Thursday, May 31, 2018
The Credit Valley Railway Company
Visting Credit Valley Railway wasn't really an option. OK, getting there from Toronto took me about an hour of riding buses out into the middle of nowhere to places I couldn't pronounce, but the Rapido guys were insistent. And I'm glad they were.
Being North America, the shop is located on a strip mall - in the UK we'd call it an out-of-town shopping area. If you are in a car, there is loads of free parking, and to be fair, a bus stop 2 minutes walk away.
Passing by a small layout and wall full of ice hockey shirts from the team the shop sponsors, you enter the shop floor.
Wow - it's huge! We have smaller supermarkets in the UK.
I'm not going to bother trying to list everything sold as I do with other shops. There's too much of it. Basically, if you need anything in N or HO gauges, then you are in luck. O gauge, less so. I think this because the larger scale tends to involve coarse scale 3-rail and new tinplate. Presumably, there are specialist suppliers for this and less modelling?
The other big difference from the UK is there doesn't seem to be so much variety in RTR locos. Give us a shop like this and it would be around 50% loco. Yes, there is a wall full of cabinets and shelves to peruse, but far more of the space is given over to kits and bits. I think this is a good thing. The range of scratchbuilding parts alone kept me browsing for a long while.
There's also a whopping great big Canadian layout in the corner which would be a pretty good club project. I understand that there are modellers who meet up in the shop as a social occasion and work on this. It's also a good testing ground for models. I saw my loco run there.
If DCC is your thing, there's a sizable area for you with chip fitting and more test tracks at the back of the shop. The mail order department is next door.
My shopping took the best part of a couple of hours and the credit card says the hit was the price of a OO loco - thank goodness for a strong pound that day! This included a couple of T-shirts thrown in by the guys who run the shop, a friendlier bunch you would be hard pressed to find. They all wanted a chat and to show off the place they are proud to work at.
So, if you are in the area, add me to the list of people who say you need to visit, or head over to the Credit Valley Railway website where you can walk around the store.