Guy re-creates a VIA Rail car, in his basement, down to the most minute detail

Jason Shron is nuts for VIA Rail trains, so he re-created a car in his basement, down to the minutest detail (he bought a to-be-scrapped VIA car and harvested its fittings). His charming tour and construction time-lapse shows just the right mix of self-awareness and overwhelming enthusiasm.

The Guy with the Train in his Basement (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. The more I spent time on the Reproduction Prop Forums (, the more I begin to really appreciate this kind of thing.  You just know someone’s going to build that Lost In Space vehicle sooner or later…

  2. That is just… awesome.  I’ve actually fantasized at length about doing this exact thing. This is the first time I’ve told anyone.

    1. He obtained actual VIA train carpet that was pre-urinated on, so he didn’t have to do any work to recreate THAT detail.

  3. Massive props to this guy for his efforts. Looks like our Australian XPT.
    I wonder if he has had to buff off any tags yet?
    An enterprising person could do this in a subway theme and rent it out for graffiti parties and hiphop gigs.

    1.  The comfy seats remind me of the old ICE (Inter-City Express) trains they’ve phased out and replaced with modern suburban trains. Sure, they seat more people, but they’re Horrible for a 2-hour ride to outlying population centres.

  4. I’m rather afraid my husband might see this article.  It wouldn’t be a VIA train, but I wouldn’t put it past him at all to build something crazy in the basement.

    1. Are there any preserved/tourist railways in North America?

      In the UK there are many, and most of them are operated by volunteers.  They restore and maintain the old locomotives and carriages.

      Last week was the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, and to celebrate that TfL ran a steam train along one of the oldest lines: .  The train and carriages were restored by volunteers at a preserved railway.

  5. I also like the fact that there is the zinger of him being nice & asking for a VIA car seat when he was like 12 & being denied. Then years later? Dude scored parts for free before the thing was scraped! Awesome!

  6. There was an episode of “The Avengers” (‘The Gravediggers’) back in the 60s where Steed and Mrs. Peel met a train boffin who’d built a complete railway car in his drawing room.  Nice to see that someone’s actually done it now.

  7. all kinds of awesome!  especially like the photo mural trompe l’oeil faking the next carriage. by the way, is it a first class carriage?  those seats look awfully comfy…

    1. In the train that crosses Canada from the West coast to Toronto, the economy carriages have seats a bit more luxurious than those look.  Most of the passengers in that train will be sleeping in their seats, so perhaps it makes sense to have more creature comforts.

  8. If I wanted to see a stationary train underground I’d visit the tube in (insert city name here). *rimshot* Silence

  9. Needs videos of scenery scrolling by playing on big flatscreens outside the windows- you could match the seasons.

    1. I was thinking the same thing…But it’s probably worth waiting a few years for ginormous (because that’s a pretty big window) flatscreens to come down even further in price.

    1. There is a famous train sex scene in Risky Business. He’ll probably recruit a vagrant to come sit on the train with him and his wife while they do it.

  10. If you live anywhere near Lyme Regis, Dorset (UK) you can take a flight above, below and along the Jurassic Coast – and back in time to Pangea – in a rebuilt section of a Boeing 737 – It has the screens in all the windows, and thge shell moves enough (hydraulics) to really make you think and feel like you are taking off etc – especially when you accidentally hit a pterodactyl…  It’s called Onboard, and it’s installed in the Jubilee Pavilion on Marine Parade at least until the end of March 2013. Hopefully it will also be extended and will still be there on 3-5 May, 2013 for ‘Coastal Treasures’, the 2013 Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

  11. Amazing how childhood fantasies can shape the rest of our lives.  And yet for some reason I still haven’t got around to building that working replica of Voltron yet.  I guess I need a more understanding wife and a bigger basement.

  12. There’s a lot more info at including the answer to my immediate question: What kind of basement does this guy have that has room for a full-sized car from any railroad that ever existed? The answer: well, he really only built out a section of one car. (Still an impressive achievement, don’t get me wrong.)

  13. 4 1/2 years and 2,500 hours?  So, 4 1/2 years plus another 100 days, or 2,500 hours over 4 1/2 years?

    I wonder if his calendars are marked off in red, white, and blue days.

  14. They have rotating seats like that on Chinese carriages, but when you put them facing each other there’s no leg room at all – the idea is that all the seats get turned around when you reach the terminal, so you’re always facing forward. Is it different with those VIA cars, or did he just move them apart a bit?

    1. It is different on the VIA cars.  You could turn them around and sleep on ’em, or play cards with friends.  I kind of remember that there was a small number of tables available in each car that you could install between turned-around seats.

      Travelling by train is one of the best ways to see Canada.

      1. Which is the deal killer for me on a project like this. He’s taken the worst of the experience and left out the best. I wonder how much time he’s actually spent on trains. I suspect that if he had to commute on one of these for a couple hours a day, he might not have wanted one in his house quite so much.

        1. he actually does  travels on the real thing alot,  i sort of know the guy and im a customer of his model train company as well, hes the biggest train nut i know…….

        2.  I think you’re missing the point that he’s chosen a car style with quite comfortable seats and reconfigurable seating layouts, key to a good long distance journey experience. Fixed seats with thin cushions are the new norm, and they are Horrible for long distance journies. The phasing out of the old nice cars and replacement with crappy uncomfortable new ones is one reason I gave up my 20-hour weekly commute.

  15. This reminded me off those old drug-heavy Mission Impossible episodes where Phelps and co would shoot up some dictator with hallucinogens and imprison him in a mocked-up environment to get him to spill his deepest secrets. Of course, Barney would have to crawl through some sewers, because that’s what Barney always had to do. Never the Cinnamon. Never Willy. Always Barney.

    Spiffing bit of work by this chap. Top hole.

  16. And when he has a party, he puts anyone drunk enough to pass-out with their shoes on, in there. He just need to add some large HD screens outside the windows and something that rocks the train to complete the illusion. 

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