Like many youngsters raised in the pre/post WWII era, trains have been a part of my life. As a child I
remember waking early on a winter morning to excitedly wait for my father to drive us to my
grandmother's house so she could take my sister, our cousins and me to the train station to catch the
morning Illinois Central train "The Hawkeye" from Rockford to Chicago. We spent the day visiting
Marshall Field's department store shopping for Christmas, riding ALL the escalators, having lunch and
then taking a taxi to the station to catch the evening train "The Land of Corn" back to Rockford.
These weren't the days of the high speed commuter trains, but the "rattley" old steam trains of the
40's. This "tradition" was a wonderful experience for "us kids". I can remember visiting the Museum
of Science and Industry in Chicago and standing on the balcony overlooking the "O" gauge trains
running on that magnificent layout.
HO rolling stock consists of a 9 car Daylight passenger train pulled by a brass GS-4 #4438 or an
Alco Daylight PA-1 and PB-1, a Union Pacific ABBA F7's pulling 25 Fruit Growers Express 40 ft
reefers, a Milwaukee Road combination stock, reefer and miscellaneous other freight cars pulled
by 2 U30C's, an SD40 and a dummy GP7. Joining these big road trains is a 2-4-2 Santa Fe 5 car
Milwaukee Road U30C's coming through a cut.
Milwaukee Road U30C and UP F7 ABBA
in the yard.
SP 9 Car Passenger Daylight combo with
powered PA-PB1 and GS4 #4438
GS4 #4438 pulling 9 Car Passenger Daylight across
the huge trestle on the way to "High Pass" on the
SDMRR Club layout.
Many years passed without being part of the hobby. A year of missionary service in Belgium allowed a
lot of travel on the wonderful European rail system. During a 2 year missionary assignment with Food
for the Hungry in Uganda and Kenya, I rode the train from Niarobi to Mombasa, Kenya. That was a
"REAL???" experience. The ride was wonderful, through beautful scenery filled with elephants,
giraffe, other wildlife and views that only Africa has. However, the train itself (by US and European
standards) was something else. The food was very good but the train was old, not too clean, the
restroom was a hole in the floor of the coach and it was noisy. But I really wouldn't trade the ride for
anything. On the way down the escarpment (high bluffs) in Maasai country of Eastern Kenya , there is
a loop where the train does a 360 over/under itself. The train wasn't long enough to pass over/under
itself but the passing trestle was visible on the trip. This rail route has history dating back to the events
recorded in the book "Lunatic Express" and the movie "Ghost and the Darkness" starring Michael
A move to San Diego and a meeting in late 1999 of an "old-time" (90 year old) member of the San
Diego Model RR Club re-introduced me to model railroading. In May 2000, he invited me to visit the
HO layout at the San Diego Model RR Museum and "run trains" with him. The "bug" bit again. (I
still have the wounds on my ankle.) Long story short, I acquired some HO rolling stock, joined the
SDMRRC and became part of the volunteer "train crew" at the museum.
When you're in San Diego, visit the museum!!!! It's a real experience.
Model railroading came into being for me with
an American Flyer "Train Set" in the late 40's
and early 50's as shown in the photo on the
right. The "S" gauge gave way to HO during
the junior high school because of limited space.
Graduation from high school, a military tour,
marriage and family saw the hobby placed on
the "back burner" only to be remembered
occasionally. During my children's growing
years, a small "N" gauge layout was built. The
children had great fun with the layout as the
track was just the right size to roll marbles on.
We still have a big laugh over that.
index | Station | History | Construction1 | Trestles and Bridges | Passenger Equip | Driveway Track | Tech Tips | Mine and
Mine Train | Holiday Train | Trains in the Snow | Rail Links | Locomotives | Other Tech Tips | Battery Conversion | Snowplow
LED | Rolling Stock | Kitbashin' | Amtrak Trip Slide Show | Kitbashin' 2 | Trains R Fun for Kids | The Village | Mountains and
Tunnels | Back Country | The Rodeo Arena | The Hillside Depot | Images of Other Garden RRs | Map of Layout | map |
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