Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Guy With a (Real) Train in his Basement

Wouldn't you like a real train in your basement?

Like most of us when we were kids, Jason Shron, founder and owner of Rapido Trains, wanted to have a train in his basement.

Not a model train--a real train. And after 4 1/2 years of work, Jason has realized his goal: He has a full-size replica of a VIA coach in his basement. 

You heard that right. 

Not the whole car, of course, but 20 feet of it--enough for the washroom, storage area and two rows of seats.

Jason built the highlighted portion in his basement.

The car is made from real parts from former VIA coach 5647, built in 1954 by Canadian Car & Foundry. It was part of a order of 218 coaches by Canadian National.

The real car.

Of his basement train, Jason says: "I feel privileged to have brought VIA coach #5647 back to life in my basement. This is a real piece of Canadian history, having carried Canadians and visitors the length and breadth of the country for over 40 years. 

"The seats, the walls, the doors, the ceiling panels--these have seen Canada like no person alive ever has. Every time I sit down in the coach, I feel that history beneath my feet. It's amazing."

Inside the train.

Two conclusions can be reached from Jason's experience. First, whenever your significant other suggests you might be taking up too much room for your hobby, you can say: "Yeah--but not as much as that guy with the train in his basement!"

Second, this puts a whole new slant on the question model railroaders get asked all the time by non-model railroader friends: What will you do when you move? ("Train for sale. P.S. Comes with house.")

You can read more about my friend Jason's basement train in the Rapido Trains newsletter. Or you could read about it in the Toronto Star, Jason's hometown newspaper. You can also watch a video about the train on YouTube. 

Also check out his next construction effort: The HO scale Kingston Sub. This is the place where those great models he's been making will one day run.

Turns out there is another guy with a real train in his basement--Dr. Nick Muff in Washington State has a passenger car and an F7 cab in his basement and layout room. Click here for photos and info.

Another view of the train.

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