Dan and I went to a 7 1/4 inch gauge railway, which, unless you are into model trains, really means nothing. What it means to me, as a trainlover lover, is that there are trains big enough for large grown men, like my husband, to ride.
Dan's never really gotten over leaving the railroad. He used to be a driver, but now just models trains and can't make up his mind over which gauge to stick with. He's started planning an HO railway, modelled after the one in The Railway Children; a garden railway; and has been building a 5 inch gauge engine for the past four years. Yesterday, after our visit to the 7 1/4 inch gauge railway, he's talking about selling the 5 inch model and moving up to the bigger one. I dread the day we visit a 10 inch gauge railway.
All of this train obsession leaves me on the sidelines as merely the patient wife, and I find that I'm not alone. We went yesterday with some of Dan's friends. The husband drives a train. His wife and I joked about our men and their obsession. After an hour of riding around on trains, the women were ready to go home, but instead, we took a break and headed into town for lunch. When we got back, I saw another woman that I knew, whose husband is also into large gauge model railways. She has three sons and is also a train widow.
The three of us found a picnic table and battled black flies all afternoon while our husbands and sons took turns driving model diesel engines around a track that covers several acres of land. We joked about our husbands and sons and how much they love the trains. Our men can talk about it for hours. Dan can tell me about every colour scheme in every railway in the Western world (and some that are not in the Western world.) He can tell me about torque, traction, and curve ratios and why you can't go too fast on one of these trains, unless you want to wind up in the bushes. My mind tends to zone out at these times, but I don't interrupt because Dan's going to say what he wants to say, whether or not anyone's listening. Better to let him just get it out.
It's actually really nice that the land owner opens his track to the public once a month. The attraction draws people of all ages - from couples with little toddlers, to teens and retirees. Everyone seems to love trains.
Secretly, I love riding around on the trains, too, but don't tell Dan. Next thing you know, he'll be wanting to get one for me, as well. And then I'll have to resign from the club.