Thursday, May 4, 2017

My First Model Train

I had fallen in love with trains when I rode the Wilmington & Western RR in kindergarten. By 2nd grade I was on the lookout for trains anytime we rode in the car. I knew what railroad operated on which tracks and the difference between electric and diesel trains. One of the things that happens in the 2nd grade in Catholic school was your First Holy Communion. This is a big deal and once you do it there is  big party, people give you presents. When I realized that a number of people gave me money, I knew what I wanted to spend it on. Model trains! I got mom to take me to hobby store and we bought a Tyco HO model train set. It has the classic Santa Fe warbonnet F-7 locomotive, a Hershey's chocolate boxcar, a green Western Maryland flatcar with multi-colored bulldozers, a green Burlington Northern boxcar, and a caboose. It was the coolest train in the world and it was all mine. Ran it like crazy.

It was no long before I want more. I wanted engines and switch tracks, sidings, and freight cars. I was able to save bits of money here and there and soon I was on my way to a model railroad empire. My next train was the Tyco Spirit of 76 train. By 1975 bicentennial fever was raging throughout the country and the Spirit of 76 train was the most important one to own. My next one was a Tyco Chattanooga Choo Choo which was powered by the tender. The engine was just pushed around, it was a huge disappointment. It did not last long.

I continued to add to my collection and had a platform set up I the basement. Then my Pop Pop found a second hand pre-moulded over and under platform with a tunnel. It was a dream come true but it was not long before I wanted to expand and the pre-formed one had to go because there was just not enough real estate. It was not long before I was building a layout. Between what I learned at woodshop at the boy's club and what I figured out on my own I was able to build and wire the layout. Pretty much my entire foundation of electricity came from fooling around with model trains. I was completely self taught and able to transfer what I learned to all things electric. I did take formal classes later on in life but nothing taught me more than model trains.

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