Let's See Your Electric Trains!

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by dhermann1, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,158
    Location:
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    I'm hoping this is the appropriate place to put this. I'm into model trains. I have a set of N gauge trains (9 millimeters between the rails, very tiny) that I set up under the Christmas tree every year. Some day I hope to have a permanent layout. I think trains in general are fundamental to the "Golden Era" and model trains as well. Many modelers set their layouts on the Golden Age of Steam, so they're all enthusiasts for the era automatically. Any takers?
     
    Redfokker likes this.
  2. Maj.Nick Danger

    Maj.Nick Danger I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,469
    Location:
    Behind the 8 ball,..
    A friend of mine and I were building something a few years back. We started with some of his old stuff from when he was a kid, and expanded from there. Diesel locomotives and a sort of 1940s look to it all. We built this strange little town,...uhh, sorta hard to describe because it was really very surrealistic.
    But that's the fun of it. You can literally build anything you can imagine, especially in HO scale as there is so much stuff available for it. :D
     
  3. Dalexs

    Dalexs Practically Family

    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    Just 'nath of Baston
    About 7 years ago, my sons love for Thomas the Tank Engine, got me back into trains.
    A friend of mine at work was really into it and I finally got serious.

    Since moving back to the east coast 3 years ago, all of my HO stuff has been in a box.
    But now, with a new house, AND my own office/playroom...
    I'm ready to start ripping into walls to see where my trains can run thru!
    I may be able to actually have a mainline go the entire circumference of the house in the attic/eaves.

    Dalexs
     
  4. LolitaHaze

    LolitaHaze Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,217
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    I never had model trains myself, but I always loved looking at them! I remember when I was younger there was a HUGE train layout in the middle of Burger King. I used to wish I could shrink down to 1 in and walk around the town the train road through... So please share your photos of your trains!
     
  5. Maj.Nick Danger

    Maj.Nick Danger I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,469
    Location:
    Behind the 8 ball,..
    I'll have to do some serious digging to find any photos for ya Lolita. But I will try. I haven't seen the thing in years myself, as it was dismantled when my friend got divorced. :(
    But he might have a few digital pics.
    I really want to get back into it now that I am reminded of it again, it is a blast to create your own miniature world. It's like a form of sculpture kinda. :D
     
  6. CharlieH.

    CharlieH. One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,169
    Location:
    It used to be Detroit....
    Gee... I've neglected the railroad too much lately. Last thing I did was add lights:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,027
    Location:
    Renton (Seattle), WA
    I had an N-gauge layout when I was a kid. Mom was, in general, pretty blase about it. Years later, after I turned 30, we were at Costco several weeks before Christmas and they had a larger train set (O-gauge? G-gauge? Way bigger than HO, in any case) that Mom went absolutely nuts over. I thought it was strange - she'd shown no interest in mine years before. But that evening at Costco, she had to go back to look at it with a sparkle in her eyes several times.

    I mentioned it later when we stopped for dinner and she said that when she was a kid back in the late 30's, she'd wanted a train set for her birthday. My grandparents refused, partly due to the cost (the Depression hadn't been too long ago at the time), but mostly because "trains are for boys!"

    A year or two later, she said she was looking for something in her parents' room and accidentally found a Lionel engine and a model station in a basket under quilt pieces my grandmother was working on. She figured the rest of the set had to be stashed around the house. She was the youngest - last one at home - it had to be for her, right?

    So for several weeks, she's on cloud 9 thinking she was going to get the train set she'd dreamt of for years. Christmas Day, all the family was over - her brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, her nieces & nephews. There was a 25 year spread between her birth and her oldest brother's, and six more kids in between. So holidays at my grandparents was always a mob scene.

    Mom said she was absolutely crushed when one of the five-year-old nephews gets the train & station and she got quote a stupid dress unquote. Fast forward 50+ years, and it all comes out over dinner after a trip to Costco. So naturally, I drop Mom at home and burn rubber back to Costco and bought the train set. I liked it to - a 20's style steam engine, "real smoke" and sound effects built-in.

    When she came over to our place on Christmas morning, I had it set up in the den. I went in there and called her in to "help me with something." She walked in, I handed her the transformer and a train whistle I'd found - "Knock yourself out. It's all yours!" Absolutely floored her. I'd never seen such a look of completely surprise and joy on her. Yeah, she cried, I cried, but I'm a big wuss anyway. I gather everyone she talked to for days, weeks heard I'd bought her the train set my grandparents had refused to all those years before. I heard about it from everyone.

    She found an engineer's cap somewhere and her rule was you couldn't run her train without wearing the cap - a tradition I follow. It's run around the Christmas tree every year since, even now that she's been gone a little over two years. When she was in the hospital shortly before dying, a nurse said visiting hours were over and it was time for me to leave. Mom pipes in with, "He can stay as long as he damn well wants - he bought me my train set when I was sixty-two!"
     
  8. LolitaHaze

    LolitaHaze Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,217
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Maj Nick Danger... Please do post them if you find any. :)

    Mike in Seattle... That is such a Hallmark Presents made for tv movie!! I laughed, I cried, I loved it!
     
  9. Maj.Nick Danger

    Maj.Nick Danger I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,469
    Location:
    Behind the 8 ball,..
    That was a classic Christmas story if ever I heard one! Way to go Mike, it should be a TV special for sure. :)
     
  10. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,158
    Location:
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    My Niece

    I'm so glad there's been interest in this topic! My little N gauge set has sort of a theme. I have several structures, each of which represents an old Chrstmas movie. I've got a nice Holiday Inn, one office front says "Scrooge and Marley", there's a Macy's and a Gimbels, and I'm going to try to get a small green santa claus in a chimney to be the Grinch. And I've George on the tressil bridge, ready to jump.
    When my neice, who is now 26 and married and in vet school, was 5 I got her a nice little HO set. She loved it!
     
  11. Cousin Hepcat

    Cousin Hepcat Practically Family

    Messages:
    774
    Location:
    NC
    I'm with Mr. Senator; pics please.

    CharlieH, like that "downtown nighttime noir" look.

    Hungate's is the big hobby shop chain in this area; I remember growing up, they always had a knock-out multi-layered 2-train window display with a tunnel in the local mall, w/ a village, trees (that they'd change colors with the seasons), water features...
     
  12. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,469
    Location:
    NSW, AUS
    I appear to have started backwards (typical for me, just typical!) and gotten a bunch of houses/stores and still no actual trainset. I just like the diorama effect at the moment while I save up for the trains themselves.

    I'd really like O-scale because most of my stuff is O-scale. I'm pricing On30, which is O-scale but runs on HO tracks - that seems like I could do the track layouts a bit cheaper as HO seems to be the most popular.

    Bachmann has trolleys. I NEED a trolley. They were always my favorite, I blame Mr. Rogers. Also, they go right down the middles of the streets and that gives me an excuse to buy a lot more houses and stores to surround them.

    I'd like to concentrate on a '30s layout, I think. In fact, I saved a lot of the Our Own Vintage Town thread for ideas! :)

    -Viola
     
  13. Twitch

    Twitch My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    City of the Angels
    I have a huge (about 2 1/2 scale miles of track) HO layout in my garage I built when I was a bit younger. Figure I ought to dismantle it and sell or give away the useable stuff as my close up vision no longer allows modeling. Patience is far thinner than it was too.[huh]
     
  14. Story

    Story I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,057
    Location:
    Home
    Confess - who here has emulated Uncle Fester? :D

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Zemke Fan

    Zemke Fan Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    On Hiatus. Really. Or Not.
    I've been getting On30 for my son, Will...

    Bachmann makes a LOT of fine equipment and it fits my interest, which is Colorado 1930s to 1940s. The Colorado and Southern to be specific. Harry Brunk wrote a series of columns for the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette (Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge) that were collected into a book (now out of print).

    I am going to start working on some buildings this year. Here are some I like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    BTW, Peco makes a realistic On30 flextrack in Code 100, nickel-silver.
     
  16. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,027
    Location:
    Renton (Seattle), WA
    If I remember correctly...to do an "Uncle Fester" you have to reverse the wires on one engine so it'll run backwards. I believe they're all wired to run the same direction from the factory. Never did that...although we did use it to torment one of the dogs. He'd start for the den doorway and we'd "Head 'im off at the pass..."

    Freshly back from climbing up into the rafters in the garage...Zemke's post had me thinking, "I think my set's a Bachmann..." and sure enough - Bachmann Red Comet G-Scale. Hey, I needed an excuse to take a break from cranking out tax returns and that'll do!
     
  17. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,628
    Location:
    The Heights in Houston TX
    Lionel tinplate forever!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. CharlieH.

    CharlieH. One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,169
    Location:
    It used to be Detroit....
    About On30....


    The one thing I always loved about modelling narrow gauge railroads is that you can pretty much get away with anything. Just get a few wheelsets and related hardware and you can build any kind of car you wish. And of course you can get to build some pretty dramatic scenery, accented with dingy little wooden buildings along the line. 1930's Colorado is a very popular subject amongst the narrow gauge modellers, so there's plenty of inspiration out there.

    Also, if you want to go a little further in terms of realism, you can get a nice little sound equipped loco. I've never seen (or heard) these in operation, but I hear they can blow you away!

    I always wanted to add a narrow gauge extension to my own pike, but I only have space for a small curve. Still, that would give me the perfect excuse to stick a floor to ceiling cliff to the wall...
    [​IMG]

    One of these days....

    Trolleys are also a very popular subject, particularly in O scale (I've fancied modelling the Pacific Electric myself). The only trolleys I've seen in that scale are made by MTH and Lionel, so if you want complete realism you might have to build them from scratch. (Or get a brass model)

    [​IMG]

    Aaah, trolleys...
     
  19. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,469
    Location:
    NSW, AUS
    Zemke Fan, I like those first two weathered buildings a lot. Very classic.

    Charlie...that cliff-face...is so amazing. I love that.:eek: I WANT THAT. Gee, thanks a lot! :p

    I haven't really settled on a geographical location for my town yet, because it hasn't progressed beyond 4 buildings and a massive Word document of ideas.

    I was thinking of starting with structures because you can get started cheaper, and displaying them with my bonsai trees. The Philadelphia flower show even has a category of competition for miniature scenes, (not just bonsai but anything tiny enough to create an illusion, like thyme or moss) and I ponder doing that eventually.

    But eventually I SUPPOSE a train set could use ACTUAL TRAINS. [huh] But I'm not sure of what a good starter set for On30 is.

    -Viola
     
  20. CharlieH.

    CharlieH. One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,169
    Location:
    It used to be Detroit....
    Here are a few:

    http://www.walthers.com/exec/search...m=&keywords=&instock=Q&split=30&Submit=Search

    (Hey, they do have trolleys! Hadn't noticed that one)

    As for the cliff, here's something to get you started should you ever have the time (and proper gymnasium-sized room):

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v109/awnuts39/MountAlexander1small.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v109/awnuts39/MountAlexander2small.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v109/awnuts39/MountAlexander3small.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v109/awnuts39/MountAlexander4small.jpg

    That was written by the same fella that built that scene, and it's not as hard as it looks.
     

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