Canadian Jason Schron loves VIA trains so much that he actually spent four and a half years and $10,000 building his own genuine replica of a 1980s VIA train cart, accurate down to the tiniest details, right in the basement of his home, in Vaughan, Ontario.
“The train is where I feel most at home,” Schron says. It’s where I feel most at peace. Especially when it’s hurtling along at 85mph with the snow and rain pelting down outside – it’s the perfect place to be.” But since he could’t really ask his family to live in a real train, he settled for the next best thing – building his own VIA train cart replica in the basement of their house. “I’ve always wanted to have a VIA train in my basement since I was a kid,” the Canadian rail-geek admits, so when it was time for him and his wife to buy a house. he would always say no if the place didn’t have a basement big enough to accommodate his dream replica. And after they found a suitable space, he dedicated around 2,500 hours over the course of four and a half years to getting every detail of the 1980s VIA cart just right. Making it look authentic was as difficult as you can imagine, and Jason says he had to scrap everything and start over three times, but it was all worth it for the model train company owner. Now he’s known as the “the guy with the train in his basement” and he even posted a video on YouTube showcasing his impressive replica.
Photo: Jason Schron
In order to make his basement train look as real as possible, Jason Schron needed some original VIA parts, only getting his hands on them was no easy feat. “I still have the letter from when I wrote to VIA in 1987 to ask them if they would sell me their seats,” he remembers. “They said they couldn’t. But then my friends and I find out about VIA train 5647 – it was going to be scrapped.” That’s when they managed to acquire all the little things that make his life-size model feel so real, like the genuine seat numbers, the coat hooks and the original carpet. The toilet was converted into an audio room that most often just plays train noises, and at one end of the basement cart he added a photo mural that makes it look likes you could step into the next train cart.
Photo: Jason Schron