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Author Topic: You Only Live Twice  (Read 26263 times)
Yampa Bob


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« on: June 22, 2009, 04:12:11 AM »

I think the title mostly applies to us old timers who have spent most of our life working toward retirement. Many of you grew up around trains, but just too busy with work and keeping the wolf away from the door to be involved in model railroading. Unfortunately, I was not around trains during my life, and only became interested in them 3 years ago. (My, how time flies).

For those of us who are retired, and those who will retire in 40 or 50 years, and are or will be going into their "second childhood" at some point, here's a rather thought provoking question.

If you could live your life again, start all over, what era or area would you have preferred to really experience railroading to its fullest?  This is for all modelers, there is no age restriction on "dreams".  The 1800's? early 1900?, early steam or transition era?, narrow gauge in the West?...dream away and share your thoughts.

I was born in what I consider the perfect generation of time, have seen technology slowly develop, and now expanding rapidly. I'm fairly content with my position in time, just had to study furiously to catch up on the history and current technology.

I had a brief infatuation with steam, but I do enjoy the colorful and powerful representation of modern diesel.  I guess I "dream" of being just 10 or 15 years younger, to see what lies ahead, and to have a little more time to enjoy my new found hobby.

Ok, uncover your "time machine" and dial in your destination.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 10:49:55 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2009, 06:04:46 AM »

I guess I wouldn't change much as far where I grew up. I was about 7 houses west of a busy commuter line of the Boston and Maine. Plenty of steam and first generation diesel. I had a big basement for trains and started with American Flyer and graduated to the then up and coming HO gauge. If I lived any where else it would have been great to see the steam of the Norfolk and Western in its hay day. The J's, K's, A's and Y's were the best ever built and ran well into the late 50's.

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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2009, 09:12:30 AM »

If I had lots of money , now isn't a bad time to be alive to enjoy railroads both model & prototype .  Being thirty years younger would helpful to be able to move around better. If we don't  get ourselves involved in too many hot wars , the need to be more environmentally  positive could lead to revitalization of passenger rail traffic .  Highspeed rail is becoming more likely and necessary . Electrification would seem to be a more flexible method of powering locomotives for commuter services and also for high density corridors between cities . Power grids  don't care what power source is used nuclear , wind , solar , hydroelectric , geothermal , or petrochemical .   Diesels are relatively efficient and will be necessary for decades to come for areas where electric  is either not available or too expensive .   Diesels are not selective about the source of their fuels so "petro" or "bio" fuels will do .   I am also looking forward to newer technologies like MAGLEV with interest , and I remember reading about vehicles operating in vaccum tunnels that could accelerate at better than 1 G that would be faster than supersonic aircraft . Automobiles  and  Aircraft will still be around but will need to be more energy efficient . The near future could be very interesting if we make it so.
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2009, 09:41:57 AM »

Like Bob, I don't think I'd change my place on the time line.  I have witnessed great social, political and scientific events and even had the chance to participate in one or two of them.  I had an interesting career in federal service and then had the blessing of a second career teaching.  

My intorduction to railroading came when I was about seven and we moved to a little place in WVa called Philippi.  The B&O bisected the town and there were two passenger locals and two peddler freights a day.  The switch for the local team track was only a couple of hundred feet from our house and I'd go sit on the curb and watch the daily activities.  I remember the crew would always say hi to me.  The rest of the day's traffic consisted of extras; loaded hoppers east, empties west, pulled by everything from Sharks to big articulateds.

My modeling today reflects those experiences of almost sixty years ago--small towns, small trains, lots of soot.  Model railroading has been a constant in my life and I'm grateful to have had the assets to enable me to participate in the hobby over the years.  My fervent hope, as I near the end of my run, is that the hobby survives to bring as much pleasure into the lives of today's youngsters as it has brought into mine.

The bottom line for me is that I think I'll hang on to what I've got.  Put me in different circumstances in a different time and I might not be nearly the charming curmudgeon that I grew up to be.   Grin



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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2009, 09:53:20 AM »

not sure of the location, but i know the era. i'd love to be able to go back to the early 1960s just after steam was retired, but before the railroads started to purge the early diesels. do you realize that entire locomotive builders production is extinct, or almost so? wouldn't it be nice to go out and see lima and fairbanks morse locomotives again? or a set of baldwin sharks lugging coal the way that they did so well?

yes, i know some older diesels exist in museums, or running on tourist lines. but it just isn't the same. to really appreciate a locomotive type, you had to see them in regular revenue service, preferrably in consists of more than one.

i've been fortunate enough in my lifetime to have seen many of the more common first generation diesels in regular service. i'd like to have seen the ones i missed.

oh, and bob, not all of us let lack of time or money stop us from pursuing the hobby. there are ways you can indulge your hobby and other things at the same time. for many years i rode to work on pcc trolley cars, for example.....

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Terry Toenges

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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 11:36:02 AM »

The late 1800's - Somewhere west of the Mississippi. 
Just watching and hearing the old steamers is a thrill. All those visible moving parts and the sounds of the loco leaving the station or working it's way up a grade.

Feel like a Mogul.
Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 12:06:28 PM »

I would like to have experienced the 50-year period from 1860 to 1910. For my money, the most beautiful steam locomotives were produced in that 50-year period.

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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 02:00:13 PM »

I was born at the very beginning of the Baby Boom, maybe 5 years too late to appreciate the final days of big steam.  Since I also grew up in the suburbs of DC, trains weren't readily accessible, and the B&O dieselized the east end of the railroad early.  My steam memories come from summers spent with my grandparents in Pennsylvania, where steam still ruled the PRR for a few early years.  So yeah, maybe move me back 5 years, and relocate my childhood to someplace like Cumberland, Altoona, Roanoke, Chicago, or other big railroad hub. 
john tricarico

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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2009, 03:23:33 PM »

now that i got some of the tears out of my eyes

there was nothing like the 1960s here in new york
i started working while in highschool in jan. 1968
in grand central terminal in a newsstand
this was the last week of new york central and i
didnt even know it at that time
i didnt even own a camera to take pictures
as i walked every day thru the terminal

damm do i remember the last of the n.y.c. gray cars
and a brand new turbo train i used to see on or
about track 11

late 60s were awesome of me  not great for the railroads
nyc and penn went  in came penn central

i never forgot how filthy grand central was the
homeless used the vanderbilt hall like a hotel
in the 70s i started going the queens and found the sunnyside
yard  with all the gg1s you could ever want to see

but i would love to go back in time

john t  brooklyn ny

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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2009, 03:39:25 PM »

For me, having just retired, i try to divide my time between 0n30 modeling and working on the real thing!  That is to say volunteering at the Colorado Railroad Museum, where the oldest steam engine is from 1880.  What a thrill to work on this equipment.  And by working on them you start to understand how they work Smiley

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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2009, 05:55:48 PM »

I took a tour of the Strasburg RR shops last month, and they had RGS No. 20 all in pieces.  A course of boiler had been replaced, and most of the firebox was also being replaced.  The frame was in such bad shape that they had literally cut out pieces and were going to weld in new steel, probably using Thermite.  Not sure what the timetable is to get her done, but she'll be a great assest to the CRM when she's done and steaming again.  Anyone in the eastern area planning on visiting Strasburg, they offer the shop tours on weekends at noon.  $15.00 ticket price.  Plan on spending about 1 1/2 hours.  Really good stuff.

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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2009, 06:58:44 PM »

I was born in 1932 and live until 1944 right next to the high bridge branch of the Central RR of
NJ.  Then we moved to Norman Oklahoma.  The Sant Fe Texas line.  Lots of 2-8-2s, 2-10-2, 4-6-
2s and 4-6-4s.  What I liked the most was to go up to Ottawa Kansas, It had a lot of everything.
2 branch lines with mixed trains. The line to Tulsa Okla., as well as the mainline with lots of 4-8-
4s and speed.  The Tulsa line had street running.  Also the MP had a line with a few blocks of
street running and the two lines crossed in the middle of an intersection.  Today all they have is
the mainline now BNSF. Norman has only the mainline, no siding.  Today I line in Bartlesville Ok
which is now served by the SKOK.  I see one or two trains a year.
Stephen D. Richards

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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2009, 09:03:36 PM »

Like Bob and Rusty, I wouldn't change anything about my growing up where and when I did.  I wasn't near trains except the occasional B & O coal train but I got to see all the old lines before they took them up.  Lots and lots of imagination.  Didn't get the bug though until about three years ago myself.  Still have six years or so before I can retire and really enjoy the hobby.  However, here in Elkins I have the distinct fortune of reliving both vintage diesel and steam locomotives and trains.  Big resurgence.  I've even been asked to work for them after I retire as an engineer!  Really something to look forward too.   Stephen

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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2009, 12:27:12 PM »

spent alot of time near elkins camping and railfanning with my dad in the 1970s. those were some fascinating lines, especially north to thomas and south to webster springs. they were one of the last holdouts for first generation diesels.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA

Trackside in Rural OK

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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2009, 11:48:12 PM »

Sorry guys, I want to have the physical ability and where with all to own, pilot and afford upkeep on a P-51 in this day and age.

But driving 1960's diesels locos in OK would be nice also.



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