Rapido Newsletter Vol. 109
©2019 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

I hope all is well in your model railroad! And in real life too! Here's the latest Rapido News:

  • HO RS-11 FINAL, FINAL Order Deadline - April 1st!
  • New! HO Scale Flexi Flo Covered Hopper
  • New! HO Scale Mill Gondolas
  • New! Grand Trunk Western Dining Cars
  • Rapido is Hiring!
  • Please Visit Our New (Buggy) Web Site!
  • Factory Update
  • Biggest N Scale Announcement Ever - Teaser #2
  • Rapido Dealer Open Houses - Canada and now USA!
  • Rethinking My Entire Model Railroad
  • Postscript: About Those Habs
RS-11 Revised Cabs. They are now the correct height!
HO RS-11 FINAL, FINAL Order Deadline - April 1st!

One of the most difficult things for us to do as a manufacturer is set order deadlines and stick to them. We set the deadlines months in advance, and we have no idea if the factory will be ready for production when that deadline comes. If the factory isn’t ready – either they are too busy or they are still tweaking the molds for our new model – then we extend the deadline until they can start.

In the case of the HO scale Alco RS-11, we discovered that our cab was too tall for the vast majority of RS-11 locomotives. This was very noticeable and we had to fix it. The cost to fix it was a whopping $15,000! But we feel it was worth it as we don't want our RS-11 to be known as "the best model RS-11 ever except for the cab height which stinks."
Lehigh Valley RS-11 in Cornell Red.
A portion of each sale goes to the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.
Click here for more info.
Now that the cab has been fixed, we can announce the FINAL, FINAL order deadline for the HO scale RS-11. It is April 1st, 2019. That's just over one week away!

You can watch our RS-11 video by clicking here or on the picture below. We're very proud of the numerous prototype detail differences. This is not a one-size-fits-all model and is the first time that an RS-11 has been given the full Rapido treatment. Since that video was shot we've tweaked the hood details to make them even more correct for each railroad.

(By the way, compare the cab height in the picture below with the new samples at the top and you'll see how we had to fix the cab.)
Click on the image above to watch the video!
Here's a complete list of first-run paint schemes. Click on any roadname to see product numbers.

Please click here for more info. Dealers please get your orders in by Wednesday April 3rd at the absolute latest. We will make a handful of extra sound models, but you must order by the deadline to guarantee delivery of your chosen locomotives.
New York Central Flexi Flo
Photo courtesy NYCSHS.
New! HO Scale Flexi Flo Covered Hopper

Enough with the teasing already! We're delighted to officially announce the HO scale Flexi Flo Covered Hopper.

Built between August 1964 and June 1966, the American Car & Foundry (ACF) 3500 cu.ft. covered hopper was an early innovator in pressure differential unloading. It's officially called the PD3500 but due to brilliant marketing by New York Central they are commonly known as "Flexi Flo" hoppers.
MDTX Flexi Flo. Photo courtesy Richard Yaremko.
A Rolling History
The Flexi Flos were delivered just a few years before the Penn Central merger, and they were a rolling history of northeastern railroading, going through numerous "patch" paint and full repaints over their working lives. And if you model the rest of the USA, these are for you too!

Western Trains Too!
In the 1980s-90s the cars really spread their wings, first through the transfer of many cars to Conrail's Merchants Despatch Transportation Co. (MDTX) subsidiary, and then the later sale of cars to NAHX (for Lafarge) and SXSX/SYSX for use in Arizona, California and the south west, all gaining new paint schemes in the process.
Flexi Flo Scale Test Car - It's YELLOW!
The Model
This is the first time that the ACF PD3500 has appeared as a high-quality plastic model and Rapido intends to do justice to this classic and much-requested design. The body of the Flexi Flo evolved rapidly during its two years of manufacture and the Rapido version replicates all these changes, including different strengthening rib and weld line arrangements. We are also making a brand new 125-Ton Barber S-2 truck used under many of the NYC cars.

The models are being produced as a sub-assembly rather than a one-piece body to avoid any warping or shrinking in the injection process, and will have etched-metal roof walks and loads of neat-o piping!
Conrail Repaint. Photo by H. E. Brouse, courtesy Rudy Garbely Collection.
The first run paint schemes include:

  • FMC Chemicals SHPX (941H) - 3 numbers
  • NYC As Delivered (941H) - 6 numbers
  • NYC As Delivered (963H) - 6 numbers
  • PC Billboard Repaint (963H) - 6 numbers
  • PC Ex-NYC Patchout (941H) - 6 numbers
  • CR Flexi Flo Repaint (963H) - 6 numbers
  • CR Billboard Repaint (996H) - 2 numbers
  • CR Conrail Repaint (996H) - 6 numbers
  • PC/CR Scale Test Cars (996H) - 2 cars
  • MDTX Repaint (963H) - 6 numbers
  • NAHX Lafarge (996H) - 6 numbers
  • US Systems Inc SYSX (941H, 963H) - 6 numbers
  • Undecorated Kit (all versions)

The MSRP is $59.95 per car. Click here for more information or to order direct. Dealers must order in case packs but the models are boxed for individual sale.

The order deadline is TBA. We will announce one when we are closer to production.
Our new HO gondolas - arriving next week, despite what it says above!
New! HO Scale Mill Gondolas

We've been teasing these for a while, and we're pleased to let you know that you can now order your HO scale 52'6" Mill Gondolas from your dealer. We announced these to dealers a couple of weeks ago and sold out... in four days! Clearly we didn't make enough, but that will have to do until the next time we can squeeze these into production.
Now with either "Z" bracing or "hat channel" bracing!
New Tooling
These Mill Gons are a new run of our original model with "Z" bracing on the sides, but we've also tooled "hat channel" bracing for the railroads that had it. The models are packed full of details, including separate wire grabs, wire retainer valve handles, full underbody detail, positionable end doors, diecast floor, and gorgeous trucks.
Our retrofitted 70-ton truck with roller bearings in journal boxes.
Yes, that is a photo of our model, straight out of the package!
Looks real, eh?
Trucks and Wheelsets Available Separately
Some of the gons have our amazing 70-ton trucks that have roller bearings retrofitted into the journal boxes. We sell these separately! The part number is 102061 and they are only $7.95 a pair, including metal wheelsets. We also have other truck styles and wheelsets available for sale. Please speak to your dealer to order. You can also order direct by clicking here.

The new HO scale gondolas retail for $49.95 and are available in numerous paint schemes. Click here for more info.
Serving Illinois to Michigan passengers in style!
New! Grand Trunk Western Dining Cars

Our HO scale Dining Cars are selling really, really well. Maybe we shouldn't have waited ten years to make them, eh? Anyway we've found proof that one car - 1346 - was painted in Grand Trunk Western colors from the late 1950s until some time in the noodle era. So we are offering it in addition to the CNR car of the same number. It did run with CANADIAN NATIONAL on the sides for several years before the GRAND TRUNK WESTERN replaced it.

If you would like to order your GTW Pullman-Standard dining car, please speak to your dealer. You can order direct by clicking here for the 1954 scheme, or clicking here for the noodle scheme.

More information on our Pullman-Standard Dining Cars can be found here. The order deadline is currently June 24th. We should have samples well before then. They are already in the mould shop.

The New Haven Diner is in tooling as well - they will both be produced together! It's Diner Madness here at Rapido!
One of these things is not like the others...
Rapido is Hiring!

Yes, we are! Rapido is expanding and we are looking for two new people to join our team. As you can tell from these newsletters, from our social media, and even from the above picture, we do things a bit differently here. If your dream job is to work in a bank, don't apply.

Please send us your resume and cover letter by replying to this email. By law, we have to give preference to applications from Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents. We also give preference to people who smell nice, know how to spell, know the difference between there and their, and who don't ever say "Me and him went to the store."

Job #1: Project Designer
We are looking for someone full time to do project design. That means coordinating the design of new models, including creating 2D line drawings of real trains; creating painting diagrams; communicating with the factory (via illustrated PDF documents, email and Skype); and working with the project management team here. We prefer you to work in our Markham, Ontario office. Knowledge of American trains is an asset. Required skills include:
  • must be proficient in 2D CAD or Adobe Illustrator/Corel Draw
  • must be a train nut and know a lot about trains
  • must be able to work with Adobe Creative Suite (specifically InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat) and MS Office
  • must have graphic design skills
  • must be an excellent communicator - written, oral, and in silly videos
  • must be able to translate measurement's into drawings
  • must be very detail-oriented and be able to spot and fix mistakes
  • must be organized and be able to work to a tight deadline
  • must be a team player
  • must be able to count rivets
  • must be really ticked off at the glaring grammatical mistake in this list. If you can't find it, don't apply.
  • must recognize that showering once a week isn't often enough

Job #2: Warranty Repair Person
We are looking for someone to work full time here at our Markham office fixing model trains and helping customers. Our warranty return rate is between 1% and 2%, but even that represents hundreds of models a year and we're always swamped. Required skills include:
  • must be good at taking apart and putting together model trains
  • must have an understanding of model railroad electronics and be very skilled with a soldering iron. Knowledge/understanding of DCC is a huge asset. Massive.
  • must be an excellent communicator, written and oral
  • must be well organized and able to follow instructions precisely
  • must be comfortable with MS Office and be able to learn other software on the computing device.
  • must be able to politely interrupt a customer to get off the phone when the customer wants to spend two hours talking about the upholstery in the dining car from his California Zephyr trip in 1964
  • must be able to recognize very early on that the customer just wants to talk about his California Zephyr trip and doesn't really have anything wrong with his Rapido models and actually doesn't even own any
  • must not believe that falafel stains add character to a T-shirt
  • must have the patience of Job

That last line has nothing to do with our customers and everything to do with working for me.

If you have the skills needed for either of these positions and you would like to be considered, please get in touch with a cover letter and resume. I'm repeating that because every time we advertise a position we get a lot of "Sure I'll come work for you!" emails with no documentation whatsoever. We also get a lot of "I would come work for you but I am retired and living in Maui and when are you making an SD70M-2?"

We're also looking for an executive assistant for me so I can do more product design and marketing, but in that case knowing about trains is probably a detriment rather than an asset. In fact, knowing about me is probably also a detriment.
Rapido's new web site. Because it's like, 2019 eh?
Please Visit Our New (Buggy) Web Site!

After four years we are finally updating our web site as the old one has become totally unmanageable. The new site is live and guess what - it's full of bugs! How's that for a bit of promotion? Please visit https://www.rapidotrains.com and tell us what is missing or what doesn't work. We'll keep Mike busy for the next month fixing everything.
One of our new supervisors who came from Affa is overseeing assembly of Royal Hudson smokebox doors.
Factory Update

Both factories are hard at work and are at full strength now. The LRC factory is almost finished the first shipment of HO scale Royal Hudson locomotives. We're completely sold out of these but your dealer may have some stock. Have a look at these photos:
Royal Hudson tenders in the assembly room!
Royal crests for Royal 2850
Holy valve gear, Batman!
Leaving the factory at the beginning of April are Royal Hudson 2850 as well as the two BC Rail versions of 2860 (including the exclusive edition of 2860 for PWRS). The rest of the Royal Hudsons leave the factory in late April. Again, all Royals are sold out at our end but your store may have ordered stock.

About half the HO scale FP7s will leave the Guangxi factory in mid-April and the rest will leave in early May. CP modellers, gird your wallets!
ONR "progressive" FP7 is almost ready for final assembly!
The HO scale Tempos should be leaving the factory in May with the HO scale RS-18 following a few weeks later.

Remember the HO scale Well Car and Containers? Those are finally leaving the Guangxi factory starting in May. We have made extras of these so you can still order them from your dealer.
Just arrived here at Rapido - delayed a whole four weeks in transit - are the Coors Light F40PH locomotives and the HO scale Gondolas. Both are sold out at our end but your dealer will hopefully have some stock.

Our full delivery schedule can be viewed here.
Biggest N Scale Announcement Ever - Teaser #2

The tooling is well on the way for the biggest Canadian N scale announcement ever made... by anyone. Above is the drawing of mould #3, in case you want to try to figure it out. We should have photos of the actual moulds in the next newsletter, and we're expecting our first samples in May.

In late June we will be launching five new Canadian N scale projects all at the same time, to be delivered over two years with staggered order deadlines and delivery dates so you don't have to pay for them all at once. We will have samples of some of the new products and drawings of others. You'll be able to track the progress of these exciting projects through their development and delivery.

These projects have been keeping me busy for months. The amazing reception of our N scale TurboTrain has given me, personally, the confidence to take on more N scale projects. Our late employee, Mike McGrattan, would be so proud of us. We're finally realizing his dream of being a Canadian N scale manufacturing powerhouse.

Keep an eye on our newsletters and our Facebook page for more info. More teasers will be forthcoming. Stay tuned!
Giving a talk at our 2018 Dealer Open House. I'm the one holding the cute dog.
Rapido Dealer Open Houses - Canada and now USA!

This is a heads up for hobby shop owners, their employees and families throughout North America. In early June, we will be having our first ever American Dealer Open House at the Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury, Connecticut. Check your email inbox for the exact date and times. If you aren't getting our American dealer newsletters or our "snail mail" sales packs, please let us know ASAP and we'll add you to the list.

Our fourth Canadian Dealer Open House will take place at the end of June at Rapido HQ. We are launching new products at both events, as well as offering discounts and free goodies. And of course a delicious supper!

Most importantly, visitors to our Dealer Open Houses get to meet Janet! In person! Janet is our CFO.
Janet at the 2018 Dealer Open House
(If you want to see more Janet, watch our RS-18 video here. But that might be too much Janet. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

These events aren't open to the public, but we will be doing Facebook Live broadcasts from both of them. Click here to watch the Facebook Live broadcast from the product launch before last year's open house. You can tell how energized we were. It was a lot of fun.
A panorama of the north end of the layout. That's me working on subroadbed.
I'm sitting where Spadina roundhouse will go.
Awesome photo by Jordan Smith.
Rethinking My Entire Model Railroad

Many of you have been following the progress of my HO scale layout on the Kingston Sub Facebook Page. It is a triple-deck layout based in Ontario in 1980. The bottom deck is Spadina Yard and Union Station in downtown Toronto. The middle deck is Guildwood Station and Pickering, east of Toronto. The top deck is Kingston and Brockville in eastern Ontario. They are all connected by a massive helix almost seven feet in diameter, shown in the photo below.
VIA train 62 uses the crossover at the top of the helix to reach the passenger tracks in the East Staging Yard. It's December, so 62 needs four boilers to keep the long train warm - two in the FPB-4 and two in the SGU. The fifth boiler in the FPA-4 is cold.
The helix outside radius is 38.25" and the inside radius is 36".
John Slean built the crossovers.
My plan from the start was to get all the benchwork in, and then work from the top down. Lay the track on the top deck, scenic, add buildings, etc., and then move down.

This has worked so far, but then I found myself installing Details West joint bars in the backwoods of Brockville. While I found this very relaxing, I began to wonder if I would be able to finish this layout in my lifetime.
A joint bar on the wye track in Brockville.
I was really bummed out so I posted my thoughts about this on the Trainorders Model Railroading forum. A lot of people gave me good advice - it's a great forum - but one message stood out. A forum member, Steinzeit2, gave me the goods:

Well, the dream you had when you were four was a layout, not 40 ft of workbench...... You did say all the benchwork is complete, right? So here's the revised plan:

1. Do all the track and wiring on level 2; no scenery, just roadbed. Start this weekend.

2. Do Union Station and the 'under the roundhouse' tunnel track and wiring -- again, no scenery. Yes, you'll be down to 20 ft of workbench -- you apparently need a Precision Scheduled Workbench.

3. Put sheets of 3/4" plywood -- maybe 16 lin. ft -- on secure risers [ 7" ? ] over the Union Station trackage to give you a workbench.

4. Do Spadina.

By now you are _______ [ enter age ]. Take a year or two to just operate and have fun, and see where it goes from there.

And you know what? He was 100% correct.
"Glue and screw" is another common model railroad technique that needs to be thrown in the garbage can of bad ideas. I would not have been able to remove the benchwork east of Kingston had I used glue. And how do you like my MASSIVE BELLBOTTOMS? I just bought two new pairs! Purple and green cords!
In the photo above I'm removing the fascia below the Cataraqui River in Kingston, and then Jordan and I removed the river bed. I discovered it was completely impossible to lay the track on deck two below it! And I was planning to build the bridge and scenic this area before laying that lower track. What a disaster that would have been!

I have renewed excitement about my layout now. To think that I could be operating the whole layout within three or four years is inspiring.

Sometimes you need to take a step back from whatever path you are on and analyze it: this may be enjoyable, but it is going to allow you to reach your goal? What are your goals?

My goal is to switch and run VIA trains just like the prototype in 1980. My goal is to create an accurate model of the favourite railroad location of my youth: Guildwood Station. My goal is to recreate my memories riding early VIA trains through the rain and the snow of winter trips to Montreal. My goal was not to spend two years puttering over a wye track in Brockville.

Re-evaluating my goals against what I was actually doing has made a huge difference in my outlook. I highly recommend it. You can follow my progress on the Kingston Sub Facebook Page. Please join in the discussion!

OK - next newsletter has new HO scale freight and passenger announcements that will hopefully give your wallet conniptions! And more N scale teasers!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

Oh, and one more thing...
Boaz plays in Roundhouse Park in his new Habs jersey, 2013.
Postscript: About Those Habs

Many of you have been reading these newsletters for years and you've seen my kids grow up. When the first newsletter was sent out, Boaz was one and Dalya and Isaac weren't yet born! Above is a photo of Boaz, aged seven, playing in his shiny new Montreal Canadiens jersey. That was six years ago.
Boaz and his Uncle Michael made a special trip to Montreal to see the Habs in person. Here they are in the Bell Centre watching Carey Price achieve the new record for franchise wins.
Now Boaz is 13 and he has started a blog about the Habs, appropriately called BoKnowsHabs.com. His comments are insightful. This kid knows and loves his hockey, and it shows. We're not sure where this hockey obsession came from. While I am a life-long Habs fan, my brain is filled with more important stuff like VIA passenger car history and Doctor Who episode writers' names. (Did you know that "Guy Leopold" was a pseudonym for Bob Sloman and Barry Letts? Shocking!)

So here's a shameless plug from a proud Daddy. If you are interested in the Montreal Canadiens or hockey in general, please read and comment on Le Bo's blog. Click here to visit.
USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441
Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5