Reminder of my Childhood and the 1980 Lionel Catalog

This afternoon I had the opportunity to re-live a childhood memory and get a model at a train show that I have wanted since I was a kid. This is just a fun post about trains and growing up.

“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

Theodore Roosevelt 

Lionel Union Pacific 2-8-4 from 1980 

When I was a kid I loved trains. (Still do!) When I was young my parents would put me to bed and at night I would crawl out and lay on the floor next to the night light and pull out the Lionel train catalogs. Of all the catalogs my favorite was the 1980 Lionel catalog. The paint schemes and offerings just got to me. And the names were just mesmerizing- Great Northern, Rock Island, Milwaukee Road, Santa Fe, Pennsylvania, Blue Comet, etc…  When you look at the 1980 Lionel catalog the first serious item that stands out in the catalog is the Union Pacific 2-8-4 Berkshire as part of the Famous American Railroad Series. As a kid I adored it and would spend a lot of time in my youth looking at that model and other train catalogs. 

So fast forward to this afternoon. I went to a model train show in Chantilly, Virginia in the D.C. area and I am looking over all the booths and trains for display and sale. I come across this Lionel Union Pacific steam engine. The box is dogeared, and worn. I find myself holding this engine that I used to look at regularly form my youth in the 1980 Lionel catalog. The guy tells me that its price is $150.00 but he can take it down to $125.00. I stood there and was thinking about how much I wanted this engine when I was a kid. And before I knew it money was changing hands. At another time I need to write a post about my love of trains and how I got into the model railroad hobby. But this afternoon I wasn’t a guy who was 44. Instead I was a child again holding something that I wanted when I was a kid. Can life get any better than that?