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entry 19 Nov 2008, 17:19
Christmas 1974 and a Hornby R534 Local Goods Set: that's how it started for me, at the age of eight. An 0-4-0 tank loco, a flat wagon with detachable boat, a Cadbury's closed van, a circle of track, and a battery-powered controller.
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With the extension of the circle to an oval, the addition of a couple of sidings, some Superquick models in the middle forming a village, and some rather crude papier mache embankments, my first "layout" was born, and it gave me many years of enjoyment.
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I didn't know, or care about, prototypical modelling or timetabled operation back then - most of the "action" on my layout involved crashed Dinky Eagle freighters (from Space:1999) leaving flasks of nuclear waste on the line in the path of the oncoming train.

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My locomotive stud was bolstered the next year with the addition of an R758 "Hymek", which hauled one lonely blue and grey BR Mk2.
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The Hymek cost an awful lot of pocket money back in 1975. My party piece at the time was being able to reel off the phrase " B B Beyer Peacock type 3 Hymek diesel hydraulic locomotive" without drawing breath. I think I chose it simply because I liked the look of it - I'm not sure if would ever have seen a real one. Living a stone's throw from the London to Brighton line near Three Bridges sidings in Sussex, most of the trains I saw were third rail passenger EMUs hurtling through the rather dangerous pedestrian crossing at Maidenbower in Tilgate forest.
I was also given some Lima models by a friend of my dad's, which to my shame I think I was rather sniffy about at the time, they not being Hornby and therefore not "kosher" in my eyes. I believe I had a red HO gauge Lima loco - an SNCF model of some sort - and a long car transporter wagon with some brightly coloured plastic cars. I also recall an old plastic Tri-ang station building with canopy, a footbridge, and a plastic kit gods shed with a small blue crane at one end which I managed to get poly cement all over. Happy days indeed.

Anyway, my interests moved on to football, then heavy metal (a lifelong passion); I eventually left for university, and the childhood train set was dismantled and made the inevitable journey into the loft.

 
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