Who or What Got You Started?

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

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    For me I had Marx trains as a boy. Then as I got older, my dad bought some Marx ho trains and true scale road bed and rails. We set up a 4x8 and started to build a layout. My dad didn't understand electricity, and everything worked until we put in two switches with a crossing track and had two reverse loops with no insulators. We never figured out why it didn't run. I realised it in hindsight after I got interrested in trains as an adult. After I got married, my wife and I had two daughters. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at ToysRus, but of course we were always looking at dolls and such. One day while at ToysRus, I told my wife I was going to look at "guy stuff." I ended up bringing home the ho "John Bull" train from Bachmann. It doesn't run very well, but I have it packed with the Christmas decorations and we set it up with a few pieces of track as a static display with my wife's Christmas Village stuff. I bought a set of Roundhouse Overton shorty passenger cars and a Rivarossi 4-4-0 V&T Genoa. One of these years, I'm going to build a small layout incorporating my wife's Christmas Village and perhaps a bit of animation.
  2. Tad

    Tad Member

    When I was little we lived next to my great-grandmother in Fountain Hill, Arkansas. Our house was about 200 feet from the old Ashley Drew & Northern Depot and the AD&N mainline. Every evening about suppertime the AD&N local would come by. My brother and I used to always wait for "the Train."

    When I was in the second grade, in 1971, my brother and I got a Tyco trainset for Christmas. It was had a Santa Fe Warbonnet set of F units. My dad mounted all of the track on a sheet of plywood for us. It was an oval with a passing siding, a trestle, a depot, a piggyback ramp, a coal dump, an operating road crossing and a ramp with a tractor to push the culverts off of the flat car. I still have the the whole set.

    I always wanted to have a layout and when I retired from the Army I started working on my N scale Ashley Drew & Northern layout.
  3. Big_Al73

    Big_Al73 New Member

    My dad, he got his American Flyer set when he was one and it has always been a tradition to run them for Christams, a 8x10 layout. He still has the stuff but stopped running them, because the engines need some work. But, he said when he has grand kids hewill run them again. But in there place my brother and I built 4x4 layouts for christmas. Never really gotten into the "modeling part of it" just run them around. In grade school, my good friend, and well he had a o gauge empire and a ho scale empire in his basement, and a small garden layout. When in high school, joined a historical soceity. Also, my grandfather, bought me the tyco golden eagle engine and caboose. With my grandparents living right beside the B&O mainline in Wheeling, really helped me get started. High school hit, football, hockey, baseball, and girls, kinda stopped me from model railroading. But got back into when I moved home from college. My girlfriend and now wife, thinks its neat hobby and she helps with the scenery and picking out cars(up, doesn't go with B&O :curse: ). Her dad has a small O scale layout in his basement. Also, this hobby and family and friends and fishing, kept my mind off of having cancer, I built a small 4x4 layout, learing how to ballast and some modeling tricks. It keeped my mind off alot of things. The cancer is gone, and I'm married to my love and we have a house, with a train room. 4x10 layout. Its a great hobby, and it has great people with the hobby.I'm still learning about this hobby, and having fun, this web site has great ideas, tricks, and great people with heplful advice. But the ones I would say got me started and kept me in it.

    1. My Dad, 2. Grandfather, 3 Friend Chris, 4 My wife:D
  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    It seems the word "Dad" appears a great number of time on this thread. I too got my start mostly through my recently deceased father's interest in trains. He had a smalllll HO layout back in the early fifties (of which I stll have most of the rolling stock). I have no recollection of this layout. My first memory of a model train was when he took me to a friend's house (I musta' been 6-7 years old) and I recall a steam engine shunting back & forth. Then came the inevitable AmFlyer in the late fifties (which I still have) and the HO layout in the basement in the 60"s. I strayed during college & early work years but saw the great opportunity when my wife & I moved into our first home; there were 2 available rooms!!!! The rest is history....I now have a 12X17 layout in what used to be a garage, and can't wait to get in there to finish up that engine house that's been begging to take its place on the layout...
    Oh, I inherited my Dad's collection of Z Scale trains....
  5. Green Valley

    Green Valley New Member

    My first introduction to model railroading came from my father who used to set up a 4x8 board in the backyard, on saw horses. It was usually on a Saturday during the warm months in Ohio. I got to race the old Lionels around the track, probably at a scale speed of 200-300 miles per hour. As I grew into my teens, girls and fast cars replaced the Lionels, which were later sold (foolishly).
    After I got married and had two sons of my own, the passion for trains returned. It became a Christmas tradition around the tree and one day I decided to build my own pike. I've had seven large basement layouts since, ranging from N-gauge and several HO layouts to O-gauge. I am now tired of the indoors and am planning an outdoor O-gauge garden railroad.
    I am also a member of the Western reserve Modular Railroad Club. We have a 20x60 layout with a center yard. It has three main lines and a new service track that will allow for switching operations. Our layout is set up at 10 shows per year ranging from libraries and schools to Greenburg events. We even purchased a two-axle camper, gutted it, and move the entire railroad in it.
    My module on the layout is a working 1/43 scale race track. I modeled a grandstand and hand painted 112 people for it. I used window screen for fencing around the track and it has become a big hit.

    Green Valley
  6. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    Playing With Trains

    I too am a rediscoverer to the hobby. My Dad and a friend got me my first HO scale trains when I was 3 or 4. Old Athearn and such. Way to young for those kind of trains. We ended up building a 4x8 on a piece of plywood, buying bachmann and life like along the way, not realizing that the problems we were having were with the poor quality. Frustration led to non interest so they got boxed up. We kept the plywood and in high school I started on a shelf layout but ran out of funds quickly so I had a shelf for homework and a TV. Two years ago the wife of one of my good friends came into the bank where i work, we hadn't yet met. When the short line train went past and blew their horn I stopped paying attention to her and my mind wandered. She introduced me to her husband and I have been into serious operations ever since. I have put a lot into the hobby buying the things that I needed long ago to keep me going. I have started shelf layout number 2, laid track, then moved and had to rip it up. Am now starting on buildings and rolling stock while without room and operating during the week. Still have the original Athearn stuff too, with old central valley metal wheels and trucks.

    Its been nice to hear everyones stories, happy modeling!

    Turlock CA
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Cory, I was born in Turlock. We moved when I was about 1 year old, so I don't remember much about it. I've been back through town a few times since, but never spent much time there.
  8. siledka

    siledka New Member

    I definitely had a railway as a kit - same old PIKO stuff - but that was a falsh start - supply was scarce and the things broke before you could nbuy a decent replacement - I just got bored cementing all these cars and locs and forgot about the thing...
    The second attempt was at the age of 27 or so - in Switzerland - a model shop was on my way to the station where a train - one of these marvelous Swiss Ce 4/4 and others - whould take us to the narrow gauge to Jungefrau or to the skiing slopes in the Alps - and the Rivarossi Big Boy was prominently set in the window -and I ended upracketing my then-wife into presenting it to me for the New Year... Then I gought a few locs in Zurich, but I was smart enought to call it a day then....
    I kept these in the boxes hidden in the back of my cloak-room and memory before someone showed me one of these Fleischman Sonderseries... And I bought it - I knew it will be the beginning of the end.
    Now years and a good hundred thousand bucks later - I know I could have been a different- perhaps a much better man - married, caring about lots of other things - reading books perhaps - or ever writing them - and not sitting poking my nose into ebay.de or ebay.com, scratching my head looking for cheap tickets to fly and bring home all my models, littering london, Munchen, Zurich and New York - and thinking where to find a teacher in Japanese - for I cannot find a way through e-bay Japan without the language!
  9. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    It seems sad that many of these start with the same old reasons... Christmas trains, Lionel, and lots of local trains running through towns. Do these things still happen in the US nowadays? In 50 years, how will today's kids remember trains?
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I thought I had replied to this one already, But I guess I have not.

    It was my father who got me started, it was in the attic of our house and the layout was a 12'x36' around the wall layout.
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    ...my 9 year old daughter today, running an Amtrak railfan consist from deep inside the club's helix. Shoulda seen the girl, spiralin' 'round and 'round like a top. :thumb:

    I still set up trains every Christmas and run Thomas the tank engine at every show we set up at, too. I even pass my Digitrax 400 throttle off to responsible looking yunguns and let them run themselves to an early naptime to the delight of the kids and, most times, their parents. The future of the hobby is secure in my neck of the woods :D

    Attached Files:

  12. Tracklayer

    Tracklayer New Member

    Hello everyone. This is my first posting here on the forum. I'm a member of Trains.com also, so this isn't altogether new to me...

    I got my first train for Christmas in 1968 when I was five years old. It was a Marx NYC that included an engine, three cars and a caboose. Though it no longer runs, I still have it. It's on display on a shelf in my train room.
    Many years went by that trains never even crossed my mind. Then one day back in 1989 while at work, a happened to thumb through a magazine someone left in the lunch room that had an article in it about model railroading, and that's when the train bug stung me...
    Since then, I've built several layouts, the most recent of which is 3' X 6'. I designed it so that I can change around a few structures and buildings, change out the trains and automobiles, and go from the early 1900s to the 1940s, 1950s, 1970s up to modern times.

  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Tracklayer :thumb:
  14. screen

    screen Member

    Still a kid

    My parents were from Clevland - My father a doctor set up practice in western IL - in 1948 when I was born came my first train ride back to Ohio and again for many year for you see they didn't see any reason to own a car if you live near down town and the train was there to go back home or Chicago to shop - when he got drafted during the peacekeeping war we took the Santa Fe to Cali. - as you can see it was trains-trains-trains -

    Because of this love I asked for a train for Christmas but never received-
    (many years later -30- I found out the dad got one in 1927 when he was 5 and never ever broke the seal on the box) ?

    In 1979 my 4 and 5 year old daughters gave me a Bachmann The Rock train set for Christmas and we had the most fun until 1981 when we remodeled the basement and that set went to storage -

    Over the years I have collected in hopes before retirement I could build my layout -

    In July due to a county wide celebration of 150 years of trains here my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter fell in love with the activities and so papa got everything out and set some up on the pool table - in no time she was at the controals and it is so much fun when she comes over and says "papa plug it in"

    Well I have to say the reason I am once again in this hobby is Madison-
    I have Grandma(my wife) to thank for buying that first train set 26 years ago so I could STILL BE A KID!
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    when I was born, my older brother got to stay at the grandparents' house. My uncles had a lionel setup, and my brother fell in love. I got hooked because of my brother, and in a way, he got hooked because of me.

  16. Wabash Banks

    Wabash Banks Member

    For me it was a love of trains period.

    When I was just a wee fellow we lived with my grandparents. Their house was RIGHT beside the railroad track. There was the front porch, enough lawn to run a mower across, once in each direction, an enormously long rose hedge, and then the right of way. If wasn't more than 10' from the porch. I would run out to the porch whenever I felt a train coming, yes felt. The pictures on the wall would rattle and shake as did nearly everything else in the house. When I wasn't watching the trains I was walking on the rails with my grand father, who also enjoyed trains. Even after we were no longer living there I spent a lot of time with them at their house and a lot of time with trains.
    When I was about 8 I received a train for Christmas. I played and played with that thing. 027 Lionel. In my teens I still loved trains but no longer messed with the layout. I have played on and off again with trains since and have just gotten back into the hobby in the last 9 months with an n scale layout. For me it was the machines and a grand father more than willing to spend time and an interest with me.
  17. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    This is an interesting thread.

    I really don't know what got me interested in trains. I know my mother loved trains (and we used to visit my great uncle who was a signal man on the ex GWR mainline at Pencoed in S.Wales) so she encouraged me. My aunt also used to indulge my obsession, running me to stations (we didn't have a car) and never minding a detour during any other trips. I guess in retrospect my father sacrificed the most, he hated trains (he had a very bad 24hr in a cold coach at Crewe in Winter while in the army) but still found the time to build me a 6'x6' n scale railway in my bedroom.

    My parents scrimped and saved to buy me a N scale Lima starter set for Christmas when I was small (probably around 8 or 9) (we had very little space so N scale just seemed natural to them (this would have been late 70s)) and it all blossomed from there. I travelled the UK as a young trainspotter, mostly on my own (even at 13! .. my poor parents must have worried sick!) and they did nothing but encourage.


  18. Grant B

    Grant B Member

    My Grandmother loved trains and was given a small American Flyer Set which my Grandfather set up around the Christmas tree every year. I came along and 'borrowed' (which I still have) the set and took over the ping pong table in the basement and barely saw that thing called nature for many years.
    In the late 60s & early 70s , at least in Toledo Ohio, it was almost impossible to find flyer. One Christmas I got extra track and accessories and even a extra loco from a liquidators (some still had the tags on them .....most under a dollar!
    I resorted to HO later on since I could never find anything else to add to the layout.
    My aunt had the good sense to box up the flyers along with my GI Joes until my Mom dumped them off at my house a few years back.
    I sold the GI Joes on ebay for about $3000 which helped me start up my flyers once again.
    I have to say as an Electrical/Aerospace engineer that model trains helped me early on and the same skills helped me remodel my house many years later.....which can't be said for a lot of other hobbies in life.

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