The amazement of model trains
Model train magic
During the holidays the most memorable images I have as a young boy growing up at Christmas time were our visits to FAO Schwartz toy store in New York City and the visit to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree with my parents and my sisters. Those were wonderful times and the most enjoyable attraction for me at the world's most famous toy store, FAO Schwartz were the model train sets. I was so captivated by the attention to detail and the realistic scenery as the trains made the real live sounds with the chug a chug action and the whistles blowing. It was my boyhood dream and I was so amazed. There is something wonderful in seeing model trains circle the tracks and hear them as they pass by.
The pure joy in seeing a model train set built to scale in a large and realistic layout makes us feel like kids once again and what makes it all seem so real are the props. There are sets made to look like villages in the countryside or major cities or small towns. My favorites are the sets that represent European villages with winter and mountain ranges, tunnels, and breathtaking views. I also like City landscapes with skyscrapers, cars and elevated tracks. The essence of model railroading is the unlimited possibilities than can be envisioned and put into action. It is a pure delight to see the results of a well thought out plan from drawing board to creation and it challenges the very limits of our ideas and visions in approaching true reality in rail roads, villages, towns and cities.
Who said model railroading is just for kids? There are many adults who devote a great deal of time to model railroading and some call it their passion or their hobby. For some it has been a lifelong passion and you can see how true that is with the enthusiasm they share as they proudly display their sets. When you see a large set with all the props and such attention to detail you just are transported back to your youth and it is a pure wonder to see. I love sharing model railroading with my son and plan to take him to see the magic of model trains at shows conducted nationwide.
To hear the sounds of the model trains and see the flashing lights and see the steam from the locomotive as it passes by and see the names of all the freight train companies displayed on the freight trains as they pass by is so real in it's depiction of the trains we see everyday. It is every child's dream to see a model train set with all the bells and whistles and scenery that bring it alive. The best themed model train sets are the ones displayed at Christmastime where the sounds and the sights of model railroading is simply magical in the eyes of a young child.
I remember when my son was old enough to appreciate his hot wheel and matchbox sets with racing tracks I thought he would love to have a small scale Lionel train set with a dozen trains and a locomotive with steam action, electric light and whistle. It was our special request from Santa Claus and it was our son's most memorable Christmas as he wanted to have the train set up as soon as he unwrapped it. We had so many special times with that train set and it was a pure joy seeing the trains go around the track and the smile on our son's face and the hours he would play with those trains. That is the beauty of childhood that we should never lose in our lifetime. For some playing with model trains is something they never outgrow as their fascination turns to hobby and art. It is a real tribute to our fascination with high speed locomotion and trains certainly spark that interest in all of us.
One of our son's favorite activities is playing with his Lego blocks creating such wonderful structures. He has several sets and he has built some really cool things. His proudest accomplishment with his Lego creations was his racing car he built and several tall skyscrapers with Pop's help. He now sees the possibilities with train sets and wishes to have a Lego set specifically designed for train and train track construction. It is simply amazing all you can build with Lego blocks. Our son's special request is to visit the Lego museum and to see the Lego train shows. We will have to plan a family outing around Lego as it purely is a wonderful testament to our childhood and the longer we hold on to our childhood the more special life is.
As father and son the joys of model railroading can really make a difference and can make a real impression. Seeing the delight in my son's eyes as he looks on in amazement at an elaborate model train track setup makes it all worthwhile and brings out the kid in all of us. Model trains are tops on every kid's wish list, including mine!
Edward D. Iannielli III
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