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For some kids, their earliest experience with trains was because of the charming television adaptations of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. As Thomas, Percy, Rocky and all of the other characters enthralled youngsters throughout several generations, the love of steam engines was implanted in a great many small minds.
Personally, the arrival on television of Thomas was too late to generate the magical impact it has made on so many children, but on the upside I am of sufficient age to remember when steam trains were into their heyday. The fact is my Grandfather was a train driver, and I can recall him describing to me, when I was a lad of about 8 or 9, how to start a train and get it rolling. What an awesome effect that made upon me at the time even though I didn’t grasp most of what he was describing.
What exactly is it about steam locomotives that causes such a long lasting impression on boys and girls, men and women when they start to puff their way through the tunnel of our hearts? They were deafening, filthy beasts, demanding attention as well as unforgiving if they weren’t given constant attention.
Their smaller sized counterparts are not the grand hissing, clanking beasts of the full sized locomotives, but for many enthusiasts it is profoundly gratifying to be able to capture something of the magnificence and enjoyment of the real thing.
Being in control of a model train also involves a certain amount of expertise at the higher levels, whereas for more youthful people their introduction to an uncomplicated circuit design nevertheless holds a thrill and a fascination which could later grow into an absorbing interest.
Just one of the, perhaps, surprising facets of the hobby is that nearly as many girls and women are hobbyists as boys and guys. It appears to be a widespread attraction that breaks down many boundaries. Virtually every country possesses model train clubs, exhibits, museums and amusement parks. Take, by way of example, the Minatur Wunderland of Hamburg in Germany which claims to be “The largest model railway in the world”. In case you have not yet come across this ‘wonderland’ Google it and be amazed.
My own first toy train was made of tin plate and had a clockwork ‘engine’. It ran on a basic circular track, but to me, back then, it was amazing. I used to gaze at this little wonder in the toy shop close to where my grandparents lived until, one day, my Grandfather purchased it for me and I can still recall how much it cost. I’m talking the UK approximately 1947 and it was 2 shillings and 6 pence. That’s a little more than a third the cost of a first class postage stamp today!
Modern model trains are built of sterner stuff. These are generally rugged and made to last. On the better models the detail can be incredibly fine.
Getting started doesn’t always have to be expensive.
For anybody who is just dipping you toes into the model train world, or if you do not wish to invest too much in the first place, think about one of the more compact scales or take a look on eBay to start with. In the event you are choosing for a youngster then look at one of several reasonably priced plastic models out there. You can always upgrade later on if he or she buys into the hobby.
In either case, remember that this model railroad hobby can be absorbing, time consuming and addictive. But it surely will provide you with great fun, joy, and hours of pleasure.
If you would like to learn more about model trains and railroads visit the author’s blog at: http://www.modeltrainsandrailroadstips.com and http://www.mymodeltrainsworld.com
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