Steve's Model Railroad Layouts

Attic HO

I tired of watching the trains run around in a circle - no where to go, nothing to do. I also did not like to lack of detail on Lionel and envied HO layouts that I saw at the Louisiana State Fair and some brass locos I had seen. So about Junior High, I found someone who would swap HO for my Lionel, and I did it.

Dad gave me the attic. It was an unfinished space in the attic and was accessible by way of a disappearing stairway that came through the ceiling of my bedroom. I secured used lumber and made a room, flooring it with ship-lap, putting up 2x4 studs where there was 4' clearance, and then drywalled the room. It was 32' long and 10 ' wide with three windows in the eve of the house on one end and a door and window fan opening in the other. The window fan turned the room into a wind tunnel which was very nice in the heat of the summer. I pirated a phone line from below and installed a doorbell. When I went upstairs to work, I pulled the stairway up behind me, closing the door, and laid track to the sounds of Tom Jones and Petula Clark. Theme from a Summer Place still causes me to smell solder and flux!

Shreveport had a number of suppliers back in the 60s. Archie Watson was on one side of town and Luellan Cook on the other. Basics came from Weisman's and Toy Fair. All are gone now. My first PFM brass loco was the ATSF 2-8-0 1950 for a costly sum of $35, new. It came at Christmas, as the photo above shows.

My power consisted of a Lionel transformer with a rectifier feeding two cabs. Each track was block controlled with slide switches in the panel to determine which cab would control them. Roadbed was homemade of TrueScale design with hand-laid brass track and hand-laid turnouts. Dad had unlimited access to crate wood, and we had a good woodshop, so I spent hours making roadbed. I had no industry tracks laid when college came. And with college came the recognition that I would never live in that house again, and never finish the layout. One holiday I packed it all up, tore up the roadbed, and gave the space to mom to store her crafts, Christmas ornaments, and all sorts of other junk. My modeling days were to be dormant for 30 years while I moved around and had a family.