How and when did I get the railroad bug?
My earliest memory of toy trains is way back to Christmas 1955 when the family lived in the Townhead Glasgow. Not just my mum and dad but the extend family of my Dad’s brother’s and sisters lived in Parson Street. I was surrounded by cousins as well as a little sister – but they di not figure much in the tale of origins. I got a clockwork train set that Christmas sadly it did not survive the day. My dad and his brothers spend the time playing with it and my Uncle Peter wound it up too tight and bust the clockwork. I never got a chance to play with it. Dad, as dad’s do said we’ll get it fixed – it never was. The following year I pointedly asked not to have a train set just cowboy outfit (all the rage in ’56).
That does not mean I was not interested in trains – we lived near St Rollox works and steam depot and a walk along the canal we could see the smoke raising from the engines and hear the rumble of coal falling down the coaling tower with a crash into the bunkers/tenders of the engines. He would take me to see the trains at Buchanan Street, Queen Street, St Enoch’s and Glasgow Central. Christmas time was my favourite as I got to see the train set/layout in Central Station. It was not until we moved to Harmony Row, Govan ’57 when I got my next train set. In fact it was due to my reaction at Christmas ,56 I ended up with a trains set in ’57. Now My mum and dad were just working folk, but they did without at Christmas to ensure my sister and I had a good Christmas with one very special toy each, plus sweets etc. That Christmas my special gift was a complete airport. I mean the lot, runway, tower, planes fuelling trucks. I still recall the amazement when i saw it all. But it got boring after a while. Apparently (so I was often reminded) I gathered the boxes and set them up as an engine and played at “Casey Jones” (Bill Hale was on TV as “Casey Jones”). Christmas ’57 I got my first ever electric train set a Triang TT gauge goods train on a circle of rails pinned to a board. I recall that wee loco (a 0-6-0 ex LMS Jinty) with great fondness and therein lies the start of a journey which would end in Ennitoun.
Today I have the larger OO Gauge version of the embryonic model locomotive the set out in 1957 taking me on a journey of life. Click on Image for Ennitoun Locomotive Library