Rapido Newsletter Vol. 101
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Oh look - what a pretty engine!
More on that later.

I'm writing to you from sunny (ish) United Kingdom. I'm here to promote our first British double-decker bus model, and I'm having a jolly good time, I must say. Top hole, pip pip and all that, what?

(Whenever North Americans talk about visiting the UK, good manners strictly require that they either reference early 20th-century upper class British slang or mimic Dick Van Dyke's atrocious Cockney accent from Mary Poppins.)

In this issue of Rapido News:

  • Emotional Railway Preservation Video
  • HO scale F9B and F7B Are a GO
  • Ride VIA's Real RDC!
  • Royal Hudson Update and Canadian Pacific Visit
  • Factory Update
  • We Have a RECEPTIONIST! No, Really. This is Big News.
  • Huge New Product Launch - June 25th
  • See You in St. Louis!
  • Why We Make British Stuff
Emotional Railway Preservation Video

Those of you who have been with us for most of our 100 newsletters have often read my thoughts on how important it is to preserve our railway heritage. Back in 2000 I had an article published in Branchline magazine voicing my concern at how few preserved Canadian passenger cars and locomotives were painted in CN's 1961 paint scheme or in VIA's blue and yellow.
A mix of VIA and CN paint schemes adorns the Super Continental in 1979.
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
Today I could take that one step further. We just need to save as much as we can in any paint scheme! Most of the passenger cars that were saved in the 1990s have rotted away to nothing. Our railway history is disappearing from under our noses. So as soon as Rapido had some money in the bank, we embarked on our own railway preservation journey by purchasing retired VIA Rail Canada Pullman-Standard sleeping car Edmundston.

Edmundston has four sections, eight roomettes, and four double bedrooms. By Canadian parlance that makes it a 4-8-4 sleeper, as Canadian sleepers are named from cheapest to most expensive accommodation. It was used across Canada from 1954 to 1996.
This is how Edmundston looked when we found it.
We bought Edmundston out of love. We want to see this beautiful piece of history ride the rails again, preferably in service as a sleeping car. But the journey has been difficult, and after three years and $100,000 I was starting to lose faith.

We recently moved Edmundston from Orangeville, Ontario to VIA Rail Canada's Toronto Maintenance Centre. At TMC we can finally do some regular work on it and hopefully get it into service within another two years. You can read our Edmundston blog here.

Dan and I met up with our mechanic and saviour, Chris Fox, to take stock of Edmundston. Videographer Marc Winegust came with us and got everything on tape - the good and the ugly. Click here or on the image below to watch it. This video is a far cry from our usual silly antics. It was a very emotional visit and I'm not ashamed to say it had me in tears.
If you would like to contribute to our restoration efforts, please click here. Many of you have contributed already and we very much appreciate it. I have to thank John Van Weeren specifically as he has contributed a considerable sum to Edmundston and to our RDC restoration. If you are a railroad car mechanic - or any sort of mechanic or electrician, to be honest - and you want to volunteer your time to help Chris with the restoration, that is just as valuable as a financial contribution.
Oddball Canadian Pacific F9B #4476 poses for the camera.
Photo courtesy Brian Schuff.
HO scale F9B and F7B Are a GO

We are delighted to inform you that orders for our GMD (General Motors Diesel Division) CP, CN and VIA F9B and F7B locomotives sailed past our target number. That means that we can go ahead and retool these unique Canuck classics and finally bring them out. Thank you to everyone who placed a reservation!

The paint schemes for the F7B and F9B are:

  • Canadian National (1954) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • CN (Stripes) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • VIA (ex-CN) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • VIA (ex-CP, Rebuilt) - F9B
  • Canadian Pacific (Block) - F7B and F9B
  • Canadian Pacific (Script) - F7B and F9B
  • CP Rail (5" Stripes) - F7B and F9B
  • CP Rail (8" Stripes) - F7B and F9B
You may be wondering, "What's so special about a GMD F9B or F7B? I have loads of F7B and F9B models!" You may also be wondering "What do all those CN classes mean?"

The GMD locomotives actually differ from their EMD counterparts in many ways. And the CN units differ from class to class. To illustrate all of this scintillating information, Josh has put together an excellent GMD F7B and F9B Master Class. Click on the image above or on that link you just passed to read it. It's filled with lots of lovely info.

We are getting these engines into tooling in the coming weeks and we expect to finish this up in the fall. We will advise you of the final order deadline in a future newsletter.

To find out more about the model and/or to order direct, please click here.
VIA's RDCs call at Chapleau, Ontario. Yes, that is an RDC-4! VIA still has two of them.
Ride VIA's Real RDC!

Do you like your HO scale RDC model? Well here is a chance to ride in a real RDC in mainline service.

Rail Travel Tours specializes in unique rail tours in Canada, often combining various forms of transportation with tours of heritage locations. The highlight of the Northern Ontario Heritage Rail Tour is a trip between Sudbury and White River aboard rebuilt 1950s RDCs on the CP mainline.

Roundtrip from Toronto all the way to White River, this 5-day 4-night tour takes place from Sunday July 22 to Thursday July 26 and features all daylight travel by bus, boat and train while visiting some of the best heritage attractions in the area.

If you let them know that Rapido sent you, Rail Travel Tours will donate 10% of your booking cost to our restoration of 6133. That sounds like a win-win to me!

Click here to find out more about the tour. To book, you need to call them at 1-866-704-3528.
Royal Hudson Update and Canadian Pacific Visit

We had an incredible time at Supertrain in Calgary. As part of our visit, Canadian Pacific Railway was very kind enough to allow us into the Royal Canadian Pacific Pavilion to show off our Royal Hudson sample and to see 2816 and tour their heritage fleet. They didn't just let us in - we were treated like royalty! Fancy hors d'oeuvres and everything!

I would like to thank CPR once again for caring about and preserving Canada's railway heritage, for having an excellent relationship with the railfan community, and for giving 150 railfans a night they will remember for a long time.

In the photo below Dan has a rest in Mount Stephen, specifically where Winston Churchill had his bathtub installed. One of the Royal Canadian Pacific employees wants to know what's so funny. In order to get Dan to smile I've just kicked him in the shins. Hard. It worked.
We recently realized that while we had shared photos of our new Royal Hudson sample on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and at Supertrain, we had not shared it in a newsletter. So here it is!
And here's the other side!
This is a factory-painted pre-production sample. The crown will be a separate part in production but here it's printed on.

We're still tweaking the model to improve the appearance and running quality, which is already at over 20 cars on the straight and level. We are waiting for a final pre-production sample and we hope to have a YouTube video out before the order deadline of July 1st (Dominion Day). If the video is not ready, we'll postpone the deadline until it is.

You can learn more about the Royal Hudson and/or order direct by clicking here.
Final inspection of the Stirling Single locomotives at the LRC factory
Factory Update

Both our factories have been working hard on North American and British projects. In fact, the Brits have taken up a huge chunk of production time lately with the gorgeous OO gauge Dynamometer Car (Rapido factory) and Stirling Single (LRC factory).

In terms of North American production, the LRC factory is finishing up the HO scale Mid-Train Dome. They will leave the factory in the middle of June and arrive here in the summer. Here are the Canadian Pacific maroon Skyline cars in the tampo (printing) room:
Each real CPR Skyline car has two cast beavers on each side. Unlike our competitors who print the beavers on their CP-painted cars, we are actually mounting tiny, beautifully-decorated beavers on each side of the car. Have a look:
The LRC factory is also doing a big run of trucks, wheelsets and detail parts (not as fancy as a locomotive or passenger car but important nonetheless) as well as RailCrew Switch Machines and Uncouplers as we're almost out of stock.

The HO scale CPR SW1200RS locomotives will be shipping to stores and direct customers in the next few days.

Speaking of the SW1200RS, I have to right an egregious wrong. Our good friend Kevin Holland wrote the brilliant introduction in our instruction manual and we forgot to thank or acknowledge him. We'll thank him properly in our next instruction manual, but in the meantime I'd like to express our sincerest gratitude to Kevin.
N scale 8600 coaches in production!
The Rapido factory is working on the N scale New Haven 8600-series coaches and finishing up the HO scale Amtrak Cabbages and F40s. Again I'd like to apologize for these being so late. When we found the color problem on the F40s (mentioned in a previous newsletter) it affected many of the Cabbages as well. This has put us back a few months on that project. We appreciate your patience.

The Rapido factory in Guangxi province is ramping up production, but it takes time to train all of the new people, and models only leave the factory if they are at the required Rapido quality level. It's been a difficult transition period as the Rapido factory has moved twice in the last year, but we're almost through it.

Training new people is nothing new. The problem with the last location is that we couldn't keep people more than a few weeks due to the labour shortage in the area. We were always having to train new people. At least now when we train them, they will stay for longer!
Bill was at the Rapido factory in April and he got to try the new company car. He tried to bring it home but Cathay Pacific wouldn't let him check it. Shucks.
Dan introduces Roslyn to the intricacies of the FL9 locomotive.
Wow! We Have a RECEPTIONIST!

The biggest challenge of growing so quickly is managing that growth. While we have done a decent job in China we have had trouble on the North American side of things. We have been getting so many calls lately that the phones almost always go to voicemail.

For the first time in our 14-year history, we have hired a receptionist. Meet Roslyn Brex, the latest addition to our team. Roslyn will be answering the phone, handling some of the emails and warranty issues, and just brightening everyone's day in general. Janet has enlisted the whole team to train Roslyn and she is already taking on a number of responsibilities.

One great advantage that Roslyn has over the guys in the office who were answering the phones before is that she doesn't know a whole lot about trains. So when she gets a call from someone who wants to tell her the locomotive numbers on each of the 175 UP engines in his fleet, she can politely tell him she has no idea what he's talking about and hopefully get to the real reason of his call more quickly.

We really do get calls like that. Several times a day. That's one of the reasons our phones are always busy. I'm not kidding.

Welcome aboard, Roslyn! We hope you don't run away screaming!
One of the 39 all-new moulds being cut for our product launch.
The little red rag shoved in a cavity will not be included with the models...
Huge New Product Launch - June 25th

June 25th is our annual Dealer Open House. Last year at the open house we launched the SW1200RS locomotive, and - lo and behold - all will be delivered before this year's open house!

So... we have gone even further this time. We are launching products in HO and N scale, and we are launching both American and Canadian models. Let's hope the samples arrive in time! We can't promise all will be delivered within a year but we'll try our best...

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and your inbox for the news. We hope you will be excited by these new products.
See You in St. Louis!

Gareth and Big Dan will be at the 2018 St. Louis Railroad Prototype Modeler's Meet in Collinsville, Illinois (actually a suburb of St. Louis). The event is on July 20th and 21st, and Gareth will have new painted samples of the HO scale B36-7 as well as the new models from our June 25th product launch on display.

Click here for the RPM web site.

Please stop by and say hello!
Hanging off the #11 bus in Birmingham, England
Why We Make British Stuff

While Rapido has slowly expanded our North American model releases over the last few years, we've also been pushing ahead with a series of British model releases. Our British web site is RapidoUK.com. One of the reasons for my trip to the UK is to set up our new British limited company. This will allow us to produce our own models that are Rapido branded and handle our own distribution from within the UK. It also means we get to pay income taxes in two countries instead of one!

Hang on a minute - that's probably not such a good thing...
Long weekend at the Sandtoft Trolley Bus Museum.
What a gorgeous selection of cars and trolleys!
The UK has a huge amount to offer hobbyists like us. Firstly, preservation is a Big Thing. Trains, buses, cars, military equipment, even telephone booths - you name it, and there is a local group preserving it. There are literally millions of people here in the UK who are just like us - passionate about history and the hobbies of vehicle restoration and model-making.

Last weekend was a long weekend in the UK, and I would not be exaggerating if I told you that across England, Scotland and Wales there were over 200 special events featuring vintage cars, vintage buses, vintage trains or some combination of all three. Each of these events would have been the highlight of the year at a museum in North America, but here in the UK there are events like this almost every weekend from April to October.
Who let that diesel nut into the cab of a steam engine?
While here I was fortunate enough to do a lot of bus driving (woo-hoo!) and to ride in the cab of a British steam engine in service. You can read my blog on RMWeb by clicking here. In all of Canada there are fewer than half a dozen steam engines in operating condition. In the UK, many heritage railways have half a dozen (or more) steam engines available for service, and there are over 100 heritage railways. Just think about that for a minute.

Rapido can expand into the UK because Gareth is one of the UK's leading experts on modern passenger and freight equipment, and he works for us in Canada! Also, Bill and I each used to live in the UK so we understand the market. Bill's current layout is a 1930s Great Western branchline terminus.
Bill's Teesbury layout takes up most of his modelling time these days.
We often receive criticism for our expansion into the UK. We even receive criticism for our expansion into the United States. Seeing as our first 100% accurate American release was from 2008, that means some Canadians have been royally cheesed off at us for a full decade...

But actually we're very proud of what we've achieved. In the space of three years or so, we've built a reputation in the UK for being one of the most detail-oriented manufacturers in the entire market. We even won awards for "model of the year" in both N scale and OO gauge. And now we're dabbling into classic British buses, which are a particular passion of mine.

Here is the first sample of our new Birmingham (England) bus. This arrived here in England the day AFTER the big model bus show where I was exhibiting on Monday.
Birmingham City Transport Guy Arab "New Look" Bus
First pre-production sample.
Deluxe models will have printed upholstery (moquette)
as well as lighting and metal-coloured floor treads.
We'll be adjusting the colours before production. This is just a sample.
Looking at the British model railroad and bus market, the question shouldn't be "Why has Rapido expanded into the UK?" It should be "Why didn't Rapido expand into the UK sooner?"

Model railroading and model vehicles in general are alive and well over here in the UK. More than that, a love of history and heritage is built into the national character of this country. In Canada and the United States we could use a lot more of that.

While British railway and bus preservation goes from strength to strength, we stand by and let our North American railroad and transit history get scrapped. There is a direct correlation between the interest in history and the health of our hobby. I'm willing to bet there are more model railroaders in the UK - population 60 million - than in all of North America - population 360 million.

If we could do more to encourage railway and bus preservation in North America, we would see the numbers of modellers increase. Which brings me full circle to Edmundston, the leading item in this newsletter. Rapido is doing as much as we can to preserve our heritage. We need everyone in the North American modelling community to step up and do what you can to save the railroad and transportation history where you live.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Thanks to the four of you still reading. We'll be in touch on the 25th!

Jason

Jason Shron
President
Rapido Trains Inc.
USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441
Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5