told by my parents and relatives that I always
had a fascination with trains. My grandparents on my mother's side
lived in a small wooden house in Ponchatoula, Louisiana within eyesight
of the Illinois Central's mainline running between Chicago and New
Orleans. As a small kid, I remember the shiny orange and brown
streamliners racing by, and the rumbling freight trains...some pulled by
black, utilitarian looking machines (Geeps), and others by
fire-breathing, smoke-belching monsters. I was witnessing the last
of mainline steam, but (at that time) was more interested in those shiny
streamliners! Frankly, those black, smoky monsters just scared the
tar out of me, at least when up close.
For models, it all began for me in the early 50s. I received an O
scale toy train set for Christmas...don't recollect the make, but that
wasn't important back then. All I knew is that it ran fast, and
had action accessories, and was amazing. Eventually the set was
packed away, and I happily went along my way, being distracted by other
wonderful things: Remco toys including an electronic radio station, the
Bulldog motorized tank, and a ray gun. Then there was a flying
rocket model (propelled by baking soda and water), and of course,
In 1960 at age 12, I had my next encounter with model railroads.
Set up beneath the Christmas tree was a Revell HO scale train set,
powered by an 0-6-0 saddle tank steam locomotive. This engine was
ahead of its time in HO, as it had (in addition to a working headlight)
a smoke generator, and SOUND! The chuffs were provided by tiny
bee-bees in a spring buffered plastic box that was activated by a cam on
one of the drivers, shaking the box back and forth. Truly unique
at the time.
I was hooked! And I've been an HO scale modeler ever since.
I've built several layouts over the years, usually in spare
bedrooms. Most were never completely
finished (usually due to moves). Though there have been extended
periods over the years when I wasn't actually modeling, I've always
tried to keep up with the hobby with my reading, experimenting, and by
operating with friends at their layouts. Oh, and did I mention G scale
On the prototype side of things, I have spent a significant amount of
time track side over the years. I've railfanned lines over a
fairly sizable portion of the country, and even spent a short while
employed as a brakeman on the Texas and Pacific back in the early 70s.
My love has always been with the shortlines I've ferreted out over
the years, and the Louisiana Central was (and is) just one such of those
The Louisiana Central for today and the future, will incorporate both
old and new ideas and technologies. I don't forsake the old stuff
just because something is newer. But I do intend to update some of
my materials and methods on this layout.
My intent is to chronicle the construction, and later, the operation of
the line through these web pages.