Announcing our first US freight diesel locomotive (that isn't an FA-2)
Rapido Newsletter Vol. 98
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido customer,
Welcome to another exciting edition of Rapido News, and this issue really will knock your socks off. We're finally spilling the beans on our first all-American freight locomotive. Yes, this unit was built exclusively in the US, operated for most of its life for US railroads, and only had a tangential connection to Canada and passenger trains. To fill you in on the details Jason has handed the keyboard over to me, project manager Gareth Bayer. I'm eager to move onto the good stuff so I'll stop yabbering and get on with it.

In this issue: 
First pre-production samples of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific B36-7.
There a still a few parts missing from these samples but it's clear there has never been
a 1970-80s GE locomotive in HO scale with this level of road-specific detail.

NEW! HO Scale GE B36-7 Locomotive
Rapido Trains Inc. is very pleased to reveal the General Electric B36-7, never before released in ready-to-run HO Scale! This is Rapido's first modern-ish US freight locomotive and we're super enthusiastic about it.

The four-axle GE B36-7 was a high-horsepower speed racer built to appeal to railroads in the early 1980s looking to turbocharge their growing intermodal business. There were few drag freights or slow-moving manifests for these thoroughbreds in their early years. They could be found in multiples at the head of piggyback and autorack services and the new double-stack container trains.
Most of the CSX fleet of B36-7s were still in service well into the 2000s, usually in yard or manifest freight service. This ex-Seaboard System example was recorded leading a train out of Boyle Yard in Birmingham, Alabama, with a B30-7 partner in October 2005.
Replacing the "Universal Series" U36B in the GE catalogue, the first prototypes were built at Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1980 for the St Louis SouthWestern, otherwise known as the Cotton Belt. Initial orders were hampered by the recession of 1981-2; however, by the last year of production in 1985 some 222 locomotives had been constructed for US railroads with a further eight for export. We were surprised to find that this wasn't that far off the total number of GP50s ever built, yet we've seen three HO scale models of that so far!

The design found customers in several of the larger Class 1s of the period: Santa Fe, Conrail, Seaboard System, Southern and Southern Pacific. With the mergers of the mid-1980s and the Conrail split of 1999 the bulk of the fleet ended up with CSX and Norfolk Southern. Circa 2000 the CSX roster was overflowing with B36-7s, with around 140 former Conrail and Seaboard units operating all over the eastern half of the US. The ex-Seaboard fleet was officially retired towards the end of 2009, but examples were still working into 2011. They even still have some on the property. If you're a Seaboard or CSX modeler you need at least ten of these things!
The Santa Fe B36-7 has the early body style, unique anticlimber and battery box louvers, air-conditioning unit, EOTD and Sinclair antenna, flashing amber beacon, front class lights only, nose with plated headlight, ATSF-specific fuel tank with accurate filler and gauge locations, optional snubbers, and the additional large louver on the fireman's side. The model will also come with the distinctive noise baffles (etched metal) and brass Leslie RS-3L horn factory installed.

There's a similar range of road-specific detail on the SP units, with late body (with additional grilles), dual Gyralite and red emergency lights at both ends, original bell location (rear fireman's side), large plow, air-con unit, Sinclair antenna, access boxes on the nose, nose-mounted headlights, equipment box on walkway, large Salem air-dryer unit, and so on. The model will also have correct fixed drop step at both ends and brass Nathan P3 horn.
The B36-7's turbocharged 16-cylinder 7FDL prime mover rated at 3,600hp (later examples could create up to 3,750hp) and upgraded alternator and traction motors proved to be a reliable combination. However, with all that power on tap and with just eight wheels to lay it all down they gained a reputation for shaking fillings out of teeth and marrow from bones. They were well liked by railfans though and were among the last of the Dash 7s in Class 1 service, outliving the six-axle variants by a number of years.

The increased power also meant increased noise. As well as the larger silencer (introduced in 1979), GE attempted to mitigate this with a pair of sound baffles either side of the radiator section. These were installed on all the Cotton Belt, Santa Fe and Southern locomotives and the first 15 Conrail units. By 1983 GE had replaced the twin radiator fans with a single large fan to reduce noise - three additional grilles in the doors in the radiator section made this upgrade obvious - and only Southern retained the baffles beyond 1986, and even then only the lower of the two on each side. The Rapido model correctly replicates ALL of these details as appropriate.
The Santa Fe units were the first production B36-7s and they were delivered with the large double noise baffles mounted at the rear of the locomotive either side of the radiator section.
Six years after rolling off GE's Erie, PA, production line ATSF 7496 still wears its baffles with pride. Photographed by Chuck Zeiler at Corwith Yard in Chicago, Illinois on September 27, 1986.

Southern's six B36-7s were all delivered with both baffles, but these were quickly reduced to one each side, possibly for visibility reasons (the radiator is at the Front of the locomotive of course). Wearing the gorgeous "tuxedo" scheme, SOU 3818 awaits its next duty at the former Norfolk & Western yard in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on July 5, 1986. Photo by Bob Graham.
For the first time in HO Scale, the Rapido HO B36-7 reproduces all of the incredible features of the prototype to precision. How do we know that? Because thanks to the kind folks at Transkentucky Transportation (now the largest operator of B36-7s in North America) we made a 3D laser scan of a real B36-7 - number 5815! In addition, Minnesota Commercial allowed us to make extensive measurements of their huge and eclectic collection of Dash 7s in Saint Paul so we could ensure that our model detail variations match the prototypes!
Transkentucky Transportation B36-7 5815, a former Seaboard and CSX unit of the same number, is a real looker. We scanned this locomotive back in the summer of 2016, braving 40 degree heat and 300% humidity to get the data. We'd love to have made this scheme but we're not convinced that people wanted it. If anyone is interested, get in touch!
Our HO scale B36-7 comes in the following paint schemes:
  • Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe "Freightbonnet"
    Early body - Factory installed noise baffles - ATSF anticlimber - A/C unit - Flashing amber beacon - battery box louvers, nose louver, blanked nose headlight position - brass Leslie RS-3L horn - optional snubbers on truck - optional large Salem air dryer - ATSF fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - EOTD antenna - class lights at front only - ATSF specific pilot with small plow.
  • British Columbia Railway red/white/blue "lightning stripe"
    Ex-Santa Fe units with late body - ATSF anticlimber - BCOL rebuilt numberboards with cab-mounted bell - battery box louvers - nose louver - additional truck snubbers - large Salem air dryer - no class lights - nose-mounted headlights - working BCOL style ditch and rock lights at both ends - ATSF fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - unique BCOL front handrails - ATSF specific pilot with small plow at both ends - brass K5L horn (all bells forward). CONDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Conrail as delivered - with or without ditch lights
    Late body with additional grilles - optional large noise baffles - CR anticlimber - unique CR built out class lights - CR cab signal box on walkway behind fireman's side of cab - CR fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations with optional spare knuckles - CR specific pilot with small plow - Leslie RS-3L horn mounted on long hood - no ditch lights or front pilot-mounted ditch lights versions - also available with CSX or NS patched numbers.
  • CSX Transportation YN2 "Bright Future"
    Ex-Seaboard units with late body - no anticlimber - plated class lights - large Salem air dryer - CSX/SBD fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - hinged drop step - CSX specific pilot with large plow - brass KL5R24 horn CSX/SBD sunshade brackets - no ditch lights and front frame-mounted ditch lights versions available - also available with white-painted cab roof for post 2000s operations.
  • Minnesota Commercial Railway
    Ex-Southern Pacific unit with late body - no anticlimber - plated class lights - fixed drop step - large Salem air dryer - SP fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - SP specific pilot with small plow - pilot-mounted ditch lights both ends - brass Nathan P3 horn - large equipment box on fireman's side behind cab - nose-mounted headlights - plated cab headlight - plated SP light package. CONDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Norfolk Southern
    Ex-Southern unit with early body and high short hood - no anticlimber - class lights both ends - hinged low mounted drop step - SOU/NS fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - SOU/NS specific pilot with large plow both ends - bell at long hood end - brass Nathan P5 horns at each end - walkway light castings (not operational) - firecracker antennas - optional single noise baffles - correctly oriented cab interior - NS/SOU sunshade.
  • Seaboard System as delivered
    Late body - no anticlimber - class lights - small air dryer - CSX/SBD fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - hinged drop step - SBD specific pilot with large plow - brass KL5R24 horn - SBD/CSX sunshade brackets.
  • Southern Railway "Tuxedo"
    Early body and high short hood - no anticlimber - class lights both ends - hinged low mounted drop step - SOU/NS fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - large plow both ends - bell at long hood end - brass Nathan P5 horns at each end - walkway light castings (not operational) - firecracker antennas - single noise baffle with optional double baffles - correctly oriented cab interior - NS/SOU sunshade.
  • Southern Pacific as delivered
    Late body with additional grilles - no anticlimber - no class lights - fixed drop step - correct horn location  SP fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations - SP specific pilot with small plow - brass Nathan P3 horn - large equipment box on fireman's side behind cab - nose-mounted headlights - dual Gyralite at both ends - red emergency lights.
  • Undecorated
    Five versions available: ATSF, CR, SBD/CSXT, SOU/NS and SP. 
Please note that the BCOL and MNNR units are conditional announcements. If these don't make our minimum quantities then they will not be made, which would be a terrible shame as they would be the highlight of any Minnesota or British Columbia-based layout!
There are no unnumbered listed but we're prepared to make these for any customers, historical societies, modeling groups and hobby stores that want them. The minimum is six units and they must be ordered in multiples of six. They can only be purchased direct from us. Drop us a line if you're interested.
This view shows Rapido's latest innovation - combined plastic/metal wire handrails. Yes, wave goodbye to wobbly and translucent engineering plastic handrails that a difficult to bend back to shape and flake paint. Also, note the SP light package at the rear, late style body with additional radiator grilles, large Salem air dryer, "bathtub" exhaust silencer, and those beautiful trucks.

A closer view of the front and rear FB-2 trucks, which are just missing the metal piping from the rear of the brake cylinder. We can't get enough of that traction motor cabling that is a perfect representation of the real thing. Note also that the large air cylinders next to the fuel tank are correctly sloped towards the engineer's side to assist with the drainage of moisture.

Traction motor cabling, air piping, large air cylinders, small air dryers, framing with truck bolsters, fuel cut off switch, and general all around attention to detail. With kind thanks to the Minnesota Commercial for allowing me to crawl all over (and under) their locomotive!

More variety - Southern/Norfolk Southern high short hood (ignore the wrong cab)
and the rear of the Conrail unit showing the built out red class lights.
The Rapido HO B36-7 features:
  • 3D scanned from an ex-CSX B36-7 for 100% accurate shape and dimensions
  • Incredible underframe detail including piping and a ridiculous number of separately-applied parts
  • Full cab interior, with correct orientation for standard or Southern locomotives
  • Dead straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
  • A crazy level of road-specific detail options, with different pilots, anticlimbers, plows, fuel tanks, air dryers, antennas, bell location, wind deflectors, headlight locations, air-conditioning units, beacons, different bodies, multiple nose and rear end styles, three versions of drop step, and so on.
  • With or without class lights (as appropriate)
  • Conrail locomotives have unique 'bug eye' style class lights
  • ATSF, Conrail and Southern locomotives have single or double baffles appropriate to era and road number
  • Three styles of operating, flashing ditch lights, front and rear (as appropriate)
  • Working headlights in correct location, switchable numberboards at both ends and cab interior headlight
  • SP locomotive has working dual Gyralite and red emergency light
  • DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound (ESU LokSound) options
  • Accurate sounds recorded from an actual Minnesota Commercial B36-7 under load
  • Rapido's proven 5-pole skew-wound motor with dual flywheels and silky-smooth drive
The MSRP is $339.95 DC/DCC/Sound and $229.95 DC/Silent in the US.
In Canada the MSRP is $399.95 DC/DCC/Sound and $279.95 DC/Silent.

The order deadline is July 4, 2018.
Delivery in early 2019.

Click here for more information or to order direct.
We also went to town on the cab interior. We now provide illuminated cab interiors as standard on our new locomotives so there's no point in holding back! You almost feel you could jump in this cab and start it up. Front and rear bulkhead detail is equally well rendered.
Retooled and ready for production - the relaunched HO Scale  53' "Husky Stack" Well Car
now features etched metal walkways and grabs on the corner ladders. We're very proud to move this model into our standard "high detail" range of models - at no additional cost!
RELAUNCHED! HO Scale 53' Well Car & Container
We originally revealed the 53' "Husky Stack" Well Car and 53' High-Cube Container in HO Scale back in June 2016 with some early samples and we'll be honest, it was rather overshadowed by the other Prime Movers model we announced at the same time, the GE Dash 8-40CM "Draper Taper". Sales were decent enough but with something of a capacity crunch in our factories last year there were always more important projects pushing ahead of it. Happily those issues are now behind us so it's time that we got serious and announced a firm order deadline for this model.

The really good news is that this delay has allowed us to respond to customer feedback and upgrade the specification with NO CHANGE in the popular "wife-approved" MSRP. We've taken this model out of the Prime Movers by Rapido range and given it etched metal walkways and factory-installed vertical handrail grabs. The container twin packs will now also feature individually numbered containers, so if you're a stickler for that sort of thing you don't have to change any numbers.
Sometimes procrastinating really does pay off - check out those lovely metal walkways! Note also the laser fine rivet detail on the 53' high-cube container. Beauty goal as Dan might say.
Here's a quick recap. The Rapido 53' well car is a single-unit double-stack design built at Trenton Works, Nova Scotia, between 2003-4. Nearly 4,000 of these Husky Stacks are operating across the USA and Canada with TTX Company (DTTX) and Canadian Pacific (CP) reporting marks and it's not unusual to find at least three or four 53' Husky Stacks in a train.

The 53' high-cube container was constructed by Hyundai and is an insulated dry box design with riveted sheet/post sides and an optional heater box/fuel tank. These are among the most common containers in Canada, designed to protect cargo transported through the extreme cold of the winter, and can be found painted in the colorful schemes of Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and numerous transportation companies. Similar designs can also be found working across the USA.
The opposite end of the well car showing the brake reservoir and air cylinder layout.
The trucks are hidden away but this is an all-new 70-ton design.
Three paint schemes (plus undecorated) are available on the well car:
  • TTX Original (DTTX)
  • TTX "Forward Thinking" (DTTX)
  • Canadian Pacific (CP) 
For the container we are producing:
  • BNSF/Hub Group
  • CN Intermodal (with train graphic)
  • CN Worldwide
  • CN We Deliver (latest scheme)
  • Canadian Pacific (latest scheme)
  • CSX Intermodal (boxcar)
  • J.B. Hunt
  • Schneider National
  • Undecorated.
Note: Twin packs now feature two individually numbered containers.
The Rapido HO Scale well car and container feature:
  • Accurately scaled from prototype blueprints
  • Die-cast body for good tracking, even when empty
  • Plastic and etched-metal running boards
  • Finely-detailed plastic end handrails and brake detail
  • New free-rolling 70-ton trucks with three springs visible, separate in-line brake shoes and 33" metal wheels.
  • Six numbers available for each well car paint scheme
  • Container twin-packs feature two individually numbered containers
  • Razor-sharp printing
MSRP for the well car + two containers is $49.95 (US), $59.95 (Canada).
A 2-pack of containers is $24.95 (US), $29.95 (Canada).

The order deadline is July 4, 2018 and delivery is expected in fall 2018.

Please click here for more information or to order direct.
N scale Amtrak TurboTrain
Hand-painted, pre-production model shown.
N scale TurboTrain - first images!

Our own Dan Darnell has painted up two pre-production samples of the N scale TurboTrain. These babies look sharp! We still have to add the rivets, tone down the interior lighting, brighten up the headlights, and make a bunch of other small changes. Jason is very particular about getting his Turbo model right.

The best thing about our N scale Turbo is that it runs like a dream. If only our HO scale Turbo had run this well. The HO scale Turbo predates me but I've heard horror stories. Apparently it ran like a one-legged hippo that has a splinter in its remaining foot. I do believe Jason has a new HO Turbo in the works...
CN TurboTrain
The full 9-car CN Turbo. This is the 5-car set plus the 4-car add-on set.
Hand-painted, pre-production model shown.
For our N scale Turbo, we have tooled up five different styles of Intermediate Car and three different styles of Power Dome Car, representing all of the major body and interior styles. Your N scale CN and VIA passengers will be able to enjoy first class (TurboClub) or coach (TurboLuxe) seating, and they can get food from the cafe (TurboBuffeteria) or hang out in the bar. Your Amtrak and Penn Central customers have very comfortable coach seating throughout, as well as a great view from the dome.
Turbo Train
IC-36, one of the two cars added to the Amtrak Turbo in 1972
The windows and interior are different from IC-29 in the three-car set.
Note the beautifully-detailed Single-Axle Trucks.
Hand-painted, pre-production model shown.
All of the TurboTrain wheels pick up power, and there is lighting in every car. I'm not a Turbo fan like Jason and Dan are, but even I have to admit it's a sharp looking train! And it sounds as good as it looks.

Reserve yours by March 26th. We'll be in touch again before the deadline, hopefully with a Turbo video.

Click here for more information or to order direct.
Phase 2 RDC-2 and RDC-3
Pre-production samples shown.
HO scale RDC-2 and RDC-3
We get requests all the time for our first-run RDC models, all of which have sold out. Please make sure you reserve your new HO scale RDC models by the March 26th deadline!

The new run features the popular RDC-1 (all coach seating) as well as the RDC-2 (coach and a baggage section) and the RDC-3 (coach, baggage and railway post office). We have tooled both Phase 1 (early) and Phase 2 (late) body styles. More information about the real RDC can be found in our RDC Master Class.

All of our RDCs feature a FULL INTERIOR, with two hidden motors. They also feature a FULL UNDERBODY. The motors are almost - but not quite - completely invisible!
RDC underbody
Check out the underbody equipment!
The motors are actually hidden in the model motor pods!
Here's a complete list of paint schemes and body styles for our HO scale RDC:
  • Alaska Railroad (RDC-2)
  • ATSF Santa Fe (Rebuilt RDC-1 + RDC-1m)    
  • Baltimore & Ohio (RDC-1, RDC-2)
  • Boston & Maine Minuteman (RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • Boston & Maine McGinnis (RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • BC Rail  (RDC-1)
  • Chesapeake & Ohio (RDC-1, RDC-2)
  • Chicago & North Western (RDC-1, RDC-2)
  • CRI&P Rock Island (RDC-3)
  • Great Northern (RDC-3)
  • Lehigh Valley (RDC-1, RDC-2)
  • Long Island Railroad (RDC-2)
  • New Haven Script (RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • New Haven McGinnis (RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • New York Central Early (RDC-1, RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • Northern Pacific (RDC-2, RDC-3)
  • Reading (RDC-2)
  • VIA Blue Stripe (RDC-1, RDC-2)
  • Western Pacific Zephyrette (RDC-2)
Click here for product numbers, car numbers and illustrations.
Phase 2 RDC-3, without its mail catcher and mirror...
The small door in the RDC-3 in the photo above is for the RPO, or railway post office. It is supposed to have a mail catcher and a mirror that should be attached to the car side by this door.

We've been bugging the factory to send us the mail catchers and mirrors for the last few months, and they finally sent them... but only yesterday! Here is a photo of a bunch of mail catchers and mirrors taken at the factory before they were mailed out. You'll just need to pretend they are on the model above...
RDC parts
Anybody need some mail catchers and mirrors?
You can read more about the RDC models or order direct by clicking here.

Please remember the order deadline - March 26th!
denverCome see us in Denver
If you're heading to the Rocky Mountain Train Show at The Denver Mart on March 3rd and 4th, 2018, then you'll be the first to see all the lovely goodies that we've showing off above "in the flesh"!

You won't see me as I'm stuck in Canada doing artwork for my next big locomotive announcement in April. However, Dan Darnell, Jordan Smith and Josh Anderchek are all currently en route to Colorado ready to chat Rapido, trains and the best place to get a steak in Denver all weekend.
Head along to our stand - C25 and C26 - and we'll have the B36-7, latest RDC samples, the N Turbo, retooled Well Car and Container, the Royal Hudson and so much more. Say hi to the guys from me!

Best regards,


Gareth Bayer
Project Manager
Rapido Trains Inc.

Note from Jason: Not bad, Gareth. A great first North American newsletter. My only comment is that it needs more Turbo!
CN Turbo
Rapido Trains Inc. | 1-855-LRC-6917 |