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By Carmen Ensinger
There are many different kinds of hobbies one can get into – stamp collecting, rock collecting, sports memorabilia collecting, etcetera. But for Josh Cannon of Winchester there is just one thing he enjoys collecting – trains.
Cannon, 38, has been collecting trains since he was just four years old. The only thing more enjoyable than collecting them is sharing them with others. Cannon had a huge set-up on display at the Old Depot in Winchester during Winchester’s Hometown Christmas.
Cannon credits his brother-in-law for getting him interested in trains.
“When my sister, Patty first got married I was four years old, they got me my first train,” Cannon said. “Her husband, Kevin, was a big train buff and when I would go to their house we would always go uptown and play with his trains.”
His interest in trains never waned and from that point on he began collecting them.
“As I got older, I kept collecting more and more,” he said. “I would get them as Christmas gifts, birthday gifts but when I grew up, I really became a serious collector.”
That is when he found out about the train shows in the area.
“These shows are where you can go and meet up with other train collectors,” Cannon said. “Here, someone might have two of the same engine and you might be able to buy it from them. Or, if you have a spare, you can sell it there. You can pick up some really cool stuff at these train shows.”
Cannon’s latest purchase is a rare pink engine made in the 1950’s.
“These engines were made in pink because they were trying to get girls interested in trains in the 1950’s,” Cannon said. “It wasn’t very successful, so they didn’t make very many before they went back to the black engines so there aren’t too many of them out there.”
The oldest engine Cannon has is a 1948 Pennsylvania 027 gauge engine. He has dozens of other engines representing a variety of railroad lines, such as: Illinois Central, Union Pacific, Santa Fe, Burlington, Rock Island, Virginia, Global, Wabash, which is a replica of the one which still runs up around Springfield and the Crescent Limited.
Cannon also has a rare New Haven, which was a commuter train that ran in the 1960’s on the east coast through three different states. It was a double engine train so it could go either direction without turning around.
Another noteworthy train is the 1976 Presidential Bicentennial train.
“I really prefer the older models, but because this is a special train, I had to have it,” Cannon said. “It is probably the newest train in my collection.”
Cannon regularly attends train shows and swap meets in Vandalia, Decatur, Greenville and Springfield and occasionally looks on Ebay for a rare model.
“I bought this Golden Eagle (an all gold train) online and this double decker car hauler,” Cannon said. “My mom always tells me no more trains and I always tell her if I want a train it has to be something really cool and I’m probably gonna get it.”