Michael Walter

My interest in trains came at an early age. My grandfather was a freight agent for the Rock Island. After he retired he still visited the station every day, and took me with him. I received the obligatory Lionel set at age 4, and the interest never went away.

In junior high, I switched to HO because it was real scale models. I could never make it stay on the track. The February, 1961, issue of Railroad Model Craftsman had an article about how to get started in O scale. I ordered trucks from All-Nation, couplers from Clouser, built a fowler boxcar from the November, 1960, issue of RMC, and never looked back.

I got a degree in mathematics and chemistry at the University of Kansas, went to medical school, and did a Urology residency at UT Southwestern in Dallas. No time for trains for about 14 years, except for a few meetings with the Kansas City O Scale fellows who further inspired my interest in O Scale. The Dallas residency got me close to Fort Worth, TX, where I have lived and practiced Urology since 1979. My wife Renee and I bought a one-story house, experienced some hail damage to the roof, replaced the roof with insurance money, but stuck a new second story for trains underneath the new roof.

Several years of layout planning followed, during which the kids enjoyed a very large room in which to play. Finally, in 2000, construction began on the Cheapskate and Ohio Railroad. The inner part of this layout has high-rail Gargraves track on which I can display and run my Lionel collection. I have very few scale 3 rail trains, but friends bring their hi-rail scale equipment to run. Co-mingled with this 3-rail portion of the layout, sharing the same scenery but never any level crossings, is several hundred feet of hand-laid Right-of-Way 2-rail track, 86 inch minimum radius. Track is essentially finished including a double-track mainline, opposing reverse sections, and the yard. The roundhouse is pending at this time. The layout is wired for conventional DC, with provision for DCC. I have started scenery, which, just as Louis Ertz once told me, is bringing the layout to life.

To this day, I enjoy all phases of O gauge, from tinplate collecting to scratch-building scale models.