As little boys the two Eckhardt brothers had a fascination with trains. Hearing the train's whistle blow from their house, they would run just a few blocks down the street to watch as the steam trains chugged by. It had been a long time dream of Johnny's to one day own his own train and become a conductor. So, in 1957 Johnny and Robert purchased this miniature train ride with an engine and three cars and about three hundred feet of track. It became Johnny's pride and joy. He kept the engine running tops and the cars nice and polished. It gave Johnny so much pleasure to see all the smiling faces of the kids as he circled around the track. One of the reasons he liked to be in the engineers seat is because no one could tell that he didn't have legs.
They took this train on the road with them until the late 1970's. Johnny always imagined that someday it would be set up in the country for kids to enjoy in a beautiful setting. But Johnny never lived to see it happen.
After their deaths, the train was rescued by their long time friend, Jack Gaylin, and brought back to life.. It had been left to rot on a farm just outside of Baltimore and had trees growing out of it when Jack first saw it. Unfortunately, one of the cars could not be saved.
Jack Gaylin and Johnny. Early 1960's
The museum acquired the train about six months ago. The elements over the past decade since Jack saved it from the farm have taken their toll on the train. It is our goal to restore it to it's original condition and paint scheme from when Johnny first bought it..
It may not look like it did when Johnny owned it, but it still runs great and is a pleasure to operate!
If anyone is willing to donate time and/ or materials to help with the restoration, please email us. Or make a monetary donation by clicking on the button below. Thank you for helping us restore a piece of history.