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Densha

How did you get into (model) trains?

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Densha

A post in another topic made me think that it could be interesting to talk about how we got into this hobby.

 

My story:

My late grandfather I never knew (he died before I was born) was interested in prototype railways and also had some model trains. While my father didn't care about trains at all, strangely enough I did though! It all started with toy trains since I was little and eventually it developed into what it is now.

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Claude_Dreyfus

As with many of us, it was paternal influence that lead me down the slippery slope of model railways. He was interested in German N gauge, with a move to H0 later in his life.

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gr-ex

Great idea for a thread Densha.

 

Following the trend, I was introduced to 'all things train' by my Dad when I was very young.

 

It started with British 00 ( which I'm still very fond of, in particular GWR ), and shortly after branched off into Japanese N.

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cteno4

I grew up on my fathers research ship and it was docked in an old industrial area so got to watch rr cars being moved around all the time and freights going thru. I could watch them for hours and the guys would sometimes let me ride on the caboose for a couple of hundred yards. I would crawl and climb over the parked cars, they were like a big jingle gym to me. In the summers I would visit my grandparents in Pennsylvania and could watch a lot of trains and could see the GG1s quite a bit, beautiful things to watch and huge!

 

For models me it was a close friend of the family (uncle ken) that had a huge marklin HO layout that I got to play with when very young. They lived on the east coast and we were living on the west coast so only got to visit sporadically. But I realized early on when I grew up I wanted to have an empire like uncle kens.

 

A bit later a good friend of my folks in California had a great collection of Lionel and tin toy trains. No layout except the loop around the Xmas tree (and they were uber into Xmas). I would look at all the detail on his really nice pieces for long periods. He use to haunt garage sales looking for train finds. When I was about 11 he came across a big box on N scale track and cars and a couple of old engines. He picked it up for $5 and gave it to me. Well that was the start of model rr for me! This was the early 70s and N scale was just beginning to become something. My best friend lived two houses away and it sucked him in as well and we both launched layouts (based on the old classic atlas track plan book!) and spent every spare moment down at a large toy store we could walk to that just opened a big model train department. There were like 6 glass cases with those rotating/conveyor shelved filled with n scale cars and engines. Every time we scraped together a couple of bucks we would run down and get another car or a couple pieces of flex track! Engines waited until birthdays and Xmas. We stuck with it until mid high school when there was too much competition with other things in life. I came back to the hobby the like 20 years ago in us freight, then switched to japanese about 15 years ago.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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POMU

My father bought a Lionel train set with a "Lot" of accessories.  Told my mom he was buying for me but we both knew he bought it for himself.  Not a problem, enjoyed the Christmas layout every year.  When we moved to SW Philly after my father passed away, I found myself with 2 incredible opportunities.  First was that the GE plant was in my backyard and I would go there every day to watch the switching operations and see the GG1's passing by on the corridor.  Second was my Grandpop who worked for, and retired from the J G Brill company was still alive and had "Free Reign" over the entire Philadelphia Traction and Trolley system.  That was a special time since he and I went everywhere by Trolley and MOW equipment.  Caught the N Scale Japanese "bug" from Rich K, Jeff, and the JRM group in 2010 and haven't looked back since. 

POMU

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railsquid

My parents bought me a trainset (a Lima H0 nominally British set) for Christmas or my birthday when I was about 3, and followed up with further additions in subsequent years, which got me hooked and also in to real trains. By my mid-teens I'd build a baseboard around the edges of my room, which turned out to be a bit over-ambitious for my skills and resources, and following a house move I gave it up; the stock has languished in boxes for the last 25 years or so (but followed me around the world), but I'd given up any hope of ever doing anything with it again. My fondness for real trains has however remained. Anyway a couple of months ago I wandered into a model shop in Akihabara while looking for computer parts, happened to find a single car from my local line in the junk pile which I thought might be neat to put on a shelf, and the rest as they say is history.

 

I did once consider converting to N-gauge when I was younger, but apart from the cost, the models simply weren't all that good back then.

Edited by railsquid
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HantuBlauLOL

my father bought me a Tomix EF81-300 and NR track set when he was in Japan on 2005..

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JR 500系

Good topic Densha!

 

Mine was totally different.

 

My child-hood was, well, kinda bad, so we didn't have much toys and I lost my dad young. To cut the story short, I had always loved Japan and its culture, even before I loved trains. The Gundam and various animation and drama made me love Japan so much, and when I discovered my love for train when I was into Lego, I knew I had to get something Japanese train.

 

And indeed I did... It all started when I chanced upon my first Tomix train, which was the 800 series Tsubame, selling on local ebay. I bought that, and it didn't stop since! The N scale hobby of combining both my loves; the love for Japan and the love for Trains, beautifully together and I loved this hobby so much!

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Keikyu

My grandad had an N Scale layout. Unfortunately at the time he was going to move and couldn't take it, I wasn't interested in trains.

 

When I started getting unemployment money, I figured "Hey, I can actually buy my own trains now." Then when I started working I had more money to spend. My first model trains were B-Trains, an Odakyu 1000 I think. Then I got the Blue Train Tomix starter set and so forth.

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marknewton

JR500, sorry to hear about your childhood, but I hope that things are better for you now.

 

All of your stories are interesting to read. I'm at work right now, and typing on an iPad, which is a mongrel of a thing, so I'll wait until I'm home and on the desktop machine to tell my tale.

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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Nick_Burman

I got it through my father, who in turn got the bug in WWII Edinburgh, watching A class Pacifics struggle out of Princes Street station with war-swollen trainloads while being pushed around the Botanical Gardens in a push-chair (where he literally caught another "bug" - a passion for entomology and biology). When he returned to Leeds after the war he became the usual railfan - "bunking" sheds, catching trains to see sheds in other towns, the works. Trains took a back seat to school and university and it only sort of came back when he came to Brazil in 1964.

 

In my case, when I was 5 I turned to my father and said that I wanted to go out. He must have wondered "where am I'm going to take this kid", then he plumped for Estação da Luz, one of São Paulo's 3 main stations. We hopped onto a bus and off we went, arriving there at the moment an empty ore train was passing through. The noise of the gondolas rocking through the points and echoing across the train shed got me hooked on the spot! I then asked for a model train for Christmas and was given the Brazilian iteration of Tomy's "SuperRail" - complete with a D51. Later the following year I asked "daddy I want a FEPASA (São Paulo State Railways) train"...and was gifted with my first Frateschi HO set. The rest is history.

 

 

 

Cheers NB

Edited by Nick_Burman

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The Next Station Is...

My earliest memory is of getting a Tomy train set when I was three years old and I really think that set me up for life.

 

From about 8 years old to my early teens I enjoyed a few Hormby trains and a set, as well as reading Railway Modeller, but at that age it's difficult to get seriously into the hobby without much the necessary funding!

 

Going into my teenage years I drifted away from trains into being a teenager - and crucially exposed to anime and manga, both thanks to a certain global phenomenon and a friend that had tons of the stuff.

 

I've never lost interest in Japan since and it's constantly grown new facets of interest. In 2005 I came across Kato's 500 series Shinkansen model on eBay and was instantly blown away by it's futuristic design - enough to persuade me to buy it (now in employment, funding available!) and get me back into the hobby.

 

It was on and off for the early years but in the last three years I've paid a lot more attention to model trains, and I can't see me giving up any time soon!

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Mudkip Orange

My folks got me a Tyco HO set for my 7th birthday, with a Chattanooga 2-8-0.

 

However I had Brio before that, and I'm pretty sure I was playing with the Brio displays in toy stores before I had track at home.

 

So pretty much, I've been a train guy since I first had the motor skills to pick them up.

Edited by Mudkip Orange

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kvp

For me, my father bought a TT set for my 2nd Christmas. (or secretly for himself) I still have that train, very battered but operational. When i was little, i even had a Berliner TT Bahn layout mat on a board with 5 trains. This layout got accidentally destoyed during a house renovation, but i still have the trains, but without tracks. I've even wired that layout to automatic operation by studying the wirings in an instruction book when i was around 10. (used a bunch of bipolar dpdt relays and bimetal timer blocks and only got nearly electrocuted once) Then i stopped playing with trains when i was a teenager and restarted much later when i recognised that i played mmo-s too much and remembered how much better were model trains as a hobby. Between the two events, i remained a railfan, but mostly cared about 1:1 trains all over the world.

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JR 500系

JR500, sorry to hear about your childhood, but I hope that things are better for you now.

 

Mark.

 

Thanks Mark. Yap everything's better now that I've gotten a really good wife that is my sole soul mate. My family is bad, and while I didn't physically lose my father but rather he left us for another woman when I was young and I had to grow up pretty roughly. Gotta thank all those hardship training though ~~

 

Guess a lot of guys here pick up the hobby from their paternal instincts, would anyone have gotten it from a maternal point of view? That would be interesting! :)

 

Oh yah, how could I forget... This baby will definitely get the train bug from the maternal point of view:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdBifYRErao

 

I'm SURE my kid will get it from the paternal instinct!  :)

Edited by JR500 のぞみ
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E6系

My parents gave me a Hornby OO train set in the 1970's.  My father brought it back from the UK, where he had been working on a major engineering project. It was a set with several wagons and an 0-6-0 LMS tank.  I immediately fell in love with it.  But I never liked the Hornby coupler and, having only seen large black steam engines in real, I began to think that the little 0-6-0 was not a real engine at all.  Over the next few years I acquired 3 more engines, including a Princess Royal with three coaches and the little tank got put aside.

 

Then, in high school, a class mate came to play and laughed at the Hornby couplers.  When I went to his house and saw his layout I was impressed with the coupling system that was more realistic than Hornby.  Girls, university, and setting up my own home meant that I didn't look at model trains again until 2010.  I wanted to rejuvenate my old Hornby engines, but 25 years of storage was too unkind.  I looked online and discovered that Hornby still use the same crazy D coupler.  Why?

 

Finally, with space being an issue, I bit the bullet and went for Japanese contemporary trains.  For some reason, I have never really taken to Japanese steam.  I think the British do it better, but 20th century Japanese trains are awesome.  I began with collecting trains I had ridden on as a kid: 113系, 115系, 183系, 583系, 0系, and subway cars of the day.  Things went down hill from there.  I now have around 140 consists.  I have a layout in the making, but progress is slow.

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Sean

Great to read all these stories!

 

My dad was (and still is) a model railroad fan so I got it from him.  He is a retired army officer and back in the 80s when I was a kid we lived in West Germany for 4 years.  During that time we put together a German N-scale layout (well, he did most of the work but I got to build some of the simpler model kits, etc), which was loads of fun and got me hooked for life. 

 

We brought the layout back home (Canada) with us when we left Germany in 1989, but it went into storage shortly thereafter and remained boxed up for about 20 years or so.  Then a couple of years ago my dad cleared some space in their garage and set to work on re-building it.  A layout that has spent that long in storage (and been through a few moves) needs a lot of work, but he has gotten it looking almost like it did back in 1989.  Him re-discovering the old German layout has actually spurred me to work a lot more on my Japanese one as it is a lot of fun to update each other on our progress (I always send him the link to my layout`s thread on here when I add new photos and he sends me pics too). 

 

I hope my son likes trains, because one day my layout and my dad`s German layout will probably be his.  Actually if he does I might have to get a much bigger place so we`ll have room to build a third layout together.  It is, after all, not so much having a layout as it is building a layout that inspires enthusiasm in this hobby of ours.

Edited by Sean
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railsquid

Finally, with space being an issue, I bit the bullet

 

So that explains the teethmarks on your 0系 ;)

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HantuBlauLOL

Thanks Mark. Yap everything's better now that I've gotten a really good wife that is my sole soul mate. My family is bad, and while I didn't physically lose my father but rather he left us for another woman when I was young and I had to grow up pretty roughly. Gotta thank all those hardship training though ~~

 

whoa.. sounds bad for a childhood, sorry to hear that..

 

anyway i like that bolded sentence :D

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cteno4

yes always great to take some good out of the bad, so many just take away bad from it unfortunately. some of the strongest lessons we learn, unfortunately, are from the harder times, but if you use it to make you stronger and better the whole world is a little better place.

 

jeff

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beakaboy

I remember pushing plastic steam train around a plastic track at about 3yrs(very early attempt at Tomy ,but more primitive)got a battery operated remote control steam train with a power cord attached for Christmas when I was 5yrs. Dad got tired of replacing the batteries every day and eventually hid it for a while. We used to visit the local railway station as a family to watch the steam trains heading to restoration sites in steam or being towed. I was about 5yrs for first visit and I remember getting to stand in cab and being frightened , but excited by the hiss of steam , whistle, and the sounds from the boiler. My older brother started a large OO layout with Triang and Hornby as well as a rubber band drive F7? American loco which couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding. I was about 8yrs at the time and would watch and sometimes help. Eventually, he went away from home to study and dismantled the setup. Sold and gave away most of the locos and rolling stock to my uncle. When I was about 12yrs we had a visit from my dads oldest brother. The 3 brothers lost their mum when they were quite young and their dad could not support them , so they were taken in by foster families and separated. The last time they had caught up was 15yrs previous. I found out he was a Locomotive engineer for New Zealand Railways and had gone through the early years on steam and then moved into the early diesels which were English imports. he must have been impressed with my interest in railways as a month or so later he sent me a set of engineer bib overalls and a jacket as well as an engineers hat.Still use the hat when operating at local shows. Our family moved to the city of Auckland and I got my first full time job working at a Woolworths Variety shop in a mall. There was a toy shop in the mall and I discovered Bachmann N scale for the first time.That was all they stocked . ended up using Layby frequently to purchase various locos,wagons and track,etc . I then discovered another model shop close by which stocked early Atlas and Rivarossi. Started building a C shaped layout in my dads shed, but after numerous problems with quality of Atlas points and derailing, I dismantled this layout and didn't get back to the hobby until I had met my wife about 6yrs later. Various attempts were made to build layouts mostly in American prototype and I remember getting my first Kato loco (GP38-2) on a holiday to Australia in Brisbane. This was at the time of the Expo. I was amazed at the monorail they had operating. In 1985-6?my wife and I made a trip to Hong Kong and Japan I had always been interested in the culture and of course the Shinkansen. Rode on 2 or 3 Shinkansen as well as numerous other trains, but my collection of photos contains only a few shots of railway items. Camera film was quite expensive to develop in NZ and I had been given instructions not to waste shots on trains, by my wife. Joined a local model Railway club and started dabbling in HO American , but still had a small collection of N scale. Collected some N scale Japanese freight rolling stock second-hand from shows and my collection developed from then on. My 3 grown sons call me the train Nerd and have shown no interest thus far. Wait till they have kids!!!

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NJHA

For me its a funny story. 

 

My older brother had a passion for trains, he used to go around the house seated on a chair or something he could drag around,chugging and saying he was the conductor. So my father bought him a train (the orient express from jouef, a french brand). 

I loved to see him play, and also liked to play but was I too young, so to stop me from playing with the train my brother took the track connectors away, and sadly he lost them. So the train was stored.

As an adult i was looking at stuff at my fathers attic and found the train e tried to "revive" it. But i was a student and railway modeling in Portugal is considered an elite hobby (a.k.a expensive) so i had no financial way to set the train up again, so to storage it went once again.

After moving to my current house i decided to setup a layout, and started doing it, but then came to conclusion that H0 was too big. So on i went searching for a solution and one goggle search brought me to this forum.  

The rest, is the same as everyone, but my addiction is still on early ages, mainly due to financial constraints. 

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Davo Dentetsu

Genuinely it was a case of becoming fed up of running mediocre slot cars in racing which drove me to a less competitive hobby.  Mind you, now it's competition on who has the most.  I'm still losing that one...

So that and also a real need to do something.  Had very little to do at the time, so collecting was a good thing.  First love was of course the 1980s/privatisation Scottish OO stuff, which I still have.  As my need for things to do increased, started watching anime, read manga and just started becoming more curious about the country in general.  Later found shop stock of N gauge Tomix and MicroAce at a very reasonable price, so had a gamble on it.  The Hokutosei EF81 was my very first foray into the whole thing, so have tended to be sleeper train and container wagon specific in my collection.

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Martijn Meerts

In short, I grew up with them.

 

Longer version: I grew up with them, my father already had a layout before I was born.

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cteno4

Martijn,

 

I bet your dad had your mom put her belly up against the layout when you were in utero so you could be lulled by the clickety clack of the trains! Explains a lot!

 

Jeff

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