February 9, 2017

Twinsville and Hidden Valley

A few months ago I was interviewed by Lionel Strang and Bruce Wilson of "A Modeler's Life." It is a fun little podcast that tries to get the behind the scenes stories of model railroaders and what they do when they aren't playing with trains. This week they published the interview on their website and iTunes. You can find it at this link.

My daughter was listening to it with me in the car when I mentioned "Twinsville." Twinsville was a train layout that my dad built for my twin brother and I when we were little boys living in Brooklyn, NY. That was about 55 years ago.  I remember the layout well, but many of the details faded from my memory. I knew there was a photo somewhere of it, but I did not have it.

When my daughter got home, she found the photo that I remembered in a collection that her mom had. So she sent me this quick cell phone snap. She will be sending the image to me so that I can clean it up in Photoshop as the image looks like it has had some damage in the half century since it was taken.

The two engineers are my brother and I. Note the spiffy bow ties and hats. The girl in the middle was a neighbor who I can't remember.

The steam engine was mine, while my brother had the diesel. I thought it was an ATSF war bonnet, but this looks like a New Haven unit. Anybody know for sure?

Note the station with the name of the town of Twinsville painted on the roof. I remember my dad hand painting the letters. My dad was really a great artist. He excelled at drawing cartoons.  Later in his life he took up acrylic painting and even sold some artwork.

In keeping with the family tradition, I built a train layout for Chase and Danica. They called it Hidden Valley. That layout would slide under Chase's bed. It was a dusty environment for a layout, but they took excellent care of it. I also built a dollhouse for Danica. I still have that in my house in the guest bedroom.

Yes, I am looking forward to grandchildren to continue the tradition.


  1. Totaly cool! What a great memory. My bet is that's a New Haven diesel.

    I bet that neighbor girl would like that picture, too. Ask your brother (or mom) if they know.

  2. Great post Bernie! Most of us don't have a picture of us around the "train table" I really wish I had one of me!