Messages From modelrailroadsofsoutherncalifornia



#4782 Nov 16, 2011

American Flyer after early Marx from age 5 or so (1952) in Portland OR. We had a basement with a table and my buddies and I would combine our trains to make bigger set ups. The Lionel crowd met in another basement.

In 1958 we moved to 3087 Alma in Palo Alto when my dad went to Stanford for a doctorate. Kid who lived across the street from school had a spare room of HO SP with his dad -- tiger stripe and bloody nose Geeps. Another had a 5 x 10 HO in the garage "water glass"anchored the Atlas fiber tie flex track. Family friends from Portland lived by San Antonio Road and El Camino (later the location of San Antonio Hobbies) -- their son was a year older and had HO Railroad That Grows under way in the garage -- I would bike ride over to help with scenery and such. I bought HO with 1958 Christmas money, traded AF for HO at The Engine House on El Camino and started a 4 x 7 layout in my bedroom that folded against the wall. Learned to handlay turnouts and installed MKD couplers.

1961 moved to University of Texas in Austin and set up a switching shelf in my bedroom. 1962 moved to University of Delaware in Newark -- small town had two hobby shops! That fall I got a job selling and repairing trains and worked for them until I graduated in 1965. Picked up HOn3 habit with my store discount.

Went to University of Washington and met local model rails who ran hobby store at Macy's and had a large John Armstrong HO layout under construction. Added some more HOn3 with 'friends and family discount'. Left UW and joined USMC in 1966. MR articles on transistors in TAT IV and Twin T gave me a leg up in AE school and I graduated first in class from NAS JAX and moved on to VMFA 251 in Beaufort SC untiI went to Chu Lai Vietnam in 1968. My Seattle buddies sent me some HO kits, my shop NCOIC was building SSLtd kits. When I mailed completed cars home I had to disassemble to show there was no contraband inside. Married my bride June 21, 1969 and moved her to NAS Norfolk -- apartment had a 6 x 10 storage/hot water heater space and my book cases of model train mags and a 2 x 6 HO switching layout appeared -- my wife claims I din't tell her I had a habit! Joined the local MR club and built some traction turnouts for them.

Got out in June 1970 and went back to UofD in Newark and worked part time at the old hobby shop through graduation in 1973. Acquired an On3 habit and still have it all these years later. Sold off HOn3 in the process.

Law school in Portland OR, ON3 shelf layoout over my desk and book case helped keep me semi-sane. Moved to Indianapolis after graduation in 1975, built On3 modules to haul to Mini-Bunch meets in Ohio. 1980 became a lobbyist attorney for DuPont and began traveling the US including hooking up with the On3Track crew in SoCal. Helped host the 2nd NNGC in Pennsylvania and the On3 module set up. Built an On3 Alpine Tunnel layout in NJ -- transported many pounds of decomposed granite for scenery from SoCal hobbyshops -- which was destroyed when we moved to Chicago in 1986. Have built many On3 modules since. Left a 10 x 20 L On3/P:48 SG dual gauge set in Naperville IL in 1999 -- they are now set up in southeastern MO as a bonus room railroad.

Got On30 for conversion to On3 when it first came out, then as a feeder line for the 3' RR, then as the primary stuff. The On30 Arroyo Mining RR ---Links-Are-Forbidden--- hangs on the wall in my den in Las Vegas NV and components for some On30 modules are in the garage for when my travel schedule allows me to get back to work on the RR -- unfortunately, Congress, the Nevada legislature and local governments have many ways to interfere in my plans.

Hope to make some more SoCal tours in 2012.

Bill UffelmanLas Vegas NV