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Thread: Found My First Train... Incomprehensibly Intact!?

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    Default Found My First Train... Incomprehensibly Intact!?

    So, I was talking to my dad on the phone shortly before Thanksgiving. He mentioned that he "found a train in the grove, out by the machine shed". Said "it was maybe 8-10 inches long, northern something". I asked if it was green, and he said yes. I said "Burlington Northern", and he confirmed it.

    I knew EXACTLY what he had found.

    Back in the day, I used to have an HO scale train set (I know... sacrilege... ). It's okay though... I discovered N scale when I found a Bachmann Chessie System F9 train set at a local fleamarket (for just $7). I was hooked on N scale, so I ended up selling my old HO scale set to a cousin for a few bucks. Helped him build a layout over the summer between my last year of grade school and my first year of high school. He got bored with it, and it eventually came back to my step brother. Again, I helped him build a layout. Eventually, he moved out, and I continued helping him build. Sadly, all his family's possessions were lost in a house fire some years later, including that original HO scale layout and that train set that was once mine...

    All but one boxcar...

    Back then, I had no clue how easy it was to order replacement trucks, and one of the boxcars from that HO train set was missing a truck, and had a broken coupler. When my cousin bought it, he didn't care about the broken one, so I tossed the boxcar. On the farm where we lived there was no local trash pickup, and all we had was a burn pit and a scrap metal pile. Somehow, the boxcar ended up by the scrap metal pile, not the burn pit, and furthermore, it sat right along the most used path into the grove around the farm, right next to the metal pile, which saw bits dumped and pulled out as projects around the farm required, or bulk pulled out to sell to the recycler... How it never got crushed by a stray chunk of steel bar, or stepped on, or how the sun didn't fade it, or make the plastic brittle is beyond me... This thing has survived YEARS out in the open, fully exposed to the weather and the sun, the wind and the rain, the snow and the ice, the heat of the summer...

    1123180032.jpg

    1123180032a.jpg

    1123180032b.jpg

    1123180032c.jpg

    Not bad condition... For something that's sat out for so long! I guess I could say it's been naturally weathered!

    This sat outdoors since 1992... 26 YEARS, and this is honestly what it looks like!


    The absolute irony, is that by throwing this away, it was saved from destruction, and it now remains the only remnant of my very first model train.
    I mean, what are the chances that this somehow survived such an exposed, high traffic, outdoor area!?

    Anyway... This thing has definitely earned a place in my display shelf. I can't belive it still even exists! I'll call it my Thanksgiving Day Miracle!
    Last edited by richfiles; 1st Dec 2018 at 11:57 PM.


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    My first train set that I got was also a HO Burlington Northern set. That boxcar held special place as I kept secret stuffs inside, like a mini hidden box (car)....

    Still have the whole set. My son played with it when he was young.

    Pics later...
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    Wow, I wonder if they used different paint back then to have it survived the elements after all these years! Maybe lead, which is not banned in pain?

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    If I were you, I'd find a junk similar Bachmann boxcar at a swap meet and pull off the trucks/couplers to use as a "donor" for this, and then mount this in a glass case or mini-diorama display (not much larger than the boxcar). Maybe get a foot-long piece of foam, some HO cork roadbed and a stretch of HO track, ballast it and mount this on it, like a monument to your model railroad beginnings.

    I have an old Lionel flatcar sitting on a piece of 027 track that sits on one of my shelves - it's one of the last remaining pieces of my childhood Lionel train set (I also have the power pack, still functional).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    Wow, I wonder if they used different paint back then to have it survived the elements after all these years! Maybe lead, which is not banned in pain?
    Lead has been banned in paint since ( at least ) the 1970s... probably longer than that....
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    What a great story, thanks for sharing.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    Wow, I wonder if they used different paint back then to have it survived the elements after all these years! Maybe lead, which is not banned in pain?
    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    Lead has been banned in paint since ( at least ) the 1970s... probably longer than that....
    Here's what I really meant to type as I was doing it on my phone and the stupid auto type:

    Maybe lead, which is now banned in paint?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    Here's what I really meant to type as I was doing it on my phone and the stupid auto type:

    Maybe lead, which is now banned in paint?
    I understood that. I was pointing out that the model in question dates to a time well after lead paint was banned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jugtown Modeler View Post
    My first train set that I got was also a HO Burlington Northern set. That boxcar held special place as I kept secret stuffs inside, like a mini hidden box (car)....
    Mine was purchased used, from a garage sale. I recall that it appeared to be at least two different train sets combined together. One was led by a Santa Fe Red and silver F unit with a pancake motor, and the other was a green and silver Mikado steam loco (2-8-2). There was a variety of rolling stock, in a variety of roads. I have no idea how old it was originally, but this particular boxcar was made in Yugoslavia. Took me a minute to find the "Made in" marks. I've not found a brand yet. I tried to pop it open to see if there were marks inside... I immediately closed it again... AMAZING how much mud and dirt and not so pleasant things can get inside what otherwise appears to be a sealed box... My dad clearly didn't do that thorough a job of washing it when he took it inside!
    I'll need to clean it further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Rail View Post
    Nice story,thanks for sharing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Janbouli View Post
    What a great story, thanks for sharing.
    Thanks! When I saw this thing again for the first time in two and a half decades... Yeah, how could I not share!


    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    Wow, I wonder if they used different paint back then to have it survived the elements after all these years! Maybe lead, which is now banned in paint?
    Who knows... The thing WAS made in Yugoslavia... I wonder when the last time American retailers imported HO scale train sets from Yugoslavia was, and when they switched to Hong Kong and China in general?

    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    I understood that. I was pointing out that the model in question dates to a time well after lead paint was banned.
    I don't even know when the two train sets that comprised this garage sale find were even manufactured. I can't exactly say when it dates from. I had the HO set for at least a couple years before getting the N scale set, and it was already well used.

    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    If I were you, I'd find a junk similar Bachmann boxcar at a swap meet and pull off the trucks/couplers to use as a "donor" for this, and then mount this in a glass case or mini-diorama display (not much larger than the boxcar). Maybe get a foot-long piece of foam, some HO cork roadbed and a stretch of HO track, ballast it and mount this on it, like a monument to your model railroad beginnings.
    This. So much this! I'll probably just order a set of trucks and some good looking knuckle couplers, for looks only, to do just what you described. It'll be good practice for getting back into modeling scenery

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    My new theory... I never saw the boxcar, as it was found. My dad found it. When I popped it open, it was FILLED with mud. It was actually really gross.
    My theory, is that it probably was covered in a nice layer of protective mud... That and a 26 year streak of good luck!

    1128182218a.jpg

    Anyway, I bought some HO track from my local Menards store (they carry HO and O stuff for the Christmas season... No N though... ).
    My plan is to build a small diorama to display this boxcar. Eventually, I'll order a replacement truck for it.
    The track was that EZ track stuff, but I was able to remove it from the generic plastic roadbed.
    I wanna model it as an overgrown, abandoned spur, with a lonely forgotten boxcar left behind...
    Last edited by richfiles; 2nd Dec 2018 at 12:13 AM.

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    That's pretty amazing! Its cool that you found that bad boy. I second the notion of immortalizing forever this sacred box car for the glory of your model railroading heritage!
    its amazing the preservative powers of mud. From old ships, ice age animals, to model trains! who woulda guessed?

    I still have the first set my dad got when I was younger. An old 90's Bachmann N scale Empire Builder, maybe not that old, but still!
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    My first train was a old HO Athern rubber band drive GP-7 (1955 or so) . Still have the shell and frame for it in a trunk plus what is left of my first scratch builds , did find the magazine articles that I built them from when I pick up a full bound set of RMC 's . They were in the 1962 book. Your find out in the bone yard has to be one of the best as what are the odds.

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    Default My Dad Found MORE Train Stuff in the Grove!!!

    1204182306a.jpg
    I'm kinda dumbfounded... But my dad found EVEN MORE train stuff!

    1204182307.jpg

    We got a nice thick snowfall over the weekend, however the week between Thanksgiving and that snowfall saw a lot of melting. My dad decided to look out in the grove again, and found two more items. One is a tiny fragment of a gondola, also Burlington Northern. What it did have though, was a truck, so I can salvage that truck for the boxcar now. This part was crushed, is faded, and pretty much looks like I'd expect it to. I honestly don't recall that one... It was an utter shock to me. Maybe it got stepped on and tossed early on? I don't know.

    1204182307a.jpg

    The other thing he found, was the caboose that went with that Sante Fe F series locomotive. It, like the boxcar, was in shockingly good condition, and I'm going to just assume that mud must have protected it over the years. It's a bit scratched up, and a walkway is cracked off at the end, but both ladders are intact. Chimney is gone, but that's easily replaced. It never had glass... It's a cheap Tyco model. Still, I was absolutely floored to learn that got tossed out there. I KNEW about the boxcar. This, I hadn't known about! He actively looked this time, so I don't suspect anything else is out there in the grove.

    1204182309.jpg

    I'll only need to order some HO scale wheels and couplers (and not entire trucks now) to fill out the wheels missing from the caboose. I DO want to incorporate the fragment of gondola... Obviously, even the most damaged gondola isn't gonna rust away like that, and even something scrapped feels like that's not a natural cut pattern... Maybe a landslide? "bury" the gondola? That could even serve as a "reason" for the abandoned cars on an abandoned line... Digging it out and repairing the tracks was maybe deemed more costly than abandoning the line and switching to trucking? It's happened in my region for far less drastic causes. It's a thought...

    1204182311.jpg

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    Nice find.

    It's possible the green color (at least) is molded into the plastic, rather than painted on. If it was indeed buried or otherwise protected from sunlight, the color would most likely stay the same.
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    Gojirra ate old gondola or ate most of it at least.

    Gojirra still hungry can Gojirra come over and eat the rest of gondola?

    HO cars much better for eating than N cars.
    GOJIRRA!

    U HAVE AWAKENED!!

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    As an unintended consequence, you got a BNSF heritage consist there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOJIRRA View Post
    Gojirra ate old gondola or ate most of it at least.
    Wow! This is one dangerous site!
    Forget to post pics, get stampeded
    Post pics, get eaten!

    Yikes!

    Thanks Gojira for leaving a little bit of leftovers for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    As an unintended consequence, you got a BNSF heritage consist there!
    That was certainly not lost on me! Definitely noticed that too.
    Interestingly, BNSF won't be modeled on my planned layout, despite it being intended to be a "modern setting", so this will fit into my alternate timeline perfectly, even if only a side piece. I'm going to be primarily modeling Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern (and it's sister railroad Iowa, Chicago, & Eastern), Chicago & Northwestern, and Rock Island. I will have a few passenger and excursion type trains come in from off the edge of the map, along with some mixed freight carried in by the local lines that will represent Chessie System, UP, Southern Pacific, and Santa Fe. I'll probably have a spattering of Burlington Northern.

    In my alternate timeline, Rock Island will pull itself out of bankruptcy by selling off a few southern and western lines to SP, ATSF, and UP, selling some rolling stock to other railroads, making some lucrative deals for rail access rights with nearly all the surrounding railroads (explaining why a Rock Island train might be seen on a DME or CNW line, or pulling SP, ATSF, or UP freight), and generally cutting out the fat by focusing on grain and regional customers in the central plains and prairie lands. CNW still tries to abandon the Pierre to Rapid City line, and senator Larry Pressler still pushes for it's sale, over abandonment, leading to the creation of DME. As the 1980s and 1990s move forward, a few minor mergers happen, but no mega mergers. Fuel prices don't drop quite so low, keeping rail services more profitable than trucking in some regions, leading the the continued existence of short lines that otherwise would have disappeared, or the retention of customers that would have otherwise changed over to trucking. CNW never is bought by UP, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe never merge into BNSF, Chessie System and Seaboard never merge to form CSX. CNW buys a number of regional railroads, absorbing a lot of what is in Wisconsin, and connecting up to Canada. This reduced Canadian Pacific's influence in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and stalls out efforts by CP to purchase DME and ICE. DME successfully expands into the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, and leases Genesee and Wyoming locomotives and rolling stock to expand it's fleet. This gives me an excuse to create the Rapid City Pierre and Eastern on my line, even while DME still exists... I'll call those leased locomotives, or a joint operation of some kind. RCP&E deserves representation, because in reality, much of the people who worked the DME are now there, and I'd like to honor that, even though my alternate timeline should prevent them from ever forming.
    Ain't the power of imagination somethin'! Yay!

    I always felt the alphabet soup railroads didn't sound nearly as nice as railroads that wear their proper names as a proud badge... Santa Fe and Burlington Northern sound so much greater than BNSF. I used to watch a particular Youtube channel, and picked up a term from there... FNBS. I have no idea what that means! Honest!! I might consider doing a small private spur... Try to come up with some legitimate company name to fit those letters, just as a joke and a nod to that Youtuber. My railroad doesn't model Santa Fe or Burlington Northern territories, but I'll most definitely have freight cars representing those railroads coming from "off the map" in mixed freight consists.

    My little HO diorama will nicely serve as a tribute to two classic railroads that are not entirely gone, but most certainly not the same anymore, either. It'll also be nice practice for getting back into landscaping, which I absolutely loved doing as a teen.

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