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George Thomas

(Left) In the cab of a Maine two-footer, and (Rigth) next to Goose 7 in Golden, Colorado

My love of trains goes all the way back to the 1940s. When I was four years old I chose to purchase a train book, TOODLE, over a toy car with my weekís allowance. Each year our familyís American Flyer layout was an important part of Christmas. These were eventually replaced by my own HO trains, and later with HOn3 as I was drawn to the quaintness of narrow gauge in my high school and college years.

Then I got married, started my teaching career, helped raise two daughters, went camping, canoeing, and backpacking, etc. The only trains during those years were my daughtersí HO Märklin ones in their playroom.

Years later, the little LGB Stainz locomotive caught my eye. In December 1993 I bought a starter set to run around our Christmas tree. It still does, and that introduction to large scale model railroading led to many more purchases as my 1:20n36 Lazy Acre RR took shape down in my basement. But space is a major consideration for indoor large scale layouts, so when Bachmann announced their On30 T-boiler Shay ~ the type of Shay Iíve always wanted ~ I got to thinking about how much more practical 1:48 scale would be for me. It would be big enough for a person my age to see, yet small enough to fit a lot of action on a long shelf layout. You see, I wonít have a big basement after my next move to Medford Leas, a retirement community in New Jersey.

In August 2002 I saw several models and talked with some On30 Conspiracy members at the 4L Log Jam in Tennessee. I was hooked! So I bought a Bachmann 0-4-0 Porter and a flat car and started to play around. More locos and rolling stock were slowly added, along with a bunch of O scale people. The transition to On30 is going slowly as I sell off my 1:20n36 stuff and redo my layout, but itís happening, and Iím having more fun than ever.

I live in New Jersey and teach 4th grade. My summers are spent instructing a few math workshops for elementary teachers in various parts of the country, but there is also plenty of time for trips with my wife. Many of these trips are to Colorado to visit our daughter and granddaughter ~ others take me to great railroad sites such as the Durango & Silverton in Colorado and the Maine two-footers. Iíve participated in three of the WW&Fís work weekends in Wiscasset, Maine, and Iíve also attended several Logging Modelerís Conventions in such places as Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. These conventions are where I get to see my logging railroad buddies, such as the infamous ďBethlehem Four.Ē Click on the picture to learn more about them.

I enjoy the challenge and fun of model railroading. An extra bonus has been all the railroading friends Iíve made locally, on the Internet, and at conventions. It is a wonderful hobby.
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