Above photo is my Gosford complete with the Overhead. Click on the photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Lucky are we to have a Hobby.

I have been reminded again, how lucky we are to have a hobby.

John a DCC modeller asked me if I could fix an electrical problem on his layout the “Tupper Lake and South Junction” as I had previously repaired his DCC system.

John and his wife live in a Unit with his layout in the 10’ x 12’ spare bedroom. The layout is finished with many finely detailed buildings and all the scenery is done. John’s grandson is installing lights in all the buildings.  

John has had both of his legs amputated and has to use a Frame, luckily the layout was mostly completed. Not to be sidelined, he is mobile enough to keep up his modelling. The third Bedroom has the Computer and a large Workbench where John does most of his modelling these days.

John is a member of the NMRA and is working on the Achievement Program that will hopefully culminate in him being awarded an MMR - Master Model Railroader. When I visited, he is working on a “Track Module” where he has hand built Points and a Crossover. John has 4 out of the 7 AP Certificates necessary to be awarded the MMR.

John’s wife Wendy said to me, we are very lucky that John has his model trains, it has kept him sane, active and busy.

Wendy’s comments reminded me, those that have a hobby are very fortunate, more so for us that are retired, there is always something to do that keeps us active.

My recent Blog entry about dismantling Keith's layout and his model railway Journey over 40 plus years, reiterates how lucky are we to have a Hobby. Both John and Keith are 84 years "young" and I hope I am as active and as young as John and Keith are, when I'm 84.

John and Keith, you two modellers are INSPIRATIONAL.

Click on the Slideshow Icon at Flickr for a photo tour of both John's and Keith's layouts.

John's "Tupper Lake and South Junction"  

For a YouTube video of John's layout, taken in May 2017, click here.

Keith's NSW layout

Thank You, John and Keith.

John passed away on 23rd June 2017. I have lost an "Inspirational" Friend. I did not know John for long. His Eulogy provided me an insight to his life, a devoted family man that lived life to the fullest with his wife Wendy always at his side. John leaves us but not before reaching the pinnacle of this Hobby, becoming an NMRA Master Model Railroader. John, you are more than a "Master" to us. You'll be sadly missed but remembered forever. John - Rest In Peace. 

Keith passed away in August 2020 - Rest in Peace, Keith.


  1. Thanks for going to the effort to put that story and photo shoot together Marcus. As you say, it's inspirational, especially to us older fellahs!
    John has done a great job creating that layout which has some exquisite detail. He is working with some serious physical difficulties and getting on with the job - I need to now stop whinging about my niggling aches and pains!
    You can never get bored with a hobby like ours. It embodies so many diverse skills, arts and crafts and John proves that you can keep on doing that well into the advancing years.
    Cheers ...Rick

  2. Great post Marcus. It is a wonderful hobby but hopefully, we are not a dying breed in that I hope the hobby survives us. It's sad when a layout must come to an end, but the test really is how much enjoyment there has been in its creation.

    BTW, a great photo of the Eureka 50 Class. How does it go with a load on the grades on the Main North?

    cheers Phil

  3. Marcus

    Two really lovely layouts, John and Keith can be proud. I just hope that I am still going strong at 84. Some great work there.

    Ray P

  4. Hi Rick, Phil and Ray.
    Yes John and Keith have built wonderful layouts. I hope that I will be able to achieve what they have done and I that I'll be still be playing trains when I'm their age. The friendships they developed over the years while enjoying their hobby, is is what they've enjoyed the most and will be cherished long after their layouts are gone.I am also finding this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my hobby. How great it is to have a hobby.

    Phil you will soon be able to see how the 50 Class performs. While here at the Main North the 50 Class started from a standstill on my 1 in 50 Fassifern Bank with 10 of my full BCHs + Van, that's over 600 tons, a lot more than the approx 400 tons limit for the "real" 1 in 40 Bank.

    Regards Marcus

  5. Great story Marcus,
    I now feel honored to have bought some of Keith's rolling-stock for my layout. In some way, the enjoyment we get from the hobby leaves a lasting legacy to others. Though Keith's layout may be gone, his models, like the prototype, have just moved on somewhere down the line.
    All the best.

  6. This is such an inspirational story to share...

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