model train set on track

Momma’s Train!

e*Train Issue: Dec 2022   |   Posted in:

Momma and her train!

By David Braskey, TCA# 22-75966         Winter 2023 e*Train

From memory my fascination with trains goes back to Kindergarten when I rushed daily to get one of the two wooden train sets in the classroom for our play time.  Then my dad bought us our Lionel train set for the classic Christmas time platform.  We set it up every year with our Plasticville homes, factories and farms.  I still enjoy browsing through the originals at train meets and reliving assembling them every year,  We never used glue or tape to hold them together so reassembly was frequent.  When done I would lay for hours with my eye at track level watching the train roar by on our 4 X 8 platform.  The big attraction was the “milk car” with the auto rejection of the metal milk canisters onto the unloading platform.   I still have the set but it needs some restoration from my childhood overuse.

In that era Lionel trains around Christmas trees were the thing and I was fortunate enough to have several relatives with fascinating sets with missile launchers, cattle cars, log loading/unloading and many more which made visiting homes at the holidays a special treat.  

My wife, Stephanie, was given the 1957 Lionel girl’s train from her grandparents as a child.  Here is her photo in front of the Christmas tree, as a child.

When she was a teenager, her mother wanted to give the set away but Stephanie objected.  Thankfully, all these years later, we still have the set in great condition.  

Here is Stephanie in the Christmas of 2021 with her train.  

Visiting our relatives in North East Philadelphia always included a visit to the local station on the Phila/NY mainline where we would hang out and get to see several  GG1’s roar by the station as I would hang onto the steel platform columns to keep from getting sucked up in the draft of the speeding trains.

 I often joke that when I went to school to be an “engineer” I didn’t realize what I signed up for.  But at Pennsylvania State University I did meet my lovely wife (and her Lionel Girls Train) so it all turned out alright.  We both cherish having the old photo of the sweetheart and her train at Christmas.  I was glad to get the current shot at Christmas last year.  She still looks great (I do mean my wife although the train has done well for itself).

I learned about TCA from my great neighbor Frank, a true rail fanatic.  It’s not everyone who owned their own actual train station and a few cabooses at one point in their collecting lifetime.  Frank was always keeping me up to speed on local train shows, especially his multiday excursions to the York train meet. His stories and fascination with train collecting are what eventually got me to jump aboard and sign on to TCA.  My wife and I attended our first York meet together earlier this year and look forward to many more.  I am happy to report I have several of my grandchildren fascinated with trains so there is hope for collectors in the next generation.

We have four sons and, as children, they enjoyed taking turns running “Mommy’s train” and “Daddy’s train!”