Post by: Gary Ahnquist (Danville, Kentucky)
When I heard there was a running train layout at the Arts Center, I had to see it.
My father worked for Pullman-Standard (manufacturer of freight cars and rapid transit cars), became President of the company, and later was President of American Railway Car Institute, a railroad manufacturers association. You might say trains are in my blood.
I received a Lionel train set for Christmas in 1955. We would get it out and play with it every year at Christmas. They would get boxed up and put away until next year. When I moved to Kentucky in 1976, my mom asked me if I wanted to take my Lionel train set with me. At that time I didn’t even know we still had them, as I probably stopped playing with them around 1962!
When I eventually got them out (at Christmas), they ran perfectly. The locomotive still smoked and the whistle still blew. I started collecting Lionel trains after that. I built a nice layout in the basement. I tore it down after it was finished so I could build another, but never got around to it. Now all the trains are packed away in boxes, waiting.
Perhaps when I retire I’ll build another layout that I can enjoy with my grandchildren. I am content now with a train under the Christmas tree (pulled by my original 1955 Pennsylvania RR S-2 Steam Turbine locomotive).
I went to the Arts Center’s train exhibit with my son David, daughter- in-law Jennifer, and one-year-old granddaughter Elwyn Marie (named after my dad Elwyn) to see it. We all enjoyed it so much.
“Choo Choo” was an early word in Elle’s vocabulary, which would have made my dad very happy.