Saturday, May 2, 2009

Motorcycles and Trains, As Kids We Loved Em Both!

Mountain Empire Model Railroaders
ETSU Science Building, RM 312
Johnson City, TN. 37601

I remember as a kid, when I heard a motorcycle I would crane my neck…looking…longing for a glimpse of the bike that made that coveted noise.

You know I did the same kind of thing when I heard the whistle or horn of a train. What is it about these two machines that brings a kid to full alert when they hear the engine or the horn associated with that magnificent machine? My brothers both got a cool Lionel train set when they were about 11 and 12…I can’t remember, but my guess is one got the track and the scenery, while the other got the trains…and the electric box that drove the train…I can remember fights for the controls.

My oldest brother is into model trains. He spends thousands of dollars on them…he spends thousands of hours working on the ones he buys, painting, adjusting, gluing scenery…he has everything a man needs in order to have some fun building his model train layout. He has everything except room. That’s one reason why he’s joined the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders. Another reason to join, is that there is one hell of a lot to learn about keeping your trains in working order…replacing worn parts, keeping things lubed, you have no idea unless you stop in at your local model railroaders clubhouse. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a set up like this…but it is not exactly the norm…

This club has a 44’ X 24’ permanent layout. It also maintains a complete G-gauge layout and a large, detailed N-Gauge layout.

Here is the regular sized layout…

This is the G-Gauge table….

And lordy…here is the N-Gauge layout…wow….

The members of this club meet every Thursday at 5 PM for what they call “work sessions.” This is where the guys and gals come together and work on their individual modules (48’ X 30’), or to sync their engines with the power outlets and sources. My brother tried to explain all this to me…I’m confused…I’m blond, and I don’t care! All I know, is that on Saturdays, from 10 AM to 3PM, the public is invited to come and ogle the running trains, the cool scenery and the hard work these guys have all put into their passion of model railroading.

I’m gonna keep my mouth shut now y’all….don’t ya just love this stuff? If you say it holds no interest to you then you are in the minority! Too bad for you…I have loved standing as close to the tracks as I dared, feeling the air streaming past me, doing it’s damnedest to suck me into and under the path of the screaming iron wheels!

I have stood on a hill overlooking the tracks where the Engineer could see me and my friends…we would signal the Engineer to sound his horn, pulling down on the imaginary cord as he approached us…mostly these guys would grin widely…and the horns would blast as the engine and it’s cars streamed past us! How frickin cool does it get than that? Can you answer me that one question? HUH????