The train collector
Gordon Wilson 62, 69, music has been his profession
since he graduated from college. Although he has retired and no
longer conducts music, he continues to conduct something else: model
Wilson started collecting model trains at age three, but in college
he dropped the hobby. When he returned to Glassboro in 1967 to complete
a masters degree in music education, he became friends with
Professor Edwin Avril.
The Music Department had little practice space in the bottom of
Bunce Hall where it was housed, so Wilson often practiced at Avrils
home. One day, Wilson noticed Avrils extensive model train
collection. The collection impressed Wilson, and re-ignited his
childhood passion. Soon, the two were sharing train tales. We
would practice our music, and play with the trains when we were
done, said Wilson.
Avril introduced Wilson to the Train Collectors Association (TCA).
In 1976, Wilson joined the TCA and also began writing for several
model train publications. He wrote Greenbergs Guide to Lionel,
part of the highly respected Greenberg series of collectors
In 1988, Wilson retired from teaching music at Pitman High School
and moved to Arizona. He began editing his regions TCA newsletter,
and became president of the region in 1994. In 1998, Wilson was
elected national president. He travels extensively to meet with
the TCAs regional offices, and works as editor of the TCA
Wilson continues to collect and operate trains himself. His personal
train setup takes up three and a half rooms of his home. Some
collectors leave their trains in a box, he says, but
you cant use or see a train in a box.
You wont find this caboose in Gordon Wilsons collection,
but youll find smaller ones just like ithes been
collecting since he was three years old.