My name is Steve Paris and I live in Greenville, SC with my wife, Pat. I am the train nut / railfan in the family but I labeled this page "About Us" because I could not do this without Pat. She has been understanding, supportive and encouraging about my hobby and the time and space it takes up. I will say that she was forewarned early on in our relationship. One day after church we came up to a grade crossing and I stopped as soon as the lights started flashing. When she asked why I stopped so soon when the train was still far away, I told her so I could count the cars. Fortunately, it was a short train so she wasn't too put off by this new revealation concerning her new boyfriend. This was on the Santa Fe's Escondido (CA) Branch. Back then it hosted a daily local freight but now commuter trains between Oceanside and Escondido.
The great thing about railroading as a hobby is the many different aspects. You can focus on models, photography, collecting, etc. After leaving the Marine Corps many years ago, I hired on with the Norfolk & Western in their management training program. I had been interested in trains since I was a kid and had an HO train set and took pictures of trains. In Roanoke, I couldn't believe I was being paid to pursue my hobby. At N&W, I discovered employee timetables and rule books: the maps, rules and procedures that brought order to the railroad, moved the trains over the road and kept the railroaders safe. I started collecting them, initially focusing on the Norfolk Southern and predecessors, N&W and Southern. Eventually I branched out to collect whatever I could pick up.
In recent years, I finally gave up on the HO layout because I could never get focused enough to plan and build one. After I sold most of the models, the Lord blessed us with a grandson. It was obvious (to me at least) that he would need to have a train to play with. That's when the garden railroad began. Since then we've been blessed with a granddaughter and two more grandsons. They have all been very helpful in building and maintaining the railroad.