

    I've always wanted to get into this hobby, but just recently made the big plunge (I'm in my mid-30's), with a small layout inside, and a 4x8 layout in the garage (that's obviously going to have to wait until summer to see substantial work). Hopefully, when my wife and I buy our own house, I can have part of the basement for a full-size layout; we currently rent a house, but have to rent out the downstairs to make ends meet.
  13. justind

    justind Member

    poor utah boy

    Well, I don't post very often, but I am on here every day so...

    I am from Utah, came from a town of 100 but now living in the 2nd largest city in the state going to school in computer programming. I am lucky and have an interchange yard about 5 blocks from my apartment that sees Union Pacific, Southern pacific, Western maryland, Utah Railway, BNSF and Santa Fe...even Amtrack every once in a while. I don't have a layout, just a bunch of Power-loc track and a living room floor, a good imagination and a patient wife. My preference is steam era, but I like 'em all.
  14. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Great to hear from all of you. Please, let's keep this thread going. I love learning about others who share my love for railroads:D

    I wanted to mention to Shamus that one of the things that surprised me in riding the railroads in the UK was the extensive use of diesel engines, for both local and long haul. I guess because of my years of living in Germany and traveling on the continent where electric is dominate, I expected to see the same when I hit the shores of jolly ole England!!

  15. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hey Bob,
    When are you coming to little ol England? Love to see you, come and peek at the Badger Creek.
  16. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    Don't really have definitive plans on coming back to England, although we do plan to do so, probably within the next couple of years. Current plans will take us to Turkey for a couple of weeks next year and we want to attend the Rotary International Convention in Brisbane, Australia in June 2003. Both my wife and I are anxious to come back to England with the idea in mind of spending the majority of our time in Wales and Scotland this time.

    You can bet the farm that I will make every effort to arrange to see the Badger Creek system:D

  17. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    Rail roads and Travel

    One look at my website will tell you all about me and the great ,interesting and exciting life I have lived, always trains and live steam in the background. Have traveled extensivelyand met fantastic people. Would prefer to spend the rest of my life in Georgrtown Canada near my old friend Robin but circumstance prevail that makes me have to remain here in the RSA. The internet has provided me with new lease on life,having had the privilage of meeting some of those I have commumnicated with. Bob ... this thread is terrific for learning about he lives of others and how they live. Pity we had not met in Potchefstroom as I was located in Carletonville about 32 miles away. Lots to see still on S.A. rail if you know were to look. The large Gold Mines in Carletonville are also something that it is a pity you missed. Well maybe next time !!!! Anybody else planning a visit ?

    My website
  18. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Well, The only Aussie on the forum so far! I'm in Sydney Australia. Very central Sydney (bout 5kms from Central Station, or two stops on the train). Originally from Melbourne (born & bred), I moved to Sydney about 8 years ago with work. (Computers). Australia! One of the last remaining far flung outposts of the British Empire. YES. The Queen is still our Head of State, and even after a national vote last year (that failed to achieve a majority), will remain so.

    Sydney is a city of around 3.8 million, with just under 50% of Australia's population living in either Sydney or Melbourne. Canberra, our National Capital (yes, Canberra, not Sydney) has about 150,000. Canberra is one of the newest cities in the world, as there was only a dirt track and some sheep there until about 1930. Australia has only been a country since 1901, when the states federated into one country. before that, they were separate colonies of Britian. The site to build the National Capital was decided in 1920, following a squabble between Melbourne and Sydney and decided to build it half way between the two. And inland, out of the range of naval guns!

    The separate colonies casued havoc with the railways, as each colony used their own guage, hence no cross border rail traffic, and this problem still exists today. Finally a Standard Guage line was completed between Melbourne and Sydney in 1962 (1000kms) , with a Standard Guage line from Sydney to Perth completed in 1980. (4500km) The line to Perth has the longest straight stretch of railway in the world (~380kms) Intrastate railways still retain their own guage.

    Garahbara (my HO layout) is based on the Sydney/Melbourne line of the late 50's early 60's. It is freelance, but stock, building etc are taken from this era.
    This is it.

    Along with railroad, I also follow Aussie Rules Footy. (no, not rugby, not soccer............ FOOTY.... proper footy!!) It's a national competition (only recently) that was born in Melbourne more than 100 years ago. There are 10 teams in Melbourne, 2 in Adelaide, 2 in Perth, 1 in Brisbane and 1 in Sydney (Car'n Swannies!!). It is a code of sport that has the highest attendance per capita in the world. More than 400,000 a week go, with individual game crowds up to 100,000 not unusual. That's more than 2% of the population go to the footy each week. (during winter). However, it will never be an international code, as the field it is played on is not readily available in other countries. (it is an oval, of no specific dimensions, just a big as you can find, usually at leat 220m * 180m). It can be played where cricket is played.

    Try ALF Link or Sydney Swans

    Anyway, nuff of a waffle from me.... just ask if you have any more questions!! :)
  19. AlexK

    AlexK New Member

    i live in salisbury north carolina. nothing really special around here
  20. Pete

    Pete Member

    New guy who's been lurking in the shadows

    Hey, people!
    I've been registered here for a while, just have had nothing to add to anything yet (I'm quiet in real life too).
    I live in southern New Brunswick, Canada and there is not much railroad action around here unfortunately. I don't currently have much of a layout, due to lack of hospitable room to build one; just a few tracks on a small shelf in my room which have become a resting place for lots of other unrelated stuff. I'm hoping to loosely model CP Rail in the mid/late-80's when I get underway. I've been collecting a small roster of equipment thanks to eBay...
    My other interests include my car, a 1983 Camaro (see it at http://www.hioutput.com/pete/83SC/SCmain.html ) which I spend a lot of time working at, as well as my website (http://www.hioutput.com ).
    I guess that's about it for now..


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