It must have been 1974 when my father bought the 8900 and 8901 Miniclub starter packs. I still have them today and they still run well. And it fascinated us to see the little locomotives and wagons running, because there was no room for H0 at home, either.
My name is Alexander Hock, and I was born at the end of 1966 in Wertheim am Main. As the flats got bigger, the railway layouts grew with them, but I have always remained faithful to Z gauge. However, everything was later dismantled and stored in boxes when I went to the Bundeswehr. After that, I studied electrical engineering in Stuttgart, and I have been working in the automotive supply industry since 1995.
At that time, I also started to travel a lot. During one of these trips - in George, South Africa in 2006 - we wanted to take the train to Knysna. Unfortunately, the tracks were blocked by a landslide and we could only look at the very nice model of the line in the railway museum. In the process, we discovered that one of my friends also had some Z-gauge material in his cellar, and I told him that I would like to see trains not always running in parallel circles. So, we agreed that each of us would bring his trains to Stuttgart, and we would think about how we could control this train from the computer.
The joint project didn't work out because only I fetched the train, but since then I've been tinkering with my automation project: I want to control trains via a timetable, i.e., enter departure and arrival times and intermediate destinations, and my programme controls the track sections accordingly. I don't want to digitise my locomotives.
My project stopped every now and then for months, I got married, we had a son and moved to Michigan/USA in 2012. In the last few years, however, I have invested more time again and made progress. I also have a lot of fun replacing old incandescent lighting with LEDs, which I did particularly well on the 8101 push-pull train. I also enjoy the main-tenance and repair of train material, often non-functioning second-hand purchases. One of my not yet started projects is a video channel with videos about the maintenance of the different locomotive models. By the way, I don't have a layout, but of course a test setup. But I have never enjoyed landscaping, either.
I discovered Trainini, by chance, and was immediately excited by the possibilities. I quickly got in touch with Holger and asked if I could help. So, it was obvious that I would support our translator group. I have a lot of fun with it, and I will also write articles, on occasion.