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The Kingston Subdivision

A Model Railroad showcasing Toronto to Brockville in HO scale

Latest Update 27 November 2013 - Construction

HO scale Turbo Train

One of my Turbo models takes a test run on Brian Schuff's HO scale model railroad in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Turbo will be the Superstar of my Kingston Sub layout.

If you are looking for info on the The Guy with the Train in his Basement, please click here. These pages are for the model railroad rather than the full-size train.

The Kingston Subdivision is Canadian National's mainline between Toronto and Montreal, Quebec. It is the route of the fabled Turbo, the Rapido, the LRC, the Cavalier, and the many other memorable trains of the late 20th century. I am building an HO scale model railroad showcasing both the Kingston Subdivision and downtown Toronto, specifically Spadina Yard and Union Station. Since moving into my house in Vaughan in late 2007, I have focused on building the full-size train. The next 30-35 years (please God) will be spent building the Kingston Sub.

Spadina Yard

Spadina Yard in 1980, the era of my model railroad
Photo by Bill Morrison.

Some people do research and eventually choose a subject for their model railroad. I've known what my model railroad would be since I was about four years old: VIA trains between Toronto and Montreal. The model railroad is focused almost entirely on VIA passenger operations and is set in December 1980, probably the busiest time in VIA's history. It is essentially a massive passenger switching layout: the vast majority of operation will take place between Spadina Yard and Union Station (which is technically a couple of miles west of the Kingston Sub). Union Station and Spadina will be on the lower deck, while the upper two decks will be Guildwood-Oshawa and Kingston-Brockville respectively.

Union Station was and is Canada's busiest train station, and Spadina Yard in 1980 was Canada's busiest coach yard and passenger locomotive facility. In a given day, there were close to 200 train movements between the yard and the station. I want to recreate this intensity of activity in miniature.

Have I Gone Too Far?

Shron Garage

Breaking through from the garage to the basement, November 2011
Photo taken from what used to be the garage.

There is a very good reason why so few people have attempted to model Spadina Yard and Union Station: space. My basement is on two levels, which is ideal for separating the full-size coach area from the model railroad, but causes problems when trying to shoehorn Canada's busiest passenger train yard and station into what was left of the basement.

Thankfully, the upper part of the basement is only 10" lower than the garage, and they share a common ceiling. With permission from my wife and the City of Vaughan, we smashed through the wall from garage to basement and created one 12 by 45 foot space. I didn't do this myself! Bobby did most of the room prep and Dave Mullings did the actual smashing through and installation of the posts and beam to hold up the house. Dave's work is top notch (there has been no cracking or sagging upstairs) and he is very affordable. If you live in the GTA and you are looking for a contractor, please contact me and I will put you in touch with Dave. Bobby has retired from contracting. My basement scared him off for good.

VIA CN Brockville

The Lakeshore prepares to split for Ottawa and Montreal in Brockville, Ontario.
In addition to Spadina, Brockville will be an operation hot spot on the layout.
Photo courtesy the Kaluza-Mueller collection.

In a later site update, I'll tell you all about the saga of getting a permit and variance from the City of Vaughan to build a model railroad in the garage. It's very funny. Strangely, this is not a request received often by the City Clerk's office.

Very few wives would permit the acquisition of the garage by the model railroad planning committee, but Sidura knows that this is what I have always wanted so she supports me, even if she does gaze wistfully at other people's basement rec rooms. (Click here to read Sidura's Globe and Mail essay, "I wish I had a basement.")

But the question remains: "Have I Gone Too Far?" My answer is no. We each only get one kick at the can. There are no second chances. Insert your own cliche here. I've got one opportunity to build the model railroad of my dreams, and I'm not going to miss it. As long as we remain healthy and mobile, Sidura and I don't plan to move from this house for at least 40 years. You can bet I'm going to build that layout and it's going to be fabulous.

Please browse through the pages about the model railroad using the menu on the left or using the links below. Because I am only starting out on this life-long project, there is just basic information on the site now. But please drop in every now and again as I fill it with progress photos, construction tips, and interesting info about today's model railroading from the perspective of someone who is both a modeller and a manufacturer. Hopefully this site will grow with the model railroad.

Also please subscribe to my newsletter. I'll only get in touch a few times a year, mainly when new products are available in the shop or when there has been a huge breakthrough in the layout construction.

Thanks for looking and please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Jason Shron
Vaughan, Ontario

Follow the links below to see more.

Model Railroad: Construction
Model Railroad: Along the Line
Model Railroad: Track Plan
Model Railroad: Operations
Model Railroad: Roster
Model Railroad: Tips and Tricks
Model Railroad: Gallery

Rapido Trains Inc. ©2013 by Jason Shron. I designed and coded it myself so sorry if your screen blew up.
Uncredited prototype photos are either mine or courtesy Bill Morrison, Brian Schuff and the Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
Thanks for actually reading this small print. Must be a slow day, eh?