"I've got something I want to show you", my father said to me as we pulled our old 1972 Chevy wagon into the Saugus train depot parking area. "Hurry, we don't have much time". He grabbed me by the hand and pulled me along as I stumbled and struggled to keep pace with my fathers stride. We walked along side the tracks and eventually took our place amongst what seemed like hundreds of other people. "What is it dad, what are we waiting for?" As I spoke, my words were interrupted by a strange sound off in the distance. Somewhere way down the tracks was the sound of a train whistle. Not the sound of the usual diesel unit horns I was so used to hearing as they roared by my Saugus home on warm summer nights as I lay in bed. This was much different yet very familiar. As it got louder I realized what I was hearing was the same sound I heard on those Sounds of Steam records my father would spin over and over on the old Zenith. The excitement was welling up inside of me as well as the other spectators on hand. We could now hear the faint chuffing of the engine and around the bend could see a plume of gray/black smoke over the sycamore trees. As the train rounded the bend and came into sight, I instantly understood exactly why my father played those old steam train soundtracks. Then as it sped past us, spewing a mist of steam and smoke accompanied by the smell of grease and warm oil, a seed was planted deep within me. Even at the tender age of seven, I was blessed there and then with an understanding of the importance of history and our past. That beautiful 4-8-4 engine, adorned in its red white and blue shielding along with the dedication of my father to expose me to romance and mystery of railroading (and later model railroading), helped shape the person I am today.

The same experience can still be given to children today with the use of toy trains. Sure, the locomotives might be a mere scale rendition of their prototypes, but to a child's imagination those differences are minute and the excitement is just the same. Toy train giants like Lionel and American Flyer realized this over half a century ago and made it possible to put any child in the seat and at the controls of their very own locomotive as well as being in charge of an entire railroad system. From a child's prospective, with their heads at table height, a toy train, with it realistic smoke and choo-choo sounds, steam whistle blasting... roaring down the tracks on a fantastic layout panorama, is an experience just as fascinating and real as it was for me at the Saugus Depot that cool January morning in 1976.

The main goal of Toy Trains for Kids is very simply to promote happy children. It is my goal to give children something positive and substantial to do with their time that stimulates their minds and imaginations. I want to give children a sense of history and nostalgia and I feel that toy trains are the tool to do so and are just as exciting to children today as they were over 50 years ago.

I have set a goal to build a simple portable toy train layout that I can set up in various locations...community granges, fairs, summer hot spots, grocery stores, malls, skate parks, parks, train stations, pools, street corners...anywhere that will allow me to expose children and adults to the wonderful hobby of toy trains. Children ARE the future and they are faced with a world that offers very little to them in the way of quality toys and hobbies. Video games like Nintendo and a constant bombardment of television programing like MTV are what most kids spend their time doing. I would like to give kids the chance to experience what life was like for children in a time in America when life was slower, simpler and even safer.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my webpage. I hope you enjoy your visit and I really would love to hear your thoughts on this project. Please email me at chris@toytrainsforkids.org and let me know what you think.


Me and my little nephew Christopher Kagelaris "sparking the interest"