Jim Little MMR #611

I can't really remember when it all began. My Mom says I was dropped off in a mail sack from an RPO car. A Marx 027 Sante Fe Warbonnet train set is my first memory of a model train given to me. My dad tried to increase it's pulling power by adding some melted lead into the roof.It ended up destroying the paint job in the process! A few years later, I received a Lionel NYC steam engine that needed no "modifications" because it ran fairly well.

Growing up in the Junction area of Toronto may have added to my interest in railways. Our house was located just under the crossbar of a letter"A" formed by local railway lines-----half a block up from 1 railway line and 3 blocks away from the other lines on either side. Additionally the entrance to Canadian Pacific's main Toronto freight yard was only a 10 minute bicycle ride away; I was really meant to be involved in some way with trains.

By the time I was 10 or 12 and delivering newspapers I had switched to HO and started with a Kurst-Kraft PS1 boxcar kit and a length of brass flextrack, both of which cost 99cents each. My first HO engine was an Athearn belt drive Hustler. At age 13 I joined the NMRA because I wanted one of their silver 25th anniversary boxcars put out by MDC___I still have it and I have been a member of the NMRA ever since!

During my 20s and 30s, my activity waned as I completed an engineering de- gree in university and was then pursuing my career in aviation, which, at times, neces- sitated working in remote areas of northern Canada. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that I was able to seriously get back into the hobby and earn my first AP certificate for author in 1994.

In the early 1990s, the late Stafford Swain (MMR #98) encouraged me to fur- ther pursue my interest and knowledge of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the late 1990s, I was part of the revival team to get the Canadian Pacific Special Interest Group (CPSIG, now renamed as CPHA — CP Historical Association) back on its feet. This was also a result of Stafford invit- ing fans of the Canadian Pacific to a joint CN/CP convention. During this time, I also earned my Official and Volunteer Certificates as a member of the Niagara Frontier Region. My first Merit Awards were also earned for Locomotives and Rolling Stock. Around this time, I real- ized the Achievement Program is in place to raise one’s knowledge and skill levels within the hobby. Thus, I began to view the Achievement Program really as a “Personal Improvement Program” — a viewpoint I hold to this day.

In the following millennium years, work, conflicting schedules, an upgrade course, and family life caused my AP prog- ress to slow, although I did assist with the NMRA National Convention in 2003. Following retirement and a cross-country move in 2007, I finally got back to work building a layout and some models, which I had been planning for some time. This re- focused effort led me to my Motive Power and Cars AP Certificates. The end goal of MMR was now in sight with five certifi- cates, so I decided to concentrate on some layout scenery and structures. This work allowed me to add three more AP cer- tificates to my AP collection (Structures, Scenery, and Prototype Scenery). This left only one group to obtain a certificate in (Engineering and Operation).

With ongoing operations at the local club club and at an individual’s layout, the Chief Dispatcher’s Certificate was within reach. Work at the local club’s layout was also put- ting the Electrical Certificate within reach. However, the Dispatcher’s Certificate nar- rowly won out, gaining me the MMR des- ignation. After I reflect on the skills I’ve learned throughout this journey, I’ll prob- ably go for the remaining two certificates yet to get all 11.

This spring at a Divisional meet, I was also very surprised to find out I was awarded the Jack Work Memorial Trophy (Jack Work was a modeler and author who wrote some highly regarded magazine ar- ticles back in the late 1950s to 1960). The award is given to members of the Division who meet certain criteria such as imagina- tion, creativity, artistry, innovation, and forward thinking. In the award’s 20 years of existence, it has only been awarded 10 times.

Certificates Earned James Little, MMR #611
  • Master Builder—Motive Power
  • Master Builder-Cars
  • Master Builder—Structures
  • Master Builder—Scenery
  • Master Builder—Prototype Models
  • Chief Dispatcher
  • Association Official
  • Association Volunteer
  • Model Railroad Authors,