***This post has been updated. Scroll down to read the latest. Be sure to read the comments section for insights, memories and behind the scenes glimpses from one of the voice actors.***
Back in the eighties, Saturday afternoons meant watching The Secret Railroad (on TVO/Global Television) in a mesmerized silence with my brother. It was one of his favorites and he soon had me addicted to its surreal beauty. It was about a boy named "Simon" who discovers a magical and unused railroad in the basement of his apartment building. We lived in an apartment building growing up, so this had added meaning for us. The train was able to transform itself and travel to other worlds. The lyrics of the theme song are as follows:
When you are feeling blue,I'd like to take that ride again.
When you are feeling down.
Just do what Simon did;
Down there in the dark,
You hear a happy sound.
It's the secret railroad.
You better climb on board
the train's about to leave.
All you need is a passenger.
Your tickets, please!
Sources: The Secret Railroad-tvo and Fightsim.andyjohnston.net
NOTE: September 17, 2008. TVO response can be found here along with a brief update on available YouTube clips.
UPDATE: March 28-30, 2012. Reader "J" shared the following purchase information for The Secret Railroad (English version) on VHS:
Hey everybody, I stumbled across this thread while searching for another childhood great "Ludwig" and thought I could help. I searched for episodes of The Secret Railroad about 7 years ago and found them ... the entire series! They were sold in Montreal through a company called Filmoption International (www.filmoption.com). They had the rights to the original archives (I believe) and they made VHS dubs off of that... yes, I said VHS. You'll probably be hard pressed to find this on DVD, but possibly VHS. Hope this helps...Consequently, I work at TVO. We're always fighting to try and get those old but great shows available to fans. It's just that it's extremely expensive. I'd be happy to provide more info if you'd like. Keep up the good fight—j.UPDATE: July 25, 2012. Ross received a disappointing response from FilmOption: there are no plans to release The Secret Railroad either on DVD or VHS (tried contacting them myself but didn't receive a response). So it's back to the drawing board...yet again. The hunt continues. Good luck everyone!
UPDATE: November 9, 2012. Voice actor Doug Heintzman (Simon) shares memories of working on the animated series. Read here or in the comment thread below.