Skip to content

Memories of Winter in New England and Trains

December 28, 2011
New England and New England railroad history is on the top of numerous lists of interest. 
This beautiful Christmas season, 2011, Joe, in Ansbach, Germany, is reading his way back into the 1950’s by means of The Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club. letters from readers, Joe Karas, Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club, Silver Hill, railroad enthusiasts, train enthusiasts, train hobbyists, railroad historians, Lionel trains, Boston & Maine, railroads in New England, Christmas in New England,
Joe writes: ” Thank you so much for The Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club!  Words alone can not express my thanks for your wonderful book and postcards and membership button! It is truly a trip down Memory Lane. No model trains now, but I am giving some thought about getting a Lionel Boston & Maine GP-7 diesel road switcher and a New Haven “Jet”  electric locomotive. Thanks for letting me get on board with the Silver Hill Boys”!
Here’s an understatement: Joe has extensive railroad knowledge.
A great deal of Joe’s knowledge comes from personal experience. Early on he… “switched the ‘Huck Finn’ out of box cars from 1968-1976 in Texas”. Joe’s  familiar with Santa Fe’s Dallas-Paris, TX branch and so much more. Welcome to New England Joe!  We are very fortunate having you aboard!
Christmas Blessings upon Germany, The U.S.A and the entire world! Happy New Year 2012 !
     “….I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!”  
                                                                                  Charles Dickens 
One Comment leave one →
  1. Joseph Toth permalink
    December 28, 2011 11:21 am

    Greetings from Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany!

    I am embarassed to see my name in print plus an abridged profile about me as well. Born on the Fourth of July, 1946, in Dallas, Texas, I was raised some 12 miles north of the city in a wide place in the road (old US 77) known as Farmers Branch. It was located on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad´s Denton Branch. The Frisco Railroad ran behind my grandparent´s farm. They raised chickens and sold fresh farm eggs at 50 cents a dozen. This was in the late 40s and early 50s. They were extra large eggs and quite a few had double yokes.

    Just north of Farmers Branch, the M-K-T and Frisco crossed the Cotton Belt RR at Carrollton. The Frisco and Cotton Belt´s diamond (RR crossing) was right smack dab in the middle of Denton Road and right at the depot. It was manned by the Cotton Belt. Until it was replaced by an interlocking, Tower 77, guarded the movement of trains through town.

    A hearty stones throw from the depot and across the town square was the Plaza Theater. I took in most of the westerns that played there including the Walt Disney production of Westard Ho the Wagons, which featured Fess Parker of Davy Crockett fame and some of the Mouseketeers who were part of the Mickey Mouse Club.

    Like most of the boys, I was in love with Annette Funicello. She was the star of the Mickey Mouse Club. She contacted MS in the late 80s and now has a foundation to help with research. Her web site can be found at It sure brings back fond memories of a gentler period of time.

    I don´t really know when my interest in New England began and the railroads that operate through one of the most beautiful areas on Planet Earth. The New York Central, New Haven and Boston & Maine O gauge trains in the Lionel catalog did inspire me to want to learn more about The Steelways of New England though.

    A move to Tampa, Florida, in 1962, I met my best friend until his untimely passing at age 59 in April 2006. His family had their roots in the Fall River, Mass. area and his step-mother hailed from the Great State of Maine! I was in love with New England!

    Graduating from T. R. Robinson High School in Tampa in June 1964, I went on to serve three years with the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. I met my wife while stationed in Germany. She worked in the PX. After being discharged in late July 1967, we spent a couple of weeks with her aunt and uncle in New Jersey. As fate would have it, he was a retired claim agent off the Erie-Lackawanna RR.

    I almost decided to stay in NJ but moved on to Dallas to be near my aging grandmother. I hired on with the Cotton Belt RR as a switchman and a year later, in 1968, hired on with “John Santa Fe”. There I switched more boxcars until we moved back to Germany in late 1976.

    I went on to switch little four wheel “buggies” for the German Federal Railway and retired in 2010 at age 64, after spending 20 years as a passenger service represenative at their main passenger station in Nuremberg, Germany.

    I am thankful that my interest in New England railroads led me to the Flying Yankee Restoration Group and Joe Karas and The Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club. I hope to construct a Lionel O gauge layout and operate some of their trains based on New England railroads.

    The book is a great read and is chock full of memories that I too can relate to as I founded a railroad club during the summer of 1961 in Farmers Branch. The gang would meet the local Katy switch engine in the early evening and pace it on our bikes.

    The move in early 1962 found me hanging around Tampa Union Station in Tampa, Florida, and my new found love of the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line Railroad. That is another tail to be told at a later date. Typical Texan, I already wrote too much already, but be happy that I don´t talk this out. I ruin proper New England English with my Texas accent and what´s worse is when I speak German. That would really give you all a beating of the ear drums!

    Happy Railroading,

    Joe Toth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: