Dear Rapido Customer,
Welcome to the new model railroading year! I have lots of news for you including project updates as well as a (sort of) brand new locomotive!
In this issue of the Telegraph:
- Rapido's order fulfillment policy
- Rapido Express: (Almost) completely new locomotives!
- Big update on The Canadian
- New *exclusive* CN Pointe St. Charles caboose
- New *exclusive* Union Pacific sleeping car
- Upcoming order deadline - three weeks away!
- Update on the (real) LRC Locomotive
- N scale passenger cars arriving this week!
- We want more N scale!!!!
- Serendipitous travels
Rapido's order fulfillment policy
The Osgood Bradley coaches and Wide-Vision cabooses we've shipped over the last few months are the first Rapido products to arrive since we started our "made to order" policy. Consequently, we've received quite a few emails along the lines of "I had my order in a year ago and my dealer didn't get me any!"
For those of you in this situation, I am truly sorry. You played by the rules and you were let down. I'd like to go on the record to state that Rapido never short ships its customers. That means: if we have orders for 1000 pieces before the deadline, we will make all 1000 pieces and deliver them to the distributors that ordered them.
If you are a customer and your dealer did not get you the cars you wanted, he was probably short shipped by his distributor. Before ditching your dealer for someone else, speak to him about it and find out what happened. Do not assume the worst of your dealer - it most likely was not his fault at all. However, if it happens again, you might want to try a different dealer...
Dealers: If you are an American or international dealer and you did not get all of the cars that you dutifully ordered before the deadline, then please order our products from a different distributor in future. We are distributed in the United States and internationally by:
Canadian dealers get Rapido products direct from us.
We want everyone who ordered a Rapido product before its order deadline to get the product they ordered. I do apologize to any of you who were let down by the system.
(Almost) completely new HO scale locomotives!
After our recent announcement of Osgood Bradley coaches decorated for the Long Island Railroad, we were absolutely amazed by the level of the response. Apparently a LOT of you model the Long Island!
After receiving my third order for a gazillion (i.e. more than 11) Long Island coaches, I looked around the office and said "Right! What else can we do in Long Island?" Darren Altbaum, owner of True Line Trains and fellow tennant of 445 Edgeley Boulevard, pointed out that his C-Liner model was owned by Long Island. I then very politely asked, "can we borrow it?" And, happily, Darren agreed.
Thus Rapido Express was born.
We have leased Darren's tooling for the HO scale Fairbanks-Morse C-liner locomotive, and we're making some modifications to it in order to bring you an almost-new model of this unique locomotive. Have a look-see:
Well, Bill was pumped with this almost sort-of new idea, even when he found out that the Long Island dumped the C-Liners the same year they painted their Osgood Bradley cars in the "Dashing Dan" scheme. D'oh! Anyway, he mentioned another northeastern railroad that owned these things, so after a few calls and emails back and forth with Rick Abramson and John Pryke, we've decided to do the New Haven as well!
The first releases in this series will be the HO scale 5-axle CPA20-5 and CPA24-5 locomotives for the Long Island Railroad and the New York, New Haven and Hartford.
The Rapido Express 5-Axle C-Liner will feature all new artwork and decoration with correct side grilles and the correct number of fans on the roof. It will also feature added road specific details such as grab irons and brass horns. As an Express model based on existing tooling, it will not have the same insane level of prototype-specific detail as our all-new FP9, but it will be better than a kick in the teeth.
Six locomotive numbers will be available, with or without sound. Sound-equipped units will utilize Soundtrax Tsunami decoders. All locomotives will feature all-wheel pick up and drive as well as Rapido's new 5-pole motor for smooth operation and superior pulling power. Did I mention it will have the correct number of fans on the roof? I'll tell you again, just for fun: it will have the correct number of fans on the roof!
These locomotives will be produced strictly to order so get your reservations in today! If they are successful, we have other paint schemes planned. Hopefully we can sell more than 7.
So what do they cost?
The MSRP is $289.95 (sound), $169.95 (silent). The order deadline is December 15th, 2010. Click here to visit the Rapido Express web page.
Big update on The Canadian
The question we get asked second-most often is: when will The Canadian be ready? Here's the story behind The Canadian and why it's not out yet.
The Canadian was HEPed in 1992, which means that it was converted from steam heat and Genemotor/battery power to head-end power. This involved basically taking a #17 chisel blade to the underbodies and scraping them clean. So we couldn't measure or photograph the prototype, with the exception of one Park Car preserved at Exporail.
We had to work from blueprints. It took almost a year to get these from Bombardier - they had been sitting uncatalogued in a warehouse in Mississauga. Thankfully we have a good friend at Bombardier who managed to get them for us.
But then our troubles really began. Budd had a separate blueprint for every component. We had to hire a draftsman - the great Patrick Lawson - to compile hundreds of blueprints into coherent drawings that our engineers from China could work from. That took about six months.
Finally, the factory started work on the underbody equipment. (When was that? February? I've lost track!) And guess what? After six months or so, we're almost finished. This has been the most complex project we've ever undertaken. We've had to access countless Car Builder Cyclopedias and other sources because the blueprints referred to every component by its number rather than illustrate it. We could have left this stuff off like everyone else does, but then it wouldn't be a Rapido product. More on that below.
To date, there have been more than 3000 hours of work put into this project in Toronto, Connecticut, Victoria and Dongguan. There are just a few more pipes to tweak, a few more bits of steel to bend into shape, and some rivets and other surface details to correct.
Too much detail?
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a dealer who was upset about the late delivery of The Canadian. He told me that if I left off all of the extra detail that nobody cares about anyway, I could have had the train out by now. His exact words were that it should just be "good enough" like the other passenger train models out there.
Sorry, but that's not how Bill, Dan and I work. To date, Rapido Trains Inc. is the only manufacturer in the world to bring out passenger car models with complete underbody detail. The stuff under a passenger car is what actually made the car function as a passenger car. To represent that equipment by just a few blobs of plastic does a disservice to the history of these fine pieces of industrial and transportation engineering. Would a model of the Jaguar E-Type be complete without a representation of its classic XK6 engine? Obviously not.
Yes, we could have brought out the model a year early if we had left off all of the underbody piping, valves, regulators, etc. But model railroaders have been waiting 56 years for this model. What makes more sense: bring out a barely-detailed, "good enough" model of Canada's most famous train in 2010 or an exquisitely-detailed model in 2011? Are model railroaders really so impatient that they would rather spend the same dollar on a substandard model now than a perfect model a year later? I didn't think so either.
Timeline and Cross-Canada Tour
We will finally start cutting the underbody tools in two months' time, which means we'll have plated, pre-production samples of all seven car styles of The Canadian ready in the spring (the CP FP9 and F9B samples will take a little longer).
I will personally be taking these pre-production samples of The Canadian on a cross-Canada tour (by train, of course!) from Halifax to Vancouver in late spring/early summer 2011. Only after everyone has seen the actual model will we close the order desk for The Canadian and take deposits from dealers.
At this time we are about 60% sold out of our 2000-train run. I expect we will still have availability following the tour, so dealers and modellers alike will have the chance to see the model in person before finalizing their orders. A delivery date of late 2011 is a real possibility for the only true model of The Canadian ever produced. After three years of hard work, it's finally coming together.
Full information on The Canadian is available here. Thanks everyone for your patience. To whet your appetite, here are a few production drawings.
Other manufacturers have made a good effort to hide the seam on the roof where the top of the mold joins the sides - this is called the mold parting line. Anything on the top of the part can only have details that go up and down, and anything on the sides can only have details that go out to the side. Have a look at the extremely simplified diagram below to see what I mean.
This of course makes doing a good model of the Budd roof very difficult, as the Philadelphia-based manufacturer had no such constraints when designing its stainless steel roof. Bill and Huang have beautifully hidden the mold parting line between two ribs on the roof, subtly changing the contour so that it is not obvious without a microscope where this mold parting line is hidden. Have a look below. Please note that in the image, the curve of the roof profile is represented by straight lines - this is just our 3D viewing software. The roof curve will actually be smooth.
Another tricky detail is the corrugation profile. It's more than just a bunch of bumps, as you can see below.
It's the little things that make a Rapido model stand out, like the Genemotor. The Genemotor is the axle-driven generator that supplies The Canadian with 110V DC power. It charges the batteries which supply the air conditioning, lighting and PA system.
The Genemotor is connected to a junction box. This junction box is not in the same location on every car. I wanted to model the cables connecting the Genemotor with the junction box, so we have tooled the Genemotor in two parts: the body and the end with cables. That way, we can show the cables entering the junction box correctly for each car. Yes, I am completely bonkers.
But seriously, this level of detail is possible in the 21st century. Why is it completely unacceptable to leave a single pipe off a freight car model but underneath a passenger car it is still accepted to omit almost everything? Can you imagine a new model boxcar coming out with no brake gear? It would be ripped to shreds on the online forums in five minutes. But most passenger car models don't even have the steam trainline, which is a massive, 6-inch wide insulated pipe! As a passenger car fan, modeller and one-time owner, I have a real problem with this. And that is why I will not settle for a "good enough" model of a passenger car.
And, finally, a couple of neat details just because we can. Manufacturers often talk about "see-through" grills and fans on their diesels. Well, we've got see-though detail on our.... condenser. I know, it's not as sexy as a diesel fan. But it's just as important! There are nine parts in our Trane AC compressor/condenser unit alone... Talk about certifiable. Certifiably nuts, that is.
And this image will warm the heart of anyone with a bit of maple syrup in his veins... check out the Canadian Car & Foundry logo on the truck!
I hope you have enjoyed this preview of The Canadian. As I mentioned above, we start cutting the underbody tools in just two months and we'll have fully assembled samples in the spring. Full information including pricing and product numbers can be found here.
New *exclusive* CN Pointe St. Charles caboose
For the last few months we have been advertising (in this newsletter and in our print ads) that we will be happy to do custom runs of our products, from a simple custom paint scheme to an all-new project. In this difficult economic climate, custom all-new projects are a way for models to be produced that normally would not be profitable as a general release. As a manufacturer that sells to distributors, I have to base the profitability of any project on just 45% of the retail price. But hobby shops and historical societies can base their profitability on the full retail price, which means they need to sell half as many models to be profitable!
We are pleased to announce that CMT has commissioned us to produce a super-detailed model of CN's unique Pointe St. Charles caboose in HO scale.
An initial run of 12 road numbers has been announced:
- #122001 - 79376
- #122002 - 79401
- #122003 - 79422
- #122004 - 79459
- #122005 - 79485
- #122006 - 79503
- #122007 - 79524
- #122008 - 79587
- #122009 - 79613
- #122010 - 79690
- #122011 - 79755
- #122012 - 79798
- #122013 - No #
Full information about the new Pointe St. Charles caboose (or "van" in Canuck terms) can be found on CMT's web site - click here. This is a CMT project (they are financing it from start to finish), so it is only available from them.
Unique prototypes like the CN Pointe St. Charles caboose are a perfect candidate for a custom project. If you are involved in a historical society, club or store and you would like to commission a custom project from Rapido, please feel free to give me a shout! From a simple accessory to a complete train, we can work with you to create that model railroad product you have always wanted.
We are also a supplier to other manufacturers. If you are a manufacturer and your supplier overseas is letting you down, please visit our OEM web site: Maytex-Rapido. We can provide the quality and detail that you want at competitive prices. We already have clients on three continents and we're growing all the time! New projects are our specialty.
New *exclusive* Union Pacific sleeping car
Speaking of exclusives, here's another one for you!
I am delighted to announce a new, exclusive run of our HO scale 6-4-6 sleeper painted in Union Pacific colors for Horizon Hobby.
Union Pacific's National series 6-4-6 sleepers were a common sight on its various City of... transcontinental trains from 1955 onward, and the Rapido model is the first to come close to this unique design. This car is a vital addition to your existing UP streamliner models. Let your UP passengers travel in style! Full information about our model can be found here.
There are six sleeper names to choose from:
We are making these cars at the same time as our forthcoming Wabash 6-4-6 sleepers, so that means the order deadline is just around the corner! To guarantee delivery, please reserve these with your dealers by October 1st.
- #113093 NATIONAL BORDER
- #113094 NATIONAL EMBASSY
- #113095 NATIONAL FRONTIER
- #113096 NATIONAL PROGRESS
- #113097 NATIONAL SHORES
- #113098 NATIONAL VIEW
Dealers can order these beautiful models directly from Horizon Hobby. That includes dealers in Canada. Full information can be found here.
Upcoming order deadline - three weeks away!
In addition to the UP 6-4-6 sleepers mentioned above, October 1st is the final order deadline for our other Pullman-Standard Post-War 6-4-6 Sleepers and our Pullman-Standard Grill-Parlors. Please reserve with your dealer by the 1st to ensure you don't miss these.
Update on the (real) LRC Locomotive
Congratulations to everyone who contributed their time and money to the Save the LRC campaign! With the help of donations from almost 90 individuals, the Toronto Railway Historical Association managed to complete the purchase of LRC locomotive #6917 from VIA Rail Canada!
Now the TRHA is raising funds to move the LRC to a local shortline where it will be fully restored to operation, likely within a year or two. Eventually it will be moved to the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre at the John Street Roundhouse. The TRHA needs your help to cover the costs of painting the locomotive and restoring it to operation. It just received a full inspection and the diagnosis is good, though it may need a new traction motor. Please click here to visit the LRC campaign web site and please spread the word around.
N scale passenger cars arriving this week!
It's about time! Our second batch of N scale Panorama Line passenger cars starts to arrive this week. Expected are:
These are sold out at Rapido, but some dealers may have availability. Please click here for product features, product numbers and car numbers.
- Algoma Central
- Canadian Pacific
- Delaware and Hudson
- Illinois Central
- Louisville & Nashville
- Ontario Northland
We want more N scale!!!!
I mentioned earlier that the question we are asked second-most often is "when is The Canadian going to be ready?" The question we are asked most often is "are you doing that in N scale?" In fact, some of the emails we've received have been quite angry when there is no N scale news.
We have had four new N scale projects in the works for the last couple of years. But guess what happened? The economy collapsed. Though there are no official figures available, I would wager that the total sales of the model railroad industry in the United States is down by 50% or more. We've all had to roll with the punches. For example, in 2007 I vowed never to do another exclusive project, and now I embrace them as an alternative means of bringing goods to market. Why? You guessed it - the economy.
All of the projects we have announced in the last year or more were started back in 2008 and early 2009 before the full effect of the economic crisis was felt. Because sales are down, there is a list of several projects we have had to put on hold, and just by the luck of timing that list has a lot of N scale products in it.
So please rest assured that we do indeed have more N scale passenger cars planned, not to mention a well-known gas turbine powered high-speed train, but these projects (along with several HO scale ones) will have to wait a bit longer until things pick up before we can get serious about them. The money has to come from somewhere, and, despite my best wishes, I still do not have a sugar daddy...
Another summer and another trip for the family on board The Canadian. We use it like the local milk run, Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Toronto. I guess my kids just take it for granted that the way we get to Grandma and Grandpa's house just happens to be on board one of the world's most famous streamliners. VIA is very generous with its reward points: because of my regular travels to and from Montreal, the four of us travelled in the Drawing Room in the Park Car on board The Canadian for less than the cost of one ticket. (Click here to visit the VIA Preference web site.)
When I saw my son working in his "yard," I was reminded of my first train trips between Toronto and Montreal on board the Turbo. We would make strings of cardboard trains 10-feet long in the aisle, much to the chagrin of my fellow passengers. A person's love of trains is cemented early on in life, but they won't get it just from watching Thomas. Last issue I discussed the benefits of taking the train rather than just being a "fan." If you are concerned about the long-term future of our hobby, think about taking your grandkids on the train (or your kids, for the three guys reading this who still have young kids). Light the spark in them when they are young. Sure, they won't even think about model trains between the ages of 10 and 35, but once that spark has been lit it remains there forever. Maybe your grandkid will be the next BLMA or Rapido Trains - successful model train manufacturers started by young guys who have always loved trains.
While on our Manitoba travels this summer, we headed down into the beautiful Brainerd Lakes region of Minnesota. On the way back, we were driving through Fargo and we spotted what looked very much like an ex-CN/VIA passenger car. It was only a glimpse, but I was pretty sure those were 41-BNO-11 trucks and the roof vents looked extremely familiar.
It was pouring with rain and we were on a tight schedule, but I could not miss the opportunity. My wife wanted to do some shopping at Target (you Americans are so lucky to have Target!) so the kids and I had a bit of time on our hands. We drove back downtown and, once the rain stopped, we got out to get a closer look. And what do you know - a beautifully preserved CN passenger car was indeed sitting on a piece of track by the old station....
Yes, I know I have a Genemotor obsession. By keeping our eyes open (Boaz spotted the car first!) and having a little flexibility of schedule, we had the serendipitous experience of photographing the underbody of a passenger car that I would love to model one day. There are hidden gems like this all over the United States and Canada. I have no plans to model this particular car, but I might one day - and when that day comes I will have everything I need. The moral of the story is: leave your wife at Target.
I'm sure I've forgotten something. Oh yes - the link last issue to the catalogs page on our web site now works. Click here to read our catalogs and laugh at our unrealistic delivery dates.
Thanks for sticking with us.
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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