Greetings from the West Side of Chicago!

Eilif Nov 13, 2017

  1. Eilif

    Eilif New Member

    Hello folks,
    After dabbling in railroading as a kid in the 80's, I'm now about to get back into it with my son. I'm pretty much learning from scratch, but I'm hopefull that I'll be able to learn alot from you all. We'll be going with HO scale as that's the scale my son chose. It also happens to be the scale that I might still have a fair amount of stuff from my childhood squirrled away at my parents house. I've also got quite a bit of rolling stock and starter set engines here now from various resale shop hauls.

    We're lucky to have a bit of space in the attic and last week I purchased an 8x5 table that I think will be big enough for a layout with a 22" inner loop, 26'ish outer loop and various sidings that should allow the running of two trains at once with space for a few industries and such.

    Been asking around and it seems like here in the Chicago area there are a fair number of train clubs to visit and shows to attend also. Here on the west side of Chicago, We're spitting distance from the BNSF Cicero Intermodal and not far from several other large yards, so when the weather is a bit warmer there will definitely be some

    Below is the table we'll be working with (pics from the original ad) that I picked up on Craigslist last week.
    The seller told me it was built by her dad, a carpenter in the 50's! Two nice, sturdy 4x5 sections and a frame to put them on. Seems very solid though I might reinforce the legs and corners a bit.

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    Hardcoaler likes this.
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard! Great to read of involving your son! Keep us posted of your progress. Pictures, track plans, etc. :)
  3. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

    Welcome aboard! Chicago has the best deep dish pizza.
  4. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome aboard! I've spent/wasted many hours near the BRC yard right by Ford City. Have fun!
  5. Eilif

    Eilif New Member

    Will Do. I've found a few examples of plans around the web that I'm considering. Going to be using insulation foam to boost the middle loop higher than the outer.

    It most certainly does!
    Living a mile from Lou Malnati's is no bad thing.

    It's great spot. I haven't spent much time on the bridge (unless you count being stuck in traffic), but I've pulled over by the Aldi a few times to look at the trains with my kids.
  6. fitz

    fitz Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to Trainboard, E. Enjoying the hobby with your son will make it even a better experience for you. Good luck with your plans and please keep us informed of your progress.
  7. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member

    Welcome to TrainBoard, Eilif. Glad you have joined us. :)
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Hi Eilif, Welcome. Happy to have you and your son on board.
  9. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Where exactly on the West Side? I grew up in River Forest in the 80s. Alas, Hobby City in Berwyn and Flying Tiger in Forest Park(my old haunts) are both long closed, but there's still lots of options for hobby shops around.
    And of course the Oak Park Club is going strong.
    I live out on the west coast now, but Chicago was such a wonderful place to experience the hobby.
  10. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome aboard Eilif!
  11. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    welcome to and say hi to Abe Froman for me
  12. Eilif

    Eilif New Member

    Moved out the bookcases and setup the table with a quick loop of ez track to test out some engines. You can just see the closet bumpout in the lower left corner. Once I push the table all the way to one side I'll have about 3' gap on the right side of the table. I'll do this layout purposely to allow a yard to be installed there someday in the future.


    Also, I had a nostalgic moment. Picked this up at the resale shop this year.


    It's essentially the much-bigger version of the Life-Like set I had in the 80's. I rememer seeing this set and wishing I had it. Unfortunately after a few drops my original engine was pretty battered, but this one was pretty darn mint looking. This is not mine specifically, but it appears to be the same.

    A few questions about it and running.

    1-What kind of engine is it supposed to be?
    2 It was a bit hesitant running at first, how can I clean up and/or lube it to get it running at it's best.
    3-Assuming I get it running well, what's the feasibility of putting DCC into it and other 80's/90's era Bachman and Life-like engines? A friend of mine has offered to give me his DCC system and an engine but I've already got several conventional engines, possibly even more if it turns out that my old stuff is still at my folks place.
    4-I want to do a layout with 2 separate loops for simultaneous running. How feasible is it to have an inner loop running conventional and the outer on DCC?

    I'm in North Lawndale, specifically K-Town.

    I wasn't aware there was an Oak Park Club, I'll check it out. My buddy is a member of the club that meets in the basement of a Park District Building in UpTown. As for shops, Berwyn has "Berwyn's Toy and Train" on Ogden that seems to be going strong. It's been around for at least 10 years now (maybe much longer?) There's also America's Best Toy and Train in Itasca, which often has good deals on used and damaged stuff. I'm sure there are others too, but I've not looked around much.

    Chicago is a great place for Hobbies in general. No shortage of opportunities to engage in my LEGO, Wargaming and now Railroading Hobbies. I have a hard time imagining living anywhere else!

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