Reminiscing-First Train Set

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kanawha, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    When I first started, all I had was a loop of Bachman E-Z track, a Railpower 1370 DC transformer, and a P1K F3A lettered for the CNW, the entire "set" an early Christmas gift. I loved my little looping train, at least untill it broke after an hour. My dad, who had bought the whole set as my big X-mas gift, just went and got an exact copy of my broken engine, restoring my interest in model trains. I later got three cars to run behind my F3, two P2K covered hoppers (PS 4427 or something, one for the CNW, the other a leasing co.) and a P2K caboose (CNW, of course:p).

    I have gotten at least 3 times as much crap to run on my layout, but the entire set, track and all, is still running for me, dispite all the abuse over the years, although I upgraded the F3's couplers to Kadee # 5's only a few months ago after the stock couplers stopped working, and the F3's rear-facing horn went AWOL after it broke off my accident.

    My first engine; CNW #4056, P1K F3A
    And my three starter cars:
    P2K 4427 covered hoppers:
    And almost always last, but almost never least: the CNW Steel Center Cuppola Caboose!
  2. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I wish I had pics of my first. It was a cheap card table setup. I was maybe 5 or 6. It was the big Chrstmas present for my brother and me. I don't think it was HO, but it was too big to be N. My brother wanted it to go fast all the time, and the loco flew off the tracks several times, until it died.
    My dad trashed the whole thing.
  3. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Mine was Bachmann's "Deluxe Thomas with Annie and Clarabel" set. I got it for Chrismas 2003. My mom got it after I found the entire set on sale at this one site for $60.00. I was delighted. When the wrapping paper came off I opened the box, laid out the track, and plugged it in. Setting the controller at 5 scale mph was enough to start Thomas and his train, though I usually ran him at 45. I still have most of the set, although a good deal of its 19" radius curves have been thrown away. Thomas is in need of wiring repairs because I accidentally broke one while modifying him earlier this year and then wound up causing more of them to break off, one at both ends. :p After I got the original set, I got a little more straight track as gifts and rewards. Chrismas 2004(or it may have been January 04 for my birthday, I forgetsign1), I got a $75 gift certificate for my LHS, The Train Stop. It's in San Dimas. It has everything at discount price. I got Bachmann's model of James, and...But that's another story.
  4. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Mine was bought for my 4th Christmas in 1979 by my Grandfather. It was the Bachmann "Bullet" with "Illustrachrome" ATSF F-9. I still have the engine and caboose in my display cabinet, but the engine doesn't run anymore. Dad on the other hand, had two large 55 gallon cardboard barrels (WP used to ship them empty to Thornton where Tri-Valley Growers used to load tomato paste into them and ship them to points East). He liberated two barrels and had his collection in them. When I got that set, he set it up that Christmas Eve night (I badgered him into setting it up as soon as we got it home), and I remember I didn't go to bed until about 3am happily running that train in my little fuzzy footed pajamas. I woke back up around 8 or so the next morning, and of course, Santa had came, but while Dad played with my other toys, I was back up at the Kitchen Table running that train. Shortly thereafter, Dad had showed me HIS train collection, and we ended up setting up a nice little 4' x 8' on a piece of green felt lined plywood on a table top. From there on, it was Tyco trains for me mostly, since my mom worked at Gemco. Back when .$99 would get you a freight car or caboose.

    It's Atlas, Kato, Proto 2000 and Athearn now, but I still enjoy all my old Tyco sets every once in a while. Those are stored in their set boxes above my bedroom closet and are still set up about once or twice a year on the living room floor to my cats dismay.

  5. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Is this what the transformer from your set looked like?
  6. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    No, it was powder blue with a yellow knob for speed control.


    I have had dozens of those brown Bachmann ones over the years and usually used them to power lights and accessories, mounting the packs under the layout benchwork and plugging them into power strips.
  7. AmericanAirFan

    AmericanAirFan New Member

    My neighbor had an extensive collection of O Gauge Lionel trains and had a huge shelf layout set up with 2 or 3 main lines running around the room about 10' x 10'. And to get in between the action by the door entry way he had a bridge that was hinged so you could lift it up and go under it and enjoy all the trains. He also had huge collections of trains that didn't always run on his shelves and he had tons of Lionel classics like buildings and such. So I remember that from when I was like 3 up till about 10. Then his 3 daughters started growing up and they each wanted their own room so he had to take down the train room.

    By then I had gotten my first train set. My parents got me a starter set from Lionel an O27 gauge train with a Delaware and Hudson 4-4-2 with tender and a boxcar, flat car, and caboose. My next door neighbor influenced my hobby by giving me things like extra train cars and some track to expand my layout beyond an oval. My dad started to take me to train shows and I bought tons of track cause I loved track cause more track meant more ideas :D

    One my family's close friends gave me an old train set they found in their attic of their house they just bought. It was a collectible Life Like HO Scale Campbells Soup Company train set! It was in crappy shape but it came with lots of track and I tried to get it to work it didn't really work. So I let it sit for years.... However I ended up getting an HO Scale transet for christmas with some Life Like Santa Fe Deisel engines (shame on me for not knowing what model). Then on that same christmas my parents gave me some old HO scale lionel relics that my dad had when he was a kid! My grandparents sent it to me it had some nice train cars but the engines were all dead and it came with lots of good track. I went to train shows and started buying mostly HO scale stuff and I had left the 3rd rail behind....

    At one point in my life I bought an N scale train set of the Alaska Railroad Mt. Mckinely Express. I sold it after having it a year. Along with that I sold all of my Lionel trains as I never used them anymore I sold all the train cars and track I had bought over the years but have kept my original train set as a memory though I haven't ran it in years. Now a days I just have tons of HO Scale stuff sitting in my closet peacefully waiting for a time in my life where I have the time and money to create my own fantasy layout. I'm only 17 and I have college ahead of me and a career I need to set in place. So until I'm on track with my career probably 6 years from now the trains will rest in my closet as they have for a few years now.

    Currently my prized posession which is the last train I got before I let my hobby subside is my Bachman 3 truck shay. She's waiting in her box until I can unleash her on a logging train layout someday when I get the chance.

    Sorry for that monologue but needless to say I've had lots of "firsts" as train sets.

    Until such time when I can play with my trains as a grown man, I will just continue to lurk these forums and enjoy watching other people's layouts grow and find cool ideas for when I can someday model railroad.

  8. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Cool. Tom, the brown one seems stronger than their current train set one. I use it to drive Henry and Gordon around the tracks.
  9. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Yeah, mine was one of these:


    I liked the Tyco gold colored ones better as a kid as they had a direction switch and lever instead of knob. Easier for 4 year old fingers to work.
  10. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    I got my brown one from a set my paternal grandmother got years ago to give me when I was older. I collected the remains last summer(my younger cousins accidentally destroyed 5 pieces of the track, and all the rolling stock). The reason I asked if your pack was similar is because I thought your set might be the same. Maybe the one my grandma got was a newer version.
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    My first true set was an N scale Arnold Rapido F unit set with four cars and a loop of track. It was Christmas 1970 and I was 10 years old and on top of the world. Before that, I have fond memories of a Fisher Price set similar to the Brio and Thomas ones sold today, and a battery powered set that was gauged for HO. I especially remember that because my dad's AHM/Rivarossi 4-4-0 "Genoa" could traverse the track---until it got to a curve. When the batteries ran out, I got the ingenious idea that setting the loco in front of the space heater would recharge did not...sigh...
  12. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Justin- This is a great place to be until you start modelling, as you say- you'll find many ideas.
  13. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

    Mine was a mish-mash of things that I was able to afford after my first summer job...I had a B&O Lifelike Docksider, the Katy cattle car, an old Penn gondola that I stole from my brother's collection (which I have given back, some 40 years later!) and a Santa Fe Caboose. Only had a oval of brass track and a power supply that I built from junk parts. I was hooked then and still am today! :mrgreen:
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Spellin' 'n stuff

    My first set was a Triang OO clockwork set. I got it when I was 4 years old. Although mine didn't have the "link-lock" track, it was just regular sectional track. My dad set it up for me with a couple of extra switches onthe 1" plywood of an old Supertest sign - it was about 5' in diameter, IIRC. He made a table out of it by screwing some 12" furniture legs to the bottom.

    Once they discovered that I wasn't going to lose interest in the trains, they upgraded me to my first electric train a couple of years later. More Triang, but with a couple of different diesels, passenger and freight cars. Dad set me up with a dogbone plan on a 3x7 table that folded down from the wall. That lasted me for about 5 years, when I finally convinced the folks to let me shoehorn a 4x8 layout in the 9x11 foot room. By that time the Triang stuff had pretty much disappeared from the shops, so I switched to HO, and never looked back.
  15. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Squidbait, some of those Tri-ang stuff used to be manufactured in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  16. jesso

    jesso Member

    What a great thread, I love reading all these stories and remembering back.

    I got my first train set when I was 4 years old. I came out of my room and there it was setup in the middle of the living room. It had a 4x4 board with outdoor green carpet glued to it. It had an 18" radius circle of track nailed down on it. Here is my original equipment:


    I would sit in the center of the circle and run the trains around and around. Well, soon I wanted straight track and switches so my dad took me to Hammond's toys and got me two switches and some more curvers and straights. Eventually the board was too small, so the layout would be on the kitchen table, I remember eating over the track for quite a while. As the track couldn't be attached and would occasionally come apart, the engine would take dives off the table. The trucks are missing the sides and broke the coupler, but my dad was good at repairs so it ran for quite a while. The engine no longer works and the power supply died a couple of years ago, but otherwise, the cars are still used, so I guess it is at least 33 years old. But great memories.
  17. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Heh. Do you know what Triang is now? Hornby.
  18. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    ZTS- You are quite correct, let me tell you though that, that is one loooong story.
  19. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Its amazing to see how many people came into the hobby with those simple train sets. Not always impressive in and of themselves, but enough to get us hooked.
  20. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    i am amzed the number of grown men here who still have the first pieces to their train set, all i have left is the locomotive.
    the thing i find amzing the most about the first trains et, we were all excited with those toyish locomotives, now i look above my head and see the fleet i use now, seems like night and day and I mostly have blue box athearn models and a few atlas thrown in witha couple katos and P2K
    I am thinking of rebuilding my Bachmann F unit with a better drive system but that seems like breaking the code of keeping it whole, it runs i think still not used ina few years
    like 20 years lol

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