Trains, games and automobiles - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trains, games and automobiles

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Jim Cooley is kind of a modern day Clark Kent.

On one hand, he's the mild mannered chief engineer at Frank the Train Man, a hobby shop that's been part of San Diego's landscape since 1943.

"You're apt to find anything in here from brand new to 50-year-old trains or 80-year-old trains," Jim said.

Although Jim admits with the onslaught of video games, electric trains aren't as popular as they used to be, they're still part of Americana.

"It's recapturing a little bit of your past, reliving happier days, especially your childhood," he said.

This hobby shop, which Jim has owned since the 80s, helped finance his other life as owner and head curator of San Diego's quirkiest museum.

"Not another museum in the whole country offers as much as we do," Jim said.

The J.A. Cooley Museum features an eclectic mix of antique autos.

"We have probably the best display of 100-year-old cars in the United States," Jim said.

The J.A. Cooley Museum features an equally impressive display of phonographs that technician Jason Ballard restores to mint condition, as well as a collection of antique clocks and toy trains, just to name a few.

"This is a very unique museum," Jim said.

On Park Boulevard just off El Cajon Boulevard, the Train Man and the J.A. Cooley Museum share a common space in antiquity.

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