Why Trains and the Railroad?

When someone asks you, “Why do you like trains so much?”, it’s usually followed up by, “isn’t that for kids?” or, “Aren’t you too old for that?” Maybe. Maybe not. I want to know why there has to be an age limit on some hobbies and interests.

A short background story, I got into this hobby when I was 8 years old. And honestly, it may have been before then, but I’m getting old and can’t remember that far back. What day is it? Anyhow, my interest started with a Bachmann train set at Christmas. I have family, including myself, who worked for the railroad. I’ve always been interested in mechanical things, and things with engines, some with or without wheels. Trains, cars, airplanes, and a few ships. I was that kid that was tearing apart RC cars, toys and old broken tools just to see how they work. Because of this fascination, part of my working life i was an auto mechanic and still tear down and rebuild cars as a hobby.

Back to the subject at hand, growing up it was never really acceptable to anyone, other than my family and closest friends, to be interested in trains. And tell a potential girlfriend about my love for the railroad? Forget about it! It would have been a very lonely time in my teens and early 20’s! But, luckily for me, the give a crap part of my brain went away and i jumped back in with both feet around age 24. I wasn’t going to be very happy in life trying to please everyone else.

The railroad is in my blood, and it would probably take an act of God to take that out of me.

But, why trains and the railroad? I guess it has to do with a multitude of factors. Like the sheer power that some of these locomotives produce to move a train that’s a mile or two long. There’s something romantic about seeing at a set of rails going off into the distance and wondering where they go, or a freight or passenger car going by and wonder where it’s been and who’s on it.

I also love this hobby because it uses, and helps you develop, so many skills! Carpentry when you build your bench work or shelf. Electrical when you lay your track and add power, or wire up lights and signals. Painting and model building as you create a small town, or build your first piece of rolling stock, if you got a kit. Scenery when you start to add the final touches to bring your miniature world to life. Photography when you want to take photos to share that show off your work, or as you take photos of the prototype for your next project.

So, what brings you to the hobby? Was it a family member that worked for the railroad? Did you wake up to a train set under the Christmas tree? Or did you gravitate to the hobby on your own? Share your story in the comments below, or in the post on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/notch8media.

Happy railroading!

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