Our latest announcements and Jason's Magical Mystery Tour around the UK
Rapido UK News Vol. 10
© 2017 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,
Amazingly it's been two months since we sent out our last newsletter, which Bill put together just before the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC last November. I know our 23 newsletter subscribers have been eagerly awaiting our latest missive. 
There's a lot to cover, including the four new announcements that we made with our various partners in the UK and the final order deadline for the N Virgin Pendolino that we're making with Revolution Trains. This will begin production immediately after Chinese New Year. That's just a couple of weeks away, so all orders must be received by us by the end of January. 
Yes, that's next Tuesday!
In this issue of Rapido News UK:
Of course we're furiously working behind the scenes on the next projects that we hope to reveal later in the year, which will include at least one but possibly two purely Rapido-branded items for British modellers. The brief for these models is to be the best in their field, to be a real showcase for Rapido quality detail, DCC lights, operation and sound (where applicable). 
If you're subscribing to this newsletter then you're guaranteed not to miss out on this exciting news. If you're one of those people that has subscribed to our emails but has never opened one and is therefore not reading this, you're a mango-coloured ning-nong.

If you're not a subscriber, well it's really easy to sign up. The link can be found at the bottom of this message. Please tell your friends about this newsletter too. We're hoping to reach 30 subscribers by Easter.  
My fellow passengers at Paddington were a little obnoxious...
Jason's 2017 UK Mystery Tour Blog
It was frustrating to miss Warley but the event coincided with our new factory in China ramping up to full production and the first examples of our HO scale Budd RDC-1 Railcar (the North American answer to the Class 121/122 'Bubble Car' DMU) rolling off the assembly line at our other factory. This is the biggest selling model in our 12 years of business and I didn't want to leave anything to chance!
As well as meeting our customers and showing off the latest developments and new products to the press, the Warley show is a great opportunity to press the flesh with our partners. Despite advances in telecommunications, Skype especially, there is nothing like meeting clients face to face. Having missed all that fun I booked myself a ten-day trip to the UK this month and it turned out to be extremely productive. 
Meeting Charlie of DC Kits. We prefer to arm wrestle rather than haggle on price.
I'm wearing a Harris Tweed hat, a lambswool cardigan and brown corduroy bellbottoms.
I need a new fashion consultant.
I covered great swathes of the country in my short time there, often visiting three different towns or cities in one day. I met up with the luminaries behind such operations as Locomotionmodels.com , Model Rail Magazine , BRM, Realtrack Models , Revolution Trains, and Rails of Sheffield. I also managed to fit in a good two days of bus foaming in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
I'll be the first to admit that my bus "foaming" sometimes goes too far!
Approved for production and arriving at an N gauge layout near you later this year!
Photo courtesy Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine. 
Final call for the N Virgin Pendolino - January 31st
We announced our intention to release the N gauge Virgin Pendolino with Revolution Trains way back in November 2014. Just over two years down the road we'd be lying if we said that this has been an easy project to design. After numerous revisions, particularly to the innovative power couplers, we are finally happy to approve this model for production. This means that we will finally close the order book in just a few days' time so we can tell the factory how many models to make! January 31st is the final day but why wait and risk missing out?
As well as the complicated design process, the scale of this project from a production point of view is quite staggering. Our factory will have to assemble around 15,000 individual vehicles that are all different in some way - yes, there are no two cars alike on the Pendolino. Thanks Virgin!
Four different liveries are available and ten different number/name combinations.
However, we are firmly of the opinion that the wait will be more than worthwhile and that this is going to be the most impressive high speed train ever produced in N gauge. That's not just in the UK. We're including Japanese and European N Scale here. None of those swooshy looking Shinkansen 'Bullet Trains' feature the triple whammy of incredible DCC sound, sublime power-connecting close-couplers and realistic full directional and interior lighting.
Don't just take it from us. After the last Revolution/Rapido model, the N VTG TEA tanker, was released in September 2016, we had numerous requests from people that didn't pre-order and had buyer's remorse! We don't intend to make any inventory of the numbers/livery options that are currently announced, plus there will not be a second run of Pendolinos for at least two years - if at all! Get your order in by January 31st.
For UK and Europe orders please click here.
For USA, Canada and Rest of World orders please click here
Revolution Rapido Warley
Ben Ando convinces people to reserve another 10 Pendolinos. Each.
Warley show photo by Terry Wynne.
Warley and our big announcements
Bill, Thomas and Terry reported a successful Warley event and it really helps that we had some exciting new projects to show as well as the latest developments on other models. Having released our first two British models in 2016, the Locomotionmodels.com APT-E and the Revolution Trains N VTG TEA, there was always a little worry in the back of our minds that somehow we'd have modellers of two gauges descend on us with torches, pitchforks and other pointy objects.

We revealed four brand new models at the event with three different partners. Read on for the full details.
ScotRail Saltire Class 156
Photo courtesy Tom Smith.
OO Class 156 DMU with Realtrack Models
The star of the show was undoubtedly the OO gauge Class 156 DMU, which we are producing for Realtrack Models - otherwise known as Charlie Petty of DC Kits and Arran Aird of C=Rail=Intermodal. 114 two-car Class 156s were built between 1987 and 1989 by Metro-Cammell at Washwood Heath (Birmingham) for British Rail. In their three decades of operation they have operated across the Midlands, East Anglia, the North East and West and Scotland.
The award winning Realtrack Models Class 143/144 DMU.
Realtrack's previous DMUs, the Class 143 and Class 144 Pacers were also a product of our design department and we're very proud of them. Don't just take our word for it though as Model Rail Magazine's readers also rated it highly enough to award it Multiple Unit Model of the Year in 2013 and 2014!
Pre-production sample - All those separate parts!

Pre-production sample - Can you find the motor?

Pre-production sample - Designed for sound.
The Class 156 builds on this and features a level of underframe detail unprecedented in ready-to-run 4mm scale. A 3D scan of the real thing was undertaken in winter 2015 and several site surveys followed to ensure that every detail of the body and chassis could be accurately depicted in model form. 

The first release will represent units running from the early 2000s to the present day but the modular tooling allows for numerous body and equipment variations including original and refurbished seating, original and disabled toilet, plain and ribbed inner ends, various roof details such as RETB, GPS and NRN aerials, and sanding equipment.
First ScotRail Barbie colours on the Class 156.
Photo courtesy Tom Smith. 
The model also features a high standard of DCC lighting with working orange door warning lights as well as switchable day/night headlights, customisable tail lights for running in consists or stabled in stations, cab interior light and full interior and destination board illumination. 

Rapido's "prototype first" attitude to design is evident in the completely hidden motor which correctly drives from the actual engine compartment to the inner bogie only on both cars. Etched metal details include a great looking exhaust guard and windscreen wipers.
Five variations of the Class 156 will made available in the first run, as follows:
ScotRail 'Saltire' livery
156445 with Abellio branding
- Dual English/Gaelic logos & Glasgow Queen Street/Fort William destinations
156494 with First Group branding
- English 'Scotland's Railway' logos and Glasgow Central/Newcastle destinations
First ScotRail 'Barbie' livery
156453 First Group
- With Glasgow Central/Edinburgh destinations
156467 First Group
- With Glasgow Queen Street/Oban destinations
156477 with Abellio branding
- Debranded ex-First Group unit with Glasgow Central/East Kilbride destinations
Each number has unique livery elements and will be produced in strictly limited numbers. A total of just 1,000 pieces across all five versions will be produced. Realtrack Models are reporting strong pre-orders for the Class 156 so to be sure to guarantee your model please place your order now.
EWS Construction HOA hopper - a great looking wagon.
N HOA Hopper with Revolution Trains
After the success of the N VTG TEA it was inevitable that Revolution Trains would want to keep the momentum going and reveal a third wagon in the smaller scale with us at the Warley show. 
The eventual choice, the HOA bogie hopper, somewhat chose itself. Not only does Revolution have the TF25 bogie in its tooling bank but the HOA is operated by three of the largest aggregates companies in the UK, CRH Tarmac and the Hanson/Aggregates Industries joint venture Mendip Rail. They are also in service with DB Cargo, previously DB Schenker and EWS Construction.
Several DB (ex-EWS) examples now wear DB Schenker red.
Like the modern VTG TEA, these wagons have been a staple of the British railway scene since the early 2000s and they can be seen working across the UK, primarily from Peak Forest in Derbyshire, Mountsorrel in Leicestershire and from Merehead and Whatley quarries in Somerset. 
The Mendip Rail wagons, delivered from 2016, have bogie-mounted brake handwheels.
Two versions will be produced, the original EWS design (later adopted by Tarmac) and the Mendip Rail version. The latter has the brake handwheel repositioned to the bogies. The HOA will also be available in five liveries: EWS Construction, Cemex, DB Schenker, Ermewa/Tarmac and VTG/Mendip Rail. Single and triple-packs are also on the cards allowing modellers to build up an accurate train quickly.
Five liveries will be produced in the first run.
The response at Warley to the news was well above expectations and Ben Ando and Mike Hale also had to fight off enthusiastic OO gauge modellers pleading for a 4mm scale version once the word had got out! Revolution are taking expressions of interest until January 31st and then they will start to accept pre-orders.

A final decision on a OO gauge version will be made when the OO VTG TEA tanker has been released.

OO J70 0-6-0T Tram Engine with Model Rail Magazine
An LNER J70 tram engine at Wisbech c1935.
Photo courtesy Rail Archive Stephenson.
Revealing a new British partner is always a happy experience and we're very proud to begin our association with Model Rail Magazine with Project J70. We're still somewhat surprised to find that there has never been a high quality model of the famous J70 0-6-0T Tram Engine and we think it is a fantastic choice with the perfect level of quirkiness to appeal to a wide selection of modellers.
There's another reason why we think this model has great potential. While the J70s are well known for their work on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway in Cambridgeshire, as well as employment on East Anglian dock branches, the class was truly immortalized in popular culture as "Toby the Tram Engine" by the Rev. W Awdry of "Thomas the Tank Engine" fame. We're already making "Emily" (the GNR Stirling Single) so we were more than happy to continue the theme!

As we don't have the rights to produce Toby, we thought we'd make this instead: 
Rapido Toby J70
No caption needed.
As for the real locomotives, they were originally constructed by the Great Eastern Railway at Stratford Works between 1903 and 1921 as class 'C53'. Just 12 locomotives were built in several small batches, the fleet passing to the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) on the 1923 Grouping. 11 transferred to British Railways ownership during Nationalisation in 1948, one example having been withdrawn in 1942. All but two of the class survived in service into the 1950s with the final J70 being withdrawn in 1955.
With their unconventional appearance, Model Rail initially began by asking for expressions of interest in this project. Happily, the locomotive has proved to be a success with the magazine's readers and with the research into the J70 now well down the road we're almost finished the 2D design on this unique locomotive.
GER 0-6-0 Tram engine No. 137 at Stratford Works, East London.
Photo courtesy A.W. Croughton / Rail Archive Stephenson.
Their use on the GER's various "tramway" systems necessitated the use of sideplates and cowcatchers. They did run without these and, subject to the design process, we intend to release the models in this condition with the working Walschaerts valve gear exposed. Other key detail differences will also be covered.
All four liveries that these locomotives are known to have worn will be offered: Great Eastern Railway (GER), London & Northern Eastern Railway (LNER), early British Railways (lettering only) and British Railways with early emblem.
Northern Rail Class 142.
OO Class 142 DMU with Realtrack Models
As well as the Class 156, Realtrack Models and Rapido revealed plans to produce the BREL-Leyland Class 142 DMU at the NEC event. The classic 'Pacer', 'Skipper' or - less charitably - 'Nodding Donkey' will feature a similar detail specification to the Class 143/144 albeit with upgrades to bring it closer in line with the Class 156.
The Class 142 will also feature fully modular tooling allowing early (four-leaf) and late (two-leaf) doors, both roof types (with three or ten ribs), two roof pod styles, and our usual super-detailed underframe with piping and a crazy amount of separately-applied parts!
A 'Skipper' in GWR-inspired chocolate and cream colours.
Photo courtesy Graeme Phillips. 
The first two liveries are expected to be Northern Rail & chocolate/cream 'Skipper'. Price is yet to be set and delivery is planned for 2018.
The surviving Prototype HST Power Car No. 41001.
Prototype HST gets a caution signal
I have news about the Prototype HST Power Car project being produced in partnership with Locomotionmodels.com. When I was in Shildon this month, we sat down together and had a detailed look at the finances of the HSDT project. Due to the drop of the value of the pound and its continuing instability, we feel that the Prototype HST model is not financially viable at present.  

The project has not been cancelled, but like several mainline electrification projects in the UK it has been 'paused' for the time being. I know this will be enormously disappointing for my fellow modern-image modellers, but the realities of the economic situation can't be avoided.  
Stay tuned to future newsletters for more information about this project.  
OO gauge TEA Rapido
Here's a pre-production sample of the EWS/Freightliner OO TEA tank wagon.
To use a Canadian expression - that's a beauty goal, eh?
New Revolution samples - N KFA and OO TEA
Note the differences in discharge pipes, brake cylinder, piping and brake equipment framing.
Arriving just days before the Warley show were the first factory assembled samples of the Revolution Trains OO VTG TEA tanker. These models are probably the most detailed wagons ever in OO gauge and will be produced in five different variations. Their high specification includes etched metal walkways, finely moulded TF25 bogies with brake blocks in line with the wheels, two end ladder styles, three manway types and four different underframe configurations.
This is N gauge!
Comparison of bogie types: VNH1 on the left, GPS on the right.
Meanwhile, the N KFA container flat shows a similar attention to detail. The samples just missed the Warley show but we now have them and for a first sample we're very impressed. There are two versions, with Sambre-et-Meuse VNH1 bogies (body mounted brake handwheels) or Gloucester GPS bogies (bogie mounted brake handwheels). Being first samples there is still some work to do on these to improve the way they look and run but overall we're satisfied with them.
The Rapido Trains / Locomotionmodels.com APT-E.
It's award season so vote for us!
It is that time of year again. Time to vote in on-line polls for the best and brightest of the UK model railway market.

We have no shame and I don't mind begging. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote for us! We have a chance to make APT-E the Model of the Year. If all 23 of our newsletter subscribers vote for us, it could make a difference.



Please vote for us as OO gauge manufacturer of the year. Our goal is to be number three, behind Bachmann and Hornby. We'll never supplant the big two, so please keep repeating this mantra to yourself as you head to the polls:


Isn't that catchy? 

Voting is currently taking place for two different sets of awards, a joint BRM/RMWeb poll and also Model Rail Magazine's version. You can vote in both by using the links below:
BRM/RM Web - Click here 
Model Rail - Click here
Our N gauge VTG TEA wagon for Revolution Trains.
We also put a lot of love into the Revolution Trains N gauge VTG TEA wagon. This would make an excellent N gauge Model of the Year as well!

And please vote for Revolution Trains as N gauge manufacturer of the year! We're on our knees, begging you, with puppy-dog eyes.

BRM/RM Web -  Click here 
Model Rail -  Click here

(As I said, no shame. You can add "no class" to that as well.) 
Rapido and Revolution at York in March 2016.
Come see us in 2017
Although I'm only just back from the UK we're already looking forward to our next visit across the Atlantic. With a growing number of products in development for British modellers we're hoping to increase the number of opportunities you have to meet us.
Your next chance to chat to Rapido will be the York Show over the Easter weekend April 15th-17th. Product design legend Bill Schneider and warranty repair specialist Thomas Blampied will be representing us and they will be happy to shoot the breeze about pretty much anything. Of course all of Rapido's British office staff will be there as well. That would be my old friend (and retired BR employee) Terry Wynne. Our UK office is his kitchen table.

If all goes well we'll also be showing off the first samples of the Locomotionmodels.com Stirling Single, which promises to be every bit as exciting a release as the APT-E.
Buy direct with confidence!
Buy our North American models direct from us
We don't want to talk too much about our North American models in these newsletters. We know you're here for the British stuff. However, one thing Warley taught us was that there are a lot of Rapido customers in the UK that find it impossible to get hold of our North American models like the F40PH and RDC-1. We have an answer for that!
You can order your Rapido US and Canadian models direct from us. There is no VAT added and no duty or fees. The quoted shipping cost is all you pay and we'll deliver direct to your door using Parcelforce.
Rapido Bus
We love buses so much we bought one to play with.
3D Scan Party Number THREE! 
I have managed to obtain an exit visa from my wife, Sidura, to return to the UK in July 2017. I'm coming for two reasons. Firstly - and of course the most important - is that I've signed up to drive a trolleybus for a day at the Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum. Woo-hoo!

The real reason for my visit is Rapido will be hosting its third 3D scan party, and you are invited! The last two scan parties were held at Locomotion Shildon and were a great success. We haven't finalized the details yet, but it is tentatively planned for Sunday 16 July. The location - much nearer to London than Shildon - is as yet still a secret. But I can tell you that.... we're scanning a BUS!

Yes, Rapido is getting into the classic British bus model market. Our 1/87 New Look bus has taken the North American model vehicle market by storm. We intend to do the same to the British model bus market with our first 1/76 offering.

Here's a picture of me in the cab of Peter Crichton's preserved RM1152:
RM1152 Jason bus
Some people have questioned the bus thing. Why is Rapido getting into buses? Aren't they a model train manufacturer?

Rapido is a company focused on recreating our passions in model form. And many of us at Rapido are passionate about all kinds of public transport and not just trains. I recently fulfilled my life-long dream of purchasing a classic bus. When I was 18 I was one of half a dozen bidders for retired Toronto buses, but as I only had $2,000 to my name it wasn't going to happen. Though I did have a fun day crawling all over the buses in the Toronto Transit Commission's Hillcrest yard.

(At 18 I had planned to drive a classic TTC bus across Canada. 33 years later, I finally drove a classic TTC bus across Canada. More about that in the next newsletter...)

I'm willing to bet that more than half of all the steam-era model railways in the UK have classic buses on bridges over the tracks or at stations. That's because we all have a soft spot for classic buses. They are pretty much classic trains on tyres... Same design principles, many of the same builders, same feeling of nostalgia.

Well, it's about time those classic buses on your layout had the same level of detail as the Rapido models on your layout!

We don't intend to be a major player in the bus market. We just plan to do a model or two a year. But they will be models that will knock your socks off. I look forward to seeing you in July...  
All the best,
Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.
Rapido Trains Inc. | 1-855-LRC-6917 | www.rapidotrains.com