Real railroad workers and model trains

See that guy at the dispatcher's board, griining from ear to ear? That's me...

Well, that's probably true...

Jeff Sc. Certifiable, Ga.

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A. Paul wrote: : Do real railroad workers build models of trains and layouts or just : laugh at those who do? Do they think it is a sissy type of thing for : men to play with trains or do they also enjoy the hobby of scale model : railroading?

I have a friend who was an engineer all his life, and he hates model trains... he calls me "one of those Lionel Homos". Now, it's only fair to mention that he didn't really like big trains either, and tends to be a sarcastic guy, so some of it was just to rib me. He's probably not a typical case.


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As a conductor/brakeman on the NS, I can tell you for certain that there are quite a few railfans and model railroaders who work for the railroad.

On my seniority district alone, I know of an engineer who is an avid railfan, subscribes to several of the popular magazines, is involved in an HO club with a modular railroad, and actively goes to train shows. He always gives me flyers when the new shows are scheduled to come to town.

There is another employee currently working as a brakeman on a local, but who is also engineer qualified who not only models in HO, but has a father who owns a hobby shop where they have a 100 car HO train running on display in the store.

Another conductor on our end has an outbuilding with a decent sized layout, still in construction and a hodgepodge of various rail equipment.

Another engineer has a collection of model equipment, books and magazines.

Yet another engineer is a railfan extreme, reading about every publication printed and very actively into HO modelling.

Quite a few others that I work with express more than average interest and knowledge of railroading, well beyond what is required to perform our duties.

One of our guys has had a number of photos published in the NS calendars over the past few years, and also has mentioned owning some model equipment to me at times.

One recently marked up employee who quit shortly afterwards was a modeller/railfan as well.

One of the guys I marked up with was an avid railfan (but not modeller) before he hired on.

Then there's myself. Before I went to work for NS, I was a very active modeller, and at one time was building my own layout at home while simultaneously working on a massive layout with some railroad friends in an old upper floor office building. I was also an avid rail photographer and railfan. Due to many factors prior to my employment with the railroad, my participation in model railroading dropped off dramatically a few years before I became an employee, but I still have box after box full of HO gear, mostly custom painted Southern Railway locomotives, and many undecs destined to be such, along with tons of Southern rolling stock and a few other road names as well. My pride was my 50 car Southern coal train, each car with a different number, and all were numbers I'd actually seen in real life.

I'm sure there are other employees on my end, and certainly there are others on the other districts who are modellers and railfans, but many of them keep it quiet, because to many employees on the railroad you are looked down upon if you are actually interested in what you do for a living.

But I always think back to what my recently retired supervisor (Trainmaster) told me when I first hired on...

He said that there will be a lot of people on the railroad that will turn their nose up to you when they find out you are a railfan, but he always asked the question..."Would you become an airplane pilot if you were interested in flying?"

I had always noticed he had a few HO models in his office, and one time mentioned to me that one of them was fitted with Kadee couplers.

I'm pretty sure he probably has more than a fleeting interest in railroading himself.

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