Every once in a while, I get the question, "What have you done to your railroad lately?" That's a fair question and I have to admit that, sometimes I really don't have a good answer to that question. Oh, I might cruise on Ebay looking for some kind of deal that I can't live without... or visit a hobby shop and look for the same. But like most of us, every once in a while, I just kind of get into a slump and don't do much at all. But then again, this is a hobby and NOT a full-time job so it is reasonable to not do something every day, all of the time.
The picture above is of a Pennsylvania 40' plug-door boxcar that I purchased when I was in Altoona, Pennsylvania, a few years ago. Whenever I go into a new area, I do like to do a little research and find out if there are any hobby shops in the area that need my attention (and money). And, since Altoona is such a railroad town, I thought that surely, there would be at least one hobby shop there that featured trains. As it turns out, I was right...
But the place wasn't easy to find. I had asked a couple of locals if they knew of any hobby shops in the area. No, they couldn't remember any... including my friend there who was the railroad tour guide. Even he wasn't aware of any places. Nothing in MODEL RAILROADER either. But a little old-fashioned detective work (consult the Yellow Pages; yes, for you "youngsters" out there, some of us old guys STILL use the Yellow Pages) turned up a shop in a little, out of the way location on the north end of town. Armed with an address and a few dollars in my wallet, we set out to discover this new location.
Well, the shop was worth the search. It was small and probably run by a guy who had another job since the shop's hours were in the evenings and on Saturday. But there were tons of goodies there... and as one might expect, a lot of Pennsy & Norfolk Southern rolling stock & locos. Since NS is a little after my time, I chose the Pennsy car pictured above. It's an Accurail product and went together easily with rather simple, "shake the box" assembly. But it reminds me of our several trips to the area and the railroad heritage there.
Many of you who come here regularly to read my ramblings do travel from time to time. Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path a little and find something like this just to serve as a reminder of your trip. Your collection won't suffer and you will be pleasantly surprised in what you just might find.