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More of an Equestria Enthusiast but glad to be here. | Audio Reader


Everypony has a hobby. Pinkie likes rock collecting, Fluttershy likes reading, and so on.

Applejack is no exception.

Story inspired by cover art made by dstears.

Written during NaNoWriMo 2022.

A thank you to Scriblits Talo for proofreading before publishing.

Now with a Russian translation by NovemberDragon.

Rated "Decent" by Mike Cartoon Pony.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 42 )

I love this immediately and I cannot wait to read it.

It's nice to see more mlp train-related fics!

Fluttershy likes reading

Don't you mean knitting?

I can relate to Applejack here, except it's with TrackMaster trains instead of model trains, since they are too expensive for me.

:twilightoops: The new main electrical grid failed?
:moustache: Yea ka blooie!
:duck: Don't think we did it , We were trying my new sewing machine
:ajbemused: Granny? Why's everything in the dark?
:pinkiehappy: Like Mr. Gomez Addams :rainbowlaugh: Ka Boom!
:facehoof: We need a bigger generator
:flutterrage: Discord more POWER!

Trains, y'all.



Applejack is Best Engineer.


I hope discord didn't fuck around with Applejack's trains

This was a very interesting read; I certainly enjoyed it.

A trip to Miniatur Wunderland (Miniature Wonderland) 4K HDR - YouTube
this is only a few minutes from here.
been there a few times and it is astonishing.

applejack is always adorable

One of two random ideas I thought up during NaNoWriMo 2022. I like model trains, so I figured why not try to write out the artwork (see: cover).

Write what you know, and love! :ajsmug:

Ponies and trains go together really well, and as we see here, it extends to model trains, too.

This was so dang *cozy*, and I couldn't stop smiling while reading it. Thanks for producing such a lovely work!

Lovely stuff. Reminds me of the layout my grandfather had in his basement. Must have taken up eight tables' worth of space. It was a wonder to behold. Wish I'd taken pictures... though there are probably some lying around if I look.

In any case, a nice, cozy read. Perfect for an AJ popcorn fic. Thank you for it.

Conceptually, I love the idea of model trains, and I love the layouts that I've seen.
In practicality, I don't think I'd have the patience to create anything that took more than an afternoon to set up, and I don't think I have the mindset to allow me to create something that can't be pulled down and rearranged in fairly short time.

So the most I've worked with are toy train sets designed for children maybe 5 years old. Thomas the Tank Engine, type stuff, with wooden tracks.

As a model railroad enthusiast myself, I can relate with the feeling of getting hooked once you buy that first locomotive and some rolling stock. :ajsmug:

“Ya bought a toy?” Apple Bloom remarked, watching her sister read through the instructions. The box was open in Applejack’s bedroom, as safe a place as any to try out her new hobby.

Applejack’s muzzle scrunched as she frowned up at her sister. “It ain’t a toy, it’s a model electric train and it’s fancy. Supposed to be new from Canterlot,” she replied.

“Land sakes, just what is your hobby? Ridin’ a bull?” Granny asked peering around Applejack to get a better look. “Ain’t you a little old to be playin’ with toys?”

“They’re models ,” Applejack protested. “I liked the first one I got, so I got a couple more.”

Why are these parts so relatable?

“Oh that? That’s a recent thing from Canterlot. A model electric train set,” Soapbox said, picking up the box and looking it over. “Lion Yell makes some good ones.”

Take my like and get the fuck outta here, puns have no fuckin’ right to be that funny.

“Oh, well, you set up the track, plug the controller onto the track and then plug in the controller, set up the train and… well, watch it go,” Soapbox explained. “This is a basic model, just the train and tracks, but I’ve already heard there’s some pretty expansive layouts out there already.”

Yep. That’s it, that’s at least half the appeal.

Tracks looped around her bedroom and under furniture. A trio of controllers lay at her hooves, ready for her to control the three trains on their different lines.

I feel both seem and called out.

“Just fiddlin’ with my new hobby, Granny,” Applejack said. “Didn’t mean to cause a ruckus.”

I was about to protest this, but then I remembered that when I set up all my Grandpa’s old Lionel stuff, the one engine was really loud, especially at its faster speeds. Even going slow, between being on the second floor and running three I can see where Granny’s coming from.

“They’re models ,” Applejack protested. “I liked the first one I got, so I got a couple more.”

Huh. That’s twice now people have—highly erroneously (IMHO)—called them “toys”. In my completely unbiased opinion, that does model railroaders and the companies that sell to them a major disservice in ignoring their potential for complexity, sophistication, realism, etc. Also call me crazy but when you’re paying more than ~$100 you’re usually not getting a toy anymore. A $120 Lego Saturn V is also a *model*. Same goes with their Titanic, but many times over.

Pulling a bandana up around her muzzle to keep out the dust and gripping a broom in both forehooves, Applejack bravely marched towards the looming piles of dust-gathering junk that sat before her.

Ah, the basement: the cause of, and solution to, all of your modeling related problems.

Applejack mused to herself: if she had known so much hoofwork went into these model layouts, she would’ve tried them a long time ago!

Applejack, I’m not sure you appreciate what you’re getting yourself into.

By the time the layout was done, Nightmare Night had rolled around. Deciding to fit in with her new hobby, Applejack assembled together an engineer costume, complete with a cap from Soapbox’s hobby store.

Are you even a model railroader if you don’t own at least *one* pair of overalls and an engineer’s cap?

Overall, 12/10, thank you for blessing the fando with another train and pony fanfic.

That was a good story.

Nice. An enjoyable read for a casual morning.

Really damn cute piece of slice of life.

AJ is a very crafty pony, well done!

Gotta say, there was a time when I would have made fun of train people. But I'm old enough now that I realize it's just like any other hobby. If it brings someone joy, then more power to them. And i think this story captures that. I felt that joy that only comes when you find something that really clicks for you. A simple pleasure that enriched her life, and I love it.

Glad to see that I wasn't the only one that thought of Gomez Addams

"Lion Yell" - as a railway modeller myself, I lolled at that.

This made me smile😄 What a fitting hobby for Applejack. Soapbox knows where it's at!

Absolutely fantastic little story, mate! I'd love to see if AJ goes full-blown Bruce Williams Zaccagnino with her layout and adds multiple wings of basements onto the cellars.

For context, Bruce Zaccagnino is the creator and former owner of Northlandz, the largest model railroad in the United States, located in Flemington, New Jersey. I've been there twice in my life, and both times I was totally blown away by it. Prior to creating Northlandz, Bruce built a huge layout in the basement of his house and added five enormous rooms onto the basement, and would open it up to the public for two weekends every summer. LeVar Burton actually visited it in the 1987 Reading Rainbow episode "A Three Hat Day". Here are some videos showcase Bruce's incredible work--he no longer owns the attraction, but worry not; Northlandz is in good hands.

A video by Great Big Story interviewing Bruce and showcasing Northlandz back when he ran the property

Another video showcasing Northlandz' features from their official YouTube channel

YouTuber NixCrossing's video of Northlandz, taken in 2021, a couple years after the property came under new management. It's long but it's absolutely worth it to see all the little parts and pieces of the layout.

An episode of Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton that shows Bruce's original layout back in the 1980s--footage that I didn't even think still existed.

Something about the way the little train kept chugging along the track hypnotized Applejack, her mind in awe of the small wonder. She squatted down till her muzzle was level with the tracks, eyes following the train as it went. She wanted to reach out and pick the train up and see it up close, but she was worried about derailing it.

Even as a young adult, those electric model trains are still a sight to behold despite knowing their toys. I'm happy for Applejack and her new hobby.


What makes "Lion Yell" so funny? Would only somebody interested in rails get the reference?

It's a reference to Lionel, the most well-known maker of model trains. Their stuff is good, but it gets wicked expensive nowadays

Most well known jn the US, maybe. Over here (the UK) you won't find it anywhere; Bachmann, Hornby, Peco and Dapol are the big names here.

Making me wanna go get some astartes.



Thanks for clearing that up.

Yep, that sounds about right; I know Lionel is one of the biggest ones out there in the States, but I'm aware of Hornby being big in the UK. Thank you to Sam'sTrains on YT for showing their product off

I know Sam's Trains - he's a decent YouTuber to watch.

Personally I've always found Bachmann (Bachstallionn?) to be superior to Hornby.

Ayyyy, that's a good one!

Amazing! In all my years of writing MLP fanfics, I've never seen a single one dedicated to model railways - and now we have this to fill the gap at long last! As an avid railway enthusiast and modeller myself, I can't thank you enough for this neat little story. :pinkiehappy::yay::heart:

This was really soft and pleasant. No real conflict, no drama, just a mare and her trains having a good time and finding the joy of making your own little works of art.:heart:

AAAAAAAAAA if you have any of this type of story left, I'll take your entire stock

I worked with trains when younger. It's a fun hobby and I enjoyed the work on the terrain. Then I got into wargaming. There went that hobby!

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