When I was a boy, my parents gave me a Lionel train set for Christmas. This was the old 3-rail type with a steam locomotive and tender, gondola, boxcar and caboose. (It may also have a tank car, but I can’t remember for sure and the set is now in storage.) There were drops or tablets that you could put in the smoke stack and the locomotive would then produce “smoke” as the train ran around the track. I only had enough track to make a loop, no switches. Being a boy, I spent my time running the train as fast as it would go trying to get it to jump the rails in the curves. That train set is now showing the abuse I gave it. Some of the couplers were broken and are now glued in the closed position. One corner of the locomotive “roof” was broken off also. But last I checked, it still runs!
In my teens (1970’s), I began reading Model Railroading Magazine and decided I wanted to build a “real” model railroad like I saw in the magazines. The problem was there wasn’t any spare room, let alone a basement, in my parent’s house and I wasn’t aware of the idea of a shelf-layout at the time. I finally convinced my parents to let me build a layout in the garage. This would be a HO layout following a track plan I had seen in one of the magazines. It would be suspended from the ceiling using ropes and a pulley system. This would allow it to be pulled up to allow parking the car in the garage and lowered to run the trains. I got as far as building the and roadbed, using the “cookie-cutter” method. One of my friends has also began to purchase some locomotives and rolling stock along with some structure kits. There was no pre-planning and thing were bought based on what was in the hobby shop and caught our eye. The layout never got any further and was eventually dismantled. I can’t remember the exact model of locomotive, but it was an Atlas EMD GP in Union Pacific livery. Even then, I had planned on modeling the modern era. I had no interest in steam or transition era modeling. I kept that locomotive until July of 2014 when I donated it to a local club just before we moved from Texas to North Dakota.
Time moves on and I still haven’t built a layout. I’ve started planning on several different occasions but have never gotten past the design phase. No construction and no purchases.
Hopefully in 2015 this will change. I’ve become inspired by Lance Mindheim’s books and website and I am looking forward to building a shelf-layout of my own. When I get settled on a name and location for my railroad I plan on creating a website for that. In the meantime, I’ll post my thoughts and progress here.