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As my Grand-pappy use to say:I wasted my life away working on the railroad and the saddest part I wouldn't have it any other way.

Indeed Grandpa indeed.:D

Thats how I feel about the hobby.:D


Well-Known Member
Well, Rex and folks, I have had my own moments of sweating and terror, but I have also enjoyed my greatest successes immensely.

If there is one think I hate, it is laying track. I don't have the patience to do it well, and part of that pertains to the planning. Still, when it all comes together, I love...and I do mean LOVE...watching my steamers do their thing. It takes me away to a time and place of my chosing, freelanced the way I like it, and I can control this aspect of my free time as I choose.

I have dug deeply into several subjects and pursuits over my 54 years. This is merely the latest in a short run of four or five intense interests. I have not used my rather costly telescope seriously in about four years. I no longer listen intently and passionately to my modest but very personally tuned classical CD collection. It is not to say that I am no longer interested in these things, but the bloom is off the rose. MRR will have its day in the sun, and I will move on to some other, perhaps more cerebral, pursuit as the years begin to close in on me. I say this realistically, not with any regret or anxiety for all the learning and money that I have invested in this hobby. I feel I am richer for all that I have done, whether really well or only fairly well. And really, just like a telescope, a CD player, a flick of a switch would be hard pressed to bring more pleasure to so many people, regardless of their pursuit in the hobby.


Registered Member
Staff member
Hi folks, well a topic I can join. I don't quite know where I got the bug, maybe it was a ride in the cab of a steamer, from the freight house (close to home) to the roundhouse a few miles away. The walk home was worth it I was about 10 years old then. Next was in the coal mines, I saw a mining loco and I knew that was the job for me. Well after five years of that (suicide jockey) I left the mines for the RCAF and to get a trade. Hey that's when I started getting rides on passenger trains.Seen my first FP9. Forgot about trains then until I got married and started raising a family. No modeling yet but I loved to watch the displays in the stores during the Christmas season. (getting hooked now) When my son was about six we got him a train set, in fact we still have the engine and cars, but alas no time for hobbies. When we moved to NS it turned out my next door neighbor had a layout. (OK I think the hook is getting set now) and I even got to build a layout but due to job demands spare time petered out. One day I found the little darlings playing smashup derby with the locos so I dismantled the whole thing (I'm a Grouch!). About this time I sold the boat, and got into motorcycles, at one time we had five of them. During this time of life I was always planning the dream layout (impossible dream). Then I decided to stop smoking, there were no patches or aids so it had to be cold turkey. As a target/ reward or whatever I decided I would put all the money I'd spend on tobacco toward model rail stuff, and to date, there is much stuff still downstairs that hasn't been opened in many a year. Until finally I retired, a layout was out of the question, so in Dec 91 when I was put out to pasture, my thoughts returned to the home layout. I find that the winter months are the best time for me to get something done as there's little to do outside on the property. I'm looking forward to getting started on the layout again. I've warned my offspring and their offspring that the days when I could do everything for them, are now over, it's time for them to learn and for me to have a rest.
Would I change anything, well you can bet I would, I'd have started earlier, take more time and enjoy the hobby as I plan to do soon. There are many challenges to meet when modeling, and I'm beginning to believe there is more satisfaction in meeting them then there is to meeting a challenge in the 1 to 1 scale world, and it's not as tiresome either. So theres a new leaf starting in my history beginning next month, it's about time I started doing something I like doing. It's more that a hobby, it's a way of life.;)

Cheers Willis

L&N Castle

Active Member
Morning Rex. Am I sorry that I got into Modelrailroading? Absolutly not. It is at times my only escape from the daily grind of work,and all the hassels I have to put up with. I started with military models,then modelrocketry,then trains.I haven't looked back. I have backed off some,but I will not quit playing with my trains. Also,as a result,my modeling skills have improved,and I enjoy buying and building modeltrain kits as well as ready to make run stuff.Long live ModelRailroading.Also ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!.Get'um BAMA!.William.:D .


Lazy Daydreamer
Willis, Looks like you and I share a common problem of not enough time!:D

Rather than taking the 'armchair' route until retirement, I decided to build the best layout I possibly could under the challenging circumstances. So what I did was throw together some benchwork that is structurally sound, but NOT "pretty" (i.e. no fascia - not yet anyway); in a two-car garage that had bare drywall installed (including the ceiling) but was not painted or otherwise beautified; and lay track according to what I wanted within the constraints of what fit the space. I figured I'd rather have a less-than-perfect layout now than wait for years until a dubious retirement with health problems etc.

Of course, now I made the mistake of reading all these different 'planning' books by John ARmstrong and Tony Koester and realize that my pike falls seriously short of their standards - oh well! I can't bring myself to tear it down after getting it this far :eek:

Steve B

Willis, the pictures down the mine are great, don't fancy driving under those bent supports though


Thank you everyone for some very honest and good posts. I have really enjoyed reading these and will enjoy those to come. I honestly feel like I know you more on a personal level now and hope this will encourage you guys/gals to start similar threads along with our more skill-like subjects. REX
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Am I sorry that i got into model railroading ? NO
As a teenager funded by parents I converted the spare bedroom into my first railroad empire !!! I dabbled with N guage and HO all american outline. Like most teenagers other things came along and the trains went. Work, married life church commitmants and family all came along and trains were forgotte until early this year. A local Hobby shop hand a Bachmann "Puffing Billy" set in the window, which after consulting the DPA found a new home :)
The original plan was a modular 8' by 2' layout but it soon became clear 1) it was going to be to small 2) bringing it out of the full garage to work on in the dinning room was not making me popular 3) OO was not for me.
After some discussions I negotiated using the garden as there was "no room inside the inn" I realised OO was to small for outdoors, so knowing no better I decided to double the scale and keep the 16.5mm track. After chopping up Billy to make engine 01 and then a couple of cars to pull, I found out about On30 (and i thought Id invented it !!!)
Since then the garden is being transformed and I havent looked back. I won't say railways are my life but they bring a lot of pleasure. Then I found railway forums and all the extra fun that comes from sharing and learning from others.
My life is too full to go to a club but forums give the dimension that what can be an individuals hobby, sometimes lacks. No matter how many hours I spend building somthing, the best I get from the family is "oh thats nice" Its good sometimes to get a bit more enthusiasm and some constructive critisism.

A 38 year old enjoying a second childhood
RJR Branch Line


Kennedy, the dread of cleaning up the mess has thrown me into procrastination with scenery projects more than once:D :D .


Well my father got me into railroading like most people when i was young, we put together a small layout so i worked on it even when they got divorced ,then estrogen based life forms entered my life along with cars so around 16 i was done.
fast forward school ,military ,marriage and when my son was born he had a life threating illness so the 2 weeks that he was in boston i needed something to take my mind off of i saw my father inlaws n scale running around a table and it clicked i knew i had to get back to model railroading,so my son made it and from there i dragged my father inlaw and son into the world of model railroading:D


Grandson of ALCO Bldr
I have enjoyed reading everyone's starts in the hobby awesome.

Being the only grandson had advantages...:D but having a grandfather who built the Alco steamers out of Schenectady, Ny during the the transition to diesel is down right spoiled rotten. Then my father work for GE out the same area before transfering to Allis-Chalmers which in turn got bought by Sirmens and lastly my father had his hand those traction motors that used today by GE units like Amtrak trains. If you look closely at those truck you will Siemens on it. My dad retired after 40 years this past June. I am hoping to give some influence on my hobbies. He needs time to adjust. The man worked Mon thru Sat 5am to 7pm like clock work. Thats the o'l salt in him from the Maritime Academy.

Anyways I received my first train set as an HO tyco NYC steamer 0-4-0 dock switcher set around the christmas tree in 1974 then the shortly after it was followed up with a Northern Pacific GP7 by Lionel HO scale. Remember those?

About when I was 8 I lost interest in modelrailroading but not trains. I got into those crazy AFX cars. It wasnt until I was 24 that I got back into modelrailroading. I havent regretted it. Although I am not into full time I do it in seasons or cycles. I do have a lot of other passions. Fishing and flyfishing, working out(exercise), traveling, photography, drag racing and shooting. Then there is the wife LOL. So no I do not regret I only demand more of my self to do more.:)

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