Yesterday I spent a good part of the day hanging out with what one person described as my “tribe”. The tribe being that group of people who is interested in some of the same things I am. In this case it might have been a fairly eclectic tribe; those folks who are both in to British cars and trains. You see, yesterday members of The British Car Club of Charleston visited the home of member and model train collector Mike West.
Now I have known Mike for about thirty years, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I discovered that he, like me, has a things for trains. He started on this hobby when he was just a kid back in the forties and still has some of his original model trains from back then.
His trains range in size from Lionel and Marx on up. He even has some extremely large and rare Buddy L trains that he used to run outside in the yard. His O gauge trains completely fill two of the main rooms on the second floor of his house. As you can see in the pictures, the trains go completely around these rooms looping through the walls and back again. Scenes range from a circus theme, to small town Carolina, to lumber and wine. His office, also on the second floor, is overflowing with railroad miniatures and memorabilia too. And yes, the hall is as well. I could get used to this.
Like me, Mike is also interested in the history of trains. I could have spent hours browsing through his library, looking at the prints on his walls, and watching videos. In fact, he and I are making plans to get back together so he can lend a hand with an upcoming project of mine.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that Mike spent his career in the US Navy. He went up the ranks, including as Captain of ships, and served everywhere from Vietnam to Beirut and many places in between and beyond. As a graduate of The Citadel and also a stint with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Mike is seriously a hometown boy done good. We are grateful to him for his service, though he says he enjoyed most every minute of it.
To see all the photos, and a few videos, that I took of Mike’s collection, just click on the photo above. This will take you to my web gallery entitled West Train Trip.
And if you are wondering about the cars, and I know you are, we had everything from nearly new Aston Martins and Jaguars, to a vintage Rolls Royce and a couple of MGBs. With about 20 other members of the club and such a fine collection of cars, Catherine felt right at home.