Tim: Steve, what are we looking at over here? What is directly over here on your left?
Steve: This is the Texas Brick Railroad or at least the version of it for this show. We are a LEGO train club. We like building LEGO and we especially like trains and monorail.
Tim: Now this is an adult club?
Tim: How many people take part in this?
Steve: Oh, it is hard to know because we are not terribly formal. A dozen regulars and more who show up occasionally.
Tim: And is this an Austin based organization?
Steve: Texas. We have members in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and points in between.
Tim: Alright. Now the trains that you have assembled over here – you’ve got monorail and you’ve got what looks like a wider gate track?
Steve: Yes, the bigger trains which unfortunately are not running right now because the show lasted longer than the batteries did. The bigger trains are on standard LEGO track. We just call it L Gauge. And that is still in production. The monorails they quit making those 20 years ago; so if you like them, eBay is your friend.
Tim: So is that somebody’s personal stash, then, of the monorail equipment?
Steve: Yes, that is Brian Lassiter’s monorail stash. He is also the builder of the custom monorail station there and the monorail train. So basically for this show, I came and put up track and trains and buildings and then “Lasso” put in the monorail station and the big loops of track, and he owns these guys.
Tim: It does look like a big toy. Is it hard to keep children away from it?
Steve: It is exactly like a big toy. And it is hard to keep everybody away from it. It is very hard to tell people, “Do not touch”, when it is obviously a toy, but at the same time when you get hands in front of the trains, awful things happen.
Tim: Now this set here, are these pieces beside the monorail part, how much of this is vintage, and how much of it is something that you could just order the parts and build yourself at home?
Steve: How much is vintage? A lot. How much could you order? Also a lot. Most of the buildings that you see up there are built from LEGO sets and a couple of those are in the stores right now. The trains were also made from sets and modified and you can’t buy those anymore except by paying too much on eBay, so don’t unless you really love them. Because there are newer train sets in the stores now.
Tim: Is this is a complement to your day job?
Steve: No my day job is game designer, and this is just something else that I do.
Tim: I know. And if people are interested in this, and they want to see more of the Texas Lego Railroad, how can they find out more about it?
Steve: The website is www.texasbrickrr.com. And if they go there, they can request membership on a Google group which is our day to day chatter, and they can read more about LEGO trains and about what we are doing. And we welcome new members. You don’t have to be a train builder. If you want to be, then show up and learn.
Tim: How often do you meet?
Steve: Very irregularly. It is all moderated through the Google group. The next meeting will be in a few weeks at Jeanette’s business since she is in the LEGO business. If you haven’t already interviewed her, you probably will.
Tim: And is there an age cutoff, as it is an adult group, if you have somebody who is 12 or 13 to join up if they wanted?
Steve: Yes, but they would need to be accompanied by a guardian when they come to meetings. So we have a lot of kids at our meetings because a lot of our members have kids. But generally we do something to let the kids just free-build with LEGO and then we go over and build trains.