Oh my, where to begin! The last three days have been among the maddest of my life. But first I should tell you:

We’re doing a 7th Canadian Set!

Action Red CanadianThe Allure of Action Red

Never say I don’t listen to my customers! At almost every presentation I have given on this tour, as soon as I bring out the sample of the Action Red Park Car (shown above) there is an audible gasp from the crowd. Most people associate Action Red with faded and dirty, not realizing that when The Canadian was painted in Action Red colours in 1968 it was absolutely STUNNING.

Because of that, I have been asked dozens of times if I will do a second Canadian set in the Action Red, but with 8″ wide stripes on the nose and rear of the locomotives. So Bill, Dan and I had a conference call this morning and we decided to GO FOR IT!

The new Canadian (product #210007) will be delivered along with the other sets and the order deadline is the same – August 5th, with deposits due on August 26th. And the price is still $1499.95. All of the cars are in the Action Red Scheme. 210007 contains:


  • FP9A LOCOMOTIVE: 1407 (8″ Stripes)
  • F9B LOCOMOTIVE: 4474 (8″ Stripes)
  • FP9A LOCOMOTIVE: 1409 (8″ Stripes)
  • COACH: 100
  • COACH: 122
  • SKYLINE: 508

Jon Calon's layout 1Jon Calon’s awesome helix

As I mentioned last time, Jon and his wife Michaelea saved me from spending two nights in my car. A nice bonus was the chance to see Jon’s Esquimalt & Nanaimo layout under construction. What a fabulous layout! Jon has thought about everything, including a dispatcher’s booth inside one of the helices.

Jon’s E&N is a triple deck layout, just like my planned layout, so it was nice to get a feel of what it would be like to be amidst three levels of trains. (I have no problem using either “deck” or “level” to describe the various elevations on a multi-deck/level layout. Some people have a canary if they think you are using the wrong term.)

Jon’s layout gave me the reassurance that my own layout plan is indeed right for me. It was 400 degrees outside but Absolute Zero in Jon’s basement, so I now understand why he’s dressed for cold weather in June. I had to get out of the basement after a few minutes as my bodily gases had solidified. You can read more about Jon’s layout here. Now if only someone would do a Rapido-quality Phase 2 RDC…

Jon Calon's layout 2Three decks or levels (your pick). It’s a great way to get a long mainline in a limited space!

The entire time in Calgary was spent being late for stuff. We made it to our first stop on Wednesday only an hour late: Grant Eastman’s incredible N scale empire, Southern Alberta Rail. This is an operations-oriented railroad the likes of which I have never seen before.

Southern Alberta RailGrant Eastman beside his Southern Alberta Rail

Grant operates the SAR like the prototype, upgrading the fleet as time progresses. He also will happily lift his entire house and flip it 180 degrees if it will give him three more feet of mainline. I got to run a long freight up the steep grades – we needed helpers. You can read all about the SAR here.

Southern Alberta RailPull-out, glass-topped workbench drawers – what an awesome idea!

Grant’s layout was a LOT of fun, and if I had more time I would have spent another hour there – but of course I was late for my next meeting. Check out the pull-out workbench drawers that have glass tops built in so Grant can make clean cuts on decals, sprues, etc.

Eastridge HobbiesNow THAT’S a warm welcome!

The first official stop was Eastridge Hobbies. We had a great turnout – more than 20 guys overall. Fellow Quebecker Sylvain Duclos came to the store and brought some of his weathered cars. Sylvain is one of the most skilled modellers in the world for weathering freight equipment. Have a look at an example:

Weathered HopperOne of Sylvain’s weathered freight cars. Photo by Sylvain Duclos.

You can read about Sylvain’s Bonaventure & Chambly layout here. Whenever I see Syl’s photos I am taken back to the days of my youth watching trains enter and leave Central Station in Montreal (read more about that in the 5 June blog entry). On his web site, Syl also shows you how to weather your models like his – hey Syl, when are you going to translate those instructions into English? I just sent 300 people to your web site and now they have to go learn French!

Eastridge HobbiesChecking out those underframe pipes on the FP9A locomotive!

Thanks to Jerry (and Clara and Doug) for hosting me and the boys at Eastridge. It was great. Next Jon and I tried to go grab a bite at the kosher deli. We walked in and saw a big sign on the counter reading “FLEISHIG,” which is Yiddish for “MEAT.” All well so far, until we saw the sign above it saying “Today’s Special: Roast Ham.” Right. Well, it is meat I suppose… We gave up on that and headed to our next stop: Trains & Such.

Eastridge HobbiesSun News Network reporter Edward Dawson came to film The Canadian on Tour!

Now that was awesome. Sun News Network is interested in doing a piece on The Canadian, seeing as it’s Canada’s national train and Canada Day is just around the corner. Reporter Ed Dawson came down to Trains & Such to take in some of the talk. I can spot a fellow model railroader when I see one – give him a few years and Ed will be back at Trains & Such, but this time he’ll be buying sound-equipped locomotives!

Trains & SuchFinishing up the presentation… boy am I pooped!

If it looks like I’m about to collapse in the photo above, it’s because I was about to collapse. About 40 guys came out to see The Canadian and there were (shock!) some women there too. But at least when they went to sit in the lounge from sheer boredom I realized that all was still right in the world. Thanks to Don and everyone at Trains & Suchfor hosting the event – and thanks for the British train magazines! I now have reading material for the train on Sunday!

Barry Conn's LayoutPresenting The Canadian in a basement layout!

Thursday started with an unscheduled stop at Barry Conn’s layout to present to his customers. Barry runs a small model railroad business called The Dispatcher and he invited me to stop by and say hello. Little did I know there would be 30 people in there! Wow!

We ran The Canadian around his layout and with a long-shank coupler at one end of each car and a short-shank coupler at the other end, the train had no problem on Barry’s 24″ radius turnback loop on a grade. Phew! The track was in a tunnel, so that could have been messy.

Barry Conn's LayoutThe Canadian about to enter a 24″ radius turnback loop

Next stop: Edmonton! I drove through only two hurricanes en route to Edmonton. Why do tanker road train drivers think it is OK to drive at 120 km/h on a 1″ deep sheet of water in a blinding storm? Anyway, I arrived in Edmonton just in time for my presentation at Hobby Wholesale. By the way, if you are looking for sold-out Rapido products in Canadian roads, give Hobby Wholesale a shout. They have an excellent variety of Super Continental Line cars from all eras.

CN working the yardA rapt crowd at Hobby Wholesale in Edmonton (including a very serious young VIA modeller, Matthew Yip). Photo by Russ McLean.

Thank you to Lyndon and everyone at Hobby Wholesale for making us all feel welcome. We had about 40 people invade the back of the store! After the presentation, Ron invited me to the layout of the Edmonton Society of Model Railroad Engineers. This is one of the most intricate and beautifully-detailed modular layouts I have ever seen. I hadn’t planned on taking out The Canadian but I just couldn’t resist!

ESMRECrossing the Stoney Creek bridge on the ESMRE layout – WOW!

Is that photo above not AWESOME? Thanks everyone at the ESMRE for giving me free rein to run The Canadian on their layout, which will be appearing next month at theNational Train Show in Sacramento.

ESMREThe Canadian poses with members of the ESMRE

I’ve talked enough. I plan to spend all day Saturday reading Doctor Who and Star Trek novels. And then Sunday it’s all aboard The (real) Canadian for Vancouver, and the tour continues! Next blog entry will likely be sent from Vancouver. Until then…

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