Who we are
Toms Trains and Things was created on June 25, 2016 after a long desire for playing with trains was finally satisfied about 4 years earlier. I pulled out all my boxes and totes and started unpacking all my Model Railroad equipment I had in storage for many years.
My fascination with trains started when I was very young and loved to see the S Scale American Flyer steam loco make it’s way around a circle under the Christmas Tree. Later, it graduated to a small layout in the basement. The highlight of my fascination was when I received my own American Flyer HO set that I could operate in the basement. I spent many hours building a double loop on my own layout.
Living about a mile from US Steel’s Duquesne plant fueled my interests even more while sitting on the hill tops watching the steam locomotives and some diesel switchers. I had my choice of watching the switching through the yard or on the other side of the hill looking over the Monongahela River at the Tube Works in McKeesport. What more could a kid ask for?
There was more! Not too long after high school, I had the opportunity to work on a railroad. What a treat! My girlfriend’s dad and two uncles were bosses at Monongahela Connecting Railroad in Pittsburgh which operated through J&L Steel. Three months in and I was laid off from the electric shop. I thought my railroad days were over when I was eligible for the draft, and enlisted in the Air Force.
Four years later I was able to return working on the railroad as an electrician because of my training from the Air Force. Well, you know what happened to the steel industry in the early eighties! There went my railroad career.
Many attempts were made to build a working layout from that early age on a 4X8 sheet of Homosote on a make shift table sitting on two saw horses in the basement of my parents house. Other attempts were made to build on my plans of a model railroad through the years. They were delayed by raising a family and building a business to give my children a good home. Many times I would think I had the opportunity to start again, only to run into more road blocks along the way.
Then the moment came when I had a little room but not much time, but I unpacked my goods anyway and started to build Leakin Creek.
As I was building on my dream, another setback came where I had to retire early because of an injury at work. This gave me the time to work on my dream, but at a slower pace that I had wanted, and very little money to get there.
While trying to figure out what to do, this idea popped into my head.
I could share all my knowledge of model railroading and the skills I acquired throughout the years. Here we are with a YouTube Channel six months old and now a web page to boot. Who’da thunk!
Tom Kvichak January 2, 2017
That was then, This is now: