TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Allan Anderson, a resident of Meadow Lake Senior Retirement Community, is pretty much known around here as the Railroad man.
Anderson's been collecting trains and the tracks to run them on since he was a boy. His uncles gave him his first trains as Christmas gifts, and when he started earning money as a teenager, he began buying his own.
"I used to drive my mother crazy because I put them around the dining room table into the front room, around the front room, back into the dining room, just run them on the floor."
Anderson's trains took up so much space, he decided for a while to go into a smaller gauge.
"When we lived in Slidell, Louisiana, after my daughter left home, I took over her bedroom and I had the whole bedroom full of trains, HO trains and then my eyes started getting bad so I thought I've got to get out of this small stuff and go back into the big stuff."
Anderson built a railroad in the garage up over the top of the cars and used step ladders to get to his trains.
During his time in Slidell, Anderson was head of electrical engineering on the Titan missile, worked on multiple docking adapters for Skylab, and oxygen and hydrogen tanks for the space shuttle.
When Katrina shut down unfinished projects in Slidell, Anderson moved to East Texas, at the urging of his daughter.
"This is a history lesson right here."
Once again Allan Anderson's garage is filled with his trains.
"I've probably got over a hundred freight cars." I think I've got over 20 locomotives."
Meadow Lake residents bring their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to see Anderson's train collection but often linger to reminiscence about their childhood love of trains.
During the Christmas season, Anderson's trains are set up in the Meadow Lake lobby for all visitors to enjoy and to remember the adventure and romance that trains have brought to their lives.