SSPRR Run Room

Playing with Toy Trains

History of Playing with Toy Trains

Susan D, Chief Operating Officer

Santa brought my first train when I was 7. The family train layout kept growing and Dad set it up during Thanksgiving holidays and left it up through New Year's. Dad had the biggest layout in West Texas and people came by from all over to see the layout.

Dad was the Ford dealer, in Ralls, TX. The train layout was always a big part of our holidays but we never had a train around the Christmas tree. The layout was in the heated double garage and grew up a ramp into the den. My dad and two brothers ran the trains. I remember Dad working on the engines and accessories late into the night to keep things running. I had to install the Plasticville and put the bushes (lichen) around. Now, I don't do scenery, I just run trains.

As we children left home Mother asked Dad if he was going to let us take our trains with us. Dad said, "They know those are my trains." When Dad died in '78, Mom sent me, my two brothers and sister into the bedroom without our spouses and told us to divide up the trains.

We would put four engine, tender, and caboose sets on the bed and we would each put our hand on the one we wanted and so on with the accessories and cars. We probably all chose the one Santa brought us. Later, my brother gave me the chain drive log loader (I had the coal loader) because he said it was too noisy.

My brother and his son had a small layout while his son was at home. My sister's son built a layout with her trains and he belonged to TCA before his children arrived. My youngest brother's sons set theirs up a couple of Christmases. I had enough stuff to start a layout with two 4'x8' plywood tables and it's grown from there. Up until 2000 I was able to stick to my policy of "Everything goes on the layout for running and nothing stays in the box."

My 14' x 25' Run Room was too small for that policy so (with my husband's support and blessing) I knocked out all unnecessary walls in the basement in 2003 and started  my current Run Room.

August 2008


Instructions Saved with Dad's Postwar Trains

 How to make Common Repairs for Electric Trains (7 pages).  Postwar era 1945 to about 1965

How to Operate Lionel Trains and Accessories (59 pages) -1954