Do we need kids in this hobby? I’m going to go against the grain and say – no, we don’t. If we want this hobby to grow and prosper after the baby boomers are gone the answer is not to buy a model train set for your kids or grandkids. There are other trains that are better suited for kids – Thomas, Brio, Lego, Geotrax, etc. These trains are more robust and the tracks are more easily changed around.


Turbo IC31

On board the Turbo – these kids are probably my customers today!

The answer is to take them on the train – a lot. If trains are a part of their lives and a special memory with Dad or Grandpa, today’s kids will be tomorrow’s model railroaders. If you take kids on VIA or Amtrak regularly, the investment will pay off in a future generation of modellers who choose model railroading because they remember the real thing, not because they remember some dusty sheet of plywood with trains that rarely ran properly and quickly became boring. OK – rant over. If you want to discuss this and tell me how wrong I am please feel free to do so over at the CanModelTrains forum. Back to the tour…


CMT, Mississauga

Watching The Canadian go round and round at CMT in Mississauga

Photo by Tom Tomblin.


Today Dan and I had a very enjoyable afternoon at the new digs of Canadian Model Trains in Mississauga, Ontario. There were about 30 guys there (of course I forgot to take photos until almost everyone had left… D’oh!) and even some wives. It was a great turnout! Thank you very much to Tom and his wife, Anna, who were wonderful hosts – there was lunch, snacks, fruit, drinks, you name it. I thought they were starting a restaurant! While I can’t guarantee there will always be gourmet food, it is worth a visit to the new showroom. He even has Canadian Turbos in stock!


The Canadian and FP9

An unlikely prototype: CPR maroon Canadian passes VIA 6507

Tom has a new layout under construction (gotta love the thumb tacks!), and we were able to run the complete Canadian around the layout for most of the afternoon at a variety of speeds from super slow to crazy fast. The latter was unplanned but the DCC controller I was using suddenly switched from 128 to 28 speed steps and the train jumped to warp speed like it was doing the Picard Maneuver (look it up). The good news is the couplers and cars survived a spontaneous jump to warp. The bad news is any HO scale passengers that may have been on the train would now be sticky puddles on the backs of the seats.

Note to self: before the next presentation, unpack the new DCC system that has been sitting in my workshop for the past week.


Jason Shron and Dale Wilson

Bustling action at Spadina Yard, 1981

Photo by Bill Morrison.


One of the benefits of coming to see The Canadian on Tour is that we get to discuss other projects by Rapido and share modelling interests. My layout – soon to be started, God willing – will focus almost exclusively on Spadina Yard in Toronto in December 1980. As you can see from the photo above, this location is a dream come true to fans of Canadian passenger railroading. You can visit the tour schedule here to see when I will be coming to your area. I have two most stops in Ontario and then I will be heading west.


Sidura Ludwig

Please vote for Sidura’s book!

One last thing – please vote for my wife’s book by the end of this week so hopefully it will be one of Canada’s top five reads. You can vote as often as once a day by clicking here. Her book is called Holding My Breath. You can order a copy by visiting her web site,here. Tomorrow I will be back on board VIA en route to Ottawa. Until next time!

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