Reality stops at the door, says Bob Cline, describing what it’s like to walk into the building that houses his 7,000-piece train collection. It took six months to construct the building behind his Lakewood home, but he’s been at this hobby for about 50 years. It began as a childhood hobby, collecting trains from dumpsters, and has now become a lifetime addiction. “It’s a form of insanity,” he says of his favorite pastime. Near death at the age of 4 due to a severe case of pneumonia, Cline was at Children’s Medical Center when he saw his first train. “I just had to have one,” he says. However, Cline isn’t into dumpster diving anymore. His collection now includes custom-designed locomotives and rail cars by Korean and Taiwanese train builders. The cars are detailed down to the tiny passengers inside, like the honeymooning couple gazing into each other’s eyes, or the many waving a newspaper in the air. When congestive heart failure slowed him down in 2005, Cline slowly started to work his way back into building trains. “This gets the mental part back,” beams wife Marianne, who says she just adores his hobby.
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