Lynn - "I've been around trains as far back as I can remember. My Dad was a machinist for the A.T. & Santa Fe. My Grandfather came from Canada in 1898 and worked for the railroad as the Head Gardener, back when each station had a rose garden and park. My Brothers also worked as firemen for a number of years while going to college.
My first train set was a MARX, my father took two sheets of plywood and made a large oval on the outside and a figure 8 in the middle.
When my son was old enough, his maternal grandfather (also a machinist for the Santa Fe) gave him his first train set. From there we took over a two car garage til we moved to the high desert. After a short time, I found the High Desert Model Railroad in Victorville. After a year or so I became the president of the club while learning track laying, scenery and other modeling skills. Due to the down turn around 15 yrs ago and the closing of the airbase, that club folded.
A few years ago I met Benny and the fine folks of the High Desert Modular Model Railroad Club. The rest is history. 2011 I was voted President of the club.
I model the X Southern Pacific, the 1970's and 80's Union Pacific & Rio Grande, the 1920's and 30's NorthernPacific and a mixture of the KCS (Kanas City Southern).
I'm currently working on a 12 foot module for the club based on the Monolith Cement Plant. It maybe next year before it's ready to be seen at shows. Included with the Monolift will be Sound, Action and Lights.
My home layout consists of a "Bent Dog Bone" or better know as a "L" with turn arounds at each end. With Jerome, Az. at one end and an 1880's mining town at the other end."
Sherry - When I was a small child my mother had a Lionel train set she put up each Christmas. I loved playing with that train and especially enjoyed pushing the button on the passenger station which made a train whistle.
Through the years I've ridden Amtrak Trains from Los Angeles to Washington state and to the East coast. I've gone through the Moffet Tunnel in Colorado several times, and smiled at the Amtrak salute, given by those on the winding Colorado River as the train passes. I've seen the small towns and big cities that make up this great USA from a sleeper car and a passenger car. I can honestly say that I love riding the train and can understand how people are drawn to the clickity-clack of the rails.
A few years ago, after my son had his two little boys, I thought it would be fun to have a train for them to play with. The idea grew until one day I saw in the paper an announcement that an HO model train club was at the local children's library.
I went to check it out. Benny and the guys were so friendly that I signed up right then and there. Everyone offered to help me build a module. They were fantastic. Within a year I had, not one, but two modules.
My modules consist of an old Western 1880's town called Rattlesnake Junction. There's a river and waterfall, a saloon with "ladies of the night," a cattle yard with cowboys branding cattle, a sheriffs office and sherriff, a photographer taking a photo of a dead bank robber, a snake oil salesman with his wagon, cowboys on and off horses, women and children, miners panning for gold, people waiting for a train, a pack train, a miner being hung for claim jumping and miners working in a mine. My trains are an HO old steam Denver & Rio Grande "Yellow Jacket" engine and rolling stock, a black version of the same train and two stationary Virginia and Truckee engines.
My hope is to create another module that includes a church and cemetery and sometime in the future a small layout at home so my grandsons can run trains. What started out as something for my grandson's has grown into a fun experience for my husband and I.
Sherry & her husband, Steve, joined HDMMRC in April 2007.
John B. - Here is my background in a nut shell:
I got my first train set when I was around seven years old. It was an American Flyer, which became 'S' Gauge. It had a 2-6-2 Prairie Steamer and six cars, all freight. At first I only had curved tracks but I saved my allowance for a year to get straight tracks. I played with that train until it just quit running. That was the last train set I had for a long time.
Then around the time that I got my train set, my family went up to Dalhart, Texas for Christmas. That area is so flat that nothing could stop the cold north winds from freezing you, in a heart beat. We stayed at my Uncle Paul's home and the next morning, I was able to go with my Uncle to his work, at the railroad yards only two blocks away. We made trains all day long with a 0-6-0 switcher. I was in my heaven. The next morning, I went with him to work and we wound up going to New Mexico to take a freight over to Tucumcari. We brought another freight back to Dalhart that afternoon. I got to handle the throttle and the horn both ways.
It was around the time that 'N' gauge became popular that I got a new train layout started. I bought several freight cars and three steam engines. The engines weren't very good. They kept burning up motors and I would have the local train store owner fix them with better motors. They would last a little longer but still didn't run very smoothly. I ended up with several complete trains of over forty cars or more and no passenger trains. I only had two good reliable steam engines and over twelve diesel engines. All of the track footage was on a 4' X 8' piece of plywood.
The next time I had any trains was in the Midwest in Indiana in the early '80s. I got into 'HO' and had a good 0-6-0 and a really good running 2-6-2 Prairie. It wouldn't pull more than ten cars, because it was so slippery. I eventually bought some diesel engines and had a lot of freight cars, again no passenger cars.
Now let's jump ahead to 1987. I am stationed at Edwards AFB and owning a home in Mojave. I met a guy by the name of Jan and he has a group of trains. He and several other guys had a train layout in the local neighborhood Movie Theatre Building. So again I got into model trains with some Southern Pacific engines and cars. I diversified into D&RGW and some BN. I modeled the now period for several years, until I got away from it for some years. I never got rid of what I wanted to keep but sold all the rest.
Then I saw an ad in the local newspaper about a train club meeting on the first Thursday of every month and decided to go to a meeting. I joined the club and the rest is history. I have been a club member for some years now and have eight modules for a total footage of 32 feet. My modules have been used as the main yard in two shows so far. Love it!!
Brian Z. - I got my first interest in trains upon waking up and seeing my older brothers' Lionel trains running on our small layout under the Christmas tree while growing up in New Jersey. They had both steam and diesel with some pretty neat accessories which were all a part of Christmas. The lights and sounds of Lionel trains were always very impressive and still very much are to me.
While growing up in NJ my father, brothers, and I built a 4' x 8' HO layout which we had in our basement (don't we wish we had more of those in Southern California!!). On it we ran all kinds of HO trains including those made by AHM, Tyco, and Lionel. Playing with the train layout in the basement was a lot of fun during those cold winter months whether it was the Christmas season or anytime home from school. Then, it was the Christmas when I was 10 that I received my very own train set. It was a Tyco HO old timer set with the 1890s 4-6-0 steamer. On that same Christmas day my older brothers handed over all of their HO trains as their Christmas gift to me. Man, all of that made one great Christmas! In fact, I still own most of those trains from 10 years old and some have, after getting their coupler and wheel replacement, been running on our HDMMRC layouts.
During those childhood days my friends and I also had a lot of fun hanging out by the tracks of a NJ short line railroad, the Rahway Valley, and watching the passing freight trains carrying their goods to the connecting tracks of the Jersey Central and Lehigh Valley railroads.
Well, the HO basement layout didn't make it when we moved to Houston, Texas when I was 11. I remember my dad having to give the layout away to a neighbor across the street. However, the train bug did continue as I set up small temporary HO trains layouts on our ping pong table during my teenage years in Texas.
Over the years I continued to build and run model trains with a high interest in military trains that continues to this day. Military trains combine two hobbies into one, that being model railroading with military modeling which is another hobby that was a part of my childhood. Another childhood tradition that carries on to this day for me is the setting up of a Lionel Christmas layout around our tree, and now for our three children to enjoy. So, that family tradition is continuing.
In early 2005 I was in Smith Brothers Hobbies in Lancaster and heard of a local HO modular club forming up and so I joined. The HDMMRC is a super club with a terrific bunch of fellow model railroaders and friends. Currently, I'm up to 16' of modules comprising a representation of the California Desert Training Center circa 1942 on one module set and a modern airfield with airshow replicating the Chino Planes of Fame Air Museum on the other module set. And, most important to me is that I am now especially enjoying the hobby with my son Christopher. That part is GREAT!!!
Benny - I first got into trains in 2004 when someone had given me a train set in exchange for some work I did for them. It set in my garage for around 6 months before I got around to looking at it.
I started going to a local hobby shop to see how to get this train set going. So I built my first 4 x 8 expanding to and additional 1 foot by 12 foot looping around the inside of the garage.
I was getting more parts from the hobby shop for my set up and that's when I met Gordon, the president of the club at that time. And he invited me to join the club. I always knew I had talent, but didn't know how much. Prior I had built Airplanes and ships from both kits and "scratch".
My first module wasn't even a module by club standards. It was 4 ft by 10 inch bridge. After that my "Scratch" building took off.
I have won awards for a stand alone diorama and one of my first modules, a Trestle bridge at the San Diego 2006 PSR convention.
After getting started with the club I learned a lot about all the MNRA standards and what was needed to make a module. Being Me, I wanted to build something different. Not like the others. I started building different bridges and sea ports. I like what I do as far as building modules as a past time and it helps me unwind/relax.
I also like helping others with the building of modules and scenery. I have people tell me that the scenery that I learned in a few years, is better than those that have been doing it a lifetime. I hope to being doing more for myself and my friends in the future.
My real interest is with the introduction of model trains and working with my son Eddie
I'm the past president of the club, 2010, 2007 & 2008. And Vice President for 2009.
My name is Sue, and i received a note from one of our Train Club members that you were looking
for stories on "First ride on a Train" . Well i cant remember my very first time i was only 3 weeks old.
I was born in Riverside, Ca and my mother wanted to go home to Charleston, WV so i guess you can say it started when i was very little. My Grandfather was an Engineer for the C&O rail back home, and my Uncle Tommy was a brakeman for the B&O (ohio).. and the same for my father's side, people working for the railroad was a way of life...back then.. but you cant imagine when you approach that big steam engine, the whistle blowing that this big beast is actually going to move--!!! It blows me away how our ancestors made this happen from digging and laying down the track to building these magnificent machines-- traveling across our Country...
There is something about a hobby store that has a train all set up with buildings and mountains faboulse scenery the hours of work a person put into this.. or you are sitting in a restaurant not from Knottsberry farm and there is a train that is wrapped around the dinning room... how do they do that? And you never skip a train ride at any amusement park... i guess you can say its apart of my heritage.
So about 18 months ago my Husband and I went to California City, where there was a HO scale club
putting on an event, we went and we were hooked! My husband grew up with his father working on the G scale so he was familiar on how to get started.. but this club is different, they make their own Modular's. Every scene is different..!! We attended their monthly meeting, got to know the group, very supportive, and knowledgeable, ...in the scenery, electrical, everything very easy to talk with... but if you only want to play with your trains that's cool too.. not everyone has to make a modular, but everyone helps setting up and tearing down at the end of the event.
Its like the big grown-ups still get to play with their trains.. and we share with the children, watch their eyes light up when they see the trains and hear the whistle blow.. and their are a few women getting into the clubs!
its a great way to meet people who have similar interests and stories to share.. Hey even Rod Stewart is hooked!
Come see us (HDMMRC) High Desert Modular Model Railroad Club at our next event!