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Train enthusiast looking for the original owner of a 1932 model train he restored

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4 2012 5:15 p.m. MST

Herk Perschon, at his Bountiful home, is trying to find the rightful owner of this antique train set on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Perschon bought the engine and its two cars six years ago. He has repaired it and now wants its original owner to have it back. The set dates back to 1931.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

BOUNTIFUL — Herk Perschon loves model trains. He fell in love with toy trains when he was 9 years old. That's when his sister gave him his first train for Christmas.  

Six years ago, the 85-year-old bought a train from 1932 and restored it. Now he wants to give the train back to the person he purchased it from.

Perschon has quite a collection of model trains.

"Childhood memories, that's why most people are interested in (them)," he said. "I got it for Christmas in 1936, and then each year for my birthday and Christmas, they'd buy me a couple more train cars and some more tracks."

Herk joined the Navy in 1944. When he returned home, his very first train was gone. His mother had given it to a neighbor boy because trains weren't sold during the war years.

"She just said, ‘We thought you didn't want it anymore,' and I told her it was OK, don't worry about it," Perschon said.

He began a long career with Utah Power and Light, and 39 years later, in 1983, he retired. His youngest son asked him what he was going to do, now that he had all this free time. At first he didn’t know, but when his son mentioned the toy trains, that sparked an idea.

The next day, Perschon went to a store and came home with a train. Since then, he has turned his shop into an incredible collection of model trains.

Now at age 85, Perschon says it’s time for his train hobby to go. He has let his children and grandchildren all pick one to keep, except for one. It is a 1931 American Flyer, including an electric engine and two cars.

"You've got to look at my age, and I know I'm not going to be around here that long," he said. "I had to restore (this train), repaint it, and find some parts for it. It was sold at the power company office they had out in Magna in 1931 to the employee there."

He said it’s worth about $500.

The electric company used to sell appliances, including electric trains. Perschon bought it in 2006 at a swap meet at the state fairgrounds from a man who would now be about 83 years old.

"He said, ‘My dad gave me the train.' He had it in a box, for Christmas in 1932," Perschon said.

He said he would feel much better if this train went back to the man or his family.

"There's bound to be some of the family. I don't have a name to go by, so that's where I'm stuck," Perschon said.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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