Hatteberg's People - Ken Conner

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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On Hatteberg’s People, I think every guy out there watching this loves model trains. Many of us have fond memories of the train sets of our youth. For Ken Conner of Hutchinson, he may be retired, but the boy in him is still playing with trains.

“It’s a railroad empire. I’ve got my own little railroad empire here.”

Sixty-five year-old Ken Conner doesn’t have to go far to see that empire. It’s in a little building behind his house where this retired Hutchinson fireman loves to spend his time.

“Oh yeah! You work with it until you get it right and then there is great satisfaction in it.”

“When I was on the fire department it was a great stress reliever to come out here and work on trains.”

He’s got trains of all kinds and when he is here, he’s in control of a world he began building over 30 years ago.

“Kind of like having your own entertainment park I guess. It entertains yourself real easy and it is a great hobby to have.”

He admits it is a place to ‘get away’ and out from underfoot of his wife…but she still lets him know when it’s time to come back in the house.

“As a matter of fact she has a button in the kitchen and when she pushes it, that button is almost above my head right here and it’s loud. So I know when she presses that its best that I get everything shut down and get in there for supper.”

He’s got over 200 train cars; no telling how much track and his HO gauge layout takes up half of this small building.

“And then sometimes you see something and you think I just have to make room for that.”

In addition to the trains, he has hundreds of small buildings, cars, trucks and busses and even a place we’re all familiar with. And he is a stickler for detail. People even chided him about placing a carved figurine inside this barbershop.

“I put a guy getting a haircut and a barber cutting his hair inside that barber shop. My friends said ‘Ain’t nobody going to see that detail like that. I said, oh yeah, there is one guy going to see that…..me! It has to be right.”

Age doesn’t matter when you are talking about trains. For guys at least, you are never are too old or too young to be fascinated with railroads.

“Oh yeah, everybody knows I’m definitely a train nut.”

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