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My fascination with the railways probably started back when it was the only way to travel long distances for us, my parents never owned a car. As a young lad brought up in Leicester I spent a lot of time in a friends back garden overlooking the western approach to the LMS station. The track was about 20ft down in a brick walled cutting the top of which was the reverse side of his garden wall, about 4 ft high, we would sit on this wall with feet dangling over the cutting and watch in awe as the smoke and steam billowed up from the passing locos mere feet below us. Todays Health and Safety gaulieters would have had a field day, however we survived.

We were both train spotters of course and the nearest we got to owning a train set was constructing Micro Models from card sheets bought from our local model shop. We would draw the track on cardboard and 'operate' the trains on it, no time to be picky, we had 0-4-0 british shunters working alongside American behemoths.

Occasionally we used to travel to Nuneaton on a platform ticket (how many used to do that I wonder). Eventually I was bought a Hornby Dublo train set, Duchess of Atholl as I remember and later a saddle tank of some description. At the time obtaining points was akin to finding rocking horse manure so my trains just went round and round, when I eventually got to fit points it was like a red letter day.

I'm not sure where everything went but I joined the RAF and remember the regular trips on the Manchester Marylebone express from Aylesbury to Leicester, the LNER station was the opposite side of town from the LMS. Occasionally I would go home and back on a Sunday using a corridorless train which stopped at every station along the way, when necessary you had to jump out use the gents and sometimes just leap into the nearest carriage door before the train departed, I seem to remember that this cost something less than £1 return (forces rate of course). I spent many an hour at Brackley waiting for a connection, why was it always cold and dark and the buffet never open?

Eventually I bought a motor bike then a car and forgot the railways for years, although whenever I saw a model railway I felt quite fascinated by it and would almost invariably pay to see an exhibition layout in operation. I once visited the transport museum in Lucerne, Switzerland, their model layouts are well worth a visit should anyone find themselves in the vicinity. Another layout is at the Bekonscot centre at Beaconsfield Bucks, the scale of the whole village varies enormously but the garden railway is very interesting.

How did I get restarted? I bought the Hornby Virtual Railway 1 followed by VR2 then Microsoft Railway Simulator. Having got my interest titivated with phantasy trains I sort of drifted into my second train set via a casual trip to a local toy fair, I bought a DMU and 1 metre of track to display it on (she who must be obeyed said it was not as nice as her ornaments on the mantlepiece) pending further purchases after a little research I figured that there must be a more modern way of controlling locos and thus discovered DCC and so here I am, where next?

I find Virtual Railway 2 is a useful tool for planning a layout not so much in absolute detail but seeing what works and what is required to run operationally.

I look at some of the layouts shown in the magazines and realize I will never achieve the same standards, besides this is not my sole interest, just have to settle for a reasonable backdrop and some simple scenery and concentrate on operation, I am more interested in locos which run well than look absolutely prototypical (there, I'm picking up the lingo already). Perhaps I would have arrived here sooner if we had sons instead of daughters, my grandsons are only interested in drinking or GameBoy according to age.

Do any of you recall where or how your interest in railways began?

Branchy
 

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Thank you for a nice story and I might add mine to it some day.


But, in the meantime,QUOTE I once visited the transport museum in Lucerne, Switzerland, their model layouts are well worth a visit should anyone find themselves in the vicinity.
My last visit was about 25 years ago and the principle, completely over-riding reason for the trip was to see their incredible Gotthart Pass layout.
Is that layout still operational, does anyone know?
 

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Its all my dads fault!!! at the age of 7, (1956) i got a train set for cristmas, it was a tri-ang jinty with a milk wagon, a coal truck, and 2 drums of cable on a short open wagon, along with the guards van. That was it, I was hooked, all my pocket monies went on model railways, and my first big purchase was Winston Churchill at £3.3s.0. thats £3.15p. it was my pride and joy. Now i'm 56, got a layout that runs around the loft and often wonder how much i have spent on this hobie over the years, and what else I could have done with it, would I change? No i am very happy and content with my hobby, suppose I should be thanking my dad really, I could have turned out to be a right tear-away.
 

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My interest in trains started when I was 4 (1950)
I was playing with my dinky toys on the windowledge when I saw a Green EMU pass by, the railway was about 500yards away (I don't know what that is in new money) After that I spent hours watching the trains go by, and of course it was a small step to Model railways.
I was told that at the age of 4 months I traveled on the LMS railway, by my heart has always been Southern.
 

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>Lucerne
I must visit there when I go back to Switzerland this summer. Didn't notice it when I was in Lucerne last year. We were camping in Interlaken. There is a fascinating permanent railway exhibition layout there. I think it's 7mm scale, but it is truly enormous. On first entering you think it's a load of separate layouts like say Pecorama; then you look up towards the celing and see tracks suspended and realise that some of the layout are linked. As I went through the non-return turnstile I began to wonder if /every/ layout was connected. I plan to check again.
Apart from that, Interlaken is an interesting place for train spotting, though I did wonder where the DB ICE was going to.
 

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Grew up(liar -yells my wife) next to the Crewe to Manchester London Road main line in Cheadle Hulme.Soaked in Stanier steam by osmosis,never got rid of my passion for Railways ever since.Spent many years living very close to the West Highland line in the 80's and 90's,diesel clagged through and through.Oh!but what a glorious sound those 37's made as they tackled some of the gradients.Models of 37's with DCC sound!Bring it on and make it LOUD!!!!!
 

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My first train set was for my first christmas in 1975 and was a lima ho set from asda with the class 33 and several freight wagons and a blue grey brake coach. The set got a lot of hammer when i was a child and i also received some hand me downs including the ubiquitous lima deltic meld and a pair of hst power cars. THat lot got passed to a cousin and i know not where it now is.
There has always been a bit of interest dwelling in my mind partially from the fact that where i grew up in Morley near Leeds was about 300yds from the extremely derelict Morley top station (ex GNR) The site of which is now redeveloped apart from one retaining wall. The other station in Morley which sits at the entrance to Morely tunnel is a very inhospitable place. I know a few people who have walked through the tunnel which is well over a mile long and usually results in a talking to from the transport police!
Anyway my interest was reignited about Christmas 2001 when i got a caledonian local set with a lot of the add on packs included for £100 and it has snowballed into a massive collection of over 100 boxed locos over 30 unboxed and a large amount of new and second hand rolling stock. All of which at the moment is lightly used on the standard hornby track mat set up until i get the time to develop a proper loft layout. My now wife and then girlfriend is very understanding and doesn't mind going to swopmeets on a sunday. She has also found the best way to bribe me into decorating around the house is to promise I can get some baseboards if we can decorate such and such a room which usually leaves me so fed up of decorating i don't feel like making a start afterwards. Worryingly she's starting to look at new bathroom suites the prospect of which terrifies me.
 

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>bribe me into decorating around the house
My most recent quid pro quo was to floor the outer parts of the attic for storing all the stuff we might need again some day (aka junk?). My gain was shifting the stuff from the centre area to the sides so I can walk around without tripping up.. which was fine until we put down a Scalextric track for the Christmas period.. it's still there....

David
 

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My loft was converted into a bedroom by the previous owner complete with a proper staircase leading down to the second bedroom. The reason I now dread decorating/home improvements is because he was a bodging b*****d and everything i have done so far has taken twice as long and cost twice as much as expected due to this. Round the back is a conservatory and utility room less than a foot apart and both facing sides have windows which cannot be cleaned. It amazes me with all the remodelling inside to accomodate the second staircase that the ceilings haven't collapsed!
I will be building a loft layout at some time but it will be carefully designed to prevent adding further weight to the floor. There are 2 large beams along either side and my idea is to sit the main frame on these with some strategically legs to give some extra support. The insurance may well cover act of God but maybe I don't know about act of Bob!
 

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My interest in railways began with a Hornby Dublo Duchess of Montrose, Royal Scot trainset, back in '58.I have collected many items over the years. I also sqaundered two years at grammar school messing with trains instead of getting my head down and studying. The most spooky thing though must be the number of Duchess of Montrose 46232. My father died in April 1980, the 4th month and the grave reference is 232, my mother died last year in June the 6th month. So 4,6,232 is significant again to me. Spookier still was that the new Hornby model of 46232 was to have been a Christmas or birthday present from her for Xmas 2004 or my bithday 2005. It was put on Hattons website on the day of the funeral.I purchased it the next day
 
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