Model trains have been around since the 1860s, according to an online story from the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Perhaps you received your first model train toy as a child, and trains were common gifts you received throughout your youth. In addition to receiving model trains as toys, perhaps you traveled by train many times and enjoyed the trips. However, some adults certainly collect toy trains, especially those from their own childhood.
But many adults are so-called railway models, who faithfully collect and build scale models of real trains that exist and create intricate environments for them, known as designs. The museum estimates that there are around half a million fans of model trains in the United States and Canada. Men who loved trains as children and fantasized about driving or owning one become collectors of model trains later in life. And as these men age and retire from active working life, they have enough time to dedicate themselves to their passion, and they do so with reckless abandon by spending a fortune on model trains that date back to the 1950s and 60s.
Inside the old Navy ammunition warehouse, without windows, model trains cover more than 1,800 feet of tracks and cross farms and factories, cities and cemeteries, through tunnels and bridges. Adult men who love miniature trains were probably born to parents who loved trains or who were railway workers themselves. Choosing from a long list of colors, materials and other objects is both challenging and exciting, and just enough for fans of model trains to get down to business. The hobby grew in the 1950s, when the market was divided between the cheapest toy trains for children and the more detailed and accurate reproduction trains that adults collected. You might think that collecting toys is a hobby for children, but when it comes to model trains, there are men between 50, 60 and 70 years old who still collect them.
Cutler joined in 1993 when he was 18 years old, three years after his father, Paul Cutler Jr., an enthusiast of model trains.