12 December 2011

Favorite of the Season

It's that time of year to celebrate stuff that is all dependent on your beliefs.  I was raised Catholic so we celebrate the birth of Jesus by slaughtering a tree and decorating it in a fashion reminiscent of ancient pagan traditions. Yaaayyyy.

 Anywho...one of my favorite parts of this time of year is having an excuse to take over a small part of the living room to set up some of my model trains.  For years I used HO scale trains. HO is one of the most popular sizes of train. While I still enjoy HO scale for its convenient size and wide range of possibilities, in recent years my favorite has been something a little bigger, something that isn't so easily derailed by curious cats.
Not the clearest picture but Middle Left is Z scale.  That boxcar could fit within the middle joint of your pointer finger.  Top Left: N scale. Top Right: HO (it's probably about 7 inches long)  Then it's S, O, and G scales.

And now for the back story...my mom's dad was a carpenter (after a coal mine fire got him yelled at by my grandmom). Every once in a while, to my grandmother's dismay, he would bring crap home.  One day he brought home a box of trains. He had intended to fix them up but never got the chance.  Some 30+ years later I came across the box of bruised and battered trains.  At first I didn't realize what they were. I knew they had electric motors and such, but at first I would just set up the tracks and push the trains by hand. (On a side note, electric trains don't roll per se...more like slide)  At some point my curiosity took hold and I took the two steam locomotives home.  At some point I learned enough to know that they were S gauge A.C. Gilbert American Flyers and that they ran on AC power, same as Lionel's trains. I happened to have a Lionel power supply at my dad's and took the engines there to meet it and maybe have a spot of tea.  When I hooked power supply to the engines, decades of dust gave out and they immediately came to life.  I took them to a local train shop for some minor repairs.  The shop owner repaired their wires and the bigger one's smoke tube as well as some other things.  Unfortunately he passed away a few years later and his amazing little shop is gone.  However the trains he fixed up are still running strong.  I've since learned that the American Flyers grandpop brought home all those years ago were built in 1946.  They're over 60 years old and work better than some of my new stuff.  Here are some pictures for your eyes to feast upon:

Kirby loves the trains.

The 4-6-4 NYC Hudson stays at my house, and the 4-4-2 Reading "Atlantic" stays at my grandmom's house.  The past two years I've set that one up under my grandmom's Christmas tree.  This year I might set up my Lionel Thomas the Tank Engine, I trust small children with Thomas more than the 1946 Flyer.  =P

I think I've gone on long enough...or maybe it just feels like that 'cause photos take FOREVER to load.  Anywho, please share any train related stories in the comments.  Till next time!
Kirby has werk to do!