Model Railroading with your children

Model railroading has always been an enjoyable hobby for me. This year , I started a project with two of my children. We call it “Slow Train Down South”. We have finished laying track and wiring our first module and took a break  for the summer and various outdoor activities. I also started a new indoor activity, finishing the basement, which promises to be a long slow process as I have to move stuff around to get to the foundation walls to build a finished wall. We made good progress (the kids inspect more than help) and will soon have over 20 feet of wall built, insulated, sheetrock up, and painted.

In the course of moving things around, we moved Graham’s little N scale layout that we obtained off of Freecycle a few years ago. Low and behold, our new kitten, Oreo, discovered the layout and played with it herself while we were away one day. This caused, as one can imagine, many tears from Graham. Now Graham has done some damage to the scenery and some structures as well, so it isn’t like the little layout was in excellent order to begin with before Oreo’s visit. Graham asked if we could build a new N scale layout because he thinks Maggie (his older sister) should work with me with the O scale layout and I should show him how to make an N scale layout since that is the scale he really likes.

Graham was looking through Model Railroader magazines with me for N scale layouts and I dug out the December 1978 issue and showed him the Clinchfield RR project. An instant hit, except as he pointed out we need to build it really high so the cats don’t jump on it. Well, even though we have the space for a 6 x 13 foot layout, we do not have the room right now with “stuff” all over the place as we build the interior walls. However we have space along the already completed walls to build shelf railroads that can grow.

This interesting discussion between Maggie,Graham and myself grew into the first model railroad congress in our basement. When done, we had arrived at building an O scale and an N scale railroad that grows as the walls are completed. The kids decided to help each other and Dad. Maggie wants to continue with the “big trains” and Graham wants to model N scale trains that “switch coal mines.” I told them okay, but we are going to model in a finescale approach. We are not just running trains, but building working representations of a railroad. After explaining this approach and then demonstrating it through pictures on various blogs the kids agreed that they would learn a lot from this approach.

So that said, we will soon be starting our blog posts up again with progress on not one but two finescale projects, the N scale “Keeney Creek shifter” and the O scale “Slow Train Down South”. This should be interesting!


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