Working on Joy: Halswell Miniature Trains

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Let’s talk about tiny trains. The damn coolest tiny trains in any hemisphere.

Every Sunday when the weather cooperates, a group of volunteers from Canterbury Society of Model and Experimental Engineers Inc, or the Canterbury Society of Model Engineers for short (according to their constitution, which yes, I read) offers the public a chance to play giant on trains the CSMEE members build and maintain themselves.

Some look like modern freight trains, some like steam engines of yore. All are awesome.
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I was excited to see mini trains and had what I thought was a decent grasp of just what was awaiting us. Brett knew we were taking Lo to ride a small train. That was it. Well, this knocked his socks off. Mine too. It’s not just a train ride on a circular track, pay two bucks go around once, maybe twice, and hop off.

There’s a station.
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And working crossing signals.
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You go through woods, over a bridge, under a bridge.
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Across the tracks, there’s a small pond with an insane number of ducks.
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On the second Sunday of the month, the mini mavens take to the water. That small pond becomes the voyaging seas of boats.
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You know I checked the calendar and hauled us there today, the second Sunday of July.

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One boat in particular, a James Bond-y speed boat, seemed to have it out for the ducks. You could not ride the boats, which seems pretty smart.

There are days this traveling with kids thing means faking it a bit. I’ve danced to the YMCA song twice in three days and smiled through it. This was not faking it. This was not the YMCA song.

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That right there? That’s pure genuine enjoyment on my face and Lo’s. The ride is lengthy and seriously fun. The view is great. It was so cool we admitted we’d have gone there if we were just us two and not with tot.

Sometimes I just don’t get hobbyists. Train hobbyists, in particular, can get really really into their trains. Today I got it a bit. I loved how seriously everyone from the ticket taker to the gent reminding us to not jump off the moving train was.
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I loved as we walked out seeing a model engineer lovingly working on the Joy, the steam engine, cleaning her up after a day of service. Shouldn’t we all take more time to work on the joy?
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