How did I Get Started With N Scale?

BarstowRick Aug 10, 2006

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    How did you get started?

    Here's my story...and I am sticking to it! It should be titled, "My History of Model Railroading" but that would be a boring start.

    Earlier this morning I was surfing the TB archives and found a post discussing the reasons why some of us switched to N Scale. I hope you won't mind my adding to this discussion...I can't seem to find the original posting. I know it's there...Oh...I found it but that was a few years ago. The original poster said it wasn't just about room or space...and I would agree.

    Here's my thoughts on the subject. As you will discover by reading the following it had more to do with my unhappiness and dissatisfaction with HO. At first, I thought the answer was simple...more room to work thus more railroad! The more I pondered the question...I realized there is more to this story then I can tell here.

    My first model train was an American Flyer, S scale. Simply no room to operate it. Then a HO scale Revell SP SW7 freight set that I set-up on the living room rug. Not a good idea.

    My first awareness of N scale was when I noticed N or Treble (only if it's music) Triple OOO, put out by a European manufacturer, published in the model railroad wig wags of the time. It caught my interest. Arnold and Rapido, soon followed with various products although toy looking. There is another thread on line recalling N scale might want to check it out. I did note, Rapido campaigned for and convinced other manufacturers to standardize using their coupler. Gosh, it was ugly...but practical...sort of.

    At the age of 12 continuing through to 18, during the the 60's to early 70's, saw the start of my serious model railroading. At the age of 14 I built a HO pike on a 4x8. At the age of 15 I had just expanded the original 4x8 layout to a 6X8. Later adding a 3x12 and 4x4. I had a large room in an old high ceiling house that would accommodate the layout. For the first time, I ventured into the world of gradients and a dual leveled layout and first experimented with Atlas's new flex (or flexless) track. Cutting the rail with a hand saw, until I figured out how to set-up my jig saw with a metal blade to cut the track. I've never been a fan of the rail nippers, they squeeze the metal and leave a burr when you nip the track, requiring me to reshape the rail and file off the burr.

    Availability of products: During the early years, the products available on hobby shop shelves consisted of Atlas, Tyco, Athearn and Revell or the high priced Brass. Oh, and some Tru-scale...not much else. Slim pickings. Most model railroad periodicals emphasized do it yourself or better said "Scratch Building". Yep, I did some of that even tried hand laying track. Most items on the market lacked details and required that you either purchase brass parts or hand machine your own.

    Kadee styled knuckle couplers although... experimental... were still a thing in the future and NMRA had set the standard with a...well...ugly horn hook coupler. Little to no authentic prototypical realism. RP 25 was introduced but didn't work well the result of a amateurs efforts, with track laying. I wasn't real happy with HO or it's performance. You couldn't back-up a train without a minor derailment and those tight radius curves...what were we thinking?

    From the late 60's through the 80's: As I watched N scale, Atlas came out with a number of locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and track. Still not satisfied I continued with HO.

    In 1969 I got married and most of my model railroad building came to a screeching halt. My hobby was put on hold for almost 20 years. No room in the inn for a layout...time out for babies and the wonders that go with it. I "Wonder", when I will be able to build my layout? Lucky for me I had kids that showed a distinct interest in any scale. I did manage to get a N scale layout built for my son who then gave it to his grandpa (my dad). My son received another layout from his grade school teacher...nice job...too.

    Moving forward to the 90's. N Scale was now a viable commodity with plenty of variety available and the price of N scale was the same as HO. Yes, the need for a room and plenty of space to build the layout was a factor. However, detailing and precise or precision models replicating the real prototype's, came closer then ever. The toy look was diminishing. For HO fans Kadee was now producing a prototypical or correct version of a knuckle coupler. And, they were talking about doing the same for N Scale. Micro-trains, formed up out of the Kadee ranks. Low and behold all of our hollering paid off, flywheels showed up on the horizon. Now they came with just about every locomotive and "Times they were a changing".

    In 1992 I made a determined effort to switch to N scale as my primary hobby interest. My HO collection was split three ways. I kept certain items and split the rest between my two kids. Which remains with them to this day. My N scale collection is manageable and something I can live a a single wide mobile home.

    Today, you can buy, just about, whatever suits you with knuckle couplers that actually work. Kato, Atlas, Intermountain and others have improved the performance of HO and N scale equipment. Now you can buy Kato switches with the solenoid hidden in the road bed. No more awkward switch machines sitting next to the switches or under the table installments.

    My current N scale layout fits into a 10 x 10 foot space. Multi-leveled, 4 track wide triple helix, staging yard, coal operation with what I hope to be the latest in technology - DCC (if they don't price me out). A work in progress... coming along just fine. This is the layout I built for my son and he gave to his grandpa (my dad). It is undergoing a metamorphosis. You can still recognize the former layout as portions of the mainline and roundhouse, haven't changed. Dad, well...He's moved on to the great railroads in the sky. I often think I can hear him saying, "You can't do that" I prove him wrong. Me thinks he was just goading me on. And, then I hear him say, "You don't know anything about railroading, but I do", he would brag... and he did. So do I, but let that be our secret...ok?

    The last time we discussed the layout and my efforts to remodel it he said, "You do know model railroading and I am sure you'll do a fine job". He then went on to indicate changes he would've liked to seen. Those changes are a part of the current re-modeling. I won't forget what he taught me. What fun we had!! Eventually, as per agreement, this layout will be handed off to my son and his little rail fan.

    That's my story and how I arrived at N scale. A longer epistle then I intended. AND lot's of editing...sorry about that. I'm done editing and there again maybe not.

    If you want to jump in with your story, don't keep me waiting. There must be as many stories out there... as there is "US" enjoy the hobby. Don't leave me a hanging chad or cling-on... with the only story submitted.

    The only question I have is: What took the model manufacturers so long to finally provide the kind of quality and variety...we have today? How much longer can some of us wait for future improvements? (Last Edit...Not...Grin!)

    Thanks for the read.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2011
  2. oldrk

    oldrk TrainBoard Supporter

    How I got started

    Great story. Although my father wasnt a train fan I have older brothers that had an O27 oval on a board that dad set up for them that i played with as a boy. im memory serves me correctly there was an F unit and a couple of freight cars and a cabbose. Round and round....Also, somewhere along the line a switcher that when it bumped into something would change direction. I still have that. This would have been around 1961 or so. I had acousin who I went to see and he had this tiny little train egine that fascinated me. I had a motor with a shaft sticking out each end and rubber bands that rapped around the axles to the shaft. Space age technology for sure. I was hooked. There was a store in town called Murphys and it had a rather large toy section for a small town and mom would let walk down the isles. when I was around 12 or so I was walking along and saw an Atlas N scale train set for $12. You got a complete set. Track, transformer, engine, three or four cars. Well I had 12 bucks and the deal was consumatted. Round and round.. Well, eventually the motor burned out and I went back and laid down another $12. Probably Christmas money....Now I had a little more track and a little bigger oval. N scale is a bit shaky on carpet....About this time I actually started getting paid a little something for my chores on the farm and you can guess where that went. I then discovered mail order in MR and MRC. This continued through my high school years. I married when I was 19 (what was I thinking?) And the train buying came to an end. Although I did save enough money picking up nightcrawlers to buy one of those new Bachman Northerns. Years went by and the kids were grown and out of the house and I started to find myself with a few extra dollars and went on a buying spree. Then about a year ago my son started to express an interest in n scale. I helped him get started and help him with N scale problems that the old master has encountered. Well, thats about the extent of it. Still enjoying N scale after forty years.
  3. Thieu

    Thieu TrainBoard Member

    As a kid I had HO scale. My first set was Lima: a French diesel and Dutch coaches and some freight cars. Later I got a Fleischmann set with a German loco. Also bought or got a German steamer and diesel, and coaches from different countries. My layout was a strange mix of nationalities in a German environment. There were not many Dutch models available, only Lima made some and Lima was not the best quality...... And I got stuck in many technical problems and did not know how to solve them. There was no internet those days to ask for help......

    As a student you do not have the room, money and time for model railroading. My HO stuff was stored in boxes at my parent's home. Years and years later, at age 25 or something, when I lived together with my girlfriend (and now wife), we visited Eurospoor, a large exhibition in Utrecht. I saw al those large layouts, and I couldn't stand it anymore: I just HAD to start a new layout! But without enough space, HO would be impossible. My girlfriend encouraged me to buy a N scale starters set from Roco, and so I did.

    I had always found N scale a little strange: not realistic, too small. But you get used to it, and you are starting to consider HO as 'unrealistic and too big'. I sold my HO trains to my brother-in-law and built a Dutch N-scale layout. Those were the days that Roco released many Dutch cars, before they stopped producing N scale. I have built many layouts, never finished one... I made progress in planning: from the oval to modules and end-to-end operation, from Minitrix tracks to Peco code 55, and from analog to DCC. I also discovered American trains, and wanted to start a small US layout. I bought some New Haven FA1/FB1's, cars and RDC's. I found out about a modular Ntrak club and joined them.

    We moved with our two kids to a larger home, and I had a trainroom! With a Dutch and US layout, it was like paradise! After a year, I had to give up my trainroom, because the kids needed their own bedrooms. I broke down the Dutch layout and concentrated on the US layout, which I could build in our own bedroom (= my old trainroom.....).

    I have build a oNetrak module, and a small module that fits oNetrak but has abnormal measures. My layout is small, but the oNetrak module fits into it so I do not need to store it elsewhere. N scale is great for the small houses we have in Holland. N scale is not a big scale here, only 10% of the modellers have it. US models are hard to find, and most hobbyshops only sell rails from the large German brands. Luckily, two shops have Peco 55 and since I have free travel by train, I can regularly visit these shops (and they also have US N scale!).

    Yes, I am happy with N scale.
  4. J Long

    J Long E-Mail Bounces

    My first layout was a 4 x 6 ft Lionel 027 layout in the corner of my dad's workshop. He built the platform for me but I layed the track, wiring, and painted the platform with dirt, grass, and street colors. Plus I made crude structures out of wood with a jig saw and paint. They were illuminated with C7 XMAS bulbs. I was seven years old at the time. At the age of ten, my brother and I recieved AHM HO train sets and eventually built a 4 x 8 foot layout in a spare bedroom. Woolworths had after XMAS specials on AHM trains and structure kits and that is where we spent our gift wad we got from relatives. Trains later took a back seat to high school activities and college.

    At the age of twenty five or so, I was on my own and began collecting and operating MPC Lionel. I chose MPC Lionel because the trains just plain ran and went together quickly (plug and play). I was too busy for the demands of constructing a scale model railroad, kit building, etc. This led to collecting postwar Lionel which I've collected for twenty five years. I have a 8 ft x 16 ft Lionel layout in my basement.

    A couple years ago, I picked up a Life Like N scale starter set for novel reasons more than anything. But as I played with it, I grew to liking N scale even more. It wasn't long before I set up a Unitrack layout in a spare bedroom and began collecting trains by Atlas, Microtrains, and Kato. Plastic structure kit building evolved into laser kits.

    I've decided to not change scales but do both N scale model railroading as well as tinplating. I've set no goals for myself. I could be out shopping for some N scale supplies and stumble on a postwar Lionel car I've always wanted and buy that instead. Wherever the wind blows is where my intrests go. That is fine with me because it's a hobby and I'm having fun.
  5. signalz

    signalz Passed away September 22, 2007 In Memoriam

    I was 10 yrs old in 1969 and had a collection of Match Box trucks. I had 49 items and considered that sizeable. My sister who was 9 and I used to make towns and played quite a bit with them. Match Box used to make a kind of straight truck (lorrie) that had a hook on the back. You could buy the trailer to go with it. The trailer also had a hook and you could couple several together. This resembled a train. At the toy store the Match Box cars were right next to the N Scale trains. You can do the math.
  6. christoph

    christoph TrainBoard Member

    My father bought his first Märklin train before I was born (to be safe in case the baby would be a girl..:eek:mg: ). So there were always trains around, and I became a major shareholder of our "railroad company".
    Later, living in an apartment, I had to get something which needed less space. H0m (european equivalent to H0n3) was still too big, and I found out that the N scale engines had reached a decent level of detailing and running quality. So I started with German trains, some years later found a Kato RS3 plus some American cars, plus a specialised dealer, and that was the start. In the meantime the US models are the majority. This is also the story behind my avatar :lightbulb: .
  7. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    Some of my first memories are of my Dad and brothers setting up the 027 tin plate tracks at Christmas and running their old Marx trains. I was never really old enough to help before our family moved to the other side of the Pacific Ocean and all our stuff was put in storage. After five years we had moved New Hampshire and I had fun unpacking and playing trains as my brothers had "outgrown" them by that time. However one of them was intrigued with the Lone Star 000 equipment he saw somewhere and decided to build me a small layout on a 3 X 4 foot sheet of plywood and gave it to me as a Christmas present in 1964. A year and a half later that was put in storage as we ended up across the Pacific again. By 1967, my parents and I were moved to Texas and I had the little layout going again. My brother was living in Germany and was sending me some real cool Arnold Rapido N Scale engines and rolling stock to run on it. I discovered Atlas and was building a new 4 X 8-foot layout using their flex track, switches and cork that lasted into my college years. That was eventually demolished and my engines and rolling stock were stored away. I dragged them all out again after I was married with children and looking for an indoor hobby to do while keeping an eye on the little ones. Word got out and I was sucked into the NTRAK movement, at first only helping other folks out with their modules. Eventually I was "issued" my own 2 X 4-foot module to decorate and I got a little carried away with it.[​IMG]
  8. fatalxsunrider43

    fatalxsunrider43 TrainBoard Member

    I started in "N" scale in 1966 with a Lima European Passenger Set that consisted of a Bobo Locomotive and 3 European Style Passenger Cars, some track and a power pack. My dad built me a 3' x 6'
    table for my bedroom and we put a loop of track on it, I decorated it with roads and buildings and automobiles and anything small I could find. This was a magical time for me. I also had a small Lima 0-6-0 steamer that was cute in Black and Red.
    So, I started way back when N scale was a relatively a new thing.

  9. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter


    Did someone blow the dust off this old post or what?...:tb-cool:

  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    I started in N scale in 1992 as my first foray into model railroading. How I arrived at the train store was because the womoan I was dating at the time had a 12 year old son who showed an interest in model trains. He and I needed to find a way to bond with each other and decided to try trains. N scale was not in the picture as such, what was in the picture was going to be dictated by space. So after looking at HO and N and Z, N scale was chosen for cost effectiveness and space considerations.

    We both picked out a few cars and a couple of locomotives. Then we both looked at the Nine N Scale book and selected our layouts. He chose the Twice Around and I chose Monopoly & Octopus. We took all of his stuff back to his house and started laying the track and doing the wiring. It was done in sections so we could have the ability to test the track and run a little more every time we worked on it. It was done in two weekends for him. My Monopoly and Octopus was worked on and done in the same period of time. So we had the ability to run trains at their house or at my house. The relationship lasted for a little while afterward, but eventually, she and he were gone and the trains remained.

    I found that I really enjoyed the trains and started working on more cars and a few more locomotives. At the start, we both bought either Kato or Atlas/Kato locomotives and some Atlas freight cars. I also started picking up the 10 car passenger sets from Kato and found that they did not like to run on my layout. So out went to Monopoly & Octopus, to a friend who had pre teen with interest, and in came my first "real" layout that I used out of the 101 Track Plans by Linn Wescott. I chose plan #79, Frisco Lines, because of the broad curves.

    I wanted to see my passenger trains run without looking like they we too big for the curves. It was the first time I built bench work and used L girders etc. It took me 2 months before I could get started laying track. Once that started, I would lay track and drop feeders at the same time. After another 3 months, I was finished with the track work and ready to start rolling. I changed the size a little because I had the space to make this 10x20. So I built this layout in N scale using the HO dimensions. This was because I did not pay attention to the scaling factor , not divine intuition. Or as some would say, a happy accident. I used Peco track for this layout.

    I got a Cornerstone turntable and built the roundhouse and started to look at scenery and got cold feet. I can't explain it any better. I was good a track laying and wiring and tha was about it. Luckily, I had made some friends and we traded out skills, I laid track and wired for them, and they sceniced my layout. It ran for about 2 years before my business took me away from modeling for about 4 years. I did stop by the train shop every other weekend and pickup stuff as a form of stress relief.

    In that time, I moved my company from Phoenix AZ to San Jose CA. I did not bring the layout, it was still in my AZ house, so I had built the #47 Cerro Azul as something to have in CA. It was also done using the same happy accident or using the HO dimensions. In this case I added a loop around the back similar to what John Armstrong showed in his book. That allowed the operations in the yard and on the switchbacks and then I still had the loop for the passneger cars. Work got really busy and I went back to the mode of gathering for future use.

    Somewhere along the line, I met my wife and we settled in Sacramento while I commuted daily to San Jose. I had no space in our Sacramento are home for the layout went to one of my employees. So I had to start again and think up something that would fit in here. It started with a couple of sheets of plywood and bunch of Unitrak, and in also came DCC at about this time. In the end, I joined a NTrak club and built 40 feet of modules. and still played around with the Unitrak.

    Next it was decided that we need to upgrade our accommodations, and this was my chance to strike it big! We are getting a small ranch outside of Auburn CA where I will have a separate building just for my layout and my trains. And the idea of doing the Barstow to Winslow layout. This will be done using Micro Engineering track and Fast Tracks turnouts. I have the building being built now, the house is being remodeled too. In the mean time, I am building about 20 turnouts a week and I have amassed 3000 feet of ME Code 55 track and 1200 feet of ME Code 40 track. So I am ready to go once the renovations are done and the building inspectors sign off on the construction.

    And to make sure I have time to work on it, I stepped down from running my company and now spend quality time with my family and my trains.
  11. Caleb Austin

    Caleb Austin TrainBoard Member

    Great story's.

    Mine is quite short though...

    I was Eleven. I was at a train show, I saw a huge Ntrak layout. I thought it was cool. I realized I could fit a lot more railroad and longer trains on my layout than HO.

    And the rest is history. :D
  12. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    When I was 3 years old my parents gave me an American Flyer S gauge set. A few years later I received an American flyer HO set and the larger AF went to my brother. While I was in the army my parents gave away the American Flyer S gauge and my brother took over the HO trains. In 1979 I visited a hobby shop in Queens NY and bought an Atlas N gauge set. After that I modeled on and off in HO and N. I retired in 1999 and began building my present layout. I still model in HO at my club, but N is my main interest.
  13. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member


    I've been running "electric trains"
    * since I was about 6. The first was a Marx O. The next was an American Flyer S Scale that I spent my life's savings on about a year later. I still have both of them and they both still run. Of course there was a period when the trains didn't run. Girl friends, college, marriage, children, and that four letter word WORK all got in the way. In 1984 my brother in-law had gave my son (7 at that time) an old used N-Scale set from Atlas. It was my introduction to the Normal Scale. My son lost interest in it very quickly, I fell in love with it.

    George, I believe it was the "or what":we-laugh:

    * Back in the late 50's in Northern MI, you played with your "Electric Trains" as apposed to the "wind up" type . Having a "electric train" as something special. The term "Model Railroad" as never heard of. Of course the railroad was rebuilt on the floor every time you wanted to play with it. The constant assemble and disassemble of the track lead to many derailments. The rail joints where an internal connection made of a pin or other type of device plugged into the hollow rails. Since little hands were not strong enough to pull straight the resulting wiggling lead to the hollow rails expanding and causing a track gauge adjustment and the pins to fall out. Half of your play time was spent putting the loco (yes just one) and the cars back on the track. When play time was over the track and the rolling stock along with the loco were put back into the box.

    If someone had a "permanent train setup", it was most likely some version of "O" on a table made from 2X4s and sheets of plywood in the basement (not many in Northern MI and some had dirt floors and or walls). Some buildings and a couple of loops of track and maybe 2 trains. Not much scenery, maybe a metal or plastic tunnel about 12 inches long with a Mountain scene painted on it. Of course there was some form of loading and unloading device that was electrically operated

    As simple as it was back then, it was as much fun as it is now. Of all the hobbies I have had and now have "Playing with my trains" and bicycling, are the only ones that that has lasted 50+ years. "Playing with my trains" is not weather dependent, time of day dependent, or season dependent. It is also something that I can do in the house or out in the train building (the wife some how exiled the layout from the house).

    Sorry about the nostalgia and the ramblings of an old fart.:dazed::sidefrown:

  14. drawmada

    drawmada TrainBoard Member

    I "played" with my dad's Marx O set when I was a kid, still have it. I started in N because I wanted to do an around the room layout in my bedroom. My mom had bought me an Nscale Model Power set in 1986 or so. I killed the locomotive, and went to buy a better locomotive, came out of there with flextrack, peco switches, and A brand new undecorated Atlas/Kato GP9. Been in N scale since day one and never looked back!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2010
  15. davidone

    davidone TrainBoard Member

    I was into N scale in the early 70's. Equipment back then for the most part was terrible. So i switched to O and for the next 30 years built 3 or 4 O gauge layouts. Around 2004 i decided to downsize my home in preparation for retirement. I then bought a condo w/ a one car garage. I started looking at N scale again and could not believe the N scale being sold. I sold most of my O to finance the new N. That garage became my new N scale layout. So here i am almost 40 years later from my start as a N scaler and having as much fun as should be allowed. It's been quite a ride.

  16. gosox55

    gosox55 New Member

    This is a great forum and I enjoy reading and learning new stuff. As far what started me in N Scale, my wife bought me a small n scale set (bachmann) in 1976, and I still like N scale. We set up a small 2x4 layout then switched to a door a couple of years later. After the kids grew up I scrapped the layout around 89 - 90 and went armchair, and although I have some HO stuff stored away I have always considered myself a N scale modeler.

  17. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I've written about my introduction to N scale many times here. I'm running out tonight, so I'll leave it to the search engine, set on the parameter "any time" for the posts. There are times when I just can't go back six or seven years to resurrect these discussions.

    I think I'm coming up to my 38th anniversary with N scale in June.
  18. bryan9

    bryan9 TrainBoard Member

    OK, here goes. My story is a lot like Rick's. I modeled in HO as a teenager in the 1960s, with a healthy appreciation of the difficulties of getting good results -- the track was crap unless you laid it yourself, the models (including brass) were primitive (by today's standards) -- no directional lighting, no interiors in passenger cars, etc. -- and the control system, using DC, was equally primitive. I found the whole experience to be so frustrating that I had no great desire to return to the hobby until the 1990s, when I discovered N scale (and, in particular, Kato and Unitrack) in a hobby store I was visiting. I couldn't believe the quality of the Kato equipment -- by the standards I knew from 30 years ago, it surpassed the best brass, yet it was affordably priced. One glance at Unitrack told me that, with this track, I could get a layout up and running in the time I could afford to spend -- which wasn't much. The idea was on hold until 2004, when I discovered DCC, thus completing the trifecta.

    For me, at least, N scale is the ideal. With a larger scale, there's simply no hope of creating a layout with adequately long running lengths -- unless you've a basement the size of Montana, and an open credit line at Lowe's for the benchwork. With a smaller scale, like Z, there's simply no hope of SEEING your trains, if you're as blind as I am!

    If I had enough money, of course, I would purchase part of, say, Utah, and build in 12"=1'. Of his recent major investment in the BNSF, Warren Buffet says that he was denied the opportunity to build a model railroad as a kid!

  19. G&G Railway

    G&G Railway TrainBoard Member

    As a kid I had HO and as years past going to college and the service I lost interest. I moved to a small apartment with no room for trains. Up until 3 years ago a co worker and I were talking and the N Scale train interest ignited. I now have a 3x5 layout in my garage. I am not the greatest modeler as some of you. But I enjoy the hobby and all the new products that are coming out and also the quality. N scale has come a long way since the Aurora postage stamp line. I just wish I got back into the hobby earlier.
  20. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    I would say sometime in 1962 either on my 5th birthday or Christmas, I got an O27 scale battery operated trainset. It was a steamer with a couple of cars and caboose. It was litterally "tinplate" with the the metal slot/latch coupling. The set came with cardboard cutout buildings (tab and slot). My parents were amazed that I was able to put the track together AND assemble the buildings without help... I was a natural born model railroader. Problem is its been all downhill from there ;).

    I got a REAL electric trainset about 3-4 years later... and HO scale set with New Haven F-something locomotive. After moving briefly to Florida in 1967 and then back 5 months later to virtually the same place in Maryland... I began to build a small flat layout which could slide under my bed. I expanded the fleet to include a set of NP E8 units from AHM in 1969 and saved up my lunch money to buy the passenger cars in Nothern Pacific butterknife scheme. Of course... this came to a sudden end in 1971 when we move down to Florida... permanantly. My parents sold-off most of their furniture and sold-off my trains and bicylcle. The bike cost $65.00 only a year earlier... I can't remember how much the trains were worth... but all my parents got for trains and bike was $20.00... sheesh!!! Being a teenager in South Florida meant outdoors stuff... plus... we were living in an efficiency apartment... no privacy... no trains.

    Time warp 11 years later... I'm 25... recently married and also recently found out we're going to have our first child. I have no recollection why I stepped into Orange Blossom Hobbies around Christmas...but ... I walked out with an N scale Model Power passenger train set. Why N scale... our first apartment was an efficiency unit... not much space for anything larger than a 2 x 4 layout. The rest of the story is 27 years of accumulation and never finished and ditched layouts.

    I often wonder what would have happened if Orange Blossom Hobbies wasn't around back then in 1982. OBH closed in 1999... but by then I was hooked on trains from online dealers and other hobby stores.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2010

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