Sunday, September 24, 2017

Update on Chris Plue's Great Canadian Model Railroad: The Rapido Route

There are a lot of great model railroads in Canada. I’ve been lucky enough to share a few of them on this blog.

While not taking anything away from the others, one of the best, in my opinion—especially when it comes to urban scenery—is Chris Plue’s Rapido Route.

Two years later, it’s time for another look. I sent Chris a note; he sent back some photos and info.

But first, a re-cap: The HO scale Rapido Route is based on Chris’ memories of taking the train from Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City as a child. 

From that he developed an interest in urban scenery, along with trains from CN and VIA Rail.

Chris started the layout—his first—in 2009.

Set in the late 1970s to late 80s, it occupies a 32 by 11 foot room in his basement. 

While there are a few freight trains, passenger traffic dominates the layout.

What also dominates the layout is his fantastic urban scenery. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen it done so well.

Anyway, here’s what Chris wrote about progress on the layout to date.

I have spent some time making small improvements to some of the areas by adding new structures that I thought would fit better, and were more appealing to the eye when viewed from various angles,” he says.

“Sometimes I would sit, and sit, and sit staring at a particular area trying to figure out how to bring it to life in the best way I could.”

Over the summer, he has also added streetlights (a variety of Faller products and Woodland Scenics 'Just Plug' lighting). “I think they have added a really nice touch to the overall layout,” he says.

Two signal bridges from Model Memories were also added, as were small dwarf signals from NJ International.

In addition, all of the Miller Engineering signage and billboards were also powered up “to provide some unique additions to the various urban and industrial scenes around the layout.”

Chris finished up the summer progress by adding a hardboard fascia, together with weed cloth drape below it.

This, he notes, “was super cheap and easy to install.”

Adding the hardboard and drape “really finished off the layout area, and provides a nice, uniform clean look to the layout,” he says.

“It also does a great job of hiding some of the wiring and other 'guts' of the layout.”

Looking ahead, he plans to build some neat backdrop structures from Imagine That Laser Art. He also has a variety of leftover backdrop Radical Flats from Kingmill Enterprises to build.

After that, he says, “I think I'll take a break and enjoy the layout for a few years with my kids before embarking on the next addition.”

Concludes Chris: “Like always, there will always be something to plan, something to build, something to add, and something to change. That's one part of the hobby that I really have come to enjoy and realize that it only makes the layout better and better.

“There is so much more to learn, and it's great grabbing helpful hints and tips along the way from folks that have been in the hobby a lot longer than I have. It's been a fun journey thus far.”


  1. Wow. Just wow. Amazing layout and photos!

  2. Always great shots, but what about a track plan? please!!!!

  3. When can we see a track plan, Chris?