Rapido Newsletter Vol. 110
©2019 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Wow! Two newsletters in three weeks! It must be party time at Rapido!

In this issue:

  • New! HO Scale LRC Coaches and Business Class Cars!
  • New! HO Scale 3800 Hoppers With New Tooling!
  • New! HO Scale Northern Pacific Boxcars - New Run
  • New Rapido Factory Video
  • Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous Royal Hudson!
  • HO Scale Well Cars and Containers in Production
  • Another N Scale Teaser or Two
  • Come See Us In Calgary
  • Welcome Craig Walker and John Sheridan!
  • The Stresses of Being a Growing Company
A Rebuilt LRC Coach
Photo courtesy Brendan Frisina.
New! HO Scale LRC Coaches and Business Class Cars!

We are excited to announce a new production of the VIA Bombardier LRC cars in HO scale! Yes, it's true - almost five years after the last run, these most-requested models are back!

The old factory in China is working to restore the original tooling to meet our modern standards and produce at least one more production run of these highly sought-after cars. In addition, we're producing the new Business Class cars, as well as several new paint schemes never offered before. If this is successful, we may be able to rebuild some of our other old project moulds as well.
A Rapido "Canada150" VIA F40 hauls an LRC coach.
F40s can be ordered by clicking here .
Since 1982, the Bombardier LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) has dominated VIA Rail Canada services in the Ontario-Quebec Corridor. In the early 2000s, VIA announced a major rebuilding project that would extend the lives of the fleet by another 20 years. It is expected that with the recent announcement of new equipment for the corridor, most of the LRC fleet will be retired by 2025.
A "Canada 150" LRC coach. Photo courtesy Brendan Frisina.
As you can see from these photos, you can mix and match your LRC cars in one train. They do not need to be all one style.
The HO scale LRC model features:

  • Accurate dimensions scaled from the prototype
  • Track-powered interior lighting and marker lights
  • Roller-bearing-equipped wheelsets
  • Full interior detail
  • Etched-metal end gates

The paint schemes in this run include the following:

  • Delivery Scheme (1981-1998)
  • Canada Scheme (1998-present)
  • "Green" Rebuilds (2010-present)
  • Canada150 - three different city name groups
  • VIA40

The Canada150 and VIA40 cars are conditional announcements. That means we need to sell enough for the factory to make them.
A new Business Class car featuring blanked windows and wi-fi antenna.
Two of these in one train is quite common.
Photo courtesy Brendan Frisina.
New Business Class Cars
We're particularly proud of our new LRC Business Class cars, featuring the correct windows and 2+1 seating arrangement to match the rebuilt cars that have been in service since 2013.
The interior of our new Business Class car features all-new tooling.
We are working on the tooling now and expect our first tests next month. There is a tight order deadline on these cars. You need to reserve yours by June 24th, 2019, which is just over two months away. Provided the tooling rebuild is successful, delivery will be before the end of the year.

Click here for more information or to order direct.
CN's "Environmental" 3800 Hopper
Photo by Dan Darnell
New! HO Scale 3800 Hoppers With New Tooling!

Following the well-received initial launch, Rapido Trains Inc. is proud to announce its second release of the iconic 3800 cu.ft. Cylindrical Hopper in HO scale. Once again Rapido aims to rid layouts and displays of incorrect 4550 cu.ft. covered-hopper models decorated to represent the 3800. The 3800 is a shorter car! With this second run we're introducing new trough hatches for the rooftops, and we've also completely redesigned how the carbody is produced to bring you an even better, museum-quality product.
This "exploded" drawing shows how the new tooling goes together.
The first run of the 3800 Hoppers had a one-piece body, and it was very difficult to control the dimensions during the injection process. This resulted in the tops of the end cages occasionally looking a bit moody. We've tooled up a new "flat pack" body which we are assembling in the factory during production. This will ensure 100% dimensional stability and keep your roof walks nice and perky. We've also improved the truck tooling.
A selection of paint schemes for our new run of 3800s.
Most of the new run comprises NSC-built 11-panel cars.
The prototype 3800 Hoppers were designed for carrying bulk commodities like powdered minerals and industrial chemicals, including cement and potash. They are 100 tons in capacity with four hopper compartments totaling 3800-3850 cubic feet and are fitted with either round or trough hatches. Examples were built by all three of the major car builders in Canada – Marine Industries, Hawker- Siddeley and National Steel Car – and they have traveled to every corner of Canada and the contiguous United States. Many are still in service today - we see them pass our office all the time!

Our HO scale 3800 model features:

  • New, improved design
  • Marine Industries or National Steel Car prototype, as per roadname
  • Round hatches or trough hatches
  • Correct Dofasco S-2 100-ton trucks
  • Three brake equipment variations and additional air reservoir on NSC cars (if applicable)
  • Etched running boards and brake changeover platform
  • Factory-installed air pipes and coupler cut levers
  • Finely moulded plastic walkway supports (two styles) and end cages
Here's an indusmin car. It's NCHX rather than UNPX so the logo and reporting marks are in different places than on our model. But it says "indusmin" on it, so, um, what a nice picture! Photo by Dan Darnell.
We actually have beauty new samples of these cars but we hoseheads packed all three of them in the box going to Calgary before photographing them. Dan built the one below from extra parts the factory sent us and an old roofwalk he pulled off an old car. So if you will be at Supertrain, you can see the factory-built models in person.
New 3800 Hopper tooling with trough hatches
The order deadline is August 12th, in the height of summer when all model railroaders are either playing golf or on a boat somewhere. So make sure you reserve yours early!

Please click here for more info or to order direct. Our last run of freight cars sold out within three days. Make sure you get your orders for these beauties in on time.
Our hugely popular Northern Pacific 10000-series double-sheathed boxcar
New! HO Scale Northern Pacific Boxcars - New Run

We keep on selling out of freight cars within a week of release. This happened with our HO scale gondolas this year, and it happened last year with our Northern Pacific 10000-series boxcars. We're delighted to announce a new (small) run of HO scale NP boxcars.

Many manufacturers make the mistake of rerunning a popular car immediately and they make zillions of them which just sit on store shelves. So we're making a teensy-tiny new run of this hugely popular car, just enough to fill the orders we get by the new deadline of August 12th. The new run will be squeezed in at the LRC factory alongside other projects.
Full brake piping, including two types of brake systems
Starting in 1923 the Northern Pacific ordered more than 4,000 double-sheathed boxcars in the 10000-13999 series. Amazingly, these cars lasted in revenue service until 1970 and in company service for another 12 years. Because of their large number they could be found on freight trains across North America. Especially in Winnipeg. If all of the 600,000 people living in Winnipeg order just one car each, I can retire.
The available paint schemes: NP, NP, NP, NP and NP
Our car features wire grabs, full underbody detail with separate brake rods and piping (K brake or AB brake), and other neat stuff. They are just gorgeous cars. I even have a bunch and I model Canada in 1980.

Full information can be found here. Remember that order deadline - August 12th!
Bill has fun at the LRC factory...
New Rapido Factory Video

Bill just got back from China where he was busy putting out fires in two assembly factories and three tooling factories. Luckily the fires were small and only one nuclear reactor went critical. He fixed it.

Bill recorded his first Rapido factory video and I must say he did an excellent job. So well, in fact, that his video is doing better than mine usually do. And I'm not bitter at all. Click here or on the image below to watch.
Reaming holes in the diecast boiler of the Royal Hudson
Our next factory visit will be in the summer, though seeing as how well Bill did while he was there I think I'll send him again. I'll go to Barbados.
The HO scale Royal Hudson. Unless you're double heading, you'll probably want to remove that unsightly front coupler with the dummy scale coupler we include in the box.
Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous Royal Hudson!

Can you tell I'm excited? Bill brought back a production model of the 1939 Royal Train version of the HO scale Royal Hudson, #2850. Boy does this thing look absolutely stunning. And yes, we like the blue just as it is. We matched it to an original paint chip. Have a look at these photos....
Nice view of the right side. Check out the raised crests and crown.
Here's a close-up of the crest on the tender.
Notice also the two-tone silver on the side of the tender.
This is my favourite shot. Check out the detail inside the cab!
And to think... This is cheaper than a brass steamer!
This baby runs as well as it looks, and will even navigate an 18" radius curve with ease. Of course it will look better on broader curves.

We are completely sold out of Royal Hudsons, and believe it or not we made about 300 extras. If you are salivating over these photos like we are and you did not order one, you'll need to call around.

The first shipment will arrive in late May/early June, with the second shipment following a couple of weeks later.

Our next two HO scale steamers are the CP D10 and the CN H-6-g. Click on the links for more information or to reserve yours.
Diecast Husky Stack car bodies are polished prior to painting.
HO Scale Well Cars and Containers in Production

Remember this long-lost product? The HO scale Well Car and Containers are in production now and should leave the factory in May. They only took us something like four years to make...
Printing the data on CP 53' containers at the Rapido factory
We've made extras as we want these to be in stock for the rest of the year. Hopefully our efforts to keep them in stock are more successful than the last two times we made extras... So if you have not ordered these yet, please contact your dealer.

More information about our 53' Husky Stack Well Cars and Containers can be found here.
EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) the moulds for one of our new N scale locomotives.
The details are literally burned (eroded) onto the steel mould.
Another N Scale Teaser or Two

Tooling is well under way for those numerous new N scale Canuck models that we're announcing in June. It looks like we will have more samples than I thought. Only one of the five new products will be launched with drawings and photos alone. The other four should have some sort of sample.
Lots of little bits on this N scale mould!
We'll be doing a Facebook Live event from our Canadian dealer open house on June 24th. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you don't miss it. We might be able to share more teasers next newsletter. It depends on how recognizable the moulds are. If they look too much like the actual models, we'll have to start redacting the images...
The Rapido show team is ready for action in our Supertrain booth. Really.
Come See Us In Calgary

Supertrain is this weekend. It's Canada's largest train show, and as usual we'll be there with bells on. Going to the show this year are Josh, his buddy Dan, and his other buddy Dan. You can tell that's who's coming from the live action photo above that we took at the show. Really.

If you live in Honduras, get on a plane now and go to Calgary. It will be worth it!

(When you land at Calgary airport, tell them you are coming to find a wife. That always goes down well with Canada Customs and Immigration.)

More information on Supertrain can be found here.
Welcome Craig Walker and John Sheridan!

Rapido is pleased to welcome two new not-familiar-at-all people to our team!

Craig Walker (left) has come on board as our new "Guy Who Talks to US Stores." His job is build the Rapido brand with American dealers. He will also be representing Rapido at shows in the west, so we are taking the huge investment of ordering him a table cloth and some T-shirts. Hiring Craig is a Big Deal for us as he lives in California, making him the "most westernest" Rapido employee by 2500 miles. You might know Craig from his decades of work in the hobby, with Athearn and before that with Microscale, and before before that at The Little Depot in Anaheim. He started there before I was born!

John Sheridan (right) is our new product designer, and coincidentally qualifies for the "most easternest" employee as he lives in a dory off the coast of Massachusetts. John has been working behind the scenes in our industry since the early middle ages and has been quietly responsible for the designs of many models you currently enjoy from a variety of manufacturers. A prominent member of the South Shore Model Railroad Club and the New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association, John is looking forward to designing more models for my Canadian-based VIA-CN layout.

Welcome aboard to these two senior guys. I don't mean they're very experienced. I just mean they're old.
The cover of our first ever product brochure, 2004
The Stresses of Being a Growing Company

So Rapido has grown. A lot. Our sales in 2018 were four times our sales of 2013, which means we grew four-fold in five years. Those of you who have experience in fast-growing companies know that there are enormous headaches that come with this kind of growth, not that I'm complaining. They are better headaches than those that come from being broke. We've been there too.

The biggest challenge lately has been project management. When we were only releasing a few models a year, I could keep track of everything in my head. The project designers would do their great work and I would be the one reminding them to get the packaging designed by this date or do the sales flyer for that date. As we've grown, this method of running the company has proved to be inadequate.

For example, I realized very late in the game that I hadn't sent a revised circuit board layout for the FP7 locomotives. Not getting any instruction from me, the factory just used the old FP9A circuit board, which does not allow the number boards to be turned off. We discovered this after they had all been installed. Our collective rear was saved by Mohan, who designed a secondary circuit board that could be added to the main board, and now - thankfully - the number boards can be turned off.
FP7 chassis in production. The little rectangle floating behind the main circuit board is the additional board designed by Mohan.
We've also felt the squeeze in the warranty department. I mentioned in the last newsletter that we were looking for a new warranty repair technician, and we do indeed have someone starting on Monday. But selling four times the models means that there is four times the warranty work and we have not been able to keep up. Consequently warranty repair work has taken longer than we would like, and I apologize if your model is one that is sitting in the queue longer than it should.

We're making quite a few changes here at Rapido to address these and other issues. Basically, we have to grow up and become a real company as opposed to just a few guys hanging out and playing with trains. But I had no idea how to do this. I've never owned a real company before!
Our buddy Robin Claxton helps with repairs on a part-time basis. Here he is replacing an SW1200RS motor and circuit board that got fried.
Sidura (my wife and business partner) and I consulted with a number of business advisers late last year and early this year, and the consensus was that the first thing we need to do is hire somebody with extensive experience managing projects. We went to a headhunting firm and started a search. At that point, Dan Darnell came into my office and suggested, "Why don't you ask Mohan to do it?" Mohan is retired, but he has been working at Rapido helping with warranty repairs for over a year. We hired him because he's a great guy, but I never actually saw his resume.

Mohan came to my office and I innocently asked him, "What did you do before you started working here?" Now that was an enlightening conversation. I had no idea that Mohan was a senior program manager for a global, multi-billion dollar technology company. And before that he was the head of IT for a major Japanese auto manufacturer, another multi-billion dollar company. And he was sitting in the office next to me fixing model trains.
That's me discovering that our Mohan is a project management genius.
I'm happy to report that Mohan George is now our Director, Technology and Projects. He has been a model railroader for over 30 years. He knows our products inside and out and can take any one of our models apart and put it back together again. He's an electronics engineer and is redesigning our circuit boards to be more reliable and efficient. And he has extensive project management experience for companies so big that our total annual sales would be a rounding error.

A number of times in the history of this company I have felt the Big Dude Upstairs has been looking out for us. And here is a perfect example. With Mohan taking on this role, I feel more confident that we can manage our growth and bring you more trains with the usual Rapido attention to detail. He will help us grow without losing our soul.

So that's where we are. Someone once told me that I tell more to our customers than most CEOs tell their shareholders. I'm proud of that. This company wouldn't exist without you. There is no divide between Rapido and its customers. We are all model railroaders and we all share a passion for this amazing hobby. Long may it continue!

Until next time,


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