Model Train Tour chugs through Saturday

Photos submitted to Times Observer A model railroad of Dick Bradley in Warren. His model railroad is one of those open on Saturday.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, when many of us were growing up, it was common to have a track with model trains running under the Christmas tree. Lionel, American Flyer and Marx were common brands at the time. Lionel had a scale of 1/4 inch to the foot, while American Flyer and Marx were 3/16 inch to the foot. All three manufacturers offered sets that included a locomotive a couple of freight or passenger cars and, in the case of freight trains, a caboose. The locomotives usually ran very well then, and still do today, since the train manufacturers were the beneficiary of very smooth running motors manufactured during WW II for other purposes.

My Dad bought American Flyer trains for my brother and me. My brother had a Reading Railroad locomotive and I had a Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive. About 1955, my Dad bought an HO Scale (3.5 millimeters to the foot) kit for a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive. It had the locomotive and tender shells, a motor and a lot of little parts. He built it up to a smooth running locomotive. I still have it!

I think it was about then that I really got the bug for model railroading. This led to photographing trains and my entry into building and operating HO scale trains. When my wife and I moved to the Warren area and bought a house in 1973, one of my important considerations was that the house had to have adequate space for a model railroad. It did!

There already was an established model railroad group in the Warren area called the Conewango Switch Tenders. We interacted with a similar group in the Jamestown area, holding joint operating sessions in each other’s homes. The idea was to build the trains, industries and towns, then assemble them into operating scale railroads. Over the years, model railroad equipment has become more true to prototype and such innovations as radio control of locomotives from remote hand-held throttles and locomotive sound have become common.

For some years now, the model railroaders of Warren and Jamestown areas have been holding layout tours in November during National Model Railroad Month. This Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the following model railroaders will hold Layout Tours at the following locations:

— Ray Goetz, 46 Drumcliffe Dr., Warren. Ray has an HO scale model railroad based on railroads in Southern California. His model railroad fills a large basement. Parts of his layout honor past model railroaders.

— Dick Bradley, 19 Hinkle St., Warren. Dick’s HO scale model railroad is based on the south central Pennsylvania operations of the shortline Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. He has recently authored several articles in Railroad Model Craftsman Magazine.

— Mike Dickinson, 213 Willard St., Jamestown, N.Y. Mike’s HO scale model railroad is based on operations of the Erie Railroad.

— Tim Anderson, 706 Busti -Sugar Grove Rd., Jamestown, N.Y. Tim’s HO scale model railroad is based on operations of the Chessie System.

— Bob Yerkey, 4456 West Lake Rd., Mayville, N.Y. Bob’s O scale model railroad is based on operations of the Pennsylvania Railroad and features many interesting structures.

— Roger Schulenberg, 210 Seymour St., Fredonia, N.Y. Roger’s HO scale Niobe and French Creek Railroad represents a shortline railroad that winds through small towns in a country setting.

If you are interested in trains, you will enjoy these open houses. Bring your children; you’ll have a great time. See you there.