I can certainly claim that I am not just any ordinary railway enthusiast. My interest in the railway, and my passions for prototypes and models began with my birth in 1974.
In my hometown of Dortmund, I probably wouldn't have come to the railway. But my grandparents lived in Rheine in the immediate vicinity of the Emsland line. And, so, I was able to hear and see the last steam locomotives of the DB in the first months of my life.
These very last steam locomotives of the 012, 042 and 043 series, the 011 had already retired from service, left an impression and were to leave a lasting mark on my life.
I liked their powerful appearance and the sound of a three-cylinder engine was something I would never forget. I particularly liked the 012s with their large driving and coupling wheels, which looked even larger to me at the time. On the other hand, I didn't like the long queue of wagons behind two freight engines running together.
The railway challenged me and encouraged my development: I was already able to walk at the age of nine months because I was drawn to the level crossing, which was only 50 metres away from my grandparents' house. I wanted to stand right at the front, in the middle of the barrier, so that I could be enveloped by the steam.
Consequently, only a little later my first word was “rail”, which meant something like “I'm going to the barrier for a moment!” I had been a steam locomotive hunter since I was a child, but unfortunately without a camera...
But, by the age of 3-1/2, this wonderful time was over again: the Bundesbahn had finally said goodbye to steam locomotives on 26 October 1977. My father explained to me that I would have to say goodbye to my first career aspiration, “steam locomotive driver”.
So, at Christmas 1977, I became a “Märklin locomotive driver”. My father had built me my first layout, which still exists, almost intact, today. The foundation stone for the hobby was laid, and, at the age of eight, I started building layouts myself together with a friend. In 1987, for reasons of space, I switched to the nominal size Z, and wanted to show that sophisticated model building was also possible in a small scale.
The internet brought the friends of Z scale closer and closer together, but they lacked a medium because the trade press persistently ignored this scale. No sooner said than done: I founded my own magazine, Trainini®, to change that, and went looking for volunteers.
So, today, I take on the roles of editor-in-chief and publisher at the same time. So, in a personal union, I set the journalistic framework, also implement it operationally, and lead the team that gives its best for you month after month.
I draft our annual plans, which I coordinate with my editorial colleagues, and which we then decide on together. Most of the articles are also written by me, or at least edited by me. I am also active in model making and photography for our magazine.
If we do the final editing together, the photo editing is mine alone. Last but not least, I do what my colleagues also like to do: maintain contacts with manufacturers, clubs, groups and readers, mediate, if necessary, and answer questions.
Looking back, I am very proud of everything we have achieved together over many years. Everyone contributes their strengths and our competencies, including specialist authors, photographers, correspondents and our translators, are so perfectly distributed, that we simply complement each other in the best possible ways.