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God bless you today and every day. Remember, "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22-NASB). Blessings and health to you and yours.

Diane

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this blog taken by Diane Stephenson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

THE TRAIN MAN

Long-time London resident Fred Zaza needed something to keep him occupied after he retired. So he built a workshop in his basement and started to make trains out of scrap materials. I spoke with Fred and his wife Donna at a small show a few weeks ago. Fred has made close to 100 trains since he began his hobby. He shows and sells them locally. Fred has taken part in the St. Thomas Model Railway Show and he made his largest model for the North American Railway Museum in St. Thomas. 

Fred says it takes him a couple of weeks to make one train engine. Discarded shredders from Office Depot provide some of the items he needs along with various car parts and anything else he can put to use for one of his creations. For one engine he used a small air purifier (see photo at bottom). Some even have working headlights.

Fred told me an interesting story about one show he did a while back. He had a number of trains on display when someone came along and started a conversation about the trains. Fred did not know then who he was speaking with. This man ended up purchasing all of the trains. When he asked who this man was he discovered it was the owner of  Farhi Holdings Corporation which owns much of downtown London. Founded in 1988 by Mr. Shmuel Farhi, Farhi Holdings Corporation currently owns and manages more than 4 million square feet of office, retail, industrial and residential space throughout Ontario. 

A few months later, Fred, curious as to what Mr. Farhi had wanted the trains for, went to his office in downtown London. There he discovered that the trains were simply sitting where they had been placed after Mr. Farhi purchased them. He didn't buy them for any particular purpose - simply to own them.  Just because he could.


8 comments:

  1. Unlike Mr.Farhi, I have to be a bit more discretionary with the dollar. I'm sure Fred was happy to sell them. An interesting story. Tim Smith

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  2. Tim: I'm with you. I'd like to have a tiny fraction of what he has. Thanks for commenting.

    Diane

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  3. Diane,
    I like stories like this, Fred Zaza has a gift making these unique trains with his hands, I wish I had this kind of talent!
    Thanks for your fascinating post,
    Diane T. and furfamily

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  4. Diane: I'm glad you enjoyed the article. He was a very interesting man to talk with.
    Diane

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  5. Diane:

    Thank you for taking the interest and the time to post my story of train making.It was kind of you to do so. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Fred F. Zaza

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  6. Fred:

    Thank you for commenting. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Donna. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I was happy to do it.

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  7. It's either the North America Railway Hall of Fame or the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas. Two different organizations. There is no "North American Railway Museum".

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