Rapido Trains Dealer Event

As many who know me know, I am an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association, the volunteer organization that has built and operates the Toronto Railway Museum in the former Canadian Pacific Railway John Street Roundhouse in Toronto. The museum is a dealer for Rapido Trains, the Canadian manufacturer of model trains. Shameless plug, if you want to support the museum and buy model trains, get in touch with the museum through the website and order your Rapido models from them!

6992789588_3d849b2d93_oThe Toronto Railway Museum store is inside the passenger waiting room of Don Station, if you’re downtown Toronto visiting the museum, it’s got all kinds of train themed gifts including a limited selection of Rapido products, but we can order anything they’ve announced for you!

Last week Rapido hosted their annual dealer event at their world headquarters in Markham. This is the third time I’ve attended on behalf of the museum. Its an interesting event for me as I am friends with some of the Rapido staff, and have gotten to know most of the employees at least a little bit over the years by virtue of that. As I don’t work at the museum store full time, I only help out with looking at models to sell, I don’t have as much invested as most of the other attendees at the event whose business is running model railroad stores. Retailers from stores across Canada were in attendance, along with suppliers like ESU who provides the DCC boards and sounds for Rapido. Its a chance to network, and catch up.

Jason Shron, President of Rapido Trains addressing the assembled dealers, and showing off this years Thomas Birthday Cake

Jason Shron, the founder and president of Rapido also had the company bus out for rides. Its always fun to be out in the Rapido bus, as you get strange looks from people at bus stops and inevitably someone who wonders why you aren’t opening the doors to pick them up as you go by!!

Rapido Bus ride with Jason Shron at the wheel.

Fortunately for me, this years announcements weren’t anything I need or want, but the core of what was announced will be awesome for N-scale modellers. Canadian FP9’s, VIA Rail F40’s & rebuilt F40’s, LRC Coaches, and The Canadian stainless steel cars in N-Scale. For anyone who has never seen Rapido’s products, these will be some of the best models out there when they arrive. Their only HO Scale announcement was more Canadian RDC models.

Rapido Engineering Samples from partially completed molds. VIA Rail Rebuilt F40, LRC Coaches and Park Cars in N-Scale.

As a disclaimer, Rapido’s offices aren’t a store, they aren’t open to the public in the sense that you can’t just show up and wander into the offices where future products are being designed, or the warehouse. If you show up unannounced, you’ll be able to sit in some comfy Ex-VIA Rail coach seats in their lobby, and talk with their wonderful receptionist, but you won’t be able to buy anything or see anything secret!

IMG_8835
Who keeps a Tardis in their warehouse??? I mean really!!
Advertisements

Canadian Pacific Staging – Saturday Work Session

IMG_8918.jpgLaying the first track for my second staging yard, the “East” or Canadian Pacific Railway Staging.

The first year of building a layout has been a funny experience. A year ago today I didn’t even have benchwork, today, I laid the four tracks for my second staging yard/traverser, the east or CPR Parkdale Yard. With that, I’ve now laid approximately 37 linear feet of track, though it exists in a 61″ and a 56″ space on either end of the layout, there is no middle between the yards!! There is approximately 30 linear feet of “mainline” and sidings along Liberty Street and Mowat Avenue to lay, which means over half the track on my layout is now in place!! Despite that, I can’t run a train anywhere, nevermind from one end to the other!

Tracklaying in process. Applying lessons from the easier to access west staging construction to make laying track in a tight space less frustrating!

Today was a chance to see if I’ve learned anything from my experiences doing the CNR or West staging, which is out in the open and imminently more accessible for working on than in the closet. I can’t believe when I started revising the Liberty Village Line design to fit our house that I ever thought I could start construction in the closet. I’d have quit the hobby if I’d been working in there first instead of learning out in the open part of the room, even if that means some of my mistakes may be more visible when the layout is done. I can’t thank my friends Trevor, Ryan and Doug enough for our benchwork buildathon day last summer. When I had them out my goal was to get out of the closet, that day everything but the peninsula was built, and my progress working on the layout has been so much better for it.

What half-witted moron thought building a layout with under 6″ of clearance to an existing closet shelf was a good idea…

It’s a long weekend for Canada Day, so I had a whole Saturday with nothing on and no commitments. It meant I could take the day and hole up in my office/layout room and take my time laying the track in the closet. this worked out well, as I could work for 15-20 minutes on laying a track, let it bond for an hour or so, work on other things, then lay the next track without being rushed.

I installed the acrylic fall shields on the CPR staging.Being in the closet, its just easier and safer to have them up.

The next steps are to solder the rails to the brass screws I installed on either side of the location for the rail cut to let the traverser slide. Once the rails are soldered down so they don’t move, It will be Dremel time to cut the gaps again. This was fiddly out in the open, it will probably really suck in the closet, but having done it once, much like the rest of today’s tasks, I am much more confident that I will be able to do it and not mess up today’s hard work.

IMG_8932State of play at the end of a give or take 7 hour session (with breaks for laundry, lunch, a nap, glue setting, etc). the S-2 Switcher is sitting at the limit of glued down track, the track to the left is work in progress for alignment.

I’m looking to have some friends over in July for a work session to help with laying turnouts and wiring, both as many hands make light work, and as these are things I am less experienced with and I continue to lean on the generosity of friends in the hobby to help me learn, and I look for ways to help them in return with things I know. I’m still a long way from running a train, but this was a productive use of a long weekend Saturday to get many steps closer to the end goal!

Book Review – Every Tool’s a Hammer

IMG_8937

A Book Review of sorts…

I haven’t finished reading this yet, I’ve been taking a lot of books out of the library, and I noticed this while trolling through the list of new releases on the library website (Pro Tip, if you live in Toronto, the Toronto Public Library has a digital subscription to FineScale Modeller and Model Railroader), and instantly placed a hold. I unabashedly loved the MythBusters TV Show on Discovery Channel. I regret not having managed to get to one of their live shows when the came to Toronto.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but already I know I will be buying a copy of this for my library so I can go back to it and re-read it. It’s part autobiography, and part guide down the path of making. There are so many parallels between the “Maker Universe” that has emerged in recent years, and modellers. In fact, I see the future of our hobby as enticing the Makers to see it as a place where they can contribute greatly and both learn new skills and apply the ones they have.

The first page I saw when I opened the book tonight after 7 hours in the layout room (there’s another post on that coming), and proof that Adam Savage is truly a Kindred Spirit!

Honestly, the whole book feels like a guide to my own heart. I wish I was as organized as he was sometimes, and as willing and brave to fail. I fail plenty, and I learn every time I do, but I am also so risk averse, I’m afraid to fail sometimes, yet my greatest successes in modelling have come when leaping in blind with two feet and trying something I’ve never done before. There are all kinds of thoughts and process things that he’s learned that as I’ve read I’ve gone, hey, he’s totally describing my helter skelter workpath.

I can’t recommend this read enough for anyone who has enjoyed the MythBusters TV Show, or who is a builder or modeller of any sort. Its absolutely fantascic,

Tuesday Train #156

IMGP2923RawConvYard Power and a half shunting at Canadian National’s Symmington Yard in Winnipeg. A slug, and three SD-40’s shoving cars into the yard. Impressive power, and on radio control as well!

The second group working the hump yard was a slug and two SD-40’s! Its incredible to think that such large locomotives are needed justto switch the cars in the yard compared to most of the power I see switching around Toronto.

IMGP2914RawConv

Rapido Royal Hudson – Initial Review

 

In October 2015, Canadian Model Railroad manufacturer Rapido Trains chartered coaches (including a Dome) with VIA Rail for a trip from Toronto to Montreal and Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum for a product launch. The launch was an announcement of a new line of steam locomotives, potentially ten in total over a multi-year span if the products were successful.

22144508038_1f696a19e7_o.jpgJason Shron, president and founder of Rapido Trains announcing the “Icons of Canadian Steam” line at Exporail in 2015.

The first entry in the product line was the Canadian Pacific Railway “Royal Hudson” 4-6-4 locomotives. These locomotives are amongst the most famous in Canadian Railway history, coming to notoriaty in the 1939 Royal Tour, when the reigning monarch King George VI became the first King or Queen to visit Canada. The tour was a PR event to build support on the eve of World War 2 that would start that fall, but a single CPR Hudson, Number 2850 hauled the entire trip westward for the Royal Family without fault or deputation. Upon request of the CPR, the Royal Family allowed the locomotives to be called Royal and to maintain the cast crowns on their running boards which had been installed for the royal tour.

The outer slip case packaging for the Royal Hudson

A semi-streamlined passenger express locomotive clearly has no place on a switching layout like Liberty Village, but a model Royal Hudson was something I’d wanted since I was a kid, same as with a model of the Canadian. Now I have both. And because this is a display case special, I went for the 1939 Royal Train version, which was prepared in a special scheme of stainless steel cladding with deep two tone royal blue and the royal crests on the smokebox door and tender. If its going to be a display piece, might as well really be a display piece!!

More art on the main box inside the slip case, then the instruction manual and exploded diagram, and finally, beneath the foam, a steam locomotive!

This is the second accurate plastic Canadian steam locomotive in my collection, the first, the much maligned True Line Trains Canadian National Railways 4-8-4 Northern. I won’t go into its many woes real or imagined, but the Rapido Hudson blows it away in terms of detail, running qualities, everything. The Hudson is heavy, one of the key differencees to other plastic locomotives I own (mostly british) is that large parts of it are diecast, so it has weight and heft to pull. It features the expected crazy level of details, and sounds recorded from a real CPR Hudson, Number 2816 which is still owned by Canadian Pacific, and was used until the past few years for employee and charity specials.

First photos of the Royal Hudson, with the working front coupler switched out for the much better looking fake one, and the etched stainless steel “Canadian Pacific” name board added to the runnig board. I haven’t added the raised brass numbers to the walkway yet, I may not as it looks fine without them.

Video of my test of the Hudson on my test track via my ESU LokProgrammer is below:

I need to do a proper photo shoot with the Hudson. I think I’ve figured out where and how as well, just need to get sorted out to do it and I’ll post another more photo heavy page on it. All in all, my first impressions are excellent, and It will look great in my display cabinet, and who knows, maybe someday down the road I’ll have a layout to run it on. I’ll probably at some point take it to others HO Scale layouts just to let it stretch its legs and work in the motor and gears.

What a difference a Year Makes!

Wow, its hard to believe that a bit over a year ago we bought our house. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of our actual moving day. A year ago this week (June 18th, 2018), I posted a quicky post with first pictures of the layout room/home office. I meant to do this post on June 18th this year, but was busy and didn’t get the chance. Truth be told, I haven’t done anything in the layout room since Tuesday other than play with my Rapido Royal Hudson, but that’s another post for the weekend! For now, one year of change in my Layout Room, can’t wait to see what it looks like in June 2020!!

img_5481IMG_8773June 2018 and June 2019, Boy do I not miss that fuzzy wallpaper!!
img_5482IMG_8772June 2018 and June 2019 looking the other way in the room. Clearly showing the next big to do, proper layout lighting!!

I can’t wait for year 2 of the layout building adventure. So much to do!!