Rapido Newsletter Vol. 100
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Welcome to our 100th edition of Rapido News! To celebrate, we'll take a brief look back at the end of this newsletter. But we're mostly looking forward in this action-packed issue:

  • New! HO scale FA-2/FPA-2 - New Roadnames and Variations
  • New! HO scale FB-2/FPB-2 - B-Unit Barnstormer!
  • New! HO scale VIA F40s - Wrap This Way!
  • Huge Order Deadline - April 30th
  • Delivery Updates
  • Come See Us In Calgary!
  • Investing in a Canadian Dream: Our Home and Miniature Land
  • Model Railroading - Try Just 15 Minutes a Day
  • Remembering Stafford Swain
  • Celebrating 100 Issues of Rapido News!
New FA-2 and FPA-2s from Rapido!
New! HO scale FA-2/FPA-2 - New Roadnames and Variations

Would you believe that our highly-regarded FA-2 and FPA-2 models were never actually planned? Back in 2015 we produced the FPA-4, a unique Canadian locomotive based on the FPA-2. The guys said to me: "Hey - we can do the FA-2 and FPA-2 using a lot of the same parts!" Turns out they were right, and we ended up selling twice as many as the FPA-4!

So now we're pleased to announce the latest batch of FA-2 and FPA-2 locomotives, and we hope you will love them.

We hope you will also love the fact that the American retail price remains unchanged, even though we first announced FA-2 locomotives more than two years ago!
A trio of MOPAC FPA-2 and FB-2 units in a classic scene!
Photo courtesy the Missouri Pacific Historical Society.
When Life-Like brought out its Proto 2000 FA-2 in 1991, it was a revolutionary model, miles ahead of any other FA locomotive produced previously. But that was almost 30 years ago. Our FA-2 and FPA-2 models are a similar leap forward from what has come before.

If you thought your old FA-2 models were "good enough" and you decided to sit out the first release, I hope the buzz around our model has managed to convince you to think about picking up a Rapido FA-2. Not convinced yet? Here's what Model Railroad News wrote about our model:

From head to toe, Rapido has done its homework on the FA-2, and its 1:87 renderings are easily the best and most authentic reproductions of the Alco-GE prototype to ever run on HO-gauge rails, period.... Rapido has once again hit it out of the ballpark; the company's new HO-scale Alco FA-2 is a home run indeed.
The April 2018 issue of Model Railroad News
Our FA-2 and FPA-2 models feature:

  • DC silent or DC/DCC/SOUND
  • Correct nose and roof profiles 3D scanned from the prototype
  • 5-pole, skew-wound motor with excellent slow-speed performance
  • Operating number boards, headlights and green and white class lights
  • Roadname-specific details including dynamic brakes where appropriate
  • Etched-metal grilles (Farr or chicken wire, as appropriate)
  • Full underbody piping and conduit
  • Correct, roadname-specific FA-2 and FPA-2 fuel tanks
  • Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis and full, multi-colour/color interior
  • ESU LokSound decoder with accurate sounds recorded from a real Alco 244 prime mover
  • Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height
An A-B-B-A set of L&N FA-2 and FB-2 locomotives roars through Rosedale, Kentucky.
You can't just order one!
Photo by Dan Finfrock, courtesy the L&N Railroad Historical Society.
Below are the new paint schemes for our FA-2 and FPA-2. Each one features the correct battery box louvers, roof details, nose details, you name it.

We've had requests for all of these schemes, but to be honest we've never done most of them before so we're not sure what the demand is. Maybe there is one really big Ann Arbor fan who keeps emailing us over and over again from different email addresses... To that effect, all of the schemes have to be conditional upon us receiving enough orders by the deadline to meet our minimum production quantities. Well, except CP Rail. See below.

  • Ann Arbor (Delivery)
  • Chicago & North Western
  • CP Rail (5" Stripes)
  • Erie Lackawanna
  • Long Island Railroad
  • Louisville & Nashville (Gray)
  • Missouri Pacific (Delivery)
  • New York Central (Cigar Band)
  • Penn Central (ex-NYC)
  • Penn Central (Black)
  • SP&S
  • BN (ex-SP&S)
  • Wabash
  • Western Maryland (Speed Lettering)
  • Undecorated

Based on past experience, we're going to sell the same number of CP Rail FA-2s as EVERYTHING ELSE COMBINED. Despite the fact that we now make as many American models as Canadian models, we're asking you, our many American customers and fans, to please help correct this gross inequality. Show the world that Americans love their FA-2s and FPA-2s as much as their Nutty Northern Neighbours with a "u".

If you've never seen our FA-2 before, have a look:
The order deadline for the FA-2 and FPA-2 is September 17th, so you've got plenty of time to order. Delivery is expected around this time next year.

The American/Rest of the World MSRP remains $225 (DC/Silent) and $325 (DC/DCC/Sound), the same MSRP as our first run of locomotives. The Canadian MSRP is $249.95/$359.95.

Please click here for more information or to order direct.

But wait... there's more!
New! HO scale FB-2/FPB-2 - B-Unit Barnstormer!

There is only one company crazy enough to produce a run of B-units on their own, and you're reading from that company right now.

We are pleased to announce the Alco/MLW FB-2 and FPB-2 in HO scale! We're not only doing B units to tag along with our new production run... We're also doing B units to match our first run. That's a lot of B units!

There is a common misconception about B units that they always ran in married pairs with their A units. While that was often the case soon after delivery, most railroads quickly mixed and matched their Bs. It was very common to see Alco passenger B units with GM passenger A units, or freight B units paired with hood units, such as RS-11s or GP9s.

In fact, the photo below is a great example of this. Of course, it's the one New Haven paint scheme we're not currently doing...
Two fifths of New Haven's FB-2 fleet help RS-11 1412 haul a mixed freight.
Gee, that New Haven RS-11 is also pretty spiffy.
Someone should make a museum-quality model of that.
David Sweetland photo courtesy John Sheridan collection.
The FB-2 and the FPB-2 are mechanically identical to their A-unit cousins, except that they did not have a cab for the locomotive engineer. They were controlled by MUing (MU = Multiple Unit) to the lead locomotive. The FPB-2 differs from the FB-2 in that it has a steam generator and water tank for providing steam heat to passenger cars.

Have a look at the image below and you can see that the passenger units have a large fuel/water combination tank whereas the freight units just have a fuel tank. There were several designs of both tanks used throughout North America. We've made most of them!
Here's a rendering of the CP FPB-2 with that neat fuel and water tank combination.
Canadian Pacific FPB-2 3D Drawing
Our FB-2 and FPB-2 feature the same amazing level of detail as our A units. B-units really don't get any respect. They are doing just as much work and should look and sound just as good. That's why you need a Rapido FB-2 or FPB-2.

The FB-2 and FPB-2 had an Alco 244 prime mover (diesel engine). Today it is very, very difficult to find one of these operating and in good condition. We actually found one in Australia and that's where our friend Jay recorded it for us... under load! And the FPB-2 even has the recording of a steam generator on the decoder. So your FB-2 and FPB-2 will sound as good as they look.

Does your existing FB-2 model have separate brake chains and steam blowdown valves? Ours does!
Underframe detail: note the brake chains, air pipes and steam lines.
The Rapido FB-2 and FPB-2 will be available in the following paint schemes. Like the FA-2 and FPA-2, all schemes are conditional on us getting a decent chunk of pre-orders. Except CP and New Haven. We sell so much CP and New Haven that we should meet the minimums for those railroads by Tuesday.

  • Baltimore & Ohio
  • Canadian Pacific (Block)
  • Canadian Pacific (Script)
  • CP Rail (5" stripes)
  • Chicago & North Western
  • Erie (Delivery)
  • Erie-Lackawanna
  • Great Northern (Empire Builder)
  • Lehigh Valley (Delivery)
  • Louisville & Nashville (Gray)
  • Missouri Pacific (Delivery)
  • New Haven (Delivery)
  • New Haven (McGinnis)
  • New York Central (Lightning Stripe)
  • New York Central (Cigar Band)
  • Penn Central (Black)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • Undecorated
Pennsylvania Railroad FB-2 3D Rendering
Note the vertical battery box louvers, small fuel tank and dynamic brake detail.
The MSRP for our FB-2 and FPB-2 is an incredibly low $199.95 (DC Silent) and $299.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) for everywhere on the planet except Canada. Prices in Canada are $225/$335.

The model is in tooling now and we expect to have samples later in the summer. The order deadline is September 17th, with delivery around this time next year.

Please click here for more information or to order direct.

Don't leave your Bs behind!!!
Clockwise from top left: Kool-Aid, Telus, CBC 50th Anniversary, Home Hardware
Photos courtesy Manny Jacob and Brendan Frisina.
New! HO scale VIA F40s - Wrap This Way!

Our VIA F40PH-2D has been a hugely popular locomotive, both in its original configuration and as a rebuilt version. It was the first accurate F40PH-2D model ever produced in any scale, and our sales reflected that.

The F40PH-2D has worn a number of special liveries over the years, and we're pleased to offer most of these Wrapped F40s. This is a QUICK announcement and release. The order deadline is Dominion Day (July 1st) and these will be here in the fall/winter.
Clockwise from top left: Operation Lifesaver, Coors Light Express, Telus in a train
Photos courtesy Rob Eull, Brendan Frisina and John Eull.
Our new Wrapped F40s are a chance for you to merge your love for VIA with your love for... other stuff! We have beer - Coors Light! We have power tools - Home Hardware! We have big talking jugs of juice - Kool-Aid! And we even have SENSIBLE PUBLIC RADIO!

Our Wrapped F40s are available in the following schemes:

  • Kool-Aid
  • Telus
  • Home Hardware
  • CBC 50th Anniversary
  • Operation Lifesaver
  • Coors Light (two-locomotive set)

We couldn't get permission to make the other schemes. If you want a Spiderman II F40PH-2D, you just need to send a $50,000 USD royalty payment to Disney on our behalf. And then it's Nooooo Problem!
The Coors Light Express - Paint Scheme from H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks
All of these wrapped F40s are conditional announcements. If we get enough orders, we'll make them. We're actually kind of hoping nobody orders the Coors Light Express because we have NO IDEA how to paint that model. Oh, and Coors told us they no longer have the artwork file so Josh needs to recreate it from scratch. He hates me now.

The wrapped F40s operated in regular service for months or even years. The Telus and CBC units lasted for EIGHT YEARS each!

The Canadian MSRP is $249.95 for DC/Silent and $359.95 for DC/DCC/Sound. The US/Rest of World MSRP is a bit cheaper.

Click here for more information or to order direct.

But wait... there's more!
More VIA Unwrapped F40PH-2D Locomotives!

We are doing a small new run of VIA F40PH-2D locomotives in all three variations. If you missed out the first time or you just want to expand your fleet, then here's your chance. And guess what - the price is the same as, or lower than, our first run. That was four years ago!

Our VIA F40PH-2D is available in:

  • Original scheme (narrow blue stripe) - 1986-2000ish
  • Canada scheme (wide blue stripe) - 1998-2012
  • Renaissance rebuild - 2009-present

The Canadian MSRP is $239.95 for DC/Silent and $349.95 for DC/DCC/Sound. The US/Rest of World MSRP is a bit cheaper for these too.

Click here for full information about these beautiful models or to order direct.

Remember that order deadline: DOMINION DAY!

Hang on - the real VIA F40PH-2D locomotives postdate Dominion Day.

OK - Remember that order deadline - THE DAY THAT USED TO BE CALLED DOMINION DAY!!!
Huge Order Deadline - April 30th

We have a big order deadline coming up on April 30th, which is just a couple of weeks away. Please make sure your orders are in by the deadline as we can only guarantee the orders received by then.

Paint Schemes: CPR Block; CPR Script; CP Rail 5" Stripes; CP Rail 8" Stripes; ONR Early; ONR Progressive; ONR Chevron; Montreal Commuter; VIA Rail Canada; Undecorated

  • First accurate GMD (Canadian) FP7 ever produced
  • Correct body and accessory details for ONR and CPR
  • With or without steam generator details
  • Amazing Rapido Sound

Delivery: Late 2018/Early 2019
Web Site: Click here to visit/order direct.
Illustrated Catalogue: Click here to download.

Paint Schemes: CPR Block; CPR Script; CP Rail 5" Stripes; CP Rail 8" Stripes; CNR (1954); CN Noodle (1961); VIA Rail Canada (ex-CP); VIA Rail Canada (ex-CN); Undecorated

  • All-new tooling, conditional on receiving enough orders by the deadline
  • Accurate detailing for unique Canadian F9B and F7B locomotives
  • With or without steam generator
  • Make sure you reserve your F9B and F7B by the deadline or this project may be cancelled!

Delivery: Spring 2019
Web Site: Click here to visit/order direct.
Illustrated Catalogue: Click here to download.

Paint Schemes: Northern Pacific (numerous versions)

  • Iconic freight car used all over North America from coast to coast
  • Found on many freight trains from 1920s to 1960s
  • First time ever produced in plastic
  • Available in single cars or four-packs

Delivery: Fall 2018
Web Site: Click here to visit/order direct.
Illustrated Catalogue: Click here to download.
Delivery Update

We've been a bit swamped here the last few weeks. I apologize on behalf of everyone here at Rapido as we've been a bit slower than usual getting back to you and handling warranty requests.

The Amtrak F40 locomotives arrived but we discovered a problem. The tone of the red and blue stripes had shifted from our last production run and we were not happy with them. We don't think it is right to send these out to you with a color problem, and we have told the factory to send us replacement shells. We will swap the shells here at Rapido HQ and send these to you next month. We hope you won't mind waiting a few more weeks in order to get better models.

The rest of the delivery schedule is pretty close to what was shown in Rapido News 99.
Supertrain - Canada's biggest show. The cage is used to catch any Flying Scotsmen.
Photo courtesy Supertrain.
Come See Us In Calgary!

Dan, Dan and I will be at Supertrain THIS WEEKEND in Calgary, Alberta! The guys will be there both days and I will be there on Sunday. Please stop by our booth and say hello. Supertrain is the biggest train show in Canada and it promises to be a lot of fun.

Our Rapido @ Ogden event has sold out. We look forward to meeting many of you there. ID will be checked at the door to make sure you are on the guest list. You can arrive any time between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, but the snacks aren't served until after 7:30 so there's no rush.

We ask that you not go wandering off in the yard on your own. CP Police will be on hand to apprehend you if you do, and we're not bailing you out...
A Gorgeous New Look Bus at Our Home and Miniature Land
(Oh, and the Parliament Buildings too.)
Investing in a Canadian Dream: Our Home and Miniature Land

If you've ever watched our SW1200RS video, you are already aware of the hidden gem here in the Toronto area called Our Home and Miniature Land.

Our Home & Miniature Land is a unique and immersive animated world that takes you on a journey of discovery across miniature Canada. You won't have to schlep to Germany for this kind of interactive model railroad experience - these guys are building the Canadian version right here in the Toronto area. 
The team at Our Home and Miniature Land is doing this on a scale that's never been done before in Canada. They are currently located in a nondescript industrial unit in Mississauga, but the plan is to move the exhibit to a permanent home downtown and create a tourist destination of which the whole country can be proud. Imagine 30,000 LEDs lighting up a Toronto skyline, 50,000 figures on the streets of a miniature Canada, a real mile of track, hundreds of switches, digital computer control, and a day and night scene to create the drama of a real miniature world. That's just the beginning. Below is a concept illustration of what they imagine this miniature attraction will look like.
Our Home and Miniature Land is looking for their fellow model railroaders and members of the broader community to invest in the project. Full information can be found here.

Rapido has no stake in this. We just think it would be awesome if this plan comes to fruition so we're passing on the word.
Model Railroading - Try Just 15 Minutes a Day

Below is something I recently wrote on my HO scale Kingston Sub layout Facebook page. Hopefully it resonates with some of you.

Last year, I hardly made it down to my model railroad room. It became more and more difficult to face what is supposed to be my favourite place in the world. Thinking about the gargantuan task that it is to build the Kingston Sub would just cause me anxiety as I was so rarely down there and progress was so slow. It also caused me to question why I was in this hobby and why I was in this business if I never actually worked on my layout.

I turned 43 last month and I made a birthday resolution to try and spend 15 minutes a day in my layout room. That's it - just get down there for 15 minutes. Sometimes I can't get there - the logistics just don't allow it, like getting home from work at 10:30 p.m. But sometimes 15 minutes turns into 45 or more, which is a bonus. In the last three weeks I have definitely been down to the layout for more days than I've missed.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE! When I get to work on the layout, even just for 15 minutes, I go to bed feeling I have accomplished something. I actually sleep better than when I don't work on the layout. It's reduced my overall anxiety. My wife has noticed a difference. No more existential talks before bed (much to her relief).

I'm no longer so worried about the end result of the layout. When you get to work on the layout every day it becomes all about the process and the little accomplishments on the way. The end result becomes less and less important.

I still have to travel for work and on those days, working on the layout will be impossible. But I am going to try to continue this new approach and get down to the layout room for just 15 minutes a day when I can. And then I hope to be able to update the Facebook page in real time and not just a couple of times a year.

I pray that I will have the strength and persistence to continue this new tradition. It's had an enormous impact on my outlook and overall quality of life.

You can see my layout progress and join in the conversation by clicking here. You can skip directly to the layout progress photos by clicking here.
Stafford Swain (left) with CRM's Morgan Turney in Stafford's layout room
Photo courtesy John Longhurst.
Remembering Stafford Swain

We received this sad news from our friend, Al Lill:

I am very saddened to report the passing of our dear friend and colleague Stafford Swain after a long illness at a care facility in Winnipeg. Stafford was a Master Model Railroader and Chaired the NMRA convention in Winnipeg in 1983. As you know he is a legend in CNR modelling and authored many articles in the model press. Stafford served as Chair of the CN Lines Special Interest Group from 1996 to 2010. His Whiteshell Subdivision layout was enjoyed by many of us with the last run taking place in May 2010.

Stafford was hugely supportive of my efforts when I first started Rapido, and he provided me with several boxes of photographs, drawings and measurements which proved invaluable in the design and delivery of our Super Continental Line passenger cars. He and I used to meet for lunch at Delicious Vegetarian Restaurant on Pembina every time I was in Winnipeg. Those were the days.

Stafford was not just a great model railroader. He was a real mentsch. May he rest in peace.

You can read more about Stafford's amazing model railroad achievements on John Longhurst's Manitoba and Minnesota Division blog. Click here to go there.
The two pictures above represent the bulk of our first newsletter.
I think there were about 200 subscribers.
Celebrating 100 Issues of Rapido News

Our first issue of the Rapido Telegraph was emailed on May 31st, 2006. At that time, Rapido comprised just two people: me and my friend Jean who did the administrative work. That was it. Dan became our first employee in 2007, Bill and Janet joined in 2009. But in 2006 the creative side was very much a one-man show. I must have been putting in 80 hours a week.

Some people have no patience for these long newsletters, and I can say whatever I want about those people because they've stopped reading by now... I started this company as a model railroader who just wanted accurate models for my layout that met my standards. And I still see myself as a model railroader first, manufacturer second. These newsletters are a chance for me to connect with my customers on a more personal level and share what goes on behind the scenes here at Rapido.

The newsletter used to be called Rapido Telegraph, but with issue 32 in October 2011 it became, simply, Rapido News.

Sometimes these newsletters have moved quite far away from your typical product discussion. There was the time in 2016 when we dropped everything and bought an RDC:
Then there was the time in 2011 when my aunt died (87 years old) and an acquaintance died (40 years old) in the same week, making me realize that maybe we should all spend less time procrastinating and more time building model trains.
Since Sidura and I took over full ownership of Rapido in late 2012, the company has grown to be five times the size that it was. The 200 readers of that first newsletter have been joined by 10,000 others. We've certainly had our growing pains. You can't ship five times as many products and not expect things to change, nor can you expect to avoid headaches. We get a lot more emails now, too!

But I still write these newsletters (now thankfully assisted by Gareth) and I still try to share as much as possible with you about our company and about the trials and tribulations of being in this business.
An excerpt from our first product brochure, 2014.
Rapido today is very much a team, and I have managed to find some of the brightest gems in our hobby. Rapido's employees share my obsession with trains (and some share my bus foamerness) and I think they are an amazing bunch of people. Most of the models you love were not designed by me at all - I just looked over them and said "Beauty goal!" My team takes care of almost everything.

So while we are growing and changing, our core philosophy is the same. We are a bunch of guys (plus Sidura and Janet) who are obsessed with trains, just like you.

We'll be in touch next month with more RAPIDO NEWS!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.
USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441
Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5