Rapido UK Newsletter No. 27
©2023 Rapido Trains Ltd
Dear Rapido Customer,

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2023.

We’d hoped that we’d put all the challenges from last year - dropped pallets and faulty voltage regulators - behind us. As we neared the end of 2022, things looked pretty rosy: the ‘N’ gauge Class 28s and ‘Conflat Ps’ arrived and the ‘OO’ gauge Hunslets and VIX ferry vans were imminent, with the ‘Iron Minks’ and GWR four-planks close behind.

Sadly, that feeling did not last long.

Firstly, the ‘28s’ and ‘Conflats’ have suffered from some niggling QC issues. More seriously is a fault that has affected the DCC ‘28s’. And while the Hunslets have now arrived, the VIX, the ‘Minks’ and the four-planks have suffered from shipping delays. Mercifully, at the time of writing, the latter were due to arrive today.

The first few weeks of 2023 have probably been the most challenging that Rapido UK has ever faced.

The good news is that all the Dynamometer Cars that were in the warehouse have been fitted with new PCBs and despatched. If you haven’t sent yours back yet, please fill in this form and we’ll do the rest. Andy, Steve, Warranty Dan, Jamie, Chris and Matt all deserve the biggest collective pat on the back for pulling out all the stops to complete this mammoth task.

What this has meant is that the Customer Service and Warranty in-boxes have been a bit neglected. Again, Steve and Dan have worked like blazes to clear both and, at the time of writing, both in-boxes are back to manageable levels. But we apologise if you've been waiting for a reply to your e-mail (we also apologise if you’ve been trying to reach us by phone too).

ANDY: Also, Dan was hoping to take some better pictures of the ‘Jones Goods’ samples for this newsletter but simply ran out of time. We promise we’ll have something for the next issue.

RICHARD: So, with the house-keeping out of the way, let’s see what the first newsletter of 2023 has in store:

  • Vote for your favourite Rapido UK model
  • Things in colour
  • Factory update
  • Class 28 & Conflat update
  • The decoder problem
  • Order deadline reminder
  • Fleetline order deadline reminder
  • Dan in Railway Modeller
  • It’s birthday time!

  • Where are we appearing next?

Shall we get on with it then?
Vote now for Rapido Trains UK

We're delighted to announce that FOUR Rapido Trains UK products have made the shortlist for Model Rail's Model of the Year 2022 competition.

We have four wagons in the 'OO' Gauge Freight Stock category:

We think all four have a good chance of winning. But you have the final say and the only way to make your voice heard is to vote now.

Not only that but we've also made the shortlist for:
'OO' Gauge Manufacturer of the Year
Overall Manufacturer of the Year

Now that is exciting!

You can click here to cast your votes. Final voting takes place on February 16th and everyone who votes will be entered into what Model Rail calls a "bumper prize draw".

Once you've voted, hurry back here!
No, this is not a model but one of Linny's coloured renders. Isn't it fantastic - and isn't the finished model going to look stunning? This one is No. 155 Brenner in Stroudley 'Improved Engine Green' (936002).
Stuff in colour!

We're always looking to improve every aspect of the business, no matter how small the subject.

When we started, we'd generally announce a new product with some images taken from the CAD files. But the CAD system is a tool and the resulting images always looked a bit messy. That's why we started to generate renders, which make the CAD images look solid and the result is far better aesthetically.

Then CAD Designer Linny popped up with an idea: what about coloured renders? Good idea, we said. Always game for a challenge, Linny, Corwin and the team went off... and came up with these.

Aren't they stunning?!

As an LBSCR enthusiast, Linny naturally chose the 'E1' as the coloured render guinea pig but they've also tackled the Wisbech & Upwell coaches and the Bedford OB too.

We couldn't resist showing off their work here. They've now gone off for a well-earned cuppa!
Before: The multicoloured CAD image is what we see when designing new models while the grey image to the right is a 'standard' render from the CAD file.
After: This is a render but with colour added. Makes a huge difference doesn't it? Bet you can't resist ordering No. 2151 in Southern black now?
Makes you feel that the model is right there and you can reach out and touch it. Sadly, it's not quite that advanced yet but the good news is that the design work is finished so don't delay and get your order in today.
We couldn't resist showing you a coloured render of one of the Wisbech & Upwell tramcars. This one is in GER brown and thus only available in our special packs but LNER, BR and preserved and 'Titfield' versions are available separately.
This isn't a coloured render... Warranty Dan created this LMS Dia. 1666 open wagon the old fashioned way, using paint and decals. Looks smashing, though, doesn't it? Remember, there are 15 Dia. 1666s to choose from in LMS bauxite, BR grey and BR Departmental liveries as well as the LMS grey you can see here. You can order yours from your local Rapido UK stockist or direct by clicking here.
Our 'N' gauge 'Conflat Ps' look great but we're had a greater number of quality control issues than we would have liked. Read on to find out what to do if yours have been affected.
Class 28 and ‘Conflat Ps’

We are aware that both the Class 28s and the ‘Conflat Ps’ have been affected by a number of quality control issues. All model trains are hand assembled and, therefore, you can always expect that a few models to have received an overzealous use of glue or some less than careful handling of the pliers. The assembly workers are only human and not perfect.

So, what are we doing about it?

It’s been usual practice for members of the Rapido Inc team to visit China and help oversee production, thus nipping potential problems in the bud while the models are being assembled. Obviously, with all the travel restrictions imposed by Covid, this has been impossible in the last few years.

However, now that the borders have re-opened, Mohan George, Rapido Inc’s electronics guru - and Rapido UK’s newest director by the way - will be heading out to China to spend time working with the factories to tighten up on their QC procedures.

This should result in a marked improvement in the fit and finish of our models so that when you buy a Rapido UK model, you know you’re getting the quality that the Rapido name demands.

That clearly doesn’t help if you’ve ended up with a duff Class 28 or ‘Conflat’ wagon. If you haven’t already, click on this link, fill in the form and we will be in touch as soon as possible to arrange a repair or advise how you go about getting a replacement.
Working out what was causing an issue with our DCC-fitted Class 28s has not only taxed the brains of Rapido's electronics guru Mohan but also engineers from decoder supplier ESU. Read on to find out more...
And now a decoder issue…

We’re also aware of a number of DCC decoder failures in the Class 28. Not only did Mohan fly over from Canada to help carry out an investigation but ESU engineers have flown over from Germany too. Extensive testing revealed that a faulty component had been fitted to the decoder, which causes its complete failure.

If your model has been affected, please fill in the Warranty form on our website and we’ll arrange to get your model repaired.

What we don’t yet know is if the same component has been fitted to the decoders in our ‘OO’ gauge Hunslet 0-6-0STs. These have arrived in our warehouse.

We will not be able to find out the answer to this question until ESU’s Chinese factory re-opens on February 6th. So, because the issue does not affect DC/non-sound fitted Hunslets, we have started to despatch these models. We will hold back sound-fitted Hunslets until we can confirm with ESU whether or not the decoders in these models have come from the same production batch as the Class 28.

We apologise to customers who have ordered sound-fitted models. We know that you’re anxious to get your hands on these models and we thank you for your patience while we continue to investigate this issue.
The 'OO' gauge Hunslets are now in stock. We have started to despatch these models if they're not fitted with a decoder. Sadly, if you've ordered a sound-fitted model, yours will be delayed while we find out if the decoder is ok.
If you were open to those, then you’ll be open to these... the LMS Dia. 1666 takes it place amongst our GWR four-plank and SECR seven- and two-plank opens. Order deadline for the '1666s' is February 6th 2023.
Order deadline reminder

We are pleased to announce that if you’re still making up your mind to order one of our fantastic models, then we’ve given you a bit of extra time to do so… but not much time!

The order deadline for the following models is now February 6th 2023:
UK937: 'OO' gauge LMS Diagram 1666 five-plank opens
UK953: 'OO' gauge Wisbech & Upwell Tram Packs, containing one 'J70' locomotive and two W&U coaches in Great Eastern Railway livery.
UK919: Wisbech & Upwell coaches Nos. 7 and 8 in LNER and BR liveries as well as No. 8 in preserved condition and No. 7 as it starred in The Titfield Thunderbolt (SKU922003).
UK920: Bedford OB coaches with Duple Vista body (1947-1949 body shape, 1949-1951 body and the 1949-1951 shape but with roof windows) as well as GAM338 as it starred in The Titfield Thunderbolt (SKU920001). Please note that this coloured render includes some erroneous details.

You can order any of these products from your local Rapido UK stockist or direct from our website.

We will also keep these ‘Expressions of Interest’ open until February 6th too. If you’d like to see any of these projects become a reality, we urge you to make your voice heard by clicking on the following links:
919005/006: ‘OO’ gauge Wisbech & Upwell tramcars in BR lined maroon livery as E60461 and E60462. Click here to register your Expression of Interest.
914007: ‘OO’ gauge HR ‘Big Goods’ No. 57925 in BR lined black. Click here to register your Expression of Interest.
UK916, our proposed ‘O’ gauge take on the LNER ‘J70’ tram locomotive. Click here to register your Expression of Interest.
While guillotining a model bus might be the sort of thing we'd do in a Rapido video, this image has a serious undertone: if you don't want us to chop model buses from our range, you have to act NOW and order one of our new batch of Fleetlines.
Order your Fleetline

We’ve also extended the order deadline for our second batch of WMPTE Fleetlines until February 6th.

Orders for these models have been disappointing, to say the least.

We had a bit of a brainstorm for how we could encourage more orders. Should we dig out the old ‘sad dog’ video? Maybe a spoof road test video, such as Top Gear would do in the 1980s...

In the end, we settled for brute honesty: this project is on the verge of being cancelled. And if we have to cancel it, it’s very likely that, aside from the Bedford OB, we’ll also be parking all our other bus projects for the foreseeable future. Therefore, an order for the Fleetline is also an order for Rapido UK bus models!

If you want any of the following, you need to get your orders in now:
901027: BON531C, Route 93/Kingshurst, WMPTE livery.
901028: WDA907T, Route 51/Birmingham, WMPTE livery.
901029: WDA906T, Route 87/Birmingham, WM Buses West Bromwich livery.
901030: WDA973T, Route 23/City Centre, WM Buses Quinton livery.
901031: WDA988T, route 21A/Baginton, WM Buses Coventry livery.
901032: SDA517S, Route 31/Oadby Grange, Midland Fox livery
901033: WDA975T, Route 398/Grotton, Stotts of Oldham livery
901034: WDA908T, Route 501/Meadowhall, Andrews of Sheffield livery
901035: NOC407R, Route A1/Kilmarnock, A1 Services
901036: KON311P in WMPTE blue/cream with Rapido adverts and Wythall Museum Service destination blinds.
RRP is £54.95 and you can order from your local Rapido UK stockist or direct here
You can have a pride of lions but there's no collective noun for thunderbolts... How about
a titfield of thunderbolts? See what I did there... Anyway, freshly cast and machined Lion/Thunderbolt bodies await painting.
Factory update

The reason why this newsletter is a little lighter than usual is that the Rapido factories in China are now closed for Spring Festival - otherwise known as Chinese New Year - and they will re-open again in February. However, before all the staff left for a well-deserved break, we received some images that show that production on a number of products was well underway.

This newsletter has been a bit doom and gloom so far so we thought we’d try to lighten the mood with some exciting pictures. Enjoy!
Fully finished 'Dan's' House' bodies await completion. We are simply delighted with the weathered finish that the factory has achieved on these models... we'll show more in due course.
Yes, this is the carpet inside 'Dan's House'. We confident that no other ready-to-run
'OO' gauge model has such a detailed and decorated interior.
Painted SECR six-wheel brakevan bodies ready for printing.
A fully finished body for Dia. 1400 eight-plank No. 10939 in post-1936 Southern Railway livery (SKU 940018)...
...while here is Dia. 1379 No. S31472 in BR grey (SKU940024).
The GWR Dia. AA20 'Toads' are also making good progress. Here is
This eye-catching example is No. DW17244 in Engineer's yellow with 'ZXO' TOPS code (SKU918010).
Painted 'Toad' inside bulkheads, with the two-tone interior colours clearly visible. Did you know that the collective noun for a group of toads is a knot? Every day is a school day!
Dan's Railway Modeller feature

Our very own Dan Hull (aka Warranty Dan) shows off his layout in the February 2023 issue of Railway Modeller. Dan's layout is an 'N' gauge take on a proposed branch off the Great Central Railway's London Extension to Northampton.

If you haven't picked up a copy yet, you can find it in your local newsagent or you can order a copy here. Then you can enjoy Dan's layout in all its glory!
Happy Hundredth Birthday!

The best way to lighten the mood is with a party! And there’s no bigger birthday party than a 100th.

We know that 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Grouping, the physical manifestation of the Railways Act 1921, which led to the formation of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, the London & North Eastern Railway and the Southern Railway on January 1st 1923 (as well as the enlargement of the Great Western). This anniversary will be celebrated elsewhere and so we thought we’d take a look at what locomotives turn 100 this year.

It's not a big list but includes some surprises. So, break out the virtual cake, banners and balloons as we wish the following locomotives many happy returns:
Flying Scotsman was already pretty famous when it left for the US in 1969, where it was photographed on Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. This overseas visit and its subsequent trip to Australia in 1988 cemented its status as one of the world's most famous locomotives.
LNER ‘A3’ No. 60103 Flying Scotsman

We start the celebrations with probably the most famous steam locomotive in the world: Flying Scotsman. The London & North Eastern Railway was just a few weeks old when what was originally ‘A1’ No. 1472 emerged from Doncaster Works - it didn't even have a name at this point. Little did anyone know at the time that this locomotive would break speed records, have millionaire owners and not only visit North America but Australia too.
North Staffordshire Railway 0-6-2T No. 2 on display at Locomotion, the NRM's Shildon outstation. Initially preserved as part of the National Collection, it was controversially donated to the Foxfield Railway in 2016 and is now displayed at the FR's Caverswall Road headquarters.
North Staffordshire Railway ‘New L’ 0-6-2T No. 2

Here’s an interesting fact: not all the pre-Grouping companies were absorbed on January 1st 1923. The NSR didn’t join the LMS until July, which is why
No. 2 emerged from Stoke Works in early 1923 in NSR livery. How much of No. 2 is actually original is debatable thanks to the heavy rebuilds it received in National Coal Board service. Some of it might date from 1920 while the rest is post-war…
Swindon Works' 1961 cosmetic restoration of No. 4073 included pairing it to a 3,500 gallon tender. It went on display at the Science Museum later that year but was moved to STEAM - The Museum of the GWR at Swindon in the late 1990s, where it's still based. Photograph: CMGLEE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
GWR ‘Castle’ 4-6-0 No. 4073 Caerphilly Castle

The introduction of the GWR’s ‘Saint’ caused a major step change in British locomotive design in the 1900s while the arrival of No. 4073 caused another: the success of the ‘Castles’ would cause Nigel Gresley to re-evaluate his ‘A1s’ for the LNER and inspire the LMS to find a better express design than the ‘Claughtons’. So good were the ‘Castles’ that, on May 9th 1964, 41 years after they were first introduced, they were still capable of nearly touching the magic ‘ton’.
No. 12 Sarah Siddons leans into the curves at Faringdon during the celebrations in January 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan Railway. Metropolitan-Vickers delivered all 20 'Met electrics' in 1922-23.
Metropolitan Railway Bo-Bo No. 12 Sarah Siddons

How many standard gauge locomotives can claim to still be owned by the same owner for 100 years? Not many. Sarah Siddons has a good claim, as the Met was absorbed as part of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. ‘Sarah’ has remained of the property of all the LPTB’s successors, including Transport for London ever since. Whether it continues to operate remains to be seen.
BR gave the Vale of Rheidol's trio of 2-6-2Ts names in 1956 and No. 8 became Llewelyn. Then, presumably much to the chagrin of senior management, gave them the then-new corporate blue livery with double arrows logos in 1968. At the same time, BR converted the old GWR shed at Aberystwyth into a depot for them.
Vale of Rheidol 2-6-2Ts Nos. 7 and 8

The second of two entries for the Great Western and while they couldn’t be more different in size and style, they’re both firm favourites with enthusiasts. These two 1ft 11 1/2in gauge 2-6-2Ts were built at Swindon for the Vale of Rheidol and were almost identical to the two machines built by Davies & Metcalfe for the line’s opening in 1902. The ‘rebuilt’ - though nominally a new engine - No. 1213, later No. 9, entered service the following year.
Peckett Marcia is usually based on the Kent & East Sussex Railway but has also visited the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme, with which the KESR is 'twinned'. It last visited France in 2013 when it ran with the KESR's London Chatham & Dover Railway Brake Second No. 108. 
Peckett 0-4-0T No. 1631/1923 Marcia

It’s not locomotives from the glamourous main line railways that have 100th birthdays this year for there are handful of industrials too. Alongside Marcia are Avonside 0-6-0ST No. 1917 ‘Earl Fitzwilliam’, Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST No. 3575 Glasshoughton No. 3, Hunslet 15in 0-6-0ST No. 1440 Airedale No. 3 and Manning Wardle ‘L’ No. 2025 ‘Winston Churchill’.
Cor, doesn't Warley National Model Railway Exhibition seems ages ago? The next outing for our stand will be at the London Festival of Railway Modelling in March.
And finally…

You’ll get the chance to meet the Rapido Trains UK team again this spring as we attend the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace on March 18th/19th. If you drop by our stand, you’ll not only get to see the latest samples of our existing range but also Engineering Prototypes of a new ‘OO’ gauge locomotive.
Well, that’s it for now.

Before we sign off, we'd just like to say 'thank you' to everyone who has taken the time to drop us a line with positive comments, such as the speedy return of a Dynamometer Car or complimenting the quality of a model.

It's nice to know that, despite the headaches we're facing, you appreciate what we're doing.

Anyway, we'll be back in a month's time and, hopefully, we'll have some positive news to report on!

Best wishes,


Richard Foster
Sales & Marketing Manager
Rapido Trains UK
You can write to us at Rapido Trains UK, Unit 3, Clinton Business Centre, Lodge Road, Staplehurst, Kent TN12 0QF. Alternatively, you can call us on 03304 609496 or you can
e-mail us at [email protected]