Those of you that have been regular readers of my blog know that I come from a railroad family. My dad, paternal grandparents and various uncles, cousins...all railroaders. My dad started working for The Texas and Pacific Railroad when he was 18 years old and spent over 30 years with the company. He was killed on the job when he was 49. When I was discharged from the navy, my first real job was with the railroad. If I hadn't been laid off, I probably would have been a lifer too. When I was a kid, we never lived more than 100 feet from the tracks...so, to say railroading is in my blood would be an understatement. I love trains, plain and simple. My parents gave me Lionel and American Flyer train sets and I was a happy camper. My dad and I had a modest train layout that we worked on up until the time of his death. I was in San Francisco in 1970 and saw this engine in a model railroad shop and it was love at first sight...I spent about 2 weeks worth of pay for it and vowed that I would build a layout when I got home and settled. I hit a few obstacles on the way...jobs, a family to feed and house, time and money to spend on the project and...room to build it in. Over the years, I built rail cars and accumulated various necessities (most of which I no longer possess) but somehow my railroad never got built. I'm still negotiating for Right Of Way!
This is a brass model of a Denver & Rio Grande Western C-19. It was a three foot narrow gauge engine built for mountain service. They used the narrow gauge equipment because it was better suited for the rough mountain terrain than full sized track...these trains were the industrial age equivalent of pack mules...they hauled mining equipment, timber, livestock and supplied the mountain towns and settlements with all the essentials...hauled the mail and passengers too!
I hope you'll forgive the grungy looking pencil I used for a size reference...it was in my shirt pocket at the time I was setting this up and, earlier in the day, I had rescued it from the bottom of one of my tool boxes...so it looks a little worse for the wear!