Personal Profile — Jerry Mersch
At the age of six Santa brought me my first Electric train. It was a Lionel 027 gauge. That Christmas evening I left the transformer on (and it burned out) and the day after Christmas the joy running my train was gone for many years. Around the age of twelve I began helping my father in his construction business and earned a little money, all of which I put to buying track, switches, a few cars and two engines and one of the large 4 throttle Lionel transformers. I proceeded to build a 12 by 20 foot layout in the attic of our home using 5 1/2" tongue and groove sheathing that my father would let me 'borrow' from his business. I was in heaven. I went to school two blocks from my home which allowed me to race home on my bike at lunchtime and get about 25 minutes of work time on my layout. As I progressed my Dad would bring anyone he could harness up those stairs to look at his 12 year old son's layout. He wasn't as fascinated with the layout as he was with the
wiring under it. He couldn't believe that a 12 year old knew where all those wires went. As I grew older the layout naturally went by the wayside and we moved.
After spending three years in the service and having had my interest aroused in electronics via my train experience I returned to school to get a B.S. in physics at Xavier University, in Cincinnati with graduate work in Mathematics. After marrying my wife Claire and "generously" providing her with five children I got the itch for trains again. I got my old lionel out and put together a layout for our son Steve that slid under his bed. That was the beginning on our son's (then 3 years old) total love for model railroading. (He is now 40 years old and in the process of developing a 20' x 30' layout (B&O) on the third floor of his recently built home in Concord, NC. (It doesn't take much to interest a young boy in model trains if you catch him at a young age). In between all of this and shortly after our move to Cary in 1969 I started my second layout, the Granite Gorge and Northern (HO). This is one of the more challenging layouts in one of the Atlas Layout publications. That we all enjoyed and expanded several times until we moved across Cary and dismantled the layout.
Now, several years later and into retirement and suffering with bad knees, I decided to have a total knee replacement. While spending much time in therapy and laying around I made the mistake of buying a copy of Model Railroader. That's all it took. In five month's time I have joined the NMRA and our local Division club, CPD13, and to my wife's frowns spent half of our annuity on model train STUFF. I've remodeled my garage into a back 13' x 12' room that I already have full of trains. I've named it the SomeWhereOutWest R.R (in HO). Everything is SP and UP and the use of DCC has been exciting. Below is a layout plan (developed with help of my son Steve) and some pictures of my progress