When I was just a wee lad, my grandfather gave me a Lionel train set as a gift. It was one of those Werther moments. “Hey kid, I think you’re old enough now to appreciate and enjoy this”. At the moment, Im sure I was like…What???? A train???? Why not a G.I. Joe or a cool Optimus Prime. I could use that new Voltron thingy or a Thunder Cat. That was then and this is now…
It has been a few years, but every Christmas I try and pull the train out the box and get that engine fired up again. It’s always a tricky process. Start slow with no extra box cars and turn the dial 10% power. Release the brake, add some coal and stoke the fire. Let the pressure build to 400 psi and slowly open the main valve. Once the steam rolls, open full throttle.
No not really, it’s just build a track, plug in the transformer and away we go…sorta. After being in a box for nearly 3 years, some parts failed to move and I have to give it a little encouragement. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…WOOOO-HOOOOOO! After about 5 minutes of warm up time I slowly add some box cars. Nearly ten minutes into it the engine is running like a dream. Chug-a-luggin along. All 5 cars and a caboose. I love it! It used to blow steam, but that function no longer works.
This years set up was a bit different. I had a little helper. My daughter. She loves trains and this one was REAL! We set it up just for fun. Soon there after, the fun turned into an all out project. We needed bridges, tunnels, a depot and engineers home. Lincoln Logs and Legos to the rescue. We built some fine pieces of real estate. High dollar property.
First Stop- “Lego Depot”—Our depot was fully landscaped with flowers and tropical trees. There was a safety fence to protect the little lego folks from getting into harms way. We had a water tower, clock tower and a stop light. The awning was there to protect our clients from the inclimate weather coming off the mountain tops.
After our passengers were loaded we headed around the bend to “Cripple Creek Bridge” We built a watch tower at the bridge to help the engineer along the dangerous tressels. Many a train have vanished along Cripple Creek Bridge.
Once safely across the bridge we headed towards the Engineers farm and Ranch. He had stacks of firewood and horses corralled in the fences. Nice log cabin on his property too.
The final pass before heading back to the depot is “Green Tunnel Mountain” Green Tunnel is a dark and lonely tunnel. The mountain is capped with snow and has only but a few dead pines left. With no head light the engine still makes it safe and sound.
Back to the depot we arrive.
See, I told you it made me a kid again. Harper and I had so much fun playing with the trains. I believe we built and played for 2 hours. We made a great team and produced some good memories. One of the best parts is seeing my daughter smile and being creative with me. It made my night. The best of the best part is…my grandfather gave this to me when I was a young child and I held on to it. Every time I set it up I think of him. Its even more special now that he is no longer with us. Thanks Granddad for giving me the gift that will always keep on giving. I hope to pass this gift along to my children if they want it.
Until then I need to find my overalls and an engineers cap. I got a tight schedule to keep. Casey Jones aint got nothin on me!!!!