Rapido Newsletter Vol. 105
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Welcome to the latest edition of Rapido News! In this issue:

  • New! HO scale Pullman-Standard Lightweight Dining Car
  • New! HO scale New Haven Dining Car
  • Santa Fe RDC Set - New Video!
  • HUGE Order Deadline - November 19th
  • N scale New Haven Coaches - In Stores Soon
  • N scale TurboTrain - Arriving Now
  • HO Scale Northern Pacific Boxcar - New Video!
  • Restoring A Real VIA FP9A - Your Help Needed!
  • Come See Us At Trainfest
  • Why Are Pre-Orders Needed?
New! HO scale Pullman-Standard Lightweight Dining Car

It only took us a decade, but your HO scale passengers will finally be able to eat their meals in style. Rapido is delighted to introduce the Super Continental Line Pullman-Standard Lightweight Dining Car. Eating lunch or supper in the dining car was a much-loved activity on board most passenger trains in the 20th century. Full diners could be found on day trains well into the 1960s all over North America. They still remain a vital part of long-distance services from coast to coast to coast.
3D render of our new Dining Car
Some details may change in the final design process.
Our HO scale Dining Car is based on the prototype built for CN in 1954 and is similar in design to dining cars used by numerous railroads. The model features:

  • Full underbody detail including all separate piping
  • 48 seats, 40 seats, or diner-lounge interior arrangements
  • Multi-color interior with separate chairs, tables and kitchen details
  • Tables have detailed place settings
  • Track-powered “Easy-Peasy” lighting operated by magnetic wand (included)
  • Capacitor installed for flicker-free lighting over dirty track
  • Super-detailed 41-BNO-11 or 41-N-11 trucks with in-line brake shoes
  • Working, improved diaphragms with etched-metal end gates
  • Separate grab irons installed at the factory
  • Water jugs and marker lights included in the box for ultimate realism
  • Macdonald-Cartier couplers installed at the correct height
  • Long-shank couplers included for curves down to 18” radius
This render shows the diner-lounge interior option.
Here's a much nicer render of the kitchen area. The hot water urn will not really be made of stainless steel. It does look pretty in the render, though!
We are going to try to get the factory to make the tableware as shown above.
They will no doubt complain. A lot.
Unfortunately in real life the massively overscale window glass
will obscure this lovely interior view just a bit...
The last time we designed a new Super Continental Line passenger car was in 2008, when Rapido was still wet behind the ears. Since that time we have produced many more passenger car models and improved with each release. But to this day there are many model railroaders out there who only have our old Super Continental cars and they have missed out on some of the improvements we've made.

Our new Lightweight Dining Car is chock full of these improvements:

  1. More solid construction: some of those early cars, especially in 2006/2007, were a bit "wibbly." Our passenger cars today are much more solidly built and include a one-piece roof and body.
  2. New coupler design: we redesigned our Macdonald-Cartier couplers several years ago when we started our own factory. The failure rate is very low and unless you prefer scale couplers you should not need to replace them.
  3. New coupler placement: the cars no longer require such large radius curves.
  4. Track-powered lighting: the lighting is still controlled by a hidden magnetic switch in the roof, but it is track powered and does not require batteries to be changed regularly. It works on DC and DCC.
  5. Reliable diaphragms: the diaphragms have internal metal springs and do not extend further than they should.
A selection of dining car paint schemes.
Our new Dining Car is available in the following paint schemes:

  • Amtrak (Phase 1)   
  • Baltimore & Ohio
  • Canadian National (1954)   
  • Canadian National (Noodle)
  • Chicago & North Western   
  • Great Northern
  • Illinois Central   
  • Milwaukee Road (Hiawatha)
  • Milwaukee Road (Yellow)   
  • Missouri Pacific (Eagle)
  • Missouri Pacific (Jenks Blue)   
  • New York Central
  • Norfolk & Western   
  • Northern Pacific (Loewy)
  • Ontario Northland   
  • Pennsylvania   
  • Southern Pacific
  • Union Pacific   
  • VIA Rail Canada
  • Undecorated
A CNR promotional photo, courtesy Richard Longpre collection.
The Pullman-Standard Lightweight Dining Car is entering the tooling workshop in December and we expect samples in early April. The order deadline is June 24th, so you have lots of time to order.

The MSRP is $119.95 (USA and everywhere that is not Canada) and $129.95 (everywhere that is Canada). You can reserve your diner from your favourite/favorite hobby shop or directly from us. Click here for more information.

Please note... We doubt we could do another run of diners for several years, so this is your one chance this decade to get some Rapido-quality diners for your lightweight passenger trains. Please order yours today!
Rapido Dining Car
3D render of our New Haven Dining Car
Some details may change in the final design process.
New! HO scale New Haven Dining Car

Continuing our reputation as the premier manufacturer of New Haven locomotives and rolling stock, we are delighted to officially announce the HO scale New Haven Dining Car.

Like the 8600s and Parlors, this car is a collaborative project between Rapido Trains Inc. and the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association.
"Jonathan Edwards" in the McGinnis scheme with no skirts.
Photo courtesy NHRHTA.
The New Haven Railroad was very proud of its dining car services. Through the years they offered extensive menus on their first-class passengers on trains like The Merchant’s Limited and The Yankee Clipper. Many of these trains initially carried two diners to help keep up with the demand.

After WWII the New Haven started a massive upgrade of its passenger equipment, ordering stainless-steel clad cars from Pullman’s Worcester plant (formally Osgood Bradley). Included in these orders were ten stainless steel diners which were delivered in 1949. Named after famous individuals from New England’s history, these cars could serve 48 customers at a time.
"John Alden" on a lovely winter day...
Photo courtesy NHRHTA.
Our HO scale New Haven Dining Car features:

  • Accurately designed from original blueprints
  • Correct tubular cross section
  • Rapido's renowned stainless steel finish
  • Partial skirting or no skirting as appropriate
  • Full and correct interior details
  • Track-powered “Easy-Peasy” lighting operated by magnetic wand (included)
  • Capacitor installed for flicker-free lighting over dirty track
  • Full underbody details with separate piping
  • Operating diaphragms with end gates
  • Separate grab irons, factory-installed
  • 61-BNO-11 trucks with blackened metal wheels
  • Long-shank couplers included for curves down to 18” radius
The New Haven Dining Car is available in three variations:

  • Delivery Scheme with Skirts
  • McGinnis with Skirts (NHRHTA Exclusive)
  • McGinnis without Skirts

The first and third versions are available from your local hobby shop or direct from Rapido. The NHRHTA exclusive edition is only available from NHRHTA. Click here to visit their web site.

The MSRP is $139.95 (higher in Canada). Please reserve yours by June 24th. Delivery is later in 2019. Click here for more information or to order direct.
Santa Fe RDC Set - New Video!

It's a little later than planned, but we are delighted to share with you a video featuring sound-equipped samples of our HO scale Santa Fe rebuilt RDC set. This video also shows close-ups of many of the details and features common to all of our RDC models.

Click here or on the image below to watch. It was filmed at the wonderful Railview Historical Society club layout.
We've made some extra Santa Fe RDC sets because we promised this video before the order deadline.... which passed ages ago! Unfortunately we've already sold half of the extras we made! And since we uploaded the video last week a further bunch of have sold.

If you still want to order a Santa Fe RDC set, please contact your dealer or click here to order direct. They are going... going...
AWESOME photo of FIVE RS-18s in transit courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
HUGE Order Deadline - November 19th

One of our biggest order deadlines ever is just a few weeks away. To ensure you don't miss out, please order the following by the 19th:

Pre-production sample of the Southern Pacific Alco RS-11
Note the complex SP light package!
We've since changed how the cab and battery boxes attach to the
walkway so you won't see the walkway beneath them.
Two of these models - the RS-11 and the RS-18 - have been made before in plastic. But we really feel it's time to bring these hugely popular locomotives up to 21st-century standards. They were the Alco/MLW workhorses of the diesel era.

Please compare the photo above of the (very early sample) SP model - with its crazy lighting packages which cause us no end of headaches - to the real thing in the photo below. It's not only the light packages but the correct fuel tank, roof hatch, and other details that make our model stand out.

We have fixed the cab and battery boxes. In the photo above they are sitting high on top of the etched metal walkway and you can see on top of the short hood how the cab is not pushed down all the way. On production models the metal walkway will not be visible under the cab and battery boxes and the cab itself will be properly seated. We like to keep you informed about this kind of stuff, even when things need fixing!
The real Southern Pacific RS-11
Photo courtesy White River Productions collection.
I know everyone wants to see painted samples but we only have so many resources for painting samples. The factory was working on the ATSF set so Big Dan is painting up a couple of RS-11 models for our next newsletter and video. We think these unpainted models actually give a better idea of just how many separate and etched parts go into a Rapido diesel locomotive. It's mind boggling!

You can reserve your RS-11 fleet from your local dealer or direct. More information can be found here.
Hand-painted samples of the Tempo on my Kingston Sub layout.
These samples pre-date the addition of side rivets.
Production models will also have painted window frames.
Speaking of painted samples, these just turned up a few minutes ago! They were painted by our good friend Mark Kaluza, of the famed Kaluza-Mueller Collection.

The Tempo train has ended up being a sleeper hit from our big June product launch. I honestly never thought there would be enough demand for an HO scale Tempo, and I was just making these for my layout and hoping to hide the losses in the RS-18 sales! Based on pre-orders so far it will actually make a profit! We'll be putting together a video covering the Tempo and RS-18 for our YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks.

The Tempo can be ordered from your local dealer or direct. Click here for more info.
First test shot of our N scale Dash 8.
Our N scale Dash 8 is our first foray into the modern diesel market in N scale, and so far the response has been excellent. You can see all of the product features in our Dash 8 video, located here. The tooling quality really is far above what we were able to accomplish just a few short years ago. And the model features working ditch lights as well as working rock lights on BCR units. Woo-hoo!

Click here for more information.
First test sample of our HO scale RS-18, still with 3D-printed parts.
Big Dan has a new sample in his paint shop.
Of all of these new product announcements, the biggest seller is BY FAR the HO scale RS-18. We have sold the same number of RS-18s as all of the other models in this release combined. And would you believe as recently as last year someone told us, "Don't bother with the RS-18 - there isn't enough demand." I'm glad we didn't listen...

Dan is currently painting up a newer sample of the RS-18 for our video.

Full information on our CP and CN RS-18 can be found here.

I will be in touch once more before the deadline. To read about the importance of order deadlines and why we don't make tons of extras, see the essay at the bottom of this email.
Yes, these are N scale! And yes, they are here!
N scale New Haven Coaches - In Stores Soon

Our new N scale New Haven coaches have been shipped to distributors and will be arriving in stores any day now. We're very proud of these cars. They feature:

  • Never before available in N scale
  • Accurately scaled from original blueprints
  • Designed with input from NHRHTA
  • Correct tubular cross section with accurate Pullman-Standard stainless steel fluting profile
  • Rapido’s renowned stainless steel finish at the correct color temperature for New Haven’s cars
  • Partial skirting or no skirting as appropriate
  • All-new 41-BNO-11 outside swinghanger trucks with metal wheelsets
  • Full interior and underbody detail
  • End diaphragms with etched metal end gates
  • “Easy-Peasy” battery-operated interior lighting

We have made a few extra cars, so if your hobby shop is sold out, please ask them to contact us. Click here for more information.
Roslyn poses with two TurboTrain models. Move over, Vanna White!
N scale TurboTrain - Arriving Now

Even though I am an HO scale modeller, I am also (probably) the world's biggest Turbo fan. I literally wrote the book on the subject. So I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of our shipment of N scale TurboTrains. We are told the container is arriving in the Toronto area right about now. If you can trace it, it is DFSU7122534. We should have the Turbos in our warehouse by Monday, and it's our intention to get most of them out the door by Wednesday.

If anyone has any original seats from the real Canadian Turbo, please let me know. I will make you a really sweet offer for them. Because I don't own enough train seats...
TurboTrain in the box. For clarity, we've removed the instructions, diagrams, etc.
This photo shows how the TurboTrain arrives - in a beautiful hard case surrounded by the colourful slipcases shown in the first photo. The plastic sheets protect the cars and diaphragms and make it easy to remove them from the packaging - so don't throw the plastic sheets away!

If you didn't pre-order a TurboTrain, we have a handful left. That's it. You can try giving us a shout but some paint schemes are already sold out. Read more about the pre-ordering conundrum in my essay at the bottom of this email.

Click here to watch a video of the N scale TurboTrain in action. We'll do another video after the models arrive.

More information about the model can be found here. I'm so excited!
HO Scale Northern Pacific Boxcar - New Video!

Bill Schneider, who has been our chief project manager since 2009, was recently visiting Rapido Transtemporal HQ and he took some time to make a video about one of his projects. The Northern Pacific 40' 10000-series boxcar is one of those projects that made a lot of our regular customers say "Whaaaat?" when we announced it. But Bill was certain it would be a success and boy was he right. Click here or on the image below to watch the video.
We are completely sold out of these cars. In fact, I didn't even get my own (Grumble Grumble). More information about our NP boxcars can be found here.

Once again, you can read more about the challenges of pre-orders and inventory at the bottom of this email.
VIA Rail Canada 6309 at Exporail - desperately in need of restoration!
Restoring A Real VIA FP9A - Your Help Needed!

Rapido Trains Inc. is partnering with Exporail, Canada's national train museum, to do a cosmetic restoration of their preserved VIA Rail Canada FP9A locomotive #6309. 6309 is in desperate need of some TLC. I am happy to report that, following restoration, 6309 will be moved indoors and proudly put on display in the Angus Pavilion. It will be the first time ever that VIA will be displayed indoors where it deserves to be.

If you donate $1000 to the restoration, you get a $200 Rapido Trains Inc. gift voucher. If you donate $1500 or more, you get a complimentary sound-equipped VIA FP9A locomotive in the GPA-17e series (ex-CN, 48" fans). That is a $360 value!

Yes, we are retooling the CN FP9A. We think six years is long enough for people to wait between production runs...
Rapido's HO scale FP9A from the 2012 release
Complimentary FP9A models will be from new tooling and may not be exactly as shown.
This year VIA Rail Canada celebrates its 40th anniversary. Despite this, the number of VIA locomotives and cars that have been restored in VIA colours can be counted on one hand. In fact, they both belong to Rapido. That's right, there is not one single piece of VIA equipment in any museum anywhere that has been restored to VIA colours. There are a handful of items here and there that are still in VIA colours, but they have not yet been restored (including the Toronto Railway Museum's LRC locomotive #6917).

This is shocking. VIA is our national passenger railway, and has been since 1978. It is about time that VIA gets some proper attention from our museums. Kudos to Exporail for stepping to the plate and giving 6309 - and passenger car Sibley Park - the respect they deserve.

Please click here to donate to Exporail's campaign. If we all pull together and raise more than the needed $34,000 to restore 6309, all extra funds raised from this campaign will go towards Exporail's VIA collection. Together I hope we can raise all the funds needed to restore 6309 and the other pieces of VIA equipment at the museum.
Come See Us At Trainfest

We are once again headed to sunny Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Trainfest. This is one of the biggest train shows held anywhere in North America, and it's well worth the drive to Cream City. (Yes, that's really a nickname for Milwaukee. I would have called it The Schlitz.)

Trainfest this year is November 10-11. Double D. (Dan Darnell) is leading the Rapido show team of Transit Josh and President and CEO Jordan Smith and we'll have RS-11s, B-36s and more on display! We hope to see you there. Click here for more info.
Sidura is overwhelmed by the arrival of her Mid-Train Dome pre-orders.
Really, they were all for her. Not for me at all.
Why Are Pre-Orders Needed?

As you're a regular reader of our newsletters, you've heard me go on about pre-ordering over and over again. In just about every newsletter, in fact. I'm going to do my best to explain the pre-order situation and why we keep asking you to do it.

In the 1990s, the unit cost for model trains was very low and the production runs were very high. Were we to bring out a new locomotive in 1992, we would produce about 10,000 pieces. All would have the exact same details - the only difference would be the paint and lettering. There would be about 100 parts on each model. We would start advertising them as they arrived, and thousands of hobby shops would order them. If we still had 3000 sitting on the shelf after six months, it didn't really matter. Once the first 2000 left the warehouse we were in the black.

Today the industry is very different. If we announce a locomotive in 10 paint schemes, chances are each paint scheme has numerous detail differences and will only sell between 300 and 500 pieces. Instead of having 100 chunky parts, the model has 400 (mostly) tiny parts. Our margins are very tight, which means that the cost relative to selling price is much higher than it was a generation ago.

So we can't afford to make hundreds of extra models hoping that people will buy them. If we tie all that money up in unsold models, we won't have the funds to make new models.

Occasionally we make a small production run on spec, and we announce it in the newsletter as a surprise arrival. "Guess what - new gondolas are here!" This is usually determined by one of the factories saying, "The tooling for project X isn't ready yet - please let's make a production run of project Y in the meantime." It is the exception rather than the norm.
Our Completely Sold-Out NP Boxcar
A Northern Pacific Case Study

We recognize that while people are likely to pre-order a $360 locomotive, they don't usually pre-order rolling stock. Especially freight cars - I mean, everyone has dozens or even hundreds of freight cars. Who needs to pre-order? They will always be in stock.

Thinking along those lines, we made over 1300 extra Northern Pacific boxcars for which we didn't have any pre-orders. Our thought was that these would be great Christmas gifts so we would have them in stock throughout the fall. When the models arrived, we sent out a message to our wholesale customers. And to our astonishment, all 1300 cars sold out in a week. It looks like a lot of stores failed to pre-order these and only realized when the models arrived.

One poor modeller was looking for two dozen of these cars earlier this month and hobby shop after hobby shop was calling us on his behalf. We had to say the same thing to each store - we're completely sold out.

We can't take the risk of making thousands of extra cars each time in the hope that this will happen again, and it illustrates the need to pre-order if you see something you want. We won't necessarily have them in stock when they arrive - even in the case of freight cars. We also made 500 extra Mid-Train Dome cars but those were all gone within about two weeks of arrival, and those were $109 cars!
Our Mid-Train Dome model poses on a diorama of
Kingston Station built by Jonathon Greggs. Beauty, eh?
The Missing Second Run

An obvious thing to ask is, "Well if it sold out so quickly, why not do another run?"

We've discovered through very real (and costly) experience that quick second runs are a disaster. While we could easily sell another 500 Northern Pacific Boxcars or 200 Mid-Train Domes, we could not sell the several thousand needed for a second run. And then we would have thousands of cars sitting in our warehouse that we would be unable to sell, and the funds tied up in those cars would not be used for new models.

This means that we're only really getting one run of a given product every few years. With some models, like the RDC or the Alco FA-2, there are new roadnames to do which allow us to bring out a run every two years. But with something specialized like a Royal Hudson or a New Haven EP-5 locomotive, we're looking at four or five years between runs. In order for a second run to work, there needs to be enough new people in the hobby who didn't get the model the first time around.

In summary, we're not trying to be jerks when we say "Sorry you missed that - you'll need to wait another five years." We're just reflecting the economic realities of this business. So if you read about a new Rapido product that interests you, please reserve your models before the deadline. You should not need to pay in advance. If a store asks you to pay in full upfront, find a new store. I can assure you the store isn't sending the money to us. You don't need to give anyone an interest-free loan.

That's it for another newsletter. All going well, we will be in touch twice next month - and both times we will have new products to introduce.

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