I have been interested in model railroading for as far back as I can recall. I can recall going on a variety of trips with either my father, grandfather or childhood friend Chad to observe "actual trains". Those trips were motivation to model trains on a smaller scale. When I was a child, the only "toys" that I would ask for at Christmastime were model trains. I grew up in a family of very modest means; so, I cherished those trains whenever my mom, nana or Santa Claus were fortunate enough to gift me one (or maybe even a whole set if I was a really good boy, I thought)! Having had my first job at 14 years old at a greenhouse also helped with this later on! I recall going to many area yard sales looking for model trains, track and scenery back then that people were looking to get rid of for cheap.
What I like most about model trains is what I refer to as "realism to scale". For me as a child, those trains and trackside scenery just had to be in proportion to what one might actually observe at a grade crossing. If my trains were 160 times (i.e., N scale) smaller than a passing train, everything on my (crude) layout had to be that scale. As my childhood friend Michael and I discovered, one could not simply put a (large) Matchbox semi truck alongside an N (or HO) scale model train and expect it to "match up". How outrageous, we thought; the Matchbox semi truck was out of scale in relation to the train.
As of late, I have been designing a modular, N scale model layout with the help of my daughter, Kes. I have some photos of our activity posted to my "Trains" photo album. This has been a great STEAM related activity for us both. And she has been a lot of help; if not for her use of tools, at least for her enthusiasm as dad works out the various "kinks" in wiring and woodworking! Bon has also given me a lot of insight, like using Oklahoma's red dirt as scenery. Most of the stuff on my layout is used; it is stuff I have hung on to over the years, or stuff that I have purchased used as of late with the intent of upgrading at my shop. These upgrades include converting electrified track-powered locomotives to rechargeable, battery-powered locomotives. Additional activity includes other interesting aspects of railroading like train car restoration, track geometry optimization, and train assembly and scheduling. We are not a very well-endowed railroad, so we have to work with what we got!
This brings me to what I might be able to offer those interested in the hobby. Since I have been doing model railroading for quite a while, surely I must have learned a thing or two about model train maintenance, eh? And of course I am STILL learning! Anyways, in my work, I follow NMRA standards and recommended practices when performing maintenance. So, if you have a locomotive or rolling stock and are interested in upgrading and/or repairing it I might be able to help you out for a modest fee. If that is something that might be of interest to you, feel free to send me message or give me a call. I will probably post more content here as time goes on, so stay tuned.