After a very long week, the first leg of the tour is finally over and I think I can say that it was a success. Thank you to everyone who came out to see The Canadian. Tomorrow I finally roll home on VIA 61, and the next two weeks of the tour are in Ontario so I will actually get to see my family! The morning started on board VIA’s “Ocean,” where I discovered that maybe if I didn’t insist on travelling with six teddy bears there might actually be room for me in the berth.

Teddy BearsTaking up space in a very narrow bed…

After arriving in Montreal, the first stop was at Van Horne Hobby in Laval, Quebec. Jean-Claude and all of his friends were very welcoming and we had a great time looking at the models and discussing all aspects of the locomotives and passenger cars. Unfortunately, I once again had to speak French. Towards the end of the presentation, Frederique asked me something in French and I didn’t hear him, so of course without thinking I said 什么? I was obviously tired, as even after correcting myself and speaking French, I later answered one of his questions with 我不知道. Not good.

Richard, Jason and DaveRichard, Jason and Dave hamming it up at a local kosher eatery

I went directly from Van Horne to Hobby Junction Express, where a group of eager modellers were already waiting to see the samples. We had a demonstration, and then Dave Jenkins (from Hobby Junction) and Richard Longpre (Rapido’s translator extraordinaire) took me out for supper. I can say, with all certainty, that I almost survived Dave’s driving. If you are a scaredy-cat driver, NEVER DRIVE IN MONTREAL. Montreal drivers make kamikaze pilots look like the Avon lady. Unfortunately, I learned how to drive here.

The CanadianGetting a close look at The Canadian. Photo by Richard Longpre

After supper we headed to the West Island Modular Railroad Club where I was astonished to find about 60 guys waiting for us! WOW! This was an incredible turnout. Thank you to everyone at the WIMRC for organizing this and giving me the run of the place. It was an honour. Thanks also to Andrew Dawsom for the great kosher tea biscuits!

The CanadianYoho Park brings up the rear. Are those Rapido CN cars in the background? Photo by Richard Longpre

As I took out the samples, all I could see was scratched paint here, bent grab iron there, smushed fuel tank vent over here. But the guys at the club saw The Canadian. And they were impressed. The most incredible thing is…. IT ACTUALLY RAN. Yes, The Canadian made it around the gorgeous WIMRC layout several times with only the occasional derailment and 7-megaton explosion. The fact that this thing actually moved without falling over is astouding, because these are just first test castings.

The CanadianSwinging around the bend – that is One. Long. Train. Photo by Richard Longpre

So after a rocky start, I think this week turned out well. Thanks to everyone who bought a pin – now I can afford lunch tomorrow. I am now at the Delta Centre Ville with a clear view of the approach tracks to Central Station. You know, you can never have enough trains….

The West Island Modular Railroad ClubSchmoozing with the crowd at the WIMRC. Photo by Richard Longpre

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