The Van Horne Experience

Well, as we are heading past Moncton we have only a few more hours until we are home and our weekend trek is officially over. It’s a fitting time to make my last entry of our adventures.

We struck out for Laval to find Van Horne Hobbies. Derwin had been there once before so we knew it was difficult to find. If it wasn’t for the GPS we would have missed it. The building is not what you would expect to house a model train store (see photo below). The sign is also not what most would consider “eye catching” either. I really had no idea what to expect inside such a place.

Let me tell you, I was not even remotely prepared for what greeted us inside the door. The place was wall to wall and floor to ceiling display cases and boxes full of train stuff! Chris related it to something you would see on the TV show “Hoarders”. You could hardly move for all the stuff!

I spent a long time looking through boxes of old Athearn and Roundhouse kits and hadn’t seen them all when Chris said “you have to see this”. So I went to the back of the store and saw several very large display cases FULL of locomotives! Everywhere you turned were cases with what I would guess were hundreds of HO scale locos! Unfortunately there were some completely obscured by the boxes piled around them.

The place is definitely worth a stop. But I have a couple of suggestions if you do go… 1. Don’t bring your family and 2. Plan on a couple hours to browse through the boxes.

I wasn’t planning to buy anything more after our visit to Hobby Junction but I just had to drop a little more cash at Van Horne!

So now we are almost home and I am officially broke after paying for gas in Salisbury. I don’t mind though because our weekend adventure in Montreal was definitely worth it!

ps – the photos of the display cases below were taken as I was standing in pretty much one spot. I don’t think any of them are of the same case.










8 Responses to “The Van Horne Experience”

  1. Doug says:


    First, welcome back to blogging ….

    Sounds like gang had a great trip…

    I have heard stories about the hobby shops in Montreal nice to see a few pictures of them.


    Thanks Doug. I’m not sure how long this blogging spurt will last. Probably not long at all.

    Yes, we had a great trip. Even with the crappy drive home it was worth it!


  2. Chris says:

    Just reading through the blog posts this morning. What a trip. I love the title of this one: “The Van Horne Experience”. That’s exactly what it was.

    I’ll add a third to your list of recommendations on visiting Van Horne: “Bring money” and a fourth “Be prepared to be rewarded for digging through the place”.

    Man what a trip.

    You are right. I should have got you to proofread the post. Yes, bring lots of money for two reasons. His prices for some things seem a little high but there are loads of stuff you cannot find anywhere else. We didn’t have time to dig through all the boxes but there just has to be treasure in them thar hills!


  3. Chris Lehmann says:

    “The Van Horne Experience”, oh what a pleasure to read it. I drove by once looking for the place but could never imagine that the myth of Van Horne Hobby is not only true, but actual heaven for any rail enthusiast. Any idea about store hours?


    I don’t remember seeing hours posted, but the guys at the West Island club said he closed at 4:30 on Saturdays. Not much help, I know but…

    It would be easy to turn it into an annual pilgrimage! HA!


  4. Allan Bishop says:

    WHAT!?!?!?!?!!? I didn’t see any N scale stuff there!!!!!
    Seriously though, Looks like it was a fantastic trip.

    There was a lot of N-scale stuff there. Just hard to take a photo of a display case full of anything when you can only get 1 – 2 feet away from it. Sure, I could photograph the 10 or so locos right in front of me but it wouldn’t be nearly as impressive as getting the whole display case in one shot.

    We will do this trip again. Even if just to go to the West Island club for an operating day.


  5. Trevor Delaney says:

    Wow, I am speechless! My chin just dropped to the floor reading and looking at the pictures.

    It is an great spot to go if you’ve got a few hours to kill. You’ll spend that much time, at least, going through all the boxes.

    You should come around for an operating session some Sunday evening, Trevor.


  6. Steve says:

    Thanks for the info about your trip–I enjoyed reading it all (and the photos). When I Montreal I always to go “UDISCO” (Universal Hobby) on Decarie. Next time I’ll have to check out these other spots.


    I’ve been to Udisco once a few years ago. It is also an impressive store. It was a tossup for us – go to Van Horne where we’d never been or go to Udisco. Van Horne won. Hobby Junction was a definite “have to visit” since we’d all been there before.

    Thanks for reading! Hopefully we’ll get in a trip to Saint John over the winter to operate on the Carleton Railway!


  7. Ed says:

    Well I finally made it to Van Horne and the pictures do not do it justice. I wish I had more time as there are boxes of stuff I do not think he even unpacked! I will have to back again in the near future when I have more time. Hopefully we will see you guys soon.



  8. Corey says:

    I’ve been dealing with Van Horne Hobby for a few years now, I was amazed at how those guys are set up.

    I also deal with Dave and Tony at Hobby Junction in Dorval, you couldn’t ask for nicer guys to do business with. If they don’t have what you are looking for, they’ll order it. Udisco is a diffrent experience, if they don’t have what you need, go else where, I’ve asked several times for special orders from Walthers catolog, and never got what I ordered.

    Anything brass, see Dave at hobby junction, or drop in at Van Horne.

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