Dear Rapido Customer,
Well what do you know? This is the 50th edition of Rapido News!
I have a whole bunch of announcements for you this issue (OK, two) - so let's get to it.
In this 50th issue of Rapido News:
Superior Stainless: Unparalleled Budd Passenger Cars
Bill, Dan, Mike and I are delighted to announce our long-anticipated entry into the individual Budd passenger car market. Introducing Superior Stainless HO scale Budd prototype passenger cars.
Everyone can now see what owners of The Canadian complete trainset have been smiling about since last year. Simply put, there has never been a ready-to-run model passenger car in any scale with this level of detail. Ever.
The first releases are the Superior Stainless Budd Coach and the Budd Park Car. We believe that the stainless steel finish of our Budd passenger cars is the closest you will find to the real thing. We spent months testing different methods, including painting and plating, and comparing each finish to the real cars at our local passenger train maintenance centre.
The end result is a top-secret method that includes spraying different finishes at specific temperatures to reach the warm, stainless feel of our final product. If you haven't yet seen the Budd cars on our Canadian trainset, prepare to be impressed.
I believe that if you have a model of a Jaguar, you expect the model to have a Jaguar engine under the hood even if you can't see it. So too with passenger car models: the equipment under the floor is what distinguishes a passenger car from a big go-cart on rails. It's what makes the passenger rail experience one of comfort and reliability.
That's why our Superior Stainless passenger cars have complete underbody detail, including all of the air, steam and electrical conduits. When I was only three feet tall and standing on the platform at Guildwood Station, the mess of underbody plumbing stared me in the face whenever a train pulled up. I have tried to recreate this as accurately as possible in HO scale. Have a look.
(I find this stuff fascinating, but if you don't give a rat's tush about how real passenger cars work, scroll down.)
In the photo above you see the underbody detail towards the "A" end of our Budd Coach. The Safety Car Heating and Lighting Company Genemotor (1) is an axle-driven generator that creates electricity from the movement of the wheels. The power cables (2) extend from the Genemotor to a "pull box" or junction box (3). We have tooled three different cable runs so that they go to the correct pull box, depending on the Budd car style - either to the right, to the left, or straight out of the back of the Genemotor.
Conduits run between this pull box and the Pyle DC battery charging receptacle (9) as well as the nearest battery box (7). A large conduit can be seen crossing the centre sill to reach another pull box (4), from which two other battery boxes receive their power. It is also connected to the DC battery charging receptacle on that side of the car. From that pull box, you can see two large conduits returning across the sill to a third pull box (5) which contains both AC and DC cable junctions. On the front of this pull box is an access door to the AC starter switch.
Connected to the pull box (5) is the alternator (6) to provide AC (alternating current) power for the fluorescent lights, as well as the Pyle AC standby receptacle (8) and a long conduit leading to the air conditioning equipment towards the centre of the car. You generally only have an alternator on cars with fluorescent lights and/or cooking appliances. On cars with incandescent lighting, all of the power in the car is usually DC (direct current) only.
We can't forget the Rolokron Control Box (10). This monitors the wheels for wheel slip and, if detected, reduces the braking applied to that axle. Pretty neat stuff, eh?
Continuing on the air brake theme, this photo shows the heart of the car's Westinghouse D22 air brake system. The Combined Reservoir (1) features the displacement reservoir, which regulates the rate that air pressure is developed, as well as the auxiliary and emergency reservoirs. The Control Valve (2) ensures the brakes operate in sync and correctly. The Quick Service Valve (3) ensures that all the cars in the train brake at about the same time, and the Relay Valve (4) ensures that all the brake cylinders on this particular car respond at the same time.
Most obvious are all of the air pipes between the valves and the reservoir. We included many of them, but some are simply too small to reproduce in plastic.
On the opposite side of the Budd Coach from the D22 system, we find the air conditioning equipment. The AC compressor (1) and the AC condenser unit (2) are the heart of the system, but the AC filter dryer (3) is a vital component as it removes moisture from the air before it is cooled. Beside the AC equipment you can see a tangle of insulated steam pipes (4). These are not just pretty; they are an essential part of the steam heat system. The pipes shown include shut-off and drain valves and Vapor Heating Corporation steam regulators and pressure regulators: these ensure that enough steam is available when needed, and that the pressure does not build up beyond safety limits and blow up the car. Such an occurrence would negatively affect the passenger experience...
This little cylinder (1) is a vital component of the passenger car. It is the water-raising reservoir, and without it you would not have any running water in the car. Beside it can be seen a typical steam trap (2). You can find these throughout the car heating system. They remove the condensation that would otherwise clog your steam lines. They are particularly adept at freezing rock solid in winter and causing no end of headaches.
Now compare our Budd Coach underbody to a typical underbody produced by our competitors:
Our cars also feature exceptional interior detail, including antimacassars and "etched glass" divider panels.
Here is a complete rundown of our Superior Stainless Budd passenger car features:
- Fully decorated and assembled with factory-installed grab irons
- Realistic stainless steel finish
- Full underbody with air, steam and electrical lines
- Fully detailed and decorated interiors
- Window blinds at different heights for each car number
- Operating diaphragms with etched-metal end gates
- Magnetic metal knuckle couplers at the correct height
- Free-rolling trucks with metal wheelsets
- Track-powered, constant interior lighting
- 22" Minimum radius (can be modified for 18" minimum)
- Also available in unlettered stainless steel finish for your custom road
Superior Stainless: Budd Coach
The first model to be released in the Superior Stainless line is the Budd Coach. Our model is a 60-seat coach based on the CP prototype and is similar to numerous cars used across North America.
The MSRP for the Superior Stainless Budd Coach is $99. (Information on the Park Car can be found below.) You can reserve your coaches from your dealer or directly from us. Orders will be accepted until 24 January 2014, with delivery in spring/summer 2014. The minimum quantity for direct orders is two coaches.
Click here for more info, and click on a paint scheme below to see car numbers and product numbers. Note that Canadian paint schemes will be produced with the second run.
Superior Stainless: Budd Park Car
For those of you who missed out on The Canadian or would like to expand your fleet to include additional trains, we are pleased to announce the Superior Stainless Budd Park Car - a three bedroom, one drawing room, dome, observation, lounge sleeper. That's a lot of stuff packed into one car...
Our Park Car equals the Superior Stainless Budd Coach in quality, with these additional, enhanced features:
Here's a good look at the interior. The only thing it's missing is a mural in the mural lounge - get your crayons out! Note the "etched glass" partitions between the mural lounge and the corridor. Nice!
- Illuminated marker lights and drumhead
- Maroon cars include extra drumhead styles (such as The Dominion)
- See-through arm rests in the dome
- VIA cars feature illuminated red light above the bullet lounge
The Park Car underbody is even more action packed than that of the coach. You'll notice that there are two air conditioning condensers. That's because it could get very hot under the glass dome, making extra air conditioning power a necessity in the summer time.
The Superior Stainless Budd Park Car will be available in the following paint schemes. Click on the paint scheme for car names and product numbers.
Each scheme will include several named cars as well as an unnamed car. Unnamed cars will include all of the different name board lengths in the box so you can add decals to the correct-length name board. Yes, we will include the car name decals in the box.
We've received email or phone requests for every single Park Car name except for the late, lamented Fundy Park. I apologize if the name you wanted is not available "factory applied." If that is the case, I recommend you purchase the unnamed car and add the name you want.
The VIA "Canada" scheme cars will feature the post-1992 interior colours, the "Canada" lettering, and the new placement of the VIA logo. However they do not include full HEP details as they would then have to retail for over $1000 each... However, Miniatures by Eric will soon be producing the correct HEP end-of-car details. Please contact Eric for more info.
MSRP is $109. Order from your dealer or direct from us by 24 January 2014. Delivery is spring/summer 2014. More information can be found here.
Last Chance to Order GMD-1 and Gondola Models
If you have not ordered your Rapido/MLW GMD-1 locomotives or transition-era Gondola models, now is the time to do it. The order deadline is basically now.
Here's my last-ditch effort to get you to buy more of these. (I know. I have no shame.):
- The real GMD-1 locomotive couldn't pull for poop. The addition of the idler wheels in the 1000 series meant that its tractive effort was significantly reduced. Basically, if you are trying to pull more than about four loaded grain cars out of an industry that has a slight grade, you are toast if you are just using one locomotive. For that reason, the GMD-1 almost ALWAYS ran in pairs. A mainline run could have four or five units at the head end. So if you just ordered one, you NEED at least one (or five) more.
- I said I didn't have any shame.
- The gondola was first delivered in 1943, and they are still in service today. It's the first accurate model of a Canadian transition-era gon produced EVER. Loads of close-up photos can be seen in the last issue of Rapido News, which you can read here. I am sure your dealer will give you a good discount if you order 72 of them!
- Why are you surprised? I've now said twice that I have no shame.
If you are reading this on Thursday evening or later, I am giving just one more presentation on my seemingly endless GMD-1 tour. This will be at our latest full-service dealer, Otter Valley Railroad. The presentation is on Sunday 6 October from noon to 2 p.m. Please RSVP with the store if you plan to attend so they can buy enough munchies.
Because this presentation is after the official order deadline for the new products, the final order deadline for the GMD-1 and gon will be extended to Monday 7 October. You can order from your favourite dealer or directly from us. Delivery of the gons should start early in the new year, with the first GMD-1s arriving in the spring.
Bendy Track Production Samples
We've finally received and approved the production samples of our new HO scale Bendy Track, one of which you can see above. I've given the OK for production. The first shipment will be leaving the factory on 25 October and arriving here at the end of November.
Bendy Track can only be ordered from your dealer. Remember - each piece comes with four rail joiners so you should never run out again!
Looking Back, Looking Forward
The fact that this is the 50th edition of our newsletter has got me thinking about the past and the future. Prepare for a cliché-ridden trip down memory lane. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times... We've given it 110%... We just had to go in and get the job done... The past nine years have been a roller coaster of ups and downs and highs and lows...
OK. I'll stop.
Next year is the official 10th anniversary of Rapido Trains Inc. Though I started it as a part-time business in 2003, the company was formally incorporated on 8 November 2004. At that time I did not yet have a factory in China nor had I even finished the R&D on my first project, the Super Continental Line Coach and Duplex Sleeper. But I certainly knew what I wanted to do, and I worked hard both at starting up the company and at convincing my (justifiably) sceptical family that I really could earn a living making model trains.
Nine years later and I've almost made a living making model trains. Almost. Sidura and I can pay most of our bills, but I still have a student loan outstanding from ten years ago and our latest mortgage statement says that the bank will own our house until I'm 103. What it didn't say is that with no garage (the HO scale Kingston Sub is being built there) and a full-size coach in my basement, the house is worth about $3.87. I've been trying to convince the bank to reduce the mortgage accordingly, but they have not been so receptive to this idea.
I'm very grateful to all of you who have helped make Rapido a success. If it wasn't for your support (and your patience when we screw up - remember the North Western & Chicago baggage cars?), it would have been impossible to bring out all of the unique models.
If you had told me nine years ago that by 2013, we'd have most of the Super Continental, the Canadian, the LRC and the Turbo as ready-to-run models, I would have laughed in your face. The fact that we're just a few months from seeing the "so ugly it's beautiful" GMD-1 in plastic is even more wild.
We're not resting on our laurels - I'm too busy panicking about cash flow in 2014 and 2015 to do that. So we've got a lot of things in the works.
The photos of the first FPA-4 and FPB-4 samples are really amazing. Although they have many issues that still need to be fixed, these samples arrived only 10 weeks after we started cutting the steel moulds. Stay tuned to a future newsletter (possibly the next one) in which I will finally announce the product numbers and pricing on this project, which is being produced for MLW (but will be available through all good hobby shops).
We're working on a YouTube video of the locomotive scanning process, a step I think is absolutely vital when dealing with complex curves like the FPA-4 nose. And of course we have video footage from the FPA-4 sound recording session, which will also be out soon. 2014 will be a big year for Rapido's ALCO-holic customers.
(For members of my family reading this who don't speak Train: ALCO refers to the American Locomotive Company, and the FPA-4 and FPB-4 were built by its Canadian partner. I am not in any way suggesting that all Rapido customers could drink you under the table. Only some of them can.)
We have another HO scale passenger locomotive under development - an American one this time - which will be tooled in the coming months and released in 2015.
Then there's that N scale locomotive I let slip last month - if you didn't see it you'll need to go back and read Rapido News issue 49. Hey! It occasionally pays to read these things to the end.
Finally, Bill and I head to the UK next month to scope out a neat little British train we really want to make - in OO gauge, no less! (Get your strange UK train horns out - beep-BOOP!) But that's another story.
Bill, Dan, Mike and I certainly have our hands full right now and for the next couple of years. I honestly don't know where we'll be at in five or ten years. Hopefully we'll still be here making model trains, Sidura and I will be able to pay a few more of our bills, and the bank will own less of our house.
I suspect I'll still owe the student loan, though. It serves as a useful reminder that if I had finished my PhD rather than start a train business, Sidura and I would be enjoying the spoils of my latest 6-month contract teaching position in a one-bedroom rental apartment in Regina, wondering if we could ever afford to have kids.
That's it for this anniversary edition of Rapido News. Bill and I decided to leave out the new trucks and wheelsets announcement because this newsletter was just getting too long. I do tend to run off at the mouth.
("No, really? You don't say! The fact that I fell asleep two times while reading this mile-long newsletter was just a coincidence, for sure!")
Ahem. Well. Who said that talking to yourself was the first sign of madness? (Someone who was obviously not a train nut.)
Thanks for sticking with me. And please order 28 GMD-1 locomotives!
All the best,
P.S. The first three numbers of the CN 1954 FP9A locomotives just arrived in our warehouse! Woo-hoo!
Rapido Trains Inc.
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