Since I was a little boy of 11 in 1954, I have been crazy about trains. This was a big disappointment to my father who had been a pioneer pilot. He was encouraging though and brought me home a magazine called Model Railroader one Sunday in early 1954 when I had been sick in bed. The rest is history. Suffice it to say when the other kids were playing basketball and football, I was home building trains. I took every cent I could lay my hands and walked miles to the hobby shop to get my latest acquisition. This lasted until I was a teenager and discovered girls. It lay dormant for a brief time until I married. But it never left for long.
Once married, the responsibilities that go with marriage kept me from fully indulging myself in my hobby. I would save for months to be able to afford a trip to All Nation. I was worth it for my goodies would keep me busy for several days. Somewhere during this time I discovered rivets and began to count them. I even went so far as to sell my HO and went to "O" scale so I could count rivets better. During this time I worked at National Accelerator Laboratory (Now FermiLab) I discovered I wasn't an ugly duckling for lo and behold I found other train lovers. This made it worse because they introduced me to Car and Locomotive Encyclopedias. Now I knew how many rivets there should be.
As luck would have it I still could get to the point of starting a layout. I did design and build prototypes for throttles and detectors and other stuff like that. My newly acquired wife was very supportive and tried to convince me to sell copies of the design through MR and RMC magazines. Me being the eternal pessimist said it wouldn't work.
As time went on my career blossomed and I found myself in high pressure jobs with little time for anything except a run through O'Hare terminal and catch a plane to somewhere, usually the east coast or Canada. The trains sat on the side with dust collecting on them. Finally with some encouragement from my wife, I decided to remodel the house and add a room in the attic for my trains. This took a few years to achieve with all the travel.
The jobs came and went the years rolled by and periodically I would be able to have a fling with the trains but I never got to building a layout. If it wasn't money it was space. The kids grew and needed more space, then while working in Chicago's Loop, I had a break. We couldn't use Company cars so we got a walking allowance. I met a great guy named Tasker who took me to a train show in Wheaton, Illinois. There I found not only trains but made many friends who have enriched my life to this day. That was it, once a month I would go and haggle with other train lovers over the price of their goodies. I acquired, and I acquired and I acquired etc. You get the idea.
Finally with the attic done and a stable but chaotic job locally, I proceeded to move my precious trains to the attic. (My wife loved getting them out of every nook and cranny of the house)
Needless to say all did not go well from that time on. The house caught fire and burned, the only good news was that no one was seriously injured and I had so many trains in the attic that the fire couldn't get enough air to burn them but the heat got through enough to melt a lot of them. I still have enough passenger cars kits left to recreate in miniature the Broadway Limited and maybe a couple more of my favorite trains.
To make a long story shorter we moved and I finally got a 2' X 8' layout partially built. Eventually it will be a 9' X 14' around the wall multilevel, mini PRR. That's right you heard me Tuscan Red and Brunswick Green. The Great Broadway and all.
This is not......