Not only about trains....

  • When I first got into this hobby I knew that I was going to be testing some skills that I had and learning others that I didn't. As I looked at my friend's layout the first time and looking at the scenery and listening to the locomotives and the various other sounds, I realized there was a lot more to a layout than just putting some track down and running some trains. Over the next couple of months, I would go to his house looking at things I had missed the last time I was there and talking to him about the layout, how fun it was, and what I needed to do to get into it. I had my "shack" where I had my tools stored and where I would do some woodwork every now and again or fixing my lawn mower. I had another shed that I could move most of my stuff to so I made the decision to make the shack my train domain. Needless to say, I never realized what all it would involve and how I would branch into things I had not planned. During the cool days of January I began cutting my wood and framing my layout. I decided that since it was going to be nothing in the shack but trains, I would sheet rock everything above the layout. As things progressed and it began to take shape, as the warmer weather started coming in, I knew I would want it air conditioned for those hot and humid summer days, thus came the cutting a hole into the back wall and installing the air condition. One thing I did not take into consideration when I did it was that being under the layout, it was not going to allow air flow as needed so right now it is fine sitting down but warm and stuffy when you stand up as the roof is only a foot and a half  away from your head and as everyone knows, heat rises. So now, as I thought about tearing the back wall out to totally redo the air unit, it came to me that I could install duct work up to the ceiling to get the cold air where it is needed. That is to come after I get back from vacation. So, the moral of this story and what have I learned? That model railroading is not all about trains. It is about wood working for your framing. It is about art and imagination as you develop your layout design, buy your buildings or build the kits or even if you decide to scratch build them. It is about learning about electricity and wiring (things I have yet to attempt) whether on your layout or also if you decide to rewire or install new lighting to accent and help you see the layout better. (Another thing on my list) In my case, it is also about air conditioning and insulation and duct work. It is about creating a world out of nothing and the decisions that come with it as to whether to weather the locos, rolling stock, and vehicles. Whether to weather the buildings and to work on the scenery to the point of making it so realistic that in a photo you have to look close to tell which it is, prototype or model. It is about making it YOUR own personal little world and what YOU are happy with. But most of all and the main thing of all, it is about people. It is about sites like this one where people who love the hobby and the real thing can gather and share ideas, thoughts, photos, and camaraderie with like minded. It is about those who enjoy clubs and get together from time to time to run trains and talk about the hobby among other things. It is about those who get together at each others homes to see their layouts, to talk about trains and things going on in their lives. Yes, you can get into this hobby as little or as much as you want. Yes, you can learn wood working, electrical, even air conditioning and duct work, and stretch your imagination with scenery, buildings, designs and any number of other things you can imagine. But it is the people that you are able to share it with, to get ideas from, to find out information for things you are having problems with, and just to get to know and become friends with, that makes this hobby so great. I never realized when I started this layout just how involved I would get, the things I would learn, and the people that I would get to know. Truly, this hobby will continue to bless me for years to come.

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