Where it all Began

From as long as I can remember I have been interested in most modes of transportation.  When I was a child I would count all of the 18-wheelers between my home and the eventual destination.  The few times I went to the airport I was entranced by the huge airliners.  Trains were just as interesting to me trucks, planes & ships but it wasn't until the summer of 1994 that it changed for me.

My Dad wanted to take me out on a camping/fishing trip with just the two of us.  We loaded up the Dodge and left the rest of the family behind.  After driving for about an hour and half we stopped and pitched the tent at Scofield Reservoir in Utah.  Once camp was setup, I tried to do a little fishing but the day was hot for anything to bother being caught.  While attempting to fish I could hear a rumbling in the distance.  Not long after, a long train of hoppers appeared and slowly rumbled by.  While this wasn't the first train I had ever seen, it was one of the first that I had just sat and drank in the whole thing.  Something was different now, a switch flipped in my head and I wanted to know more.

James Belmont photograph

James Belmont photo showing a coal train in 1989.  Area where I camped was not far from here. 

About four hours later I was in the tent working on going to sleep and I could hear a familiar rumble in the distance.  I hopped out of my sleeping bag and unzipped the tent to try to see the train go by.  Unfortunately it was dark and the tracks were about a 1/4 of a mile away but I could see the headlight illuminating the tracks ahead.  Although I couldn't see it, I still looked in the direction of the train and listened to the sounds disturbing the warm summer night.

The next morning another train went by.  After breakfast and another failed attempt at fishing, my dad and I decided to drive around and explore the area.  We first explored the near by town of Scofield and then moved up to the semi-ghost town, Clear Creek.  Fortunately the railroad tracks paralleled the road to Clear Creek and just before arriving to the town we came across the coal train that had passed by this morning.  It was moving slowly under a flood loader being loaded with coal.  Later in the day we found a different place to camp where the fishing was better but there were no trains to watch.

After getting home I was hooked.  I picked up my first issue of Model Railroader (September 1994) and I drank in everything I could.  This is a wonderful hobby that has impacted my life in many ways.  Without this one camping trip my life would be very different today.  I wouldn't be working where I am and most of the friends I have now would only be strangers.  I am thankful for what it has brought me and look forward to where it will take me.

Happy Railroading,

Chris Brimley 


10 Responses

Brian Termunde
Brian Termunde

November 12, 2016

I can remember as a tot, going to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) to put my grandparents on board the UP train to come back here to their home in Salt Lake City, UT. I wondered away from my family and ended up at the headend of the train. I just fell in love with those glossy Yellow and gray (with shiny silver trucks) E-Units! I’ve been hooked ever since!

BUT, what got me to write is the photo by James Belmont. Those mobile homes in the background was where my aunt and uncle stayed during the summer! A year or two ago, I went back, but I could not find this place. But here it is! They’re all gone now, but this photo sure brings back memories…family AND trains!

Jeff Vandergraff
Jeff Vandergraff

November 01, 2016

From the first train I seen as a small child I was hooked. my grandparents lived on the south end of the Monon RR yard at Lafayette, In. And we lived near the Norfolk and Western yard. It’s strange how this grabs some people and sticks forever.

Dave Audley
Dave Audley

November 01, 2016

My fascination with trains started when I was 5 years old and Mom was in the hospital having my sister. In those days, moms stayed in the hospital for 5 days or so and I was packed off to stay with Uncle Roy & Aunt Kay. They were not long married and renting a small 2 bedroom house my Grandfather owned. Aunt Kay had purchased a Lionel Set for my Uncle and that was set up in the back bedroom. During my stay there, I actually got to run this amazing train set! A life long interest resulted that was nurtured by family and friends! I have been fortunate that this interest has been supported by my wife, who works now in a train store! I also have many friends in the hobby and that has been a wonderful blessing! I also have a wonderful son-in-law that is a dispatcher with CPR! WOW! I am now in probably the last decade of my life and having fun! The hobby has been good for me, and I am now helping other folks enjoy!

Mike
Mike

October 31, 2016

Nice story. Could your dad tell what happened to you in the course of that trip? Did he witness a fascination in you taking hold? Did you discuss it?
Best,
Mike

A.B. Dean
A.B. Dean

October 31, 2016

Not the same story, but the guy who TAUGHT me to fish, my grandfather, taking me down to the Missouri Pacific depot in Joplin in the summer of 1952, where his lodge brothers treated me to a ride around the yard in the cab. It makes no difference how we got bit, just so we were bitten!

Mac Krauss
Mac Krauss

October 30, 2016

I too have fond memories of watching trains when I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s. We would visit my Grandmother’s in Altavista, VA twice a year from Conn. There was this old wooden pedestrian bridge within a block of my Grandma’s, that crossed the Virginian-Norfolk & Western (though I had no idea what the names were then), when we heard the trains whistle, we (a bunch of us kids) would run to the bridge before the engines got there, so we could get the hot exhaust in our faces- wired but cool! Great memories as there seemed to be a train every hour which made for a lot of running!
Your models are some of the best I have ever seen, bar none- the detail is sharp and precise, and the graphics, in my opinion, are THE best on the market! Thanks for your attention to detail!
Happy memories!
Mac

Warren Baker
Warren Baker

October 30, 2016

Great fishing/train story. It illustrates why many of us prefer to watch or photograph trains going by rather than actually riding them. Please share more train stories as time permits.
Regards,
Warren

Paul Liddiard
Paul Liddiard

October 30, 2016

Great hook! I got hooked on trains by visiting my grandfather in Provo. He lived on 600 West, and 500 south. I would hear the horn, and run down to the tracks and watch in wonder as the Rio Grande trains would roll by!

David McMullen
David McMullen

October 30, 2016

Great story! I lived in Salt Lake City when I was a kid. We moved there in 1968 and I use to see all the UP trains going thru and that’s when I got the train bug. Utah has some great train watching places.
Keep up the Fantastic work!
Dave

phil j
phil j

October 30, 2016

I can relate to this. I could fly fish the Arkansas River on the D&RGW Tennessee Pass line and watch the west bounds work up grade. Oh, or those days back, LOL. Phil

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