Builders’ Journeys: Ryan Learns To Ride The Rails [7715 Push Along Steam Train]

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday and another of our Builders’ Journeys, where AFOLs recall a set that is special to them in some way, and explain why. Today we hear from Ryan E, from Melbourne. I met Ryan a few years back, where he was bringing Thomas the Tank engine and the Isle of Sodor, to life at Brickvention. Some of you might know from the third series of LEGO Masters Australia. I’d always thought of him as a train guy… it turns out I might not have been alone…

Today, Ryan is going to tell us about the set that brought him along this path.

If you don’t already know me, I’m Ryan… yeah, that guy that was part of the ‘old married couple’ that turned out they were ‘like an old married couple… just married to other people!’ It’s amazing what a bit of editing can do to create confusion, but I digress.

So for those of you that follow Lego Masters, or indeed knew me beforehand, I was consistently referred to as ‘the train guy’. Now, in my mind, I’m not that much of a train guy. Within Lego train circles, I’m a nobody! Some of these guys build the most detailed prototypical engines and I’m probably best known for my ‘cute’ rather simple versions of Thomas the tank engine and his friends. But, within the Lego Masters community, I probably am the most ‘train-y’ guy they’ve had – and may ever will!

7715 Pushalong Steam Train – image Brickset.com
The 12 V upgrade kit, complete with the connecting rods. (Image from Brickset)

What was the set that has shaped my pathway in Lego? It would have to be 7715 Push-along passenger steam train. It was 1985, and I would have been 7 years old, going 8 and I had been begging for this train all year. I knew mum had purchased it and every time she went out, I’d sneak into the cupboard and pour over the box… half building it in my head each time. You see, back in those days, the larger sets all had panels on the front you could lift up and see some of the choice parts inside.

You’d think by Christmas I’d have been over it, but I remember building that set like it was yesterday. Sadly, we weren’t wealthy enough to purchase the full 12V system to motorise it, but I still convinced dad to purchase the motor conversion kit – just so that I could get the ‘realistic’ connecting rods!

Now, you may have noticed how I used the phrase ‘shaped my pathway in Lego’ above, and this is where I think my tie in is a little stronger than most…

The 12V motor had 2 spring loaded connectors at each end to pick up power off a central rail pair. Now if I had a circuit of 12V track, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but on the regular track, these would catch on every sleeper (the pieces that hold the two rails together). This was when I became – a tinkerer… a modifier… a cutter. I pried open that case with reckless abandon and pulled out spring, contact and motor and then screwed it back together. I now had the most expensive set of connecting rods long before 3D printing came to be!

But I was happy. 

A reconstructed 7715, standing head to head with Ryan’s “Thomas” build.

Whilst that set did get used and reused, passed onto younger brothers in our communal Lego collection and so forth, I have managed to find my original windows and doors for the engine at least, which are the only ‘original’ parts in my little remake here. Interestingly, the base that came with good-ol’-faithful is the base I used on my very first Thomas, so I guess you could argue that 7715 is still very much a part of what I still do with Lego today.

For more information on my Lego Thomas engines, check out www.thesodorteam.com.

Thanks for sharing your story Ryan.

Be sure to check out Ryan’s train builds on his Flickr page too.

Do you have a story to share, about that LEGO set that helped to shape you into the LEGO fan you are today? Why not reach out to us at ramblingbrick@gmail.com or via Facebook/ Instagram messaging. We’d love to share it!

Were LEGO Trains important to you as a child? How about now? why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well!

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