Do you have a hobby that you like? If so, would you work on your hobby for over 15 years if you had the chance? That is exactly what Glenn Mackinnon, a model train enthusiast, did. On Thursday, March 20th, 2014, I had the opportunity to meet him and interview him via Skype. He soon gave me a tour of his model train collection, which astonished me greatly. His model included villages, bridges, landmarks, and a countless number of trains. If his model was bigger, you could mistake it for an actual town! In the end of the interview, I learned a lot about trains, and I'm sure that you will too after reading this.
Glenn Mackinnon is a retired man who currently lives in Virginia, United States and once served in the military. He is an advocate for train travel, saying that “having a train drive by at 80 miles per hour (approximately 129 km per hour) is exhilarating.” His love for trains started when Mackinnon was about 4 years old. His family had a small train model which traveled around his Christmas tree. His love for trains soon grew. Mackinnon received his first model train decades and decades ago, which soon turned into a huge hobby. He started his current collection back in the year of 1998, before we had things like laptops and iPods. Over time, his train collection grew, and it finally became presentable five years later. Since then, Mackinnon hosted an open house to invite his friends and neighbours regularly.
“Everybody loves it,” Mackinnon claimed. This is how a passion turns into a huge hobby.
I bet most of you reading this article are wondering what exactly a model train collection is. It is a showcase of various model trains on a set that may include villages, landmarks, figures, etc. Mackinnon's model included two villages, one with an American 1950's theme, and another with an European snow village theme. His set also includes a NASA launch pad, a ski hill, many figures, bridges, countless numbers of trains and railroad tracks, and even a flying Santa Claus. From the moment I saw the collection, I knew that the process of making it was not easy. I learned from Mackinnon that building the set required skills like woodworking, accuracy, and engineering. When building some models, he had to start over many times due to calculation mistakes that he made earlier. Nonetheless, he overcame the difficulties and proved that, sometimes, persistence can lead to wonderful results.
“I’ve made over a hundred friends because of his hobby, and that there are many clubs you can attend.” Mackinnon said.
Are you interested in model train building? You could start by going to your local shop. They have a large number of models and should be experts on model train collecting. What Mackinnon did amazed me greatly, and has made me think about starting my own collection since I also have a passion for transportation systems. I hope that Mackinnon will continue to add on to his collection, so that he can amaze many more people with his collection.