Hatteberg's People - Jeff McNown

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On Hatteberg’s People, if you’re a guy you’ll like this story cause it’s about trains. It’s a pretty simple story. Guys like trains and Jeff McNown who lives near Derby likes larger trains than the normal hobbyist. I met him one evening for a look in his five-acre backyard.

“In the evening when I get home and I want to run the engine, I get it out and load it perfect and there is a light breeze and you build a fire in it, and it starts hissing and talking to you, the smell of the coal smoke is just beautiful.”

“It’s a lot of work, building railroad takes a lot of time and dedication.”

Jeff McNown loves the smell of burning coal on a warm evening.

“It’s one of the best things to me to run a steam engine, if I could I would run a real steam engine all the time.”

This is one of his loves, a 7.5 inch gauge steam locomotive.

This steam engine is kind of like my wife. It is very expensive and very temperamental.”

“She has no problem with this hobby and she is a great woman to be around and I enjoy running trains with her.”

“The engine will talk to you. It’s what I love about the steam engine.”

“Like most guys, I started out with small scale trains.”

“And that just never satisfied me.”

“The beautiful thing about this is that it actually talks to you, it’s miniature, you can haul 10 adults behind you. It’s a beautiful feeling to pull the throttle and feel the power of the machine. Even though it’s small, it is very powerful for its size.”

“I probably have 20-25 tons of rock down here now and I hauled it all in my wheelbarrow, because I’m trying to keep my figure.”

“Building this railroad we use pressure-treated 2X3’s. I’ve got about a fourth of a mile down and I think I’ve estimated about 22,000 screws are going to be in the track.”

“Actually, as far back as I can remember, I’ve loved trains. I grew up in Douglass, Kansas and I remember being in Kindergarten watching trains and the teacher telling me to get down from the windows and get back to my seat.”

“You know, I’ve been blessed to have great parents, great family, great friends, and a wonderful wife and kids and right here, right now is the best it can be for me.”

Working at Boeing by day, he has taken the last two years to build his train system and it is an on-going project. By the way, that engine is called a 4-6-0 Mobile. That’s four pilot wheels, six driving wheels and no real wheels.


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