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Born To Be Parents
By Chris Burger
Born to the parents from Reading, Ohio and Brighton, England
in 1957. In the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, later moving to a Village
just outside of Cincinnati by the name of Arlington Heights. Fifty
Feet away from what I remember people calling the big four railroads.
A lot of train action for a little guy to see.
I guess you could say this is what fueled my interest in trains.
At age two and a half, I received my first train set. A three-rail
set which confused me. I actually have a picture of
me at Christmas time with my hands in my brown corduroy bib overalls
looking down at the train as if to say to my dad, “What
is this 3-rail crap?” “It is a Lionel set son.”
The next year, Received a second train set. This time I knew it
I was lying down in the middle of the figure 8 layout with my
head down to the floor with a big smile on my face. I was thinking
then, “Boy dad, you did it right this time.” I got
an American Flyer set. Just a basic figure 8 starter set with
cardboard trestles, but it was an American Flyer train.
Around the age of five or six, not real sure, I would go to my
cousin Ronnie’s house and play with his great big engine.
The track was the same as mine, but after that, it was the real
good stuff. A 15B transformer with dead mans throttle, a real
good looking set of orange painted steel girder trestles. Flashing
railroad crossbucks. Automatic switches with a light in the controller,
tons of track to make it run below his bed so I could crawl underneath
to see the headlight and white smoke coming from the engine. He
had a bunch of Plasticville buildings too. We would be there for
hours and nobody had to worry about me, I was in the house running
my American Flyer Railroad. What I did not know was that my parents
gave my cousin’s parents $50 for the whole shebang! A #336
engine and all the freight cars along with a #355 Baldwin C&N
switcher and all its’ cars plus lots more. About age 10
or 11, my younger cousins would come over to our house for the
holidays and we would all go to the basement and play with the
trains. About age 10 or 11, my younger cousins would come over
to our house for the holidays and we would all go to the basement
and play with the trains.
Later in life, I still played with the trains. Always out for
Christmas and always on my mind about a big, huge layout with
lots of action.
I am married to Beth and she loves doing the train thing with
We have accumulated many Christmas Village pieces and moving
accessories along with American Flyer action accessories old and
reproduced. Our collection of trains is growing to include all
brands of S-Gauge Hi-Rail trains. Meaning, they will all run with
American Flyer. I am not a purist though! I am currently switching
to retrofit DC can motors with flywheels, made by my friend Frank
Timko, of Timko Repair Depot. Sorry for the Plug, but these motors
are incredible. After the retrofits, he started adding Digital
Command Control to each engine.
Just like O-gauge ten years ago, American Flyer type S-Gauge
trains are making a big comeback thanks to companies like S-Helper
Service and American Models.
I run my trains every chance I can, and share the experience
with young and old alike
If you have American Flyer Trains in your closet, get them out,
get them running and have some fun with a real looking railroad!