Grandchildren Watching the Maple Valley Short Line is the Reward of Model Railroading

Hours and hours invested in a model railroad often result in a few moments that make the entire effort worth every moment working. For a model railroader, the work is fun so it’s not as though I don’t love every minute with my layout.

The Maple Valley Short Line Model Railroad is my third layout and is far more detailed than any other I have built. Having it up and running is rewarding enough, but when our grandchildren are delighted to see it, that is indescribable.

“Papa built all of this,” my daughter-in-law said. Several of my buttons popped.

“Papa built these houses?” a little voice asked.

“Yes, I did. And I built the bridges, and the tunnels, and I painted those pictures,” I gladly answered.

They noticed all the people scattered around in front of the stores and houses. I explained Maple Valley is a tourist attraction and visitors ride The Old General from Newtown. I then flipped a few switches and moved The General from Newtown to Maple Valley. They loved it.

I asked my oldest grandson if he knew the question you never ask a serious model railroader.

“Do you give up?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“How fast does it go?” I answered.

He looked at me, puzzled. “You never ask a serious model railroader how fast his trains will go. It’s not about how fast they go,” I said. He smiled.

“And you never say, ‘I like your train set.'”

“What?” he asked.

“It’s not a train set. It’s a layout. You never ask how fast the trains will go, and you never call it a train set,” I said. Just a little bit of education for the younger generation.

I explained that all the people working around the tower are investigating bones found there after a watermain break. I told the story of the burned car found under Three Tower Bridge near Maple Valley, and the girl who disappeared. I said, “Her name is Sylvia Meisner.”

It’s always a great day when kids want to see a model railroad. Seeing the fascination in their eyes is like looking in a mirror and watching myself many years ago. Model railroading is a wonderful hobby. It’s fun to share it with others.

The Santa Fe freight rolls quickly across Maple Valley River Trestle on the way to town. It’s been another beautiful day on the Maple Valley Short Line Model Railroad.

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