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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee man keeps on track to complete train

  • Bill Dollins had given up.

    The retired freightline worker had made it his goal to construct a model train from scratch. But progress was slow and the work was tiring.
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  • Bill Dollins had given up.
    The retired freightline worker had made it his goal to construct a model train from scratch. But progress was slow and the work was tiring.
    “I started it once and said, ‘Man, this is too much.’ I scrapped it,” said Dollins, a resident of the Golden Rule Nursing Home, 38801 Hardesty Road. “And I sat in my recliner one day and I thought, ‘I’m not going to let it whip me.’ Then I came out here and went at it then.”
    So Dollins got back to work.
    He took about a year welding and cutting a long, formless steel pipe into a train engine detailed enough to look package-made. Dollins adapted small metal rods into the railing and piping details. He cut out and painted a ticket office to put in the back.
    An antique-style paint job makes the new train look like it came from somewhere in the attic.
    Dollins said the only thing he didn’t make himself from raw materials was the little bell on top of the train, which he purchased at Hobby Lobby.
    “I enjoy doing stuff that’s a challenge,” he said.
    As far as the train project has come, it’s still not at completion. Dollins said he hopes to move the train onto a bigger board and to build up it’s surroundings like a small city.
    Dollins has made several other metal trinkets to pass the time. Another train is already in the works and a tricycle-designed lawn ornament has been a hit with his family.
    Dollins got started metalworking working with freight trucks in Springfield, Missouri, where he’s originally from. He began working for a new company in Oklahoma City in 1982 after the economy went bad.
    As a child, Dollins played with electric trains, and has always been interested in the look of the older engines.
    “Trains have always fascinated me, and it seems like the older I got, the more they did,” he said.
    Now Dollins is eager to pass his joy on to a younger generation.
    “About all of my grandkids are wanting some,” he said. “I can’t say no to them.”

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