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 two granddaughters and two more grandsons. They have all been very helpful in building and maintaining the railroad.