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Thanks for the kind words everyone !

I know I am going to get a little off topic here, but I would like to relive some of my childhood memories of growing up pretty in much a rail road family, starting with my great grand father who as I understand was an engineer on the Central Pacific, my father worked for the Santa Fe for over 20 years, my uncle worked for the Santa Fe as a rear Brakeman for over 35 years, my father in law worked for the Southern Pacific for over 40 years and my uncle on my mothers side worked for the Missouri Pacific for quite a number of years as well as various other relatives on my mothers side who worked on the CP and CN in canada as that was my mothers home country. Every Time we had a family reunion it resembled and sounded like a railroad convention ! Also almost everyone in my hometown at the time I was growing up worked for the Santa Fe as that was the largest employer in town at the time, so all of my friends were also railroad brats.
I remeber with great fondness growing up living just 2 blocks from a Santa Fe railroad street crossing to the north of our house and the Katy railroad street crossing was approxiamately 6 blocks to the east of our house, so I had plenty of train watching oppertunities as a child and then just 4 blocks to the northwest of our house was the giant ice house where I spent a lot of time watching the refer cars being loaded with what at the time seemed to me to be ice-burgs.
As for the MKT (Katy) I am not absolutely sure but I believe that the MKT had an agreement with the MOPAC to use the MOPAC main line as a main arterie and the MKT shortline ran from the MOPAC main line south thru the small farm communities and my home town, I dont know exactly how far south the line went but I do know that about 3 to 31/2 miles southeast of my home town the old MKT river bridge was still there about 8 to 10 years ago, although the tracks etc. have been long gone.
jimtype: I have not been able to find any photos or diagrams, etc. on the MKT motive power, however as close as I can recall the 4-6-0 locos that came thru here very much resembled what Bachman has available !
I am sorry for going on and on about my memories and childhood, but when I start thinking and talking about railroading, expecially  the steam era of railroading I get carried away , as you can see !  Sorry.
Also this forum stuff is all pretty knew to an old geezer like me and if I am not using it correctly, please let me know.

Dick (G-baby)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif
 

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Of a slightly different nature, but my childhood memories include this shot.
Also lived a few blocks from the CNW main lines and Chicago and Milwaukee North Shore Line...



Going on and on is acceptable...
 

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Unfortunately I was just the opposite of you guys, no trains at all around. So I have some making up to do :)

Duncan, quite the cute pic, looks like you gave up the engineer cap for the conductor hat. And that must have been some smoker to use a can that size!

Dick, as far as I know anything goes as long as it is train related, and even then there is a "Public" forum for everything else. Sounds like you have a lot to offer folks here with all that exposure to different lines for all those years. A short while back someone in the "Railroad Operations" forum was asking where the brakeman sits. You could have provided some good info. Actually folks would appreciate you providing your 2 cents so to speak on this topic. Look under the "Railroad Operations" forum and look for the topic there. If you can't find it, click here : thread
 

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Nice memories to have.

You said you are new to this forum stuff, so I might suggest another web site for you.  Trains Magazine (I assume you know that mag.) has a web site with multiple forums for their various magazines and sub-topics in each (just like here).  You might find more people with similar memories and such there in one of them.  I must also warn you, given your rather unhappy history here, that site has many more members (~~49,500) and some of them can make the unusual start you had here look like a banquet in your honor compared to the stiff necked idiocy you might run into there. And they do have real problem with REAL "trolls"... people that post controversial topics to deliberately rile things up (one fellow regularly joins under yet another name just to post insults.  Sometimes he makes the name very similar to a regular member and then posts insults to others so it looks like the person he is impersonating is doing it.  Moderators know who he is and soon delete his postings, but they have to find him out first).

Most folk there are nice, but a few are, well... opinionated(?) /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif You might want to lurk a while ("Lurk" = just read without responding) to get a good feel for the place.  Try several of the forums to see where you think you, "topic wise", might fit in the best.

You might start with:

http://cs.trains.com/forums/1398224/ShowPost.aspx

That is the "General forum" for Trains Magazine... after perusing those topics a bit, click on the "FORUMS" word in the top banner over that page to see the myriad of other forums they have.

But, don't spend all your time "over there"!!!! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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My strongest memory is the ozone smell the trains made. The smell was part of the total experience. Yes the sound and the smell just buried themselves into my mind. It is something I will never forget!
 

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I was fortunate that from the age of 5 until I was 15 I lived in a house that had a railroad at the bottom of the garden.  Many fond memories - I even saw The Royal Train pass by.

I moved to this part of England which had a small railroad depot (now sadly gone) but I was able to travel frequently by train when I was in the RAF.

I had a hiatus from trains for a good many years, except HO models, but for a few years now have worked as a volunteer on a Heritage Railway. 

The sounds and smell of a living steam loco can never be bettered.  Diesels may look powerful but their aroma 'aint so sweet.  :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great Western: 

 I agree completely, steam was and is, I feel the greatest era in railroading, I feel that everyone should experience the thrill of seeing, being close to , smell and sounds of a living, breathing steam locomotive, to me there  is nothing like the experience.
As you may be able to tell I am a living, breathing steam loco freak, I absolutely love them, always have and always will.
I have nothing against diesels, but they are just not the same.

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Dick,

I can tell you are a steam enthusiast. You might think about joining our steamaholics group and get your SA#. Your favorite steamer number. Go to the Live Steam Forum here and see the top topic, ""Steamaholics Membership List". Dwight will take good care of you.:D
 

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Somewhere my mom has a snapshot of me when I was about 4 "helping" to build a temporary 15" gauge live steam track. The spike maul was bigger than me. Grandpa worked MoW on the B&O from '46 until he retired in the mid '80's. My dad's idea of a summer vacation trip was to take two days to ride either the EBT or Everett, or go to Horseshoe Curve.

Toy trains....my dad had a huge Flyer layout, Grandpa had a huge Lionel collection and layout...neither of which I was allowed to touch. My first train was a Fisher-Price pull toy (can you even still get those?)...first electric was a used Marx 2-4-0 lettered NYC 1666. Like most kids I also went through the 200MPH stage and wrecked a few Tyco HO dismals by sending them sailing....../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif

My first large scale was the original battery op Bachmann Big Hauler, looking back it was a total POS from the word go... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif Thankfully they have improved immensely.
 

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My grandfather collected Lionel before the war, which thankfully, I still have. My parents bought me my first train, at age 2 years, for Christmas 1945. American Flyer-one of the first sets produced just after WWII ended. My first memories are my grandfather and my Dad, driving nails through my grandmother's carpet and into hardwood floors, in a beautiful spanish style home here in Glendale, California. It drove her crazy, but she let him do it! And the ozone smell of electric trains and the smell of the Christmas tree, well.......

My Dad built a 10" gauge riding train for us in the late forties. Hand-made track and cars. We had about 200 feet of track, including a switch and switchstand. Fully operational. Kids came from all over the neighborhood to ride. Nobody worried about liability. Another time, for sure. Then it was HO and a train table that occupied half the garage. Then college and marriage and kids. Then it all came to an end. Until now......:D
 

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Dad was a teacher, Mom a writer.

My second Christmas included a wooden train set. The cars had cup hook couplers and the track sections had dress snaps to hold them together. I was 17 months.

Dad brought home an HO train set when I was 4. We set it up on my bedroom floor. It ran from D batteries in the "Power Pack." When the batteries ran down, Dad built me a power pack in a pink recipe box. He took me to see a train set in a man's basement. I remember him carrying me down the basement steps. It had mountains and grass and... Played with that till we moved to a tiny house. Then Mom and Dad got me an N gauge set 'cause it would fit in my tiny room. The next Christmas, Mom got me lots of train cars. "I went a little crazy," she explained. The pink power pack is on a shelf in Mom's basement. I never asked why pink, I guess that's the only recipe box he had laying around.

At age 12, I got interested in making a layout. Dad and I tinkered with the N gauge trains till I was 15 or so and got interested in other things. Traded all those trains to a friend for a bunch of model airplane junk. Dumb kid, eh? Became an expert model airplane flyer.

Went back to college in mid 20's. Got married in mid 30's. Had kids. Planned, but never got to build a 9 1/2 inch gauge train for outside. An engine would have cost a few hundred to build and a car $40 to $80. The idea was to have something to do outside with the boys. We had lots of outside space, but a tiny house.

Recession hit in '01 and all my clients evaporated. Wife went into a rage. 6 months later, I'm living in an apartment, forbidden any contact with the kids and assigned to a shrink. "What is this lady's problem?" the shrink asked the Family Services people. State assigned me to another shrink as the first obviously didn't know anything. "You need a hobby!" the second shrink said. "Spending money has always been forbidden," I replied. "You have an abusive wife," he said, "but if I tell the court that, you'll get a new shrink again." When I finally found some more work, after a year and a half of hunting, I set aside some allowance and bought an old Aristo 0-4-0 from ebay for 40 bucks.

Brat at your service in 1:29!

I thought I had a picture of me with the wooden train... You'll probably thank me for not finding it/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue2.gif
 

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Posted By Torby on 03/29/2008 9:47 AM
 Wife went into a rage. 6 months later, I'm living in an apartment, forbidden any contact with the kids and assigned to a shrink. "What is this lady's problem?" the shrink asked the Family Services people. State assigned me to another shrink as the first obviously didn't know anything. "You need a hobby!" the second shrink said. "Spending money has always been forbidden," I replied. "You have an abusive wife," he said, "but if I tell the court that, you'll get a new shrink again."


Aaaah, ummmmm, yeah....... Do women compare notes on these things?/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif Okay it's waaaay off topic, but why is it that a woman can get away with claiming all kinds of wild off the wall stuff, and the man basically has to prove he's innocent? There's just sumptin screwy goin on with that. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif
 

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   I think this topic is fine for the beginer forum.  Most of us started off as kids that loved big noisy things that shook the ground when they moved.  Either a parent thought we would like a train set, probably because they had one as a child themselves or we asked santa  or otherwise the powers to be to get us one.  For me my dad started us both off with a little HO Penn Central freight train on a 4x8 piece of plywood.  He lost interest but I continued on eventually taking over the basement with over 400' of track circling around huge storage yards.   
   As a young teenaged kid we lived near an old freight line that probably had a train come by maybe twice a month.  I remember hearing the horn sound at one end of town and if it was coming from the North I could run as fast as I could through the woods, jumping over logs and rocks and make it down to the tracks to beat the train.  If it was coming from the other direction I would only catch the end.  
   One particular hot summer day a friend and I heard the rare horn sounding and took off running to catch the train going by well we did and since it was moving rather slowly we decided to follow along behind it to the next crossing.  We trotted along behind and I wanted to see if I could actually hear the train moving if I put my ear to the rail.  I don't remember if I could but I do remember being stung several times by the hornets living in the ties that the train had just stirred up.  OUCH !
     Today the same line that used to run the old Conrail and then Bay Colony now has been completly refurbished and being used several times a day by the T commuter train.  It's just not the same without the old freight moving through and I would probably be arrested for trespassing now adays for walking on the tracks.   
   I will stick to the G in the yard and be happy.
   Todd         
 

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I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis; no railroad near our house, but my aunt and uncle lived next to a very busy line, with only a very narrow alley between their house and the tracks. There was no doubt about when a train was coming. By the time I was old enough to notice, it was all diesels (but very cool looking diesels I remember.) We would run to the window to see trains (you couldn't watch the TV anyway because of the interference from the train.) My first memory of seeing steam locomotives outside of a museum was seeing them being dragged by a diesel into the yard for scrapping.
The National Museum of Transport in St. Louis was (is) a great place to go.
I now live in central Illinois about three blocks from the Norfolk Southern line, and would like to be closer. My grand-daughter is only about 9 months old, but hears the trains before my son does, and wants him to take her to the back door to see the train. (Funny how even a baby can let you know exactly what they want.) They live less than a block from the tracks.
 

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Dick,

I was born after the Penn Central era. My parents tell me that when we were living in Ohio, I would listen and watch for trains. When I was 4 we moved to Kennesaw, GA where the famous Civil War engine, The General is kept. I think I went there just about once a week to see old #3. Kennesaw was all L&N/Family Lines then, and only freight north to Chattanooga. Of course, the junky Lionel trains I had were all but destroyed. My brothers 1970 4-4-2 survived somehow. We moved to CT when I was 7 to a town that had passenger trains.

The town we moved to was on the old Danbury Branch of the New Haven Railroad. The commuter trains were operated by Metro North, and there was seldom ever a freight train. The passenger trains were headed up by EMD FL-9s usually in AA configuration with 7 coaches for the through trains, a single FL-9 with two coaches for the 'shuttle' connection with the mainline in South Norwalk, or a pair of Budd cars. I remember when my dad used to take the train to South Norwalk, we'd drive to town to pick him up. Bethel station is built on a curve in the center of town. Level crossings (two south of the station and one north) meant that there was a lot of horn blowing as the train approached. If you stood on the west side of the tracks, looking south, you had a clear (almost 1/2 mile) view of the approaching track. It was always fun to watch the headlight appear around the corner, and the train approach. What was a little scary was when people would run the warning lights (no gates) with a train approaching at 50 mph!

In Bethel was a small importer of German toys, Palo Imports. They had all kinds of Lehman toys, and LGB trains. At Easter, my dad couldn't help himself and he bought me a starter set, a dining car and a crane car. After that, I was hooked on large scale. I dabbled in HO and we built a layout when I was 12. It was unused by the time I was 15, and dismantled when I was 16. I built the first garden layout when I was 14 (temporary in the grass), but a more permanent installation went down when I was 15, and grew until I was 18 and headed off to college. My parents moved in to town and downsized their house, and that allowed the building of a new layout. It didn't get any attention because I as living out of state then, so it was pulled up in 2001. When Mary Beth and I got married, we started looking for a house we wouldn't have to move from until retirement, and it had to have a big yard. In 2004, tracks were purchased, and the layout was built. 4 years later, I have a great layout and we are continuing to improve it. This year will start our adventure in to gardening. But, of course, with our first kid here, at 5 months old, we are probably not going to be growing it too much.

Luke's train memories have already begun. Of course, we have the garden railroad, but we've mostly been running live steam in the basement (hornby OO scale Mallard). His first train ride was on the Strasburg Railroad back in February, behind Strasburg RR #89, a CN 2-6-0. So he only knows steam trains, for now. Eventually, we'll be taking Amtrak from here to see Grandma and Grandpa in CT. Might even just meet them half way in Manhattan and go do some sightseeing there.

Mark
 

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At the end of the street I grew up on was a gravel yard and asphalt plant. Beyond that was the old PRR yards and then they would have been PennCentral. I can remember my father taking me for a walk in the winter in my little kiddie runner sled with the seat back and all. The memory of gliding alongside the silent engines and cars as they were being covered by snow is still there in my mind.

There were toy trains along in there and I remember someone in my group of friends having early Brio trains. I can remmber an HO scale trains set. It was a BN diesel and a few cars that I ran and ran and ran Christams morning. Shortly after that dad refurbished the old mud table in the basment for my trains. He retierved his old HO scale trains from a buddy of his and shared what wasn't too valuable and or breakable with me. I ran them for a long time until I was given my uncles old slot cars and then they ran alongside each other for a long time. It all got packed up for college. After college I worked part time at a local small hobby shop for a time until work dryed up in my small hometown for me. I moved to Buffalo and after finding full time work one Friday evening on the way south and to my hometown I was tuck in traffic on the thruway and got off finding Niagara Hobby. Spent and hour or so in there while trafic cleared and saw the help wanted sign. Asked the fiance' about it and put in an application the following week. Worked there for over 15 years. Started there as the RC car guy but sold myself on LGB and REA trains shortly after the LGB covnention in Buffalo in the early 90's (1993?) Started with an LGB used starter set after Christmas that had been loaned out to a local bank for the holidays. Been collecting ever since. Moved no less than 8 times since then. We are finally in a home where I think we'll be until we can retire. Soon the railroad will start to take shape.

Chas
 

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Ah, what a topic. Of course, being from a large family and in England, we travelled by train all the time (as we didn't have a car until I bought one, when I was 18!) Trains were all steam of course - we didn't dieselize until the '60s. We had a mainline at the bottom of the road where it entered a long tunnel and came out at Low Moor, a major shed (depot.) In my 6 weeks of summer vacation, I would wander over the tunnel to the depot to see what was cooking/steaming.
I had an uncle who was a train fan. I started with a Hornby clockwork gauge-0 railway, and got an OO layout secondhand when I was 7. Here is that OO layout with a few extras added, still on the same 3 x 6 board:

UK modellers from that era will recognise the Airfix railway kits - signal box, bridge, platform and the windmill; and that cardboard house and the cottages - forget who manufactured them, but I recall my uncle made them up from pre-printed sheets of card. He also took me out to visit the ECML to photograph the expresses.
The OO layout survived until about 1963, when I got the slot car bug and formed a local club. Didn't go back to trains until I had kids in the 1980s.
 
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