An Old Friend From Christmas Past
Christmas 1957, the Varney HO Scale train set under the tree was a gift from my parents. This set consisting of a F-3 locomotive, hopper car, refrigerator car, stock car, caboose and Michigan Central RR gondola #15319.
I always favored this particular car for some reason, maybe it was the Varney arch bar trucks it came equipped with differing from the rest or maybe just descriptive lettering on it's sides, I don't know but I still favor this old friend of a car.
M.C.R.R. 15319 has traveled many miles in the last 60 years, wearing out that original pair of arch bar trucks to be replaced be Kadee's. Changing from XF2 horn hook couplers to Kadee MKD # 5's in the 1960's then Kadee "scale" whisker couplers in the last decade. Stirrup steps broken off over the years till none remained only then replaced with metal ones. Never weathered just the grunge it has collected over six decades, but receiving a big detail upgrade when the brake wheel went missing a few years back, then having a Kadee brake wheel and air hoses installed.
That train set originally purchased from Hobby Land in Hackensack N.J., being only a 2 mile bike ride from home this became my first "train store". Additional purchases while building a first layout that winter included more brass Atlas Snap Track, switches, 18" and 22" curves and flex track with fiber ties.
Additional car kits from Varney and Athearn, structure kits from Revell followed. Had a lot of fun with that first layout!
A few layouts since then have come and gone with each move, M.C.R.R.15319 has had the honor of being the first car to traverse the "golden spike" of each successive layout including this latest.
Yes, this old friend of a car and I have gone many miles together in the last 60 years and maybe a few more yet.
As it turn out this Christmas gift was not just a gift of a train set, but a gift learning, fond memories and a life long hobby, what a gift, thanks Mom & Dad!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, Joe