Old Hobby Renewed

When I was a teenager I got into model trains. My dad loves model trains as well, so he helped my build a layout that took up half of my room. Then I grew up, got married, and fell in love with computers.

Well, my Dad and I recently got back into model trains! I had kind-of started it up again (put up a fairly simple oval track in my room). Then at Christmas time we both got model trains, and that was the end. We spent the vast majority of the holidays clearing out dad’s storage room and putting up a new train table (my teenage one has long since been destroyed).

Here is the result:

Dad is still working on tweaks to make it run better–it’s amazing how easy it is to get bumps and dips in the track, or to get it uneven. For example, the bottom-right corner (in the picture) leaned rather severely to the outside, so that we were rather concerned that a train going to fast would tip right off the table….

(Oh… yeah, that is Thomas on the track… We got that for the grand-kids and were showing it to them when these pictures were taken).

In addition to track, I’ve been working on the trains and cars. The train I got at Christmas was actually a very old kit that I got on E-Bay. It is a model of The General (made by Mantua, FYI), which was the train that Union spies commandeered in the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War.

As you can see, it’s a fairly classy train. I still have a ways to go. It does run, but not as well as it could–the motor is actually in the tender, and a rubber tube connects the motor in the tender with the gears and wheels in the engine. The rubber was too stiff, so I replaced it with a piece of silicon tubing, but there are some more tweaks to be made.. I want to get that done before I add the headlight, bell, whistle, and handrails. I’ll also need to touch up the gold trim, as I was too impatient to get it put together to let it dry thoroughly…

Here is what it looked like when I got it:

And my awesome Old-Timer freight set (particularly the Hershey’s box car)…

The other train that I am exceptionally proud of is The Challenger, which I got as a birthday present as a teenager. We got that up and running as well:

Fortunately, this one wasn’t a kit…