Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Great Time to be a Canadian Model Railroader

Coming soon: The SW1200-RS

It's a great time to be a Canadian HO scale model railroader.

Not only do we have homegrown companies like Rapido Trains and True Line Trains bringing out great passenger cars, vans (cabooses, for Americans), and unique Canadian locomotives (hello GMD-1!), we also have American manufacturers producing great new Canadian products.
This includes Bowser, which brought out their ALCO C-630M in CPR, CP Rail, BC Rail, CB&NS and CN liveries; Atlas, with its CN GP40-2 wide cab; and InterMountain, with its CN SD40-2 wide cab—not to mention all that great new Canadian rolling stock.
And not only that; we can look forward to more great releases in the future, with True Line planning to make a CPR SW1200-RS, and an ALCO RS-18u. Rapido is planning an MLW FPA4 and FPB4, and I’m told that Bowser plans to bring out yet another well-known Canadian prototype (no word on which one). Athearn, meanwhile, plans to do the CN GP9.

All of this is pretty remarkable when you consider the small size of the Canadian model railroad market. According to one informed estimate, there are only 8,000 to 10,000 serious Canadian model railroaders—about five to seven percent of the North American model railroad market.

It's a big change from when I got back into the hobby in 1987, after an 11-year hiatus. Back then, there were very few Canadian products available. In fact, one of the main reasons I model CP Rail is that there was much more of that railway available in HO scale than any other Canadian road back then. (Having grown up a block from a CN branchline in Ontario, I am more naturally inclined toward that railway.)

As one poster said on the Canadian Model Trains forum on Yahoo!: “Never in the history of HO modelling have we been so fortunate to have such an abundance and variation of new quality Canadian-detailed products, either already delivered or on the drawing table."

Amen to that!

Photo credit: Michael Taylor

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