The Start

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by CharlesH., Oct 29, 2004.

  1. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    I think this question has been asked before, but since I won't go several pages back just to find out, I'll ask:

    What got you started in the hobby? What are your influences?
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    My Dad would set up a Christmas garden every year when I was a child. The Battle of Antiedem would be fought at one end while sleepy suburbanites plowed thru life in TinkerToy mobiles on table salt roads at the other end. For years it was circled by a Tyco Brill trolley that I later destroyed playing with in the dirt (Ididn't know any better :rolleyes: ). Then an AHM 4-4-0 Genoa and two coaches put many a mile under that tree. Then I found his American Flyer sets, set 'em up down in the basement using an old green blanket with books piled under it for terrain and the rest, as they say, is history.
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    My dad built a couple of layouts while I was growing up, and he encouraged my brother and I to participate--he liked making layouts but was too busy to do much in the way of scenery, so I built buildings and added details to scenery. Growing up in a town with several big railroads was also an important influence--one couldn't miss them, and as they were big and interesting and mechanical I naturally got interested.

    I got out of the hobby entirely for more than a decade due to other interests (female ones and musical ones) and lack of funds, space and time. Now I have more funds, somewhat more space, my musical interest has waned a bit and my girl-chasing ended up with me catching one who likes trains too (she isn't really a railfan or model railroader, but she is quite fine with frequent trips to railroad museums) so the urge to play with trains returned...although, now that I think of it, it was a holiday at my folks' house, where I ended up flipping through some old issues of MR and caught the bug again, that really brought me back into the model railroading fold...
  4. This is a photo that my father took of me in the mid-'50s at the small Erie RR freight yard in my hometown of Hawthorne, NJ. I literally grew up next to the Erie main line. The rest is, well, history. ;)


    Attached Files:

  5. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    My father-in-law took me to Steamtown for my birthday 8 years ago.

    That's all it took
  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    My name is Val and I'm a trainaholic.

    Oh it started innocently enough. I was doing a photo-illustration for a magazine where I was the art director. The concept was a train, carrying alphabet blocks that spelled the title of the article. I ended up at a hobby shop to buy some crossbucks. They lit up. I was entranced.

    Many years went by. Years in which I thought it would be neat to have a coffee table layout, or a long train running all around the walls of my studio. Idle thoughts, or so it seemed at the time.

    More years went by. Somehow or another I found myself once again in a hobby shop. I decided to buy a couple of Rix stores "just to see" what it would be like to make them.

    I built them, planning to have them in a run-down part of town. I began surfing the net, looking for signs. I found some etched brass burglar bars. I ordered them. I saw a lot of cool stuff online. Once again I was entranced.

    My stores looked lonely sitting on the shelf. They needed some scenery around them. A diorama! I thought "I need some tracks in the background, just for credibility, I don't plan to run trains".

    I built the diorama. It looked good, but it needed more buildings. The track needed a switch stand. People. Cars. Trucks. Garbage cans. Utility poles.

    Soon I couldn't help noticing those tracks looked pretty lonely with no train running along them. Even though I prefer steam, I bought an SW9 because it just looked right, and some boxcars. That looked better. All was well for a time....

    I found the Gauge. I loved everyone's models. But I had no digital camera. Pretty soon I got one and started posting, but again something was missing. "I've never even see my loco run" I said to myself. I bought a cheap train set, for the track and power. I ran my loco around. It looked pretty good for about 20 minutes......

    I needed a proper layout.

    And that's my story. I never meant to get this hooked. I thought I could handle it, but I see now I was in denial. Lately I've been doing things I swore I'd never do: railfanning, kit bashing, scratchbuilding.

    Is there any hope for me? You bet there is!!! Intermountain is coming out with a new F unit with sound!!!!!

  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    My interest stated when I was around 8 years old and we lived one house away from a track leading from Pelindaba coal fields to Pretoria where the huge ISCOR iron and steel foundry was located. We were on the west edge of Pretoria. This is in South Africa. There was a grade leading into town so we used to see these steam engines huffing and puffing as they hauled those long coal trains. I was fascinated by those large locos and wanted an electric train of my own which I got for Christmas that year. A Hornby Dublo freight hauled by the Dutchess of Athol. A loco I still have to this day.
  8. Secret Weapon

    Secret Weapon Member

    That's Suscon Int. The OH bridge is the Suzie-Q RR. :wave:
  9. rksstl

    rksstl Member

    I got started pretty much like everyone else my dad. When I was very young I would go with him to his cork ball games, Terminal Railroad had tracks right by the fields and I would watch the trains. He saw my intrest so that christmas I got a lionel train set which I still have. Thru the years I've either did some railfanning or had a layout.I just wish I still had my first HO set an old Varney F9 don't remember whatever happened to it.
  10. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I was born in a trunk (so the saying goes). My father was in Vaudeville with his dad and never left the theater biz. He became a producer and specialized in old time variety shows since long before I was born. I grew up standing in the wings and watching my mom and dad do there stuff. My mom was a singer, my dad a comedian. Back in 1966-67 they were on tour across Canada with my dad's wildly successful Barkerville Show. While on tour my dad started to scratch build HO scale buildings in the evening to pass the time. When he would come home he always had some surprises to show me. We built a huge layout in our big wreck room. As I remember it, the trains hardly ran at all, due to the lousy track work, but it looked great!

    When I was 6 dad brought in a big box and when he opened it up, it was a puppet stage, and puppets too. My sister and I started doing puppet shows for Christmas parties. I've been a puppeteer ever since.

    When I was 10 I met a magician who was working one of my dad's shows. He showed me a few tricks and how to do them.....and I was hooked on magic.

    After 5 years of studying magic and practicing I started to do paid shows. My dad thought I would work better as a clown and so "Sir Christopher the Clown" was born (that's the name he chose). I still do my clown act and I have over 2 hours of magic in my box. I never do 2 hours though. I only do half hour shows, but some tricks are for hyper crowds and some are for quiet crowds. Some for older kids and adults and some for small kids. So after my opening routine and I size up the audience, I can chose the right tricks to fit, and always do a good show that way.

    Dad was always producing new puppet shows for the Christmas season. In 1975, dad decided to do a circus show for the Vancouver Hotel. It was such a hit that we kept going with the circus for the next 20 years, adding new acts each year. It's a giant animal puppet circus. Of course, I was the lead clown and often one end of the elephant or the other. Now the circus has 26 animal puppets and a set that is 14' high and 35' wide. Now the circus is in my garage.

    I'm still doing puppet and magic shows and custom building puppets.

    Last year my dad sent me some HO scale circus wagon kits he bought a long time ago. He said he would never get to build them now, as his arthritis was to bad. And that's what got me thinking about trains again. I started scratch building odd stuff just for fun. When I told my dad this, he sent me out a huge box of his old train stuff. Including some of the buildings he built back in 1967.

    Now I have a track plan, track, rolling stock and engines that I bought here and there. I've gone mad for trains, and this is a good thing as the main CN tracks go by my back yard about 50' away. Every time a train goes by, the whole house shakes. I love it!

    So there ya go. I ain't called TrainClown fer nothin'. [​IMG]

    If you would like to see some of my work, check out my webpage.

    TrainClown's Whistle Stop

    TrainClown [​IMG]
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    My wife decided I needed a hobby. A buddy was building a layout and loaned me the Model RailRoader issue with the Rock Ridge layout. I figured why not, I can spare an hour or so every other month. :thumb:
  12. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I can remember growing up, Dad would set up a Lionel train set every once in awhile. Not only that, the whole family would take trips around Connecticut to watch trains, mostly the New Haven. I still remember walking through a field, with my dad and grandfather, trackside, just to watch a frieght go by. Many a time getting a hair cut at Marios in Cannan, Conn. Mario would have to stop cutting my hair, just so I could watch the train run through town.(Marios was pretty close to the tracks)
    Later on in life, I started too build a small HO scale layout in the basemant. i would save my lawn mowing money, just to buy rolling stock, locos and track.Many a time, I would catch dad down in the basement, running the trains. I had this layout right through high school(girls were still a major interest then). But had to give it up for college, and eventually the army.
    When I ETSed out and came home I found my father had started a small N scale layout. So I hepled him with scenery and such.Back then, N scale stuff was mostly Bachmann, and there wasn't hardly anything available like there is today. Mom and Dad retired to Arizona, the layout went to the kid next store, and I got some of the equipment, but the girlfriend that I was living with, didn't like trains, so they ended up in a box in the closet of my apartment.
    After a couple of years, I finally gave her the size 14 out the door, when the new girl that moved in with me(wife...ex wife) was cleaning out the closet, she found the box and wondered why I didn't have a layout. So I started a layou in the apartment, which grew to one corner, that is the same time I started to kitbash, scratchbuild and custom paint,this eventually grew into a basement layout in the home we bought. It was this time, that I also started an HO scale layout. The N scale(sorry Tyson) eventually lost out to the HO scale and divorce.
    Sooooo...Thats where I am today.
    Did I bore you yet?
  13. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    What? You mean someone actually built a layout around the town from Blazing Saddles? That must have been quite a sight with every business in town named Johnson.
  14. docsnavely

    docsnavely Member

    If anyone has ever been to Tweetsie Railroad, you'll know my reason!


    NEMMRRC New Member

    My start was due to an old girlfriend. She wanted a train to go around her Christmas tree. I set out to find one. I wound up in a hobby shop and I was hooked immediately. I still have some of the locomotives and building kits I bought that day. The girlfriend decided not to stick around... oh well.


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