THE CANADIAN ON TOUR – May 31

All in all, a great day for The Canadian on Tour. I awoke in my Renaissance sleeper to a sunny morning in the beautiful landscape of northern New Brunswick. After a hearty breakfast of… toast… I got to work. I first tried photographing some models on the wee little table that comes in the Ren bedroom, but they, er, kept rolling off. It’s a shaky ride!

CPR Manor Sleeping CarA Manor Sleeper aboard a Ren Sleeper. How ironic…(in the Alanis Morissette definition of the term, of course)

Pretty soon my bedroom was not recognisable – I had turned it into a workshop. We had rushed the samples out of the factory so quickly that some key details were missing, such as the Sinclair antenna on the VIA FP9A roofs. We retooled the roof to allow us to do the 1950s-era CN locomotives with no antenna, but the antenna part still had its old mounting tab. I had to file it down to make mounting poles and then drill two holes and install it in the roof – not an easy task when you are swaying back and forth in a bouncy train car (and the Renaissance cars bring new definition to the term “bouncy”).

On Board the Renaissance SleeperOn-board workshop

If you ever have a sleeping car bedroom with glue stains on the table, that was me. Sorry. We arrived early into Halifax where trusty Rapido confidante Jakob Mueller and his beautiful wife Meghan met me at the station. As is the case with my wife, Sidura, Meghan is extremely patient with her train-obsessed husband. Can you imagine if your wife was obsessed with toasters? If she dragged you on toaster-viewing tours and visits to toaster museums, and filled the house with bits of old toasters, pictures of toasters, advertisements of toasters, and little model toasters? No, I can’t either. That’s why I have no clue how our wives do it.

The OceanThe Ocean arrives in Halifax

After a quick bite it was off to Maritime Hobbies, possibly the oldest hobby shop in Canada. What a store! They had everything, and I only wish I had some time to shop. We had a packed house of about 25 or 30 people out to see The Canadian, and everyone was very enthusiastic. There were no complaints about the broken stirrups that GLARED at me every time the train ran around the track! My compliments to Mike and his team. They have a fine store and their customers really know their trains.

Maritime HobbiesGunning the throttle up to 0.5 scale MPH at Maritime Hobbies. Photo by Jakob Mueller

The evening ended with an interesting twist. Duane Porter came up from the Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. He brought a Grant Hobbycraft extruded aluminum model of The Canadian from 1956. For its time, the model was a work of art. It even came with souvenir brochures from the train. Posing for the camera with the 1956 model in front of us and the Rapido model running alongside gave a nice sense of continuity to our project. Thanks, Duane!

Jason Shron and Duane PorterJason and Duane with the 20th and 21st century Canadians. Photo by Jakob Mueller

And that’s another day wrapped up. If the icicle breakers on the CP FP9A models make it west of Ontario I will be amazed…