It’s in the blood.
“It” is a fascination with model trains and it’s in the blood of H.C. Bauman, president of the First State Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Wyandotte.
Bauman puts up a display of part of his collection in each of his banks at Christmas time.
“I’ve got a banker’s eyes and a banker’s mind and spend most of my time dealing with banking,” Bauman said. “It’s nice to be able to ‘play’ with my trains a little bit of the year.”
The display is up at the Commerce bank through the end of December and will be up at the Wyandotte bank during January.
“I got my first train when I was 2 and fell in love with it,” Bauman said. “Ever since, I asked for something else at Christmas and my birthday. I still have every piece I received.”
His display is built on “O gauge” scale — meaning that the train rails run 1.25 inches apart. However, much of his work at home is built on “HO gauge” which is slightly larger.
Trains on display include a copy of the “Polar Express” as in the book and movie of the same name, as well as Lionel trains.
“Men come in and see the trains and they do the train whistle,” Bauman said with a smile. “You can always tell those who have trains in their blood.
“They’re all welcome to bring their trains in and let them ride the tracks.”
Bauman went so far as to write about being an engineer for his junior high school career day.
High school seemed to be the deciding time in the train man’s life.
“Many of my friends, when we reached high school, started making model airplanes,” Bauman said. “I tried it, but I never saw the fun in that. Once it was finished all it could do was sit on a shelf. It’s the same with model cars.
“Now, you take the train. It comes to life.”