Wednesday, November 09, 2005

World's Largest Model Railroad Housed In Home Of LPIU Family - 3

- (he had started collecting at the age of 10 "but I stopped when I got interested in girls at 15") there was limited space for them and they built a platform in the attic.

To increase the space, "we cut tunnels under the eaves and the trains used to run right out onto the ledge that ran around the house we had in New Haven," Carl said.

The lack of space for the trains and commuting 500 miles a week to work got to be too much for Carl and the couple built the specially designed house for the trains when they moved to Norwalk.

Carl has also changed jobs through the years. Previous to his present job, he had spent 10 years at Fairfield Litho in Stamford, an offset platemaker (an LPIU con­tract shop of both Locals 90P and 76L).

Before that, he was a router blocker at Watson-Cheney, a con­tract shop of Hartford Local 33P and Rundbaken Engraving Co. in New Haven, a Local 65P contract shop, where he was secretary-treasurer for five years as an apprentice (the only photoengraver apprentice, perhaps, ever to hold such a high local post).

This veteran unionist has been a member of the Union since 1946, when he helped organize Rund­baken. He is also a charter member of the Train Collectors Association of America, an organization of railroad hobbyists, which does not dispute his claim to having the largest model railroad in the world. One model railroader from South­port, Conn. challenged his title, but, after getting a look at the line, with­drew his challenge. In telling of the building of his railroad's present facilities, Carl said: "It was two solid years afterwe started work before we could run our first train."

The Gold Spike laying ceremony was held in 1960, with 165 visitors watching the president of the Lionel Corp. driving the spike. Through the years, approximately 7,000 persons have visited the Pieper home to see the line in operation. Some have arrived from as far away as South Africa, Alaska, California, the State Of Washington, Florida and the Virgin Islands.


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