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!

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

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!!

40 for 40

I’m shamelessly stealing this idea from a good friend of mine who does an annual list on his birthday. I’m doing this this year as a one off for no other reason than I’m turning 40 today, and over the past 12 months or so I’ve pretty much turned my life upside down with buying a house, a new car, and changing employers for the first time since graduating university (over 15 years in one small business). I’ve never been a big birthday person, I never liked being the centre of attention. I always just think its just another day and I’d almost rather it pass me by.

That said, 40 is a significant round number, and if the past year qualified as a mid life crisis turning everything around, then my 40 for 40 list is about putting the proverbial pen to paper to lay out a lot of things I think about, but in a way where I can hopefully look back in a year and feel I’ve kept making steps forward to being the me I want to be for the next 40 years of my life, as I feel it’s taken me the first 40 to have any idea of who that person is.

Begin Here on May 9th, 2019

  1. Listen to 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins, because, 40 years ago…yeah, I know. Was best song I could think of that’s either about the year or got 40 in the title.
  2. Followed by the best 4 albums of 1979 – Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty (RIP), London Calling by The Clash, Highway to Hell by AC/DC and The Wall by Pink Floyd
    • Bonus for on Vinyl
  3. Actually post this on my Blog and acknowledge that I’m setting myself out on some mid-life ish year goals.

The Easy

  1. Thank my friends for being there, through good and bad, thick and thin. I’ve not always been the greatest ray of light in the room, but you’ve all stuck with me, here’s to many more good years!
  2. Continue with the decisions made as a 39 year old to put myself first and hold onto the work-life balance I’ve found for the first time in my adult life.
  3. Continue to get 7+ hours of sleep a night, fight the urges to keep puttering at 11pm just because I don’t feel tired.
  4. Continue to get up when the alarm goes off (6am seems awfully early after a decade plus of 7:30-8:00am most days) and have the time to start my day properly rather than straining for every last second of not getting up and then struggling to start my day.
  5. Continue to eat breakfast everyday (something I only started to do at 39 because of a high blood sugar diagnosis).
  6. Keep reading at least 2 books a month making good use of my subway time commuting.
  7. Watch the 40 Year Old Virgin (I haven’t seen it, and I couldn’t think of any other movies about being 40).
  8. Read a Harry Potter Book. I’ve never read any of them.
    • Bonus for each book beyond the first read.
  9. Watch a Harry Potter Movie. I’ve only ever seen the first one, and honestly I wasn’t paying attention when I did.
    • Bonus for each movie beyond the first.
  10. Watch Dirty Dancing. No seriously, I haven’t watched it, I’ve steadfastly refused to.
    • Bonus if I watch it with my wife.
  11. Attend a concert/show at 4 Toronto Music Venue’s I haven’t been to before.
  12. Actually cook some of the recipes from one of the cookbooks I own.
  13. Secret
  14. Go Skating, I haven’t gone skating in several years, and I miss it.
    • Bonus if a return to Friday night High Park shinny happens.
  15. Visit the ROM. I realized I still have not been since before the Crystal Expansion opened, it’s a bit past time.
  16. Try a beer from 40 Breweries that I haven’t tried before.
    • Bonus if all 40 are Ontario Breweries


The Obvious – Train/Model Railroad Related Stuff

  1. Run a train from one end of my layout to the other without it derailing or losing power. What? It’s taken me 40 years to actually be building a real layout, that’s a decent goal!
  2. Learn or make major improvements in at least 4 new model making skills/techniques
  3. Ride a steam excursion at the South Simcoe Railway, Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway or Waterloo Central Railway. I travel to the UK and US for steam, but never visit those in my backyard.
  4. Go railfanning once a month, somewhere I haven’t been (recently or regularly at least) and outside of Toronto (camping out along Lakeshore photographing GO Trains doesn’t count).

The Challenging

  1. See a CFL Game in Montreal to complete the Eastern Division Stadiums.
    • Bonus if somehow I tick off any of Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton to have been at games in all the western CFL cities.
  2. Make a batch of Home Brewed Beer.
  3. Ride my bike at least to the subway once a week from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving (3.5km each way on the route that avoids the busiest streets, 2.8km each way most direct).
  4. Walk home from the subway at least two nights a week through the summer, and find an alternative walk for the winter when walking in the suburbs isn’t pleasant.
  5. Ride my bike from home to work (26.7-29.2km depending on route and major road avoidance) at least once in the same summer season.
    • Bonus: Ride home the same day
  6. TBA Health Goal
  7. End the year in a more secure financial state where I have at least two month’s worth of mortgage payments in a TFSA.
  8. Do something to raise funds for a Charity.
  9. Score two goals in a Rec Soccer game. I’ve done everything else I’ve wanted to do, scored left and right footed, a header, a penalty, but I’ve never in my life scored twice in a game. Given I play over half my games as a keeper, and, to be honest am not particularly fast at running, scoring goals is a rare occurence for me.

The improbable/Travel (because this is my way of having a mid-life crisis)

  1. Take a lap of Mosport (in a car, I’ve walked the track before after racing was done for the weekend).
    • Bonus if it’s in my car.
    • Double Bonus if somehow I get an IMSA Hot Lap during the Sportscar Grand Prix Weekend.
  2. Drive a Corvette.
    • Bonus if its somehow integrated with a lap of Mosport.
  3. Attend a 24 Hour Car Race, or book tickets to attend Le Mans 2020.
    • Half Point for attending Petit Le Mans or Sebring 12 Hours or a World Endurance Championship race (mostly as they would involve lengthy travel).
  4. Drive & Fire a Steam Locomotive for a day.
  5. Attend a Railway Prototype Modellers Meet in the US (Napierville/Chicago, New England or Cocoa Beach).
  6. Finish my provincial checklist (Alberta and Newfoundland) so I can move on to the North (Northwest Territories, Yukon & Nunavut).

End here on May 9, 2020

  1. When the birds can be heard above the reckoning carts doing some final accounting…own up to how well I did come May 9, 2020 (RIP Gord).
  2. Arrive refreshed and ready for the next 40+ years of my life.

My 2018 Model Railroad Year in Review

Whew, what a year it has been in 2018 for my hobby. I have a layout under construction!! Since I last wrote a year in review post at the end of 2017, it’s been a whirlwind. We bought our first house, moved, I finalized the layout plan for The Liberty Village Line, and about 85% of the benchwork is in place (only the peninsula to go once track is up on the wrap around the walls). 2019 promises a lot of excitement as track starts to get laid, and trains hopefully run, but in what has been an amazing year in the hobby, I’ve done a lot, and made a lot of progress, but haven’t finished many models compared to past years, but that’s OK all things considered. Did I mention I started construction on a layout?? A summary of my year is below, followed by some brief thoughts on things:

Projects Completed in 2018

Projects In Progress


  • Weathering – Did some, got a bit better, still a long way to go
  • Soldering – Did some, got a bit better, still a long way to go
  • Track Building – Didn’t do any.  Will need to in 2019

Thing’s I’m expecting to arrive in Stores

  • Rapido Trains Royal Hudson – They are in production, and should arrive in 2019, I look forward to receiving mine and writing about it when I do.

So, with that high level summary of the “plan” (insofar as one can plan a hobby), a bit of a chat on what I did is below:

Completed Projects

Didn’t finish a lot, but damn proud of the ones I did finish. A personal interest model of a place I loved to go before it was demolished (Bar Volo), a new workbench in our first home, and a freight load for the layout just because.

Finished Projects! Always a good feeling!

Projects in Progress

As many things as are listed up there, there is really only one that matters, everything else really flows from that. The construction of my layout in our new home. I still don’t have as huge a pile of unbuilt freight car kits as some people do, but I’m up to 6 or 7 now. I’ll need to get organized and start building them once some track is laid on the layout as the rails will look empty with the limited amount of freight cars I have for the layout at the moment.

Layout in many steps, lumber, to building with friends, to backdrop to checking templates to having a train run on it on temporarily set out flex track!

The other projects, finishing the BR Coach, working on the 3D print/design for the GO Coach, and the narrow gauge shelf were only peripherally worked on. The BR Coach will be done in January, I’m on the penultimate task now of installing window curtains before I apply the final decals for the first class and no smoking warnings to the windows, then it will be done.

Skill Building

This is a tough one, as every time you do something, you build the skills, but there are things I want to work and continue to get better at, like weathering freight cars so my models on the layout look better and more realistic. Same for track building and soldering. While a friend has generously offered to and is building my switches for the layout, I really do want to learn how, and will need to get so much better at soldering than I am to do the wiring on the layout.

Weathering and Wiring in action, two things I’ll get to do a lot more of in 2019!

So, that’s about it. I’ve tried to keep this years year in review short and sweet, not because it hasn’t been a good year, but because it’s just easier to be short and sweet to collect things and link back to stuff I’ve already written. All the best to you and yours, have a wonderful New Years Eve, and happy modelling in 2019!!


A couple of Workbench Tasks

Getting back to modelling, means a couple of things have become evident that need some improving in my new workbench in our new house.  One I was able to solve tonight in about 10 minutes, the other, will be easily solved, but needs some research/thought.

1 – Paper Towels

I use a lot, between cleaning spills, brushes, sweating, its a consumable I use a lot of. I also hadn’t come up with a good location for a paper towel roll until recently.  I realized I can make use of the space beneath the staging traverser at least for now (it may need to be relocated later to make sure wiring is clear), but a couple of bits of metal and a bit of 1″ dowel I had laying around, and I now have a paper towel roll that’s easy to grab paper from, but not in the way of tools or work space.

Home made paper towel holder. A metal pipe clip, a framing bracket, and a knob on a piece of 1″ round dowel.  Does the trick!

2 – More Light

Let there be Light!! Light and being able to see what you are doing is critical.  I’ve written in the past about improving my lighting at the old apartment here. Now that winter is closing in, its become readily aparent as I was painting tonight after installing the paper towel holder, that I need more light, in a couple of ways. I’ve known for some time that I am going to need to add more lighting to light the layout when it is complete.  The layout of the 3rd bedroom which is now my office/layout room is great for a modeller, 4 walls and a central skylight, no windows in the walls.  Where this poses a problem, is in the winter where there is no light at all coming in the skylight. It means there is almost no light coming from behind me to light what I am working on.  This is a fixable problem, I just need to get a light on an arm that I can position so its lighting from the same angle I am looking at the project from. I’ve looked at Ottlites in the past, as they are well regarded, but my legendary cheapness has held me back. Looks like its time to re-visit that thought process again and look at some swing arm lamp options! More to come on this one!

View of my workbench. The skylight is great in the summer, but as winter sets in, there isn’t any light coming in. The single light fixture for the room is above my chair. I am going to replace it with track lighting to allow me to better light the layout, but more workbench light is needed too.

Tuesday Train #126

IMGP0759RawConvThe third Ontario Southland Crew out on September 24, 2018 had this pair of Ex-Canadian Pacific Railway SW1200RS locomotives.  No’s #1245 & #1249, built in September 1960 are seen here leaving the CAMI Automotive plant with autoracks for interchange with Canadian National in Ingersoll.  From the plant lead here, they highballed straight out and onto the mainline and through Ingersoll to the CNR interchange without stopping.

The previous Ontario Southland Tuesday Trains from my day chasing are here at #124, #124.5 & #125.