Tinplate Times: George, please tell us about yourself and your background with tinplate trains and full size trains.
George Pins: I am a retired attorney. I have lived in upstate rural New York for over 20 years. Prior to that, I lived in a restored brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, and had my law office in Manhattan. The layout in the photos was in the basement of the brownstone. I became interested in Boucher and Voltamp when train collecting evolved from the thrill of finding a cache of old trains in a barn or basement to "How much money do I have to spend at this meet to buy anything I want?" The fellowship aspect of the hobby faded as it became more of a commercial enterprise. Do I miss it? You can't go home again, and, in the words of the great wordsmith Casey Stengel, "Most people I know my age are dead, at the present time."
I joined the TCA in 1964, and was a member for over 30 years. Years ago, I had a large operating Standard gauge layout, with a Boucher Blue Comet and a Boucher freight as part of the equipment. (I think the freight was a black 2500 or 2222, the cars were Voltamp #2 gauge, with wide treads that ran on standard track, and Boucher freights which were Voltamp designs with the correct wheel spacing.) My TCA number was 64-1091 - I dropped out about 1993, I think. Prior to TCA, I was also a member of Louis Hertz's SGA (Standard Gauge Association.) Does the name Lou Degener mean anything to you? We were friends some years ago, when he lived in Ozone Park, in Brooklyn. He had worked for Boucher in the final train days, when they were putting together anything they could for sale. Full size trains? That would fill a book. I owned and operated a business car and two sleeping cars all over the American and Canadian rail systems for about ten years.
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