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was 5 when grandpa bought me my set. i still remmeber this day like it was yesterday. I had some European C-C diesel (still can't find it in loco list...) and 5 long passenger cars. i assume i was modeling Deutsche Reichsbahn as everything written on cars was in german.

BTW, looking at track i have today i can say that although the PIKO (then government owned east german company ) did not look super realistic its track snapping and unsnapping withstood 6 years of regular layout building and tearing apart as there was no way i could have permanent one. with todays stuff i sure would have gone through many many bent and lost rail couplers and perhaps bent rail.
 

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I got a decent HO scale set for Christmas when I was about 8 or so. To sweeten the deal, I got chicken pox shortly after Christmas so I spent alot of time playing with it.

My dad who had some carpentry skills made a very interesting 4x8 layout. I have pictures but they are film so I need to scan them.
 

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Schizophrenic Engineer
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Same here. Dad made the frame and table top 5 years before I was born. I am the youngest of the four Kidd's. I showed to most interest in it so I am the one that still has it. I just add it up and my train table is 51 years old. It has been reworked at least three times. It is now in it's fifth home. I always wanted train stuff for my birthday and Christmas. I have spent many hours working on it and it still look as if I started yesterday.

John
 

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My dad bought me a O-27 guage set (Marx) when I was like 5yrs old, for Christmas. I got different cars and stuff thru out the years, up until I lost intersted when Middle school/girls rolled around, lol.
My dad always had HO stuff, and I mean TONS of it. But never ran it, it was all for a layout that never materialized, (I blame my mom getting preg. with my Sister, lol). He sold it all when I was about 15yrs old.
Now, I have 2 boys and a daughter to pass it on to. But this time, I am working on the layout now, hehe.
Kevin
 

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Yard Master & Research
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I started late. My wife actually bought me my first complete set, the year after we were married. I was collecting only a few years before. My oldest brother got the Lionel Set I was in the slot car era.
 

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A good friend of mine bought me a bachmann train set, about 11 or 12 years ago..
And then he bought another one because I liked the first one..lol
I still have it, though the track is long gone.
 

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Like most it was a family hobby, something my father and I could do together. It was also cheeper than most of the other hobbys out there such as R/C cars and planes and rockets. Not to mention the longevity of the models themselfs. I could never sell or get rid of any of the cars locos or structures that either myself or my father built. History is in miniture as well...
 

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For me it started when I was 7. When visiting my grandparents my brother and I ordered into their basement so we didn't disturb the older discussions. My grandfather has this really large layout we would play for hours. My 8th birthday I got a train set and played with for the next two years. I got out of the hobby for a while but held onto my trains until I had the income and space to build a new layout. Now I have over 100 cars and the skills to make my own large layout. I plan on posting pics.
 

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Model trains have been around me all my life...I couldn't really put a finger on any one thing that started it. Dad had American Flyer, there were trains in every relative's house and every firehouse at Christmas as well as our own. My first layouts were when I was 8, my first truly scale effort was when I was in 8th and th grade and a part of a model RR club at school. They've always been there through my rock-n-roll doper daze, the military and everything in between.
 

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When Santa left me a Lionel set under the tree about 50+ years ago. It was fun restoring that same old #2035 steam locomotive and its cars this past winter.
 
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