Toronto man’s love for trains being passed along to his children

'The Guy with the Train in His Basement' credits his own father for shaping his passion

Jason Shron, owner of Rapido Trains Inc., at Centennial College’s East York Campus March, 2017 (Toronto Observer photo)

Jason Shron recalls exploring and building model trains with his own dad and brother; memories which helped shaped his passion and current career.

Shron, of Thornhill, Ont., is the owner of  Rapido Trains Inc., a model train manufacturing company. He is famously known as the Guy with the Train in his Basement, but it was his father, Van Shron, who started his obsession.

“When Via Rail introduced their LRC [light, rapid, comfortable] trains in the early 1980s, it was right down from the street of my father’s [Toronto] office,” Shron said in an interview in March at Centennial College’s East York campus. “He took my brother and me and we sort of snuck in on a Sunday and went to see the new train.”

Shron added that he sometimes gets upset with his father because he didn’t take any pictures of the trains at the time. According to Shron the trains back then were “cool.”

Besides exploring LRC trains, Shron’s father also introduced him to model trains.

“My father went out and got us [Shron and his brother] a train set and we got a sheet of plywood and we covered it in a grass mat. We set up the track and it was a totally unrealistic 1970s train but we didn’t care,” Shron said.

It was an inexpensive model train but he remodelled it so it would look better.

Eventually, after a career in academia that took him to England for a PhD in history, Shron decided to pursue his model train hobby and turn it into a full time business. With two factories now producing models in China, Rapido Trains sells scale model replicas of trains for hobbyists and serious collectors. In his spare time, Shron restores discarded relics of Canada’s public transportation history, including trains, and city busses.

As his father did with him, now Shron builds model trains with his own three children: Boaz, Dalya, and Isaac.

“There are days where you can’t walk in the house because of all the trains,” Shron acknowledged, calling his wife “a saint” for putting up with it all.

Shron’s oldest son, Boaz, was featured on the Rapido Trains Youtube channel, where he gives a lesson on how a train sounds.

Shron’s supportive father not only put him on the right track to pursue his passion for trains, but also inspired a beautiful bond between a new father and his own children.