Who or What Got You Started?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TomPM, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Don. I believe you. The wife and I are also retired but if it wasn't for my extra job at Wal Mart I wouldn't be able to afford my N Gauge
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Lets see.... I guess it was the idea of building a layout with a purpose. We had a train under the tree at X-mas. The tree had "metal Tinsel" on it - our cat would play with the tinsel, it would fall on the track & "ZAP" the train shuts off......

    It was an O Gauge (O27??) Sante Fe, A-B-A set with 4 Passenger cars - it was great, but it just went in a circle..

    When I was 10 - I said I really missed those trains, I don't know what ever happened to them, I think my dad gave them away. (No my mother doesn't remember) .... Anyway, my Uncle took me to a friend's house, he had a 16 X 8 Ft O27 & Standard gauge layout..... It was great - he had all kinds of houses, Businesses & a 6 ft tall real waterfall. I was hooked - I had no idea that Model trains came with buildings. :) :) :)

    So I set out to make my own RR empire. I had to get a job to get money, so at 18 I finally got one, 2, and the 3rd job was it, as soon as I started saving... my friends & I started building... :) From HO, to N, to G & Z (I still have N & HO & Z running on shelves around my house (Z in briefcase), but the G is the Main :) dis"play" area :) So, for almost 20 Years - I've always had some sort of model trains running somewhere in each place I've lived.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I remember when I was about 6 years old asking Santa for a train set for Christmas. I gues my parents either couldn't afford an electric train set, or they may have thought I was too young for electric trains. Anyway I got a clockwork windup train. Boy was I disappointed! The next year I received a Marx O27 set. I was happy with that until I went over to my buddies house and he had gotten an American Flyer. AF ran on 2 rails, while Marx and Lionel ran on 3, so AF seemed much more realistic. When I was about 12, my dad bought my brother and I two set of Marx ho trains, and a bunch of True Scale road bed, and brass rail. We started to build a 4 x 8 layout on a table that went well until we put a track accross the middle, then everything quit! We had built a reverse loop without any gaps, but none of us knew enough about wiring to figure out what went wrong! Then I went to high school, got interrested in cars and girls, and lost interrest in trains. In fact one of my biggest regrets is that I worked for almost a year at the Eagle Mountain Iron mine in the "Cat shop" and later the small vehicle shop both of which shared the same building as the "lockey shop" where they maintained the big Alcos. If I had been interrested, I could have shot pics of those Alcos from every angle. I could have pics of the prime movers, traction motors, engines with the cabinet doors open. At the time, I didn't even think about it! A couple of years later I got married, and had kids. Both of my kids are girls, and they were never interrested in trains. On one of our many trips to Toys-R-Us, I got tired of looking at dolls, and told my wife I was going to look at some "boy stuff." I saw the Bachman Dewitt Clinton and John Bull sets in the train dept. and had to have one of them. I bought the John Bull. It doesn't run very well at all, but we set it up as a static display with my wife's Christmas village. I've now joined a modular club, but haven't had time to build any modules yet. I model Santa Fe in the mid 50's on the modular club, and found that I really enjoy switching industries more than just watching trains run in circles. I have a set of shelves set up in a 7' x 9' L shape on two walls of a spare bedroom to use as benchwork for a switching layout. I plan to model the L A Junction, but my youngest daughter is a senior at Cal State Long Beach majoring in elementary education. One of her friends was promoted from teacher to counselor, so she gave my daughter all of her games and classroom materials. Basically a $4,000.00 classroom. I've lost my model railroad right of way until she graduates and moves out and gets a job teaching!
  4. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    I got infected by RR fever as a small boy. My grandfather was a station agent, and 'his' station was about a quarter mile from our house. Already as a pre-schooler I spent most of my time on the station, near the trains. (VERY near the trains! My love for trains could have been the cause for many a grey hair on my granddad's head, as I realized later. :) ) I was well known by the engineers and conductors, and I remember how they lifted me up into the cab, when the daily peddler freight made its switching moves. Now and then they even took me for a ride to the next station, where they met another train which brought me back home. (Try that today!!! :( )
    Granddad also had lots of books - his love were the big French steam locos, and American steam. I guess by looking at these beautiful books I got hooked for American railroads. He died when I was 10, and unfortunately Grandma gave all those books away. I cried and wanted her to keep them, but she just wouldn't hear... :mad: :mad: :mad:

    At age 8 I got a windup train. I wish I still had those red and green Hornby locos. One day my cousin and I decided to graduate to electric model trains, so we made a long straight with our tin track. Then we set a loco on the track and pushed the long connecting pin of the tracks into a power receptacle (220 Volts!) :eek: In a flash :D :D :D we realized, that the principle of electric toy trains must be somewhat different... (Luckily neither of us was hurt!)
    A Christmas later I got my first electric WESA train set. This was a Swiss model RR manufacturer, modeling in an 'unofficial' scale of 1:100. In the following years I used these trains quite often, getting more and more track and rolling stock. But somehow I never built a real layout. I just joined the tracks on the floor, played a few days and then put everything away again. One station building was all I had for 'landscaping' the 'layouts'.

    Then came the 'dark years' with (you guessed it) girls ;), student years - but also with a switch to slot racing cars. I raced both 1:32 and 1:24 scale - and then I switched to Aurora and Faller H0 racing cars. And funny - now I built my first layout, a race track, landscaped and scenicked. It also included a short stretch of H0 RR track. And so I came back to model railroading (sort of) a second time.
    After University I married. For five years we had no child, so I occupied one room in our apartment for my RR empire. In the early 70's N scale was new. Having not much room, I went for the smaller sized models. Modeling US prototype in N scale, in Switzerland I was quite a lone wolf then.
    1974 we got our daughter, and of course she got my railroad room. So my layout had to go! For a few years I struggled on in my tiny office room. I discovered scratchbuilding, and because of the availablilty of detailing parts I switched to H0 (then H0n30" and finally H0n3). Then came another pest - computers! In our school I was heavily occupied with computer teaching - sort of a pioneer. So I needed more space at home for my electronic lab, and that was the end of putting a decent piece of track anywhere. Modelingwise I rekindled my old love for racing cars. So I started to build and superdetail cars from the 50's and 60's.

    22 years later our daughter left, but now my wife laid hands upon that room. But two years ago I was lucky to rent a room in the basement of our three-family house. And so I began my third model RR career with the new Trim Creek & Western project. You'll hear about its progress here on the Gauge!

  5. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    The usual Christmas Lionel was in my life too, but I really think what stimulated my interest and has held it now for over sixty years is the fact that I gre up in a town where a number of railroads came together. My dad would take me down to watch the trains when he had some time. He had worked for the UPRR as a signalman's assistant while in college and I worked one summer as a tinner's helper for the same railroad. We could go to various places around the community and literally watch the "railroad of the day" if we wished. In town were the UPRR, CNW, CGW, IC, Wabash, Burlington, Milwaukee and Rock Island

    It was watching those trains that really peaked my interest. Later, living in Germany and riding on the European system helped to keep the flame burning, so when I got out of the service and we finally had a place where I could have some space to build something , and after several years of thinking about it, I finally got started.

    I wonder sometimes if I am different than others or if many go through the "stop and start" mode I'll call it. I have barely lifted a finger to work on my layout for almost a year now. I still have the interest, but just don't seem to have time, or at least that is my excuse. I say in the summer that I'll work on it because it is too hot outside and the cool basement feels good. Then winter comes and it is too cold to be outside so that seems to be the right time to be in the nice warm basement to work on the layout.

    I also think I made a major mistake that I am having to work my way through. I should have taken the advice of others and started small. I figured I would never build a second layout so started with what I expected to have forever. I get bogged down with things I probably shouldn't have become invoved with the first time around...reverse loops that are even difficult for me to identify, etc. I work my way through all of this, but it has unfortunately made it more work than fun and until I get over some of these hurdles, I'm sure I will continue to putter along.

    Please, don't get me wrong, the flame has burned for many years and I see no sign of it dimming in any way. I'm forever facinated with any sort of transportation, but trains will always be # 1.

  6. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    What got me started

    What got me started .....the love of live steam... Railway tracks where always near where we lived, The South African Railways ran steam up until the 50's and had some manificent locos.
    When my wife told me she was pregnant, I went out and purchased my first loco and tracks, when I returned home she asked how I knew it would be a boy ( he turns 49 this year)
    The first layout in our small apartment was a board on wheels under our double bed ,now many years and layouts later ,I am back into building another. Still love building and running Live Steam Locos and traction engines
  7. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    My parents got me started at the age of 5, in 1948, with a plastic & metal clockwork British 00 train. This led to a "Trix Twin" AC 00 set in 1951.
    During these years I got to go into London to my parents' restaurant every Saturday, on a steam powered passenger train of course.
    We came to Canada in 1952, and I soon went to Marx 0 ...finally settling in to H0 scale in 1957, where I have stayed ever since.
    regards / Mike
  8. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    I first saw an HO train layout in the local hardware store (Smith & Streebles) in Monroe, NY around 1955.

    I was on a trip to pick up some model airplane supplies when I saw the beautiful little tank engine pulling scale boxcars over an orange girder bridge.

    The two rail track and realistic loco was so different from the toy-like Lionel trains I had seen really caught my interest.

    My first HO locomotive was a dummy Globe (Athearn) F-7A in Union Pacific yellow. I had to paint the roof gray and add red trim stripes.

    Being unpowered I set the F7-A on a three foot section of track on the fireplace mantle. A few metal side Mantua freight cars added to the magic. I was hooked and later added a Lindsey power chassis to the F7.
  9. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hey Bob:
    I know what you mean about "waxing and waning". Also, there's always the problem of more ideas than i have time , money or expertise to realize it on the modules. I currently have about 10 projects i want to accomplish and instead i'm doing drawings trying to find a way to add more track and sidings! (the 11th thing)

    What's been good for me is to find another guy here in town who is as into trains as i am, so we can bounce a lot of ideas off one another and then go build something. I'm going over to his house in a minute so we can try and work out some electrical issues that came up at the last show. What also helps is trying to do just one thing and get it completely done. Then move onto the next thing. That way i can see progress being made. At the last show i got my crossing signals working on one module and also got a concrete driveway laid where i set up my firehouse.

    Being able to run trains between times helps too. Makes the detail work seem worthwhile....and relivant.

    I'd join procrastinators anonymous but i think i'll wait till tomorrow.

  10. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    A long time ago

    When I was 4 years old, my dad had a shop where he built displays. He was (and still is) a comercial artist. He use to take me down to his shop once and a while and I would play amongst the debrie and things. One day I came accross a box of trains my dad had brought back from England with him. They were the strangest trains I ever saw (never seen nothing like them since). I think they were the trains he and my brother had played with in the early 50s. I think they could have been older than that. My dad caught me and I was in trouble! Every time I went to his shop after that I would seek out that box of trains and push them up and down the tracks.

    When I was 5 or 6 my dad got a job to build a layout for a client. It was my first real train layout. I never saw him build it, but one day he took me into his shop and there was this wonderfull 4 x8 walk-around, mountain covered layout. The HO train wisked around and I remember the telephone polls with there carfully strung wires so clearly, that ran along beside the track. I thought it was for me and was crushed when I learned it was for another little boy.

    When I was 9 my dad built a large HO layout in our basement. It was 10' x 12' with a duck-under to a hole in the middle to stand and run the trains. He scratch built almost all the buildings in the turn of the century towns. There was three levels of tracks and highly detailed sceanery with tressal bridges and streems and lakes.

    When I was 10 my dad re-maried and took us kids to Disneyland for the honeymoon. I love those Disney trains. We also went to Knott's Berry Farm where they also have a fabulous train, and we rode on this ride that was a mining train ride through a mountain, every so offen popping out into daylight as you wound through the tunnels. My dad bought a model train while we were at KBF. At the time I had no idea what it was, but now I can say it was a model of a steam mining train with 4 bucket cars. It was in HOn3 gauge with the cutest 0-4-0 with a little tender on N gauge track. We built it into the layout at one end and made a mountain that had a top that couyld be lifted off and you could see inside as the train looped around 3 times. The inside of the mountain was lit with old christmas tree lights with the bulbs hidden behind rocks and stallagmites, and just like the ride in KBF it popped out of the mountain in a few spots. I remember this well as it was the first time dad let me work on the layout with him.

    When I was 13 I took up magic and dad dismanteled the layout and packed it away for almost 20 years.

    I was working for him by this time and, amongst other things, we did jobs for a film company in North Vancouver that made The X-Files. Dad made some alien fetuses for the X-Files once. They also made a show at that studio called Millenium and dad built some props for that show too. Seems when they couldn't find a prop anywhere, my dad and I would make it for them. One day they asked for a train layout for the Millenium show and dad dragged out his hidden stash of train stuff and we built a layout for them. This started an all out rediscovery of model trains. Inside a year we had dug out a trench in our crawl space under the house and cemented it all in and began quite a large layout there. We got the idea from my uncle who had done the same thing in his crawl space for his Lionel trains, and he had a huge layout too. (probably still dose)

    That wasn't enough for my dad and he got a train for the garden. I think it is an E gauge. He made a masive 3' high tressel for the whole track that looped around our front yard as he said he was to old to be down on his knees any more, and where ever he wanted a town he made a plywood insert with the town on it. Then he would take the towns inside after showing off his trains for the day. This also made it easyer for him to build the towns, all by scratch, wagons horses buildings and people too, at his bench in his work shop.

    Some time there I moved away and only enjoyed trains when I came for a visit. I never had my own trains all these years. Then last Christmas dad sent me some circus wagon kits he had bought long ago with the intention to build them, but now that he is pushing 84 he said his fingers can't do the fine stuff anymore. I was thrilled! I instantly started to build one of them and this lead to scratch building some prairy icons for my future layout and making plans for track work.

    My dad is so thilled I am taking up the hobbie that he says I can have all his train stuff collection. So all I have to do is go visit my dad and I'll be a very happy clown :D

    The mind boggles!!!!! :)

    And, as I'm sure alot of you know,

    "The apple dosen't fall far from the tree" ;)

    Dad has a dream about trains.

    Attached Files:

  11. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    I was loking for something to watch on TV this last March but there was nothing. So I pulled out one of my old train videos & little did I know, I was going to get back into Model Railroading. Right now have a circle in my room to keep me busy.
  12. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    This is my first post to this group. My boyfriend got me interested in this hobby. When we met he had a 4 x 8 n scale layout. I thought it was neat, but was thinking "expensive toys for big boys".

    However, since that time, I have become involved in the hobby from a scenery standpoint. I have always been into arts and crafts and when I started to look at this hobby from a different perspective, I saw an opportunity to use my talents. To date, I've done the scenery for two 2' x 4' modular n scale layouts. I've even learned how to build houses from kits. Not something that girls did when I was growing up many moons ago. I have really had fun and have enjoyed the challenge.

    It's great, we both enjoy the same hobby but do different parts of it. So, we never get in each other's way.

  13. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Welcome Judy.
    Gals are always welcome on the Gauge as they are a premium. I am really glad that you enjoy your boyfriends projects, even if it is from a different perspective. It is really something that you even take part in it with your talents. My wife likes my 9 X 8 X 11 layout but only takes part when I yell "Honey, can you come and hold this for me?" Or I will enter our living room where she is playing games on her computer and say "Honey, come see what I did?" she will come in, glance at it, say "That's nice?" and go back to her games. At least she lets me have most of the family room.
    Where is your layout located?
    How about some pictures?

    Whoops. A thought just struck me. A while back somebody posted a note on this forum and mentioned that his girlfriend helps him with his layout by making buldings and landscaping. Could that possibly be you Judy?
  14. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Hello again, Judy, I'm glad you joined this forum.
    I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
  15. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Please allow me to add my welcome to you jawatkins. I don't know where you will find another group as friendly and helpful.

    Like most of you I got my first train for christmas as a kid. I played with it a lot although I have to admit that I was far from enthralled with it, mainly because it had three rails, and when you went fast it would fly off of the track. My uncle had a layout that that to me looked huge. It was prefectly detailed (to my young eyes), ran on two rails and always stayed on the track. I was too young to operate it myself, but my cousin and I would play with it whenever it was set up (it was built to fold up against the wall when not in use).
    What really sold me though was one year in the "christmas wish book" I saw a train and slot car set where the tracks actually crossed each other. I thought that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Unfortunately santa didn't see it the way I did.

    Through adolesence I played with slot cars, but never gave up on my dream layout that had both. I even drew up some plans for a layout but I was never able to find the crossings.

    For the next 30 years I was too much of a gypsy to put any work into a layout, but as I traveled around I would see some structure or geological feature, with or without a train, think to myself that it would look really good on a layout and store it in the back of my mind for when I would finally get to build it.

    I discovered several years ago that the crossings that I had dreamed of for so long were available. I started making firm plans and collecting the materials to finally make my dream a reality. I am in the process of prepping the room and quadriple-checking my plans keeping in mind all of the memories that I gathered over all those years. I hope to be posting some pictures as soon as there is something to show.

    I would just like to thank everyone at The Gauge for their support and advice. It has been more helpful than I could have ever imagined.
  16. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    Thanks for the welcome to this forum. I hope to learn my way around in time.:)

  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'm not sure exactly where it started; I may have been born with it.
    At age 2 we spent the summer with my grandmother in Edinburgh, and by the end of the visit I knew which tram would take me down to the museum where they had model steam locomotives; you pushed a button and the wheels went round.
    My father never had trains as a boy and looked forward to my having them; he says that if he'd known how obsessive it would become, he wouldn't have encouraged it. We didn't have a car until I was 7 or 8; before that we alwasy travelled by train (and street car.)
    I went through a number of windup sets, first electric at age 4 or 5 (Hornby O gauge), then Lionel at age 7.
    Little dabbbles, them full into HO in high school. Also OOO at that time, when it came out.
    I also credit my grandfather who worked for Pere Marquette when he was first married.
  18. bpate

    bpate Member

    A bit late to catch up with the tread but it is such a good one please indulge me in adding to it now. I must have missed it somehow. Great to read them all.

    I have my five year old daughter to thank. Suzie asked for a model train for Christmas 2002 and I came across the Hogwart's Express on a visit to the UK. For the flight back to Australia I purchased a couple of model rail magazines and the rest is, as they say, history. I used to do model aeroplanes and tanks as a teenager and got some pretty good results but there was nowhere to keep them. I can vaguely remember a model train set when I was a youngster. Don't know what happened to it. I think it was my older brothers and was gone before I could join in. I also remember seeing as a little kid a massive Diesel locomotive at our country station, which took us into the big smoke. Must have been 1959 or thereabouts. It was a Victorian Railways S or B class unit which is pretty much like an EMD F3, at least to an amateur like me. Can't claim to be a railway fan as such but the combination of modelling something that can actually be used, to be able to create scenery for it to travel through, and to be able to control them with DCC, and have an excuse that it is for the kids is ideal. Maybe I am of an age now where early memories the sight of the diesel and a child asking for a train set has brought it all together at a time when I could do something about it. The Internet has also played a part in that forums like this one, show case websites and model railway exhibitions have been a great inspiration.

    Anyway it's a great hobby in all respects.

  19. Blame it on a Book

    My dad would take me to the bookstores in the mall, that was in the late 60's early 70's when malls were a new thing down here. We would browse for hours, he with his automobile how to books. Not sure what the name of it was, but I came across a hard cover book "The Complete Book of Model Railroading" or something like that. That is where the fever first showed up. Many trips to department stores to buy AHM and Tyco trains. Never found the hobby shop till after I was grown, I bet Dad kept the QT on that. Very clever dude.
  20. Conrail

    Conrail Member

    **************Back from the Dead****************It's tough to give all the credit to one person for me. My father works for CSX, so does my uncle, my grandfather on my dads side retired from C&O and his father was a conductor for C&O, my grandfather on my moms side was an engineer for Conrail and was the only one who tried to model trains. The reason I said "tried to model trains" was because me and my brother usually broke all his stuff and he gave up several times and just packed everything up.... only to get it back out a couple years later and try it again. I suppose if I did have to give the credit to someone it would have to be my Grandfather from my motherside since all of his HO stuff was passed onto me....sure wish I hadent broke it all. :p

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