Offbeat: Train Collector

November 17, 2006--Posted at 1:10 p.m. CST

POCAHONTAS, AR--Jerry Williams loves trains, especially toy trains.  You might say it's in Jerry's blood, his step dad, grand dad, and uncle all worked with or for the Missouri Pacific rail line back in the 1940's when Jerry was growing up in Wynne.

His parents gave him his first electric train when he was just 8 years old and it's been Lionel and other trains ever since.  Jerry says he goes looking for trains to add to his collection every day.  He scours the papers, flea markets, train shows, and the internet hoping to score his next find.  Williams gets two or three shipments every week and says he has never and never will sell any of his collection.

Jerry has hundreds of locomotives and box cars, some of them more than 60 years old.  In fact Jerry has so many toy trains he had to build his own train station next to the house to put them in.  But Jerry's not just a collector, Jerry is an operator.  He says he runs every train he's got.  He does have some in boxes, but that's only because he hasn't gotten around to opening them up yet.

Williams comes out to the station every day and works on his train set up.  He says it's about using your imagination to create a landscape or city to run your trains through.  "It's the greatest hobby in the world," says Williams.  "I can sit for hours and watch a train go round and round the track."