Bob Cook was introduced to model railroading by his parents, who gave he and his brother a Lionel 027. The set continued to grow through his adolescence to two 4×8 plywood panels in the basement. Bob grew up in Westchester NY, and Princeton NJ, so he was familiar with the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads.
There were other distractions during his teens years that took him away from model railroading. Once out of high school, Bob was selected to attend the United States Naval Academy. Upon graduation, he embarked on a career in the submarines, the silent service of the US Navy where Bob served as commander of the USS Sea Devil SSN-664.
During his naval career, Bob joined the NMRA and multiple model railroads clubs. While on active duty and stationed near Vienna Virginia, he joined the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders. While there, he was introduced to Digital Command & Control, and he was hooked on this new innovation in model railroading.
Bob retired from active duty in 1998 after attaining the rank of captain. His first “non-Navy duty station” was in State College, Pennsylvania (home of Penn State) where he built his first basement layout. Being in Pennsylvania, Bob decided on modeling his layout after the Virginia Railway and its vast coal service.
Fast forward to 2006…now with grandchildren, Bob and his wife decided to move to Chesapeake Virginia to where the weather was more compatible. Initial plans were for an outbuilding, but the homeowner’s association said it must be made of brick. A windfall was received, and an expansion was built in the attic in 2009. He started participating in operating sessions with Tidewater Division and with the encouragement of Chuck Davis and Mark Nieting, began the process of working toward his Master Modeler.
The process was arduous, but perseverance paid off and Bob was awarded his MMR in July 2022.