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Dear Rapido Customer,
Click here for more info on our Ultimate Canadian Gondola models.
Finally, just to prove to you how bonkers I am, here's a silly video about the train in my basement that I recorded the other day when I couldn't sleep... and it's completely in Chinese! You can now call me "Feichang Da Shagua" - this means "really big melon head." If you know anyone who understands Chinese, please forward the video to them and maybe we'll reach 12 views. If you are in China, click on the YouKu link. Everywhere else, click on the YouTube link.
"Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Cars
They're baaaack! We're delighted to announce a new run of our very popular "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Cars in HO scale.
We often get requests for these, especially from Great Northern and other American modellers who didn't have a clue who we were last time we made these in 2009. After seeing more and more Steam Generators fetch brass-like prices on eBay, we decided it was time to do something about it. We're rerunning some of our more popular paint schemes and introducing new ones to boot.
For most of the 20th century, passenger trains were heated by steam. The problem was that once diesel locomotive use became widespread in the 1940s, there was no longer a guaranteed source of steam at the head end. Any railroad that headed north of about Georgia or up in the mountains needed a source of heat, so most major railroads in North America developed steam generator cars (also known as "heater cars" and "Steam Generator Units") to create the steam for on-board heating.
Steam Gennies were often used even when the diesel locomotive had a built-in steam generator. Locomotive boilers were fine for a short train in mildly cold weather, but a long train or one crossing the Prairies in 20 below freezing would often make use of a Steam Genny.
Railroads got creative - some Steam Gennies were built out of boxcars, others from old tenders, others from B units. The variety was endless. Only one railroad had a fleet of Steam Gennies specially built by three builders. That was of course CN, the largest railroad to serve the frozen wastes of a strange, foreign country north of Buffalo. Our model is based on the CN prototype built by General Motors.
Our HO Scale "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car actually generates a steam effect (if desired) and expels it through the "Separator Blowdown Funnel" on the bottom of the car. Hook it up behind your locomotives, turn on the steam, ease the throttle, and watch as steam wisps out from underneath your passenger cars, just like it did on the real thing. The steam is non-toxic and actually cleans your track!
You have to see this to believe it, so here's a really old video we posted on YouTube back before I was born which has a working Steam Genny in it. What I love is how the steam wisps along beneath the passenger cars, just like the prototype.
Here's a complete list of features:
The MSRP for the HO Scale "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car is $79.95. Orders will be accepted until 30 September 2014 and delivery will begin in early 2015. Please note that we don't make inventory. If you don't order by the deadline, you won't get any. More information can be found here.
Click on an image below to view car and product numbers for that paint scheme, or just scroll down past them if you are modelling the Krakatoan Railways and don't need any heat in your passenger cars.
VIA F40PH-2D - Get Your Orders In!
The order deadline for the HO scale VIA F40PH-2D locomotive is swiftly approaching. Orders need to be received by VIA by April 28th to guarantee delivery. More info on the project can be found here, and orders can be placed by clicking here.
I've heard from a few guys who like to support their local hobby shop about the VIA F40. They asked me, "If I wait, will this model ever be sold in the stores?" The truth is, I don't know. The F40 is a VIA project and it is up to them. For now you need to order the F40 from VIA.
I believe very strongly that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (I also believe that you should never bite the horse that feeds you.) If you want to ensure that you get the first-ever accurate model of Canada's iconic F40 locomotive, then I recommend you order now through VIA.
If you are thinking about buying an F40 or two but have not yet taken the plunge, keep these thoughts in mind:
(P.S. Despite the fact that there is a "discount code" field in the VIA F40 shopping cart, there are no discount codes that apply to the F40 model. I always wonder about that when I see "discount code" fields in shopping carts. The annoying thing is finding out afterward that the car rental could have been $100 cheaper had I only known to write "U133214" in that little box....)
(P.P.S. Go ahead - try entering U133214 next time you book with Budget. You will be pleasantly surprised.)
Exclusive! N scale CPR 10-5 Sleepers
Here's some great news for N scale modellers who think we're neglecting them again: Pacific Western Rail Systems has commissioned an exclusive run of our Panorama Line 10-5 sleepers in Canadian Pacific colours. CP did indeed own a "fleet" of four ex-New York Central smooth-side 10-5 sleepers which were used primarily on eastern routes but also on the Dominion. While our car is based on a CN prototype, what's a couple of windows and bulkheads between friends?
Here's a bit of Mike McGrattan trivia for you - the last assignment for two of CP's ex-NYC 10-5 sleepers was sitting in a parking lot of a Montreal motel as bedrooms during Expo 67. I would hate to have been the dude tasked with cleaning up under those toilet chutes.
You can reserve your CP 10-5 sleepers with PWRS by clicking here.
Upcoming Shows and Deliveries
The show season is in full swing up here in the frozen north. Because we only take advance orders, these shows and meetings are your opportunity to see the models in person before you place your order. Even though we usually have pre-production samples on display, we hope you will still get a feel for the quality and you'll order by the gazillion.
Continuing this awesome new trend of delivering models in the same century they are announced, the photo above is from the GMD-1 production line at the MLW factory. We officially launched this in May (though we leaked that we were doing it in late 2011) and the first shipment is leaving the factory in a matter of weeks!
Here's a rundown of upcoming deliveries. Arriving around 23 April:
UK Product Launch
Please spread the word if you are reading this in the UK. Bill and I will be in the UK in June, and we will be hosting a Rapido Launch Party on Tuesday 24 June at Locomotion in Shildon. We'll be performing a 3D scan of our chosen locomotive, provided it is actually at Locomotion on the 24th. We're in the process of getting our ducks in a row to ensure that.
While I can't yet tell you what we're scanning, I can tell you that there will be nosh, exclusive badges (everyone loves exclusive badges) and tours of historical equipment not normally accessible to the public.
So if you live within a 900-mile radius of Shildon, please book off the 24th and plan to join us. It will be a lot of fun. We will have lots of samples of Rapido products so you can get a feel for our quality and our absurd level of detail. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.
More info in an upcoming Rapido News. Please forward this newsletter to all your friends in Pommyland (using the link at the bottom of this email) and tell them to sign up for future issues!
New (occasional) position at Rapido
Growing pains are good pains to have, but it means that we're having trouble keeping up. We've delivered more product in the first three months of this year than in any other three-month period in history. The downside is that we've been completely overwhelmed.
Most people don't realize that, including me, Rapido has only three full-time employees in Canada (plus one in the US and one in China). When we get a shipment of 5000+ freight cars in, it is processed almost entirely by Dan and Mike, with the occasional help of some of our friends. As a result, we've gotten really far behind on dealing with warranty issues and emails, and I'd like to apologize for that.
To help alleviate the workload when we get shipments in, we're looking for more people to help us in the warehouse. We pay $12 per hour by cheque or in Rapido goods. Note that it's not a full-time position. Basically we would give you notice of when shipments are coming in and if you are available you would come work at Rapido galactic headquarters for a few days. We get one or two shipments each month.
If you want to help us out, you preferably should:
I think we can all agree that model railroading and railfanning are boys' hobbies. The vast majority of my customers and railfan friends are men. Thanks to a generous gift from Mike, my youngest son, Isaac, is currently in the height of his Thomas obsession. Boaz went through the same thing when he was that age. Dalya? Not as much.
But daughters can develop a love of trains. For most of them, that love of trains comes not from watching videos of F-Units or from playing with model trains, but from being with Daddy.
Last month I took Dalya to Montreal for one night. We got discounted tickets so we could travel in business class, and the trip was so special. When Dalya and I travel on the train, we don't get out our screens and space out. Instead, we look out the window and find exciting things to see. When we hear the horn, we start saying, "Here comes a crossing..." and when we finally pass the crossbucks whoever shouts "There it goes!" first wins.
In Montreal, I made sure we stayed at a hotel with a good view of the tracks. The best view of the tracks downtown is without a doubt from the Hilton Bonaventure. It's across the street from Central Station, so you don't need to rent a car or even hire a taxi. After booking online, I called the front desk (ask for the front desk, not reservations) and requested a view of the tracks. Every time I have stayed at the Bonaventure I have got a room with a view, and this time was no exception:
I had to follow Dalya's lead if it was going to be a memorable experience for her. As much as I would have liked to go to Exporail or to ride the Montreal-area commuter trains all day, I made sure we did things she wanted to do, so we went swimming in the outdoor pool on the roof of the hotel (Brrrrr! I hate swimming, especially outside when it's below freezing!) and then we spent the morning at the Biodome! This is an amazing museum that recreates several different biological ecosystems in one building, from the mountains to rainforests to the Antarctic ice.
I think it's easy and expected for those of us with boys or grandsons to share our train obsessions with them. We buy them wooden trains and train books, then model trains and train tickets. But what about our daughters and granddaughters? They can share in our passion as well, but if they aren't so receptive to the train toys and books, all is not lost.
Take them on the train. Let them associate their memories of the train with their memories of you. If they then decide to become modellers or railfans, it's a bonus. But more important to me is that Dalya will have fond memories of taking a special trip just with Daddy: of riding the GO train and the VIA train; of getting lost in the hotel in our towels and bathing suits; of seeing all sorts of animals at the Biodome; of riding the Metro and shopping in Place Ville Marie; and of getting back to Toronto past bedtime and falling asleep in Daddy's lap on the late-night GO bus.
I hope she remembers these special moments when she is older and when I am gone. And if seeing or riding a train brings her back to that place, then I have succeeded.
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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