Arrival of The Canadian

When you have waited so long for something and it is finally happening, it is difficult to believe that it is really happening. We started work on The Canadian in fall 2007. We announced it in 2008 and spent the better part of two years doing the R&D. We started cutting the steel in 2010 and got our first samples in May 2011. Getting the tooling done for The Canadian required Bill and me to spend a combined total of three months in China in 2011, and there were times when both of us thought, “there is no way we can pull this off.”

This weekend the first production sample of The Canadian arrived from China. The kids helped me unpack it.

Once they got the bubble wrap off, it was hard to keep their attention. They just wanted to pop bubbles.

Those of you with keen eyes will have noticed the 1970s VIA Rail Canada carpet in my spare room. My mother refers to it as my spare closet. It’s a very small room sandwiched between the layout room and the hallway. Brockville and East Staging operators will work from this room as there are big windows into the layout (above the kids’ heads). Because it’s still dusty down there from construction, we haven’t put in the furniture yet. I love 1970s VIA carpet. I can’t get enough of it. I had a dream once that I found three more rolls, but with the purple and red pattern instead of the brown and black. Some people dream about winning the lottery. I dream about finding surplus VIA carpet.

But back to The Canadian – here is that really big box:

We had planned to have every car packaged separately but we found that we couldn’t do that as the overall box would have been too big and it would have fallen apart when you lifted it, so sorry about that for those of you who wanted a separate small box for each car. It’s now packed in a big styrofoam cradle with openings for each car.

I haven’t made this public on our web site but each Canadian comes with some special goodies. Dalya, acting as Vanna White, was proud to show them off for the camera.

100 monogrammed CP cocktail napkins
(We are making Action Red and VIA ones too!) 

Reproduction CP swizzle sticks as used system wide
(We are also making those little yellow VIA ones from the 1970s!) 

A stemless wine or Scotch glass complete with CP Beaver logo
(and Action Red and VIA logos for those sets, of course!) 

Dan and I have spent the whole day going over the sample and finding every little bit wrong with it. I am sure that you will not notice the majority of the issues, but to us it is difficult to take a step back and say, “You know what? This is actually an amazing model!” The factory is starting the last-minute tweaks tonight and nothing is big enough that it can’t be fixed before delivery – stuff like the blister on the FP9 managing to knock off the marker light bracket on one side, or a battery box under the Skyline being so crooked it makes politicians look honest.

We have worked insanely hard with the factory to get The Canadian right. The Turbo was a great looking model but when it first came out its operation left a lot to be desired. We’ve since fixed the gearbox issue on the Turbo but if I could do it over there are about a dozen things I would do differently now that I have so much more experience as a modeller and as a manufacturer.

I have nightmares (quite literally) that The Canadian will not work properly or all the parts will fall off or something else will go wrong at the last minute. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this train, and when you put so much into a project you can’t help but be nervous that something will go wrong.

The first Canadian, #210001 (CP Block set #1), is leaving the factory in one week. Bill, Dan and I know that we have put 110% into The Canadian and that it is the best possible train that we can produce. I’m sure that in ten years, as the technology advances, we will look back on it and say “we could have done this better” or “we could have done that better.” But that is the nature of what we do at Rapido. The truth is it’s a gorgeous train, it runs like a dream and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.

Even so, I doubt I will be able to sleep in the next few weeks.

There is a lot of Dan, Bill and me in every model of The Canadian. We have worked harder on this project than we have ever worked before, and all I can say is that I hope it lives up to your expectations.


20 thoughts on “Arrival of The Canadian

  1. Jason,

    The 1st model looks gorgeous! And It’s good to have the kids see it too. :) YOu’re a great father! I, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to order one, being 17 and all my mom will not let me get a job until my Senior Project is finished, so I didn’t have enough, but hopefully a VIA one’ll pop up on a site, and I’ll get my hands on one, oh goodness I’m babbling so much, hahaha. But the train looks great!

    Best regards and wishes!

    Trevor Creamer

  2. Wow, the Canadian looks great! I’ve got one of the script versions reserved for me, and I’m getting excited. I really appreciate the detail work that has gone into this, and all the extra touches that I didn’t even know about back when I made my reservation (gyro lights on the FP9’s, dual mode lighting in the cars, the extra souvenir items in the package, etc).
    I have a question–I have a few 24″ radius curves on my layout–I have some Rapido cars that operate well on those curves after I put the long shank couplers on them. What curves will the Canadian operate on–will it include the long shank couplers as well?
    Thanks once again for the work that has gone into this project.

    • Hi Kaley – thanks for the compliments! With the supplied couplers, the train should have no problem with 24″ radius curves, though we of course include the long shanks as well.

      The issue is 24″ radius curves on grades, S-curves and crossovers – you may find that one long shank and one short shank work best together.

      Best regards,


  3. Well Done,Jason and all…

    It truly is a priviledge to be one of your many customers !

    The Canadian ran past our farm, and I ran to see it every time…and smiled
    EVERY time we saw or heard it.

    Thank you for giving us the chance to ‘wave’ again. And on our own
    tracks; how amazing is that !

    • Thanks everyone for the kind words! I am glad that we are kindred spirits in our desire for our memories to be recreated well in model form.


  4. I am as excited as you guys are! I am due to get one of the first sets.The packing choice is fine with me-similar choices have been made by other manufacturers. The set will be a highlight of my collection. That was really cute seeing the kids in the photos.

  5. I’m Glad to see that The Canadians will be finally arriving! Even though the version I purchased doesn’t come in for a few months, I’m very happy to wait for such an excellent product by an excellent company. And I have to say, I was flabbergasted to find out that The Canadian comes with bar equipment, which will fit in nicely with my bar. Congratulations for replicating a famous Canadian Train! your Company has out done its self!

    I have one question. when do the VIA/CN FP9a’s come in?

  6. Hi Jason: Will the cover for the styrofoam cradle be sealed tight. The reason is that any loose parts will remain in the specific area and not fall into the other areas. I may be over-reacting but I remember at our last meeting at CARM Copetown your comment “that parts will fall off”. It will be easier to refix the parts if they remain with the item they fell off from.
    Another item discussed with you; was a more descriptive parts diagram so we can have a name rather/or just a number of the part. I am really nit-picking aren’t I. Warm regards. Leonard.

    • Hi Leonard,

      The blister is taped down at the sides and in the middle, so stuff stays put.

      On the sample that came from China, one end grab fell off and it stayed by the coach it came from. The locomotives are sealed in blisters, so any parts that come off will stay with them. Two brake cylinders and a number board came off in transit. So from being thrown around by UPS all the way from China to Vaughan, only four parts came loose. That is 1/1000th of the total number of parts. I was very impressed by the packaging.


  7. I love that carpet; the purple and red would be an awesome find.

    The napkins, swizzle sticks, and scotch glass are such an unexpected touch but perfectly in keeping with the extra mile you go with your products.

    Thanks again for doing this project.

    Bill McBride

  8. Jason, wow! And you didn’t announce this news on April 1st so it’s true. And I can’t wait for the added goodies, thanks for all the effort everybody put into this project. I assume the block lettered scheme will be delivered first. Can’t wait for them.
    Regards, Tim

  9. The fact that you will likely look back in 10 years and say you could have done better is why you have a premium product and will continue to make the best products. Always looking for better ways to do things is what separates successful companies from ones that stagnate and end up in trouble. Those of us that can’t wait for the next Rapido release are thankful we have you guys doing this stuff that nobody else would do.

    But I have to ask – when do the FP9’s come out?? :)

  10. This looks really well done. I wish i could have purchased on but I do not have the money to pay out for this project but I do have a CNR 1954 FP9A that can’t wait to own.

    Good Job

  11. Jason looks fabulous…i am waiting for my script version in may…maybe I will be the first to physically receive it LOL…
    just a mute point, will the DCC already be pre-programmed for the MU consist?…..then truely it will be ready to run…
    .I have already got my 8 metre long double loop test track ready to go and cannot wait…..I think i better add some ground foam to the bare plywood…..i have been running 9 car mixed Rapido passenger pulled by IMRC 1867-1967 F units….soon I will have the real thing…dennis from shenyang china

  12. Tis unfortunate to hear the packaging will be for a complete set. How are we supposed to eBay parts of the second set (ie: extra coaches, F9B’s, Skylines, Parks, etc.) we don’t need without good packaging to ship this stuff in?

    Otherwise, I’m stoked to receive my pair of Canadians (CP Action Red 8″ striping and VIA)…


    • Hi Jon,

      I know – we tried to do them packaged separately. But it was a real nightmare getting the thing to stay together. We would have had to package the thing stacked in a big thick crate with no presentation or style.

      You will have to improvise. We’ve hauled cars for The Canadian around since May without special packaging. We just carved out Super Continental Line styrofoam cradles to fit. I am sure you have styrofoam lying around. And you could always go the route of wrapped paper towel. We’ve done that too.


  13. Mark,

    Just to set the record straight, we do have a very strict product testing policy. If it makes it around my layout without incident then the engineering is good. if it survives Jason’s kids’ handling when the samples arrive then the packaging is good! No other manufacturer goes to these lengths… ;>)


  14. Jason: you might be the only man I know brave enough to allow your kids to be the first ones to open the box!

    I sincerely look forward to the arrival of the first model, and to my own personal one. My expectations have been exceeded just in the research alone.

    Thanks for letting me be a kid again.

    • For those who are curious, I ordered the VIA version. It’ll make for a spectacular end of summer treat!

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