A History of My Model Railroading Successes as well as My Dismal Failures.
So often we Model Railroaders tell about our successes and never tell anything about the pile of dismal failures that we left behind to get to these successes. It is my hope that by telling about the dismal failures it will help some new comers to the hobby avoid at least some of the pitfalls and heart breaks. Also keep in mind that in the past 45 years, especially in the 20 years, there have been major advances in the Model Railroading hobby. One of the most notable of these is Digital Command Control (DCC). The engines, cars, track and kit structures that you buy today are greatly improved from what could be purchased 20+ years ago. Yes, it is more high tech, but it really isn’t that hard to learn and you can get help from a friend.
At what point in time my “Model Railroading” really started depends on what you consider Model Railroading and what you call “Toy Trains”. If you go back to when my parents got me a Lionel 027 Toy Train Set, then you would have to say 1940 when I was two. If you say it started when I got a Scale Model Train, then you would have to say 1962. My Scale Model Railroading really got off to a very rough start and looking back on it I am really amazed that I stuck with the hobby. Had it not been for a couple of friend’s advice on modeling, I would most likely have given it up years ago.
In 1940, my parents got me a train set for Christmas when I was two years old. It was a Lionel with a pot metal engine, tin cars. My father mounted the track on a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood and he also made a couple of buildings. By five, when I really started to comprehended what the train was, my father had passed away and the engine was in need of repairs. For the next several years I played with it by pushing it around the track by hand but eventually was able to get it running again. My mother having been advised to get rid of it so I would be directed toward more educational hobbies gave the train away to “a poor little boy” who needed some thing to play with. For the next 15 or so years, I could only ogle model trains in store windows and wish that I had one.