DISASTER. To start off the day, my good friend Les Halmos picked me up at the hotel and, after a quick trip to Gare du Palais where VIA was holding my lost stuff, we went to his club – Free-Modu-Rail de la Capitale. We put The Canadian on the track to various “ooohs” and “aaaahs,” and then tried to run it. Right. Don’t try to run a test sample for the first time EVER when there are people around. It derailed on every curve and switch!

We had a closer look and discovered the couplers were too high and they were interfering with the diaphragms on S-curves. So Les and I sat down and started shimming couplers. We also discovered that all of the wheelsets were too tight by the exact same amount – that’s a tooling issue that needs to be solved at the factory. So I regauged the wheelsets but by then it was time to go to our next stop.

Rapido The CanadianThe Canadian on the beautiful Free-Modu-Rail de la Capitale layout. Photo by Les Halmos.

Following a pleasant early afternoon visit to Passe-Temps 3000, we headed to the SMFQ in Ste-Foy. The guys at the club – Quebec’s largest and oldest – were very impressed with the models and they even bought some pins! But then we put the models on the track. PROBLEM! The regauged wheels made them too tight in the trucks and the pair of high-powered FP9A locomotives had understandable difficulty in pulling 10 sleds up and down the track. Oh brother.

Jason and Rapido at SMFQVisiting the guys at SMFQ, Quebec. Photo by Les Halmos.

So I’ve now put the wheelsets back to the way they came from the factory, which means the cars will roll nicely but will probably derail on every switch. This is why they tell you never to show off first samples! Problems like this are usually solved before samples are shown. It’s a very simple fix, but one that I can’t do in Canada. The wheels need to be turned differently. We’ll see if we can get new wheelsets before the end of the tour. I think it’s more important that people get the chance to see the models in person, though, so I am glad that I can show these samples to Canadian modellers, even if they are not yet perfect.

VIA Renaissance sleeperMy sleeper on board The Ocean

I’m now on board The Ocean en route to Halifax. I need to figure out how to do consisting properly on the MRC Prodigy Advance system so I have all the samples with me in this very tiny bedroom, along with my luggage and my tools. There is almost, but not quite, room for me in here as well. A special thank you to Les and Jean-Francois for driving me all over Quebec City and being a great help with the tour and the samples. You guys are fantastic.