Rapido News

Rapido News Volume 56 - ©2014 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

Wow - lots of neat stuff this issue.

Canadian Pacific F-Units

Iconic F-Units pass an iconic elevator. Yes, those are our models!

HO Canadian Pacific/VIA FP9A Locomotives

We're delighted to announce Canadian Pacific FP9A Locomotives, available separately for the first time!

Rapido's True North Locomotives FP9A is a team effort and a labour of love from a bunch of detail fanatics. We did not compromise on our GMD (General Motors Diesel Division, London, Ontario) FP9A locomotive. Before the Rapido FP9A arrived on the market, your only options for an accurate FP9A were brass or a major kitbash. Our FP9A is 100% accurate for CP just as it was for CN - we tooled all-new shells and underbodies for each railway!

Canadian Pacific F-Units

Canadian Pacific FP9A and F9B - Action Red with 8" Stripes

Model Railroad News called our FP9A "a model that is second to no model of an F-unit ever produced in HO scale." The magazine also summarized our FP9A by writing:

This is a very impressive scale model locomotive. While it is not the cheapest ready-to-run model of an F-unit around, it is the most detailed that I have ever seen, and its running qualities are excellent. It may seem a cliché, but I feel that the Rapido True North FP9A sets a new standard for HO-scale diesel locomotives against which others will be judged.

Our FP9As feature unmatched levels of detail that border on the insane, such as all-separate piping under the frame, separate coupler yokes with a wire air hose hang rail, and fuel and water tank vents (and a float switch) sticking up out of the roof - a first in HO scale F-Unit models! The body sides feature our unique "No-Warp Grills." Each grill is a C-channel pressed into the shell that won't warp no matter what humidity and temperature changes it is subjected to.

VIA ex-CP F-Units

VIA Rail Canada ex-CP FP9A and F9B

Until now, our Canadian Pacific FP9A Locomotives were only available packaged with The Canadian complete train. Now you can expand your fleet with our new CPR FP9A locomotives, available separately for the first time!

Canadian Pacific FP9As feature 48" dynamic brake cooling fans; CP-style high winterization hatches; unique roof-top cooling coils (two versions!); No-Warp etched stainless side grilles to CP's design; CP underframe details; CP-style ditch lights (where appropriate); and many more subtle differences - every one of which is included on our model. We also include CP's roof-mounted icicle breakers and an operating roof-top Gyralite on those models for which they are appropriate.

Canadian Pacific Block

Canadian Pacific (Block) F-Unit Trio
Photo taken on the Edmonton Society of Model Railroad Engineers layout.

The Rapido Canadian Pacific FP9A features:
  • Road-number and era-specific details applied at the factory
  • 100% accurate Canadian details - this is not a stand-in!
  • Correct fuel and water tanks, cooling coils, and other CP-specific details!
  • Full underframe detail including piping and conduit
  • Numerous etched-metal parts including CP-style "No-Warp" etched metal grills
  • See-through fans, separate roof vents and float switch
  • Working roof-top Gyralite (where appropriate)
  • Etched Icicle breaker bars on roof (where appropriate)
  • Operational headlight, number boards and ditch lights (where appropriate)
  • Operational class lights and backup light (DCC)
  • Full interior detail including crew
  • Available as a sound-equipped model with an ESU Loksound sound decoder or as a DC silent model
  • Sounds were recorded by Rapido on a real ex-VIA GMD FP9A with the original 567C prime mover
  • Will operate smoothly on DC and DCC layouts
  • Rapido's proven 5-pole, skew-wound motor and silky-smooth drive system
  • Macdonald-Cartier metal knuckle couplers mounted at the correct height
  • Several numbers available per paint scheme
Click on any paint scheme for locomotive and product numbers:

CP Action Red Pac Man

CP Action Red - 5" Stripes

The MSRP for the FP9A is $324.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) or $224.95 (DC only). The DC version features a 21-pin plug to add your own silent DCC decoder. No extra resistors are needed.

The order deadline is 30 September 2014. The FP9A is available from your local Rapido dealer or directly from us. Please click here for more information or to order.

The sound of an ABA or ABBA consist all growling away on your layout is really incredible. As a railfan and modeller, I highly recommend the sound-equipped units. They are fully compatible and speed-matched with the Tsunami-equipped locomotives we included with The Canadian, as well as the Tsunami-equipped VIA (ex-CN) FP9As.

Canadian Pacific F9B

HO CP Pac-Man (5" Stripes) F9B Locomotive... with Power!

HO Canadian Pacific/VIA F9B Locomotives

Sometimes I do Dumb Things.

When I announced The Canadian I told everyone that we would never do the CP F9B model separately. And I have been told again and again by customers who bought The Canadian: "That was a Dumb Thing. I want another F9B."

So over the last few months we have been asking a lot of modellers at shows and at our office when they've dropped in: "Would you be really upset if we announced the CP F9B separately, even though we originally said we wouldn't?" The response in almost every case has been "I need more F9Bs" usually followed by "Never doing them separately is a Dumb Thing" or some variation of that theme.

So, at the risk of upsetting those guys who were hoping to retire on the proceeds of selling their dummy CP F9B from The Canadian one day, we are now going to correct my Dumb Thing and announce the Canadian Pacific F9B in HO scale!

F9B Locomotives

Ex-CP 6651 and 6652 are backed onto The Canadian in Winnipeg.
Photo courtesy Brian Schuff.

Our Canadian Pacific F9B was designed from the ground up as a Canadian Pacific F9B. That means it has a CP winterization hatch, CP grills, CP end details, CP steam genny details, and of course CP's unique skirting beside the steps that no other F9B model has:

Canadian Pacific Skirting

Note the unique step skirting on CP and ex-CP F9B locomotives.

The CP F9B has all of the great details and operating qualities of the FP9A, so I won't give you the whole list again. For lighting, the F9B features operating backup lights. These are absolutely needed for hostling. Sound-equipped locomotives include an ESU Loksound Select decoder programmed with our Canadian F-unit sound recordings.

CP F9B Locomotive Roof

CP F9B Roof Detail. My, that's a lot of RED!
Isn't the detail behind the grill completely amazing?

The MSRP for the Canadian Pacific F9B locomotive is $299.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) or $199.95 (DC only). The order deadline is 30 September 2014. We're also offering DCC and sound-equipped B-Unit Chassis again.

Like the FP9A, the F9B is available from your local Rapido dealer or directly from us. Please click here for more information or to order.

Canada Confederation Train

1867-1967 Canada Confederation Train.

HO Scale Canada Confederation Train - Yes, Really!

In 1967, Canada celebrated its 100th birthday, and those of you (much) older than I am will remember Expo 67 and the amazing celebrations that put Canada firmly on the world map. Did I mention MUCH older?

As part of the national celebration, the Canadian government put together The Confederation Train, featuring a mix of CN and CP equipment. The train crossed the country and featured displays chronicling Canada's diverse history, geography and peoples. This was one of our proudest moments.

Canada Confederation Train

The Confederation Train in Montreal. Photo courtesy DC Hillier.

We at Rapido Trains Inc. are equally proud to present The Confederation Train in HO scale. This complete train features:
  • One DC/DCC Canadian Pacific FP9A with Rapido-sound-equipped ESU Loksound Select decoder
  • One DC/DCC Canadian National FP9A with... guess what? Another Rapido-sound-equipped ESU Loksound Select decoder
  • "O Canada" horn castings and horn recording
  • One Steam Generator Unit (with steam!)
  • Two Baggage Cars
  • One Buffet Parlour
  • Three 10-5 Sleepers
  • Two 1867-1967 Commemorative Stemless Wine Glasses
PLUS, you can also order the display cars. This is a six-car add-on set with amazing graphics on the sides. Together, these two sets make up the entire Confederation Train. How cool is that? We're working with Mark Carleton from Oro Decals to ensure that the graphics on all of the cars are as accurate and as stunning as possible.

The Confederation Train set retails for $1067. The six-car add-on set retails for $399.95. Unfortunately the cars from the Confederation set will NOT be available without the locomotives.

The order deadline for The Confederation Train is 30 September 2014. Delivery is 2015. That means you'll have it running on your layout in time for Canada's sesquicentennial in 2017. I hear that the government is putting together a sesquicentennial Confederation Toaster. It will be carried across the country by an alpaca named Moishe because Canada Post will have closed down by then. We just don't dream big any more, do we?

Please note, however, that The Confederation Train is a conditional announcement. If we don't receive orders for 300 sets by 30 September, we will have to cancel the project. Similarly, if we don't have orders for 200 add-on sets, we'll have to cancel the add-on sets. So please order the train from your dealer or direct from us as soon as possible. Click here for more info.

As you'll see in the images below, the graphics on this train are very difficult to do and as such as very costly to do. That's why we need a sizeable run to be able to do them.

Rapido Confederation Train

The Confederation Train by Rapido

Rapido Confederation Train Add-On Set

The Confederation Train Add-On Set by Rapido

And just in case this newsletter hadn't brought you back enough to those misspent days of your youth, how about this poster?

Confederation Train Poster

Here's the link again to the Confederation Train order and info page: The Link Again. Please remember to place your reservations by 30 September 2014. If we don't get enough orders, then Bill will kill me. Even with the master drawings from Mark, the artwork mockups took him 46 years to do.

Railink 1401

One of Rail America's ex-CN FP9As
Photo courtesy Mark Kaluza

HO (Mostly) American FP9A Locomotives

There's a very good reason why Canada has always been a railfan hotspot for Americans. Visiting Canada is like walking into the past. We had mainline 1st-generation Alco cab units until 1989, big Alcos until the late 1990s, and - of particular relevance here - General Motors F-units on the mainline until 2002!

The fact that way up here in the Great White North we keep old junk running practically forever means that a lot of former Canadian locomotives end up in shortline and tourist service all across the United States. If you're looking for an F-unit, do you want one that has been carefully maintained by a national railroad for the last 50 years or do you want one that has been rotting in some scrapper's yard since the 1970s?

CN/VIA FP9A locomotives can be found on shortlines and tourist railroads around North America. We're offering a small selection of these "second life" paint schemes for you to add to your shortline, charter train, business train, or tourist train. And we're throwing in a powered B unit to boot!

Pan Am Railways

Pan Am Railways FP9A (pre-production sample)

Our ex-VIA FP9As feature full underbody detail and piping, working ditch lights, lit numberboards and two-colour class lights, and all the other amazing Rapido FP9A qualities.

The MSRP is $324.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and 224.95 (DC). The order deadline is that day again - September 30th, 2014. Like The Confederation Train, this is a conditional announcement, as we really have no clue how many of you model this stuff. If we only get one order from Farmer Gord in Starlight, Pennsylvania, then we can't make them. We need to get orders for 300 of each paint scheme by September 30th (of this year!) in order to make them.

If you own or have owned one of these prototypes, please get in touch as we'll give you a big, fat discount if you buy a bunch. More information on these FP9A locomotives can be found here, and you can click on a paint scheme below for loco and product number info.

Railink FP9


KCS FP9 and F9B

Kansas City Southern A and B Set

KCS F Unit

Kansas City Southern A Unit Only

Southern Pacific FP9

Southern Pacific

Rapido Steam Heater

Rapido Steam Generator Unit on Chris Plue's GORGEOUS layout

The Big Fall Order Deadline

We've announced a few different HO scale projects these last few weeks which all share one big order deadline: 30 September 2014. These include:
Don't worry - they won't be arriving all at once! These models will arrive throughout 2015.

We also have a big spring order deadline of 13 June:
And on top of that the Meat Reefer (second run) order deadline is 28 May.

FPA-4 and FPB-4

Rapido FPA-4 and FPB-4 on Walter Pankratz's layout

Apart from the Meat Reefers (not sure what happened there), we try to clump different order deadlines together to make it easier to remember when you need to reserve our models. As many people who are searching for Meat Reefers and Canadian Pacific Gondolas will attest, if you don't order by the deadline, you probably won't get any.

If you are a store, please contact your distributor to get a backorder report a few days before the deadline. That will make sure that your order numbers and your supplier's order numbers match up. For dealers in Canada, Mike, Dan or I can give you a backorder report.

Recently we've had some screw ups. When it came to deliver the models, we discovered that either we entered the order wrong or the store/distributor entered the order wrong. The end result was a couple of stores did not get all of the models they reserved. So dealers please double check, and we will be sending backorder reports immediately after the deadline to our dealers and distributors to ensure that there were no order entry errors on our part.

If you think we are a big company with some whizzo computer that enters orders, you are mistaken. Mike types them into the computer, one item at a time. We're very high tech here at Rapido. We recently upgraded our server to the latest model, shown below.

Rapido Server

Rapido's New Server

Rapido N scale

Panorama Line Cafe-Bar-Lounge and 10-5 Sleeper
Pre-production models shown.

N Scale Project Updates

Now that we've shown photos of the HO scale LRC model progress, the "WHERE'S MY !#&@^&$&%@# LRC?" guys have quieted down. Thank you to all of the N scalers who are filling their shoes with the countless "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE MORE !$#^%@$ N SCALE IN YOUR NEWSLETTERS???" After my last newsletter, we received no fewer than 15 emails from N scalers upset at my lack of N scale content, including several who were upset that we were branching into UK models because that (obviously) means that we aren't doing any more N scale.

This is, of course, silly. We're doing a lot of N scale models but we're not going to announce models before we're ready to. Mike just came on board less than a year ago. New projects take longer than that to tool. Right now we have three N scale projects in tooling, two of which have already been announced. Two more are fully designed and ready for tooling. So please have patience.

CN Rapido

The Rapido. Photo by David Wilson.

First off, here's a bit of history. I started Rapido Trains Inc. part-time while living in England in 2003, and the company was incorporated in November 2004. I named Rapido Trains Inc. after CN's train, the Rapido, which was the fastest scheduled passenger train in North America when it was introduced in 1965.

We have absolutely nothing to do with Arnold, who called its N scale line "Rapido" from the late 1960s to the 1980s. We'd also like to make absolutely clear that that we in no way had anything to do with the "Rapido" coupler. It is NOT our fault! Really!

I'd say that most N scalers think we're the same company, and you'd be amazed at how many times we get asked for traction tires for 45-year-old N scale steam engines. We don't have any. Sorry.

Moving on to our N scale project updates:

Panorama Line

Panorama Line Cafe-Bar-Lounge and 10-5 Sleeper
Pre-production models shown.

Panorama Line Cafe-Bar-Lounge and 10-5 Sleeper

The N scale 10-5 sleeper and Cafe-Bar-Lounge final samples are expected shortly. Because this project was originally begun at the old mould shop and was subsequently moved to the new mould shop and because we made a few "tweaks" to the designs we need to see new samples before starting production. Mike is wearing out the carpet pacing while he waits to see these. Thankfully for our carpets they are expected very soon and the cars are due to be delivered late summer or fall - it depends on which tooling is ready first, the N scale cars or the HO scale LRC Locomotive.

New Haven Coach

3D CAD of Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coach

Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coaches

The initial N scale Osgood Bradley samples are also due within a month. The mould shop is working hard to make these N scale cars look just like their HO big brothers, only smaller. The response to these cars has been fabulous and because of that we are going to extend the ordering deadline so that all you N scalers can be sure to get your fleet of NH, B&M, BAR or LIRR cars on order. More news on that to come.

GMD-1 Fleet

1600-Series GMD-1A - OWN THE FLEET!

GMD-1 and GMD-1A Locomotives

Speaking of fleets, remember that the order deadline for the N scale GMD-1 Locomotives is 13 June, as in next month. It appears that there are some N scalers that are as crazy about the GMD-1 as we are. Several GMD-1A fleets have been ordered (we thought we'd just sell one!) and we've heard rumours of some clubs and groups of modellers getting together to pool their resources and buy the fleet. This is a unique opportunity to get a factory-equipped road number (or nine) that is not available anywhere else. Don't forget to see your dealer and get your orders in. Click here for more info or to order direct.

N scale mystery freight car

Could this be the new Rapido N scale freight car?

New N Scale Freight Car in the Works

When he's not ruining the carpets by pacing, Mike is working with Bill on a new N scale freight car that we will be announcing very soon. The timing of this car isn't a coincidence. After all, with the Toronto Maple Leafs playing golf instead of hockey (unlike my GLORIOUS Montreal Canadiens), Mike has little else to do but work on a new car and wait for next season! Look for this major freight car announcement in the near future.

Boston Cream, anyone?

Mosh Pit

Big crowd to see Mike and Dan

Upcoming Demonstrations

Click here to see all of our upcoming presentations, including the details of our visit to the Collinsville meet at the end of the month and to Quebec and the Maritimes in early June.

Newly announced presentations:

We will be at George's Trains just across the street here in Markham on Thursday 22 May between 17:30 and 19:00.

We'll be at Credit Valley Railway in Mississauga on Sunday 25 May between 12:00 and 16:00.

And we'll be at Otter Valley Railroad in Aylmer - Date and Time TBC. Please contact Otter Valley.

We hope you'll come out and see us - and our models - in person. This is your chance to see the HO scale FPA-4 and FPB-4 Locomotives and N scale GMD-1 Locomotive before the order deadline.

Ride to Conquer Cancer

A CP Caboose in the 2013 Ride

Ride to Conquer Cancer

Last year, Philip Bulman carried a Rapido caboose with him on his 200-km Ride to Conquer Cancer, a fundraiser for the Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the foremost cancer treatment centres in the world. You can read all about it in Bill's July 2013 blog entry, here.

Philip plans to do the ride again this year, and he wants to take a Rapido model along to show off how awesome our hobby is. We'd like you to tell us which model will best send the right message. Should it be:
  • CPR FP9A Locomotive
  • CNR FP9A Locomotive
  • VIA Passenger Car
  • Amtrak Passenger Car
  • CN Passenger Car
Please email us your vote in the next week or so and the model with the most votes gets featured. You can donate to Philip's campaign here. It's nice the Phil offers to bring our models along with him, especially as he's an N scaler and I keep offering only HO models!

Dan Garcia and Mike McGrattan

They are Not Amused.

Repairs and Warranty Update

As I've mentioned recently, we've grown by leaps and bounds in the last year. Instead of having one shipment every couple of months, we're now getting one to two shipments each month. The trouble is that it means we're constantly playing catch up. When Dan and Mike are dealing with a shipment, they can't handle warranty repairs. Doing several shows in April compounded the backlog of warranty work.

As a result, we are a solid two months behind on warranty repair work, more in some complex cases. I'm really sorry about this situation. We're hiring more occasional workers to help us with our shipments, and we'll be in a position to hire another full-timer in the fall. But in the meantime, we're doing our best to catch up with the backlog. We're also waiting for a number of parts which we're having trouble getting from our suppliers, mainly HO scale caboose circuit boards.

In the photo above, you can see most of the outstanding warranty repairs piled up on Mike and Dan. The good news is that with all of those models added together, our returned models comprise about one fifth of one percent of what we ship out. The bad news is that we ship out so much stuff that it is going to take a while to get through that one fifth of one percent.

If you've sent something in for us to repair, please accept my personal apologies for the delay and my thanks for your patience. Unlike picking and packing shipments, warranty work is highly technical and requires very advanced modelling skills and an intimate knowledge of how our models go together and come apart. It even requires resoldering circuit boards at times. Dan doesn't even like it when I do warranty repairs. He says I'm too slow and I break stuff. What should I know? I only co-designed the darn things...

If we can't catch up, we'll send some warranty work down to Bill for him to help clear the backlog. You are always welcome to call to check up on your warranty repair. The number is 1-855-LRC-6917. Ask for Mike.

LRC Locomotive 6917

LRC 6917 rumbles to life!
Photo by Matt Herman.

REAL LRC Locomotive Startup!

We did it. We never thought we'd pull it off, but we have successfully started the TRHA's preserved LRC locomotive #6917. Watch the video:

LRC Reborn

Full information on the startup can be found here. The next step is to get it moving (and record the sounds for the model) and then to clean it up and give it a new coat of paint. We'll probably move it off of VIA's property this year. I've said that before, so we'll see... With all the interest in the LRC and the tooling corrections coming close to completion, we have reopened the order desk for both the LRC locomotive and the LRC passenger cars. Click here to go there.

The LRC was developed in the 1970s and built between 1980 and 1982. Typical of second-generation diesels, its Alco 251 prime mover ties it to the early diesel era while its looks, electrical control system, HEP and banking control tie it to the locomotives of today.

But second-generation diesels are at risk of becoming forgotten from history. For decades, the majority of North America's railway museums were not interested in artifacts that post-dated the transition era. That's the polite way of putting it. In real terms, a lot of the old guys running our museums had no interest in modern garbage, which was how they saw anything newer than about 1960.

CN GP40-2 and M420

How many will be saved? CN GP40-2 and M420 in 1985.
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.

When the TRHA announced in 2010 that it was saving 6917, we received an email from a very prominent and well-respected railway preservationist and historian that (quite rudely) questioned our competence. I mean, who would want to save an engine from the 1980s and 1990s? Those aren't the trains I remember from MY youth, so why keep them? Throw them away!

While that is an extreme view, it typified a lot of railway preservation on this continent for many years.

The grumpy old men who espoused those views are dying off and, thankfully, a new generation of railway historians is running more and more of our museums. In the 1980s the Canadian Railway Museum had little interest in preserving modern equipment (remember the Turbo?), whereas today's Exporail has an ambitious plan to save more second-generation locomotives and passenger cars. Similarly, when I first suggested to the TRHA board back in 2003 that we should save one of the LRCs they were unanimously in favour of the idea. In fact, they had already decided the LRC was a priority before I joined!


Turbo. Not even a single car from this work of art was saved.

The fact that the TRHA was able to raise the funds to save the LRC in just two months shows how many people care about preserving more modern equipment. But we have to move quickly: the railways are rebuilding or scrapping more and more second-generation diesels and rolling stock every day and soon all the remaining second-generation diesels will be so heavily modified they won't be recognizable.

We have enough F-Units in preservation or awaiting restoration to last 100 lifetimes. Now we need to concentrate on preserving more of the GP40s, the SD40s, the C630s, the F40s, the U33s. The TRHA has done a great job with LRC 6917 - I'd like to see more museums step to the plate and save 1970s-1990s railway history from being completely forgotten.

If you've recently retired and are looking for something to do, please consider getting involved with your local railway museum. You are the next generation. It used to be that we retired and kicked the bucket within a year or two. Now that we're living so much longer, it's like we have a whole new lifetime after retirement. Spending some of that "new lifetime" helping your local railway museum will really make a world of difference to its survival and success. No local museum? START ONE!

OK - that's it for now. I know I am forgetting something. I'll be in touch soon with more news. Canadians enjoy your long weekend, eh?

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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