Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

The 40th Annual OKC Train Show features one man whose love for railroading came by way of a doctor’s prescription

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- There isn't a person alive whose railroad track of life doesn't include some curves and grades.

"I grew up in a very poor area of New York," says Mike Holtzeman.

It's hard to imagine but Mike might never have developed a love for trains.

He might never have constructed this G-scale layout in his back yard if his father hadn't been generous enough to trade locomotives as payment for drugs.

"Dad worked in a pharmacy," he recalls. "It seems strange that he would accept trains for prescriptions but he did and I learned to love the trains."

When the leaves start to fall Mike is one of the only model railroaders who has to sweep his tracks to make sure they're clear.

The suddenly cold weather shrinks the brass on his knife switches and slows down his collection of engines.

"I've been doing this since I was 10 or 12 years old," he says. "It's become a passion. I really enjoy them."

A visitor observes, "They're kind of like your own medicine."

"They are," replies Holtzeman. "They really are."

Mike is also one of the only guys left who knows what to fix, who knows the weak points of the reverse switch on a Lionel train, who can bring an heirloom back to life.

"A family might say, 'can you please fix this. This was my grandfather's train. I get a lot of pleasure out of doing that."

Engineer Mike can't predict where the tracks of his life will lead.

His backyard is challenging enough.

But, for him, this model railroad is still the same prescription for fun it's always been.

He keeps them running and they keep him running too.

The 40th Annual Oklahoma City Train Show runs December 3rd and 4th at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Cox Pavilion.

For more information go to http://www.okctrainsshow.com

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