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The Guy With The Train In His Basement

The Guy With The Train In His Basement2013-02-13T15:19:11+00:00

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    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    Read this article (especially the list of all the things he’s learned during the project), and watch the video.


    Now, tell me this guy doesn’t have ADHD!


    ( @Rick, you might want to keep this post handy for the next time someone suggests you’re devoting too much time & money to your model railroading.)


    Post count: 121

    Somebody once said there is a fine line between a hobby and mental illness (or madness).

    As a “fellow traveller” that has an interest in trains in model railroading, I don’t think it’s ADHD this guy has. I’ve been around enough of these people (35+ years) to know that they can be more OCD than ADHD. That’s not to say some don’t have ADHD, but if they do, they have found a very creative outlet where the symptoms for the most part aren’t debilitating. I wonder how many relationships have been saved by this creative outlet rather than participating in risker behaviour such as alcohol, drug abuse or gambling.

    Speaking from personal experience, it’s one of the few times that my powers can be put to a good purpose rather than evil. It’s also all part of building confidence because we can all use a little of that. And that almost all people in the hobby are non-judgemental about whether you have ADHD, depression, OCD: you are only judged on your ability to create something in a reduced reality with your hands; or your dedication to a cause, such as being part of a historical society restoring an old steam locomotive for operation.

    Jason is the owner of a Canadian company that produces high quality, highly detailed and accurate (a quality very important to us) model railway passengers cars and locomotives for our hobby. His products are highly appreciated and we have the highest respect for him. The fact Jason has a mock-up of full size passenger car in his basement comes a no surprise to us. We see him as being very fortunate. I’ve meet him and my ADDdar didn’t pick that up. There is the energy and dedication though.

    I’m part of a club that displays our layout at trains shows. Occasionally, we see parents with Asperger or Autistic kids watching the trains go around. And  parents will often comment the  symptoms are often reduced just by watching the trains.

    Crazy? Fanatics? Crackpots? Sure. But definitely not “heads in a duffle bag crazy”. I can see why those looking from the outside may wonder if we are all totally mad.

    Hope this helps



    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @ADDled, I’m not really looking at it from the outside.  I’m standing in the middle of doorway.

    I think Jason is pretty amazing.  He has a unique project; he’s doing what he loves, and he’s appreciated for it by his peers and by his wife.

    I found his site because I’m fascinated by old subways, streetcars, and passenger trains.  You should have seen my eyes light up when I visited the Halton Radial Railway.  When I went to the London Transport Museum, I was more excited than the school kids there.  And I occasionally have happy dreams in which I’m riding in one of the TTC’s old Gloucesters again.

    So I think having an exact 1:1 scale replica of a passenger coach (especially a type that I’ve actually ridden on) in a person’s basement is one of the coolest, most unusual things imaginable.

    It was Jason’s list of “accidents” during the building process that made me think he might have ADD.  It sounded to me like they were caused by inattention and not doing things in the proper order.  I’ve had quite a few “accidents” that way when I’ve tried to make something, but I’ve never managed to set a power-saw on fire.  Yet.


    When my brother and I were little, our dad had a model railroad in his workshop, in the basement.  We’d spend hours there, helping him build the models and custom-paint the rolling stock into old livery, and listening to his stories about riding on those old trains when he was a kid.

    When Dad lost interest in the model railroad, my brother took over and made it his own special world.  It was a terrible day when Dad got rid of the train table to make room for Mom’s new pantry.  Dad kept one piece:  a CP switcher in maroon livery.  It lives on a shelf in his study.

    But that model railroad started something big for my brother.

    Today, he’s an expert on HO scale plastic figures, and he just published his second book on the subject (“The One Inch Army II”).  I designed the cover and the promotional materials, but the research, writing, and layout are all his own.  All 800 pages of it!

    When people see his hobby room for the first time, they just stand there, with their mouths hanging open.  It’s filled, floor to ceiling, with his collection of about 400,000 figures, plus dioramas and sets.  It’s so full, there’s no “room tone” echo at all.

    When I go with him to hobby shows to help sell his book, it’s great to see how much he’s appreciated by the toy soldier community.  It’s a relatively small percentage of the general population, but it’s a very loyal one, and it’s scattered all over the world.

    He’s a bit eccentric, but he definitely doesn’t have ADHD.  He has an MBA and a solid career, and when he sets his mind to something, he plans carefully, and does it gradually over time, so it’s done right the first time.  I don’t.

    That second book took 10 years of research, and about 4 years of writing, and it’s huge.  I could never have done that, so I have a real appreciation for someone who could.

    And I especially appreciate someone who can devote several years to bringing back a train that I remember riding on when I was little.

    I wish I could buy one of Jason’s Turbo Train models, but without Dad’s model railroad, I’ve nowhere to run it.  (sigh)

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