Rapido Newsletter Vol. 116
©2019 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

This is the first of two email newsletters in the month of October. The next one, on October 27th, has two new product announcements, but you have to read this one first. 😆

In this edition of Rapido News:

  • N Scale Dash 8 – You Gotta Order, Like, Right Now!
  • All Aboard for Our 3D Scan Party in Portland
  • D10/H6 Steam Locomotive Update - Make Your Voice Heard!
  • Relaunch! HO scale F7B/F9B Locomotives
  • New Factory Video - B36-7 Locomotives in Production!
  • RS-18 Locomotive Unboxing Video!
  • New Project Tooling Updates - With Photos!
  • Delivery Schedule
  • Next Order Deadline: October 31st
  • The Layout Builder's Dilemma
Hand-painted pre-production sample of our N scale Dash 8-40CM
BCR units have the correct double headlight on the rear.
N Scale Dash 8 – You Gotta Order, Like, Right Now!

Our plan was to send this newsletter last week, before the order deadline for the N scale Dash 8-40CM. But then I got sick with a Pterosaurian flu and it's still just me who writes these newsletters. So...

You can still order the N scale Dash 8 locomotive but you have to be quick about it! We're sending the numbers to the factory on Thursday the 17th.
2405 leads a consist of Bombardier and MLW power near Montreal, 1990.
Photo courtesy John Eull.
The N scale Dash 8 - nobody else calls it a C40-8M, so please stop - features the following neat stuff:

  • Working ditch lights on all units
  • Working rock lights on BCR and ex-BCR units
  • Correct tooling variations for BCR and CN, including correct rear headlights
  • Lots of underframe detail - more than the HO model, even!
  • Crisp, accurate sound with correct K5LA and K3L horns
  • Separate wire handrails and grab irons
Please click here or on the picture above to download a sales pack to take to your dealer, or click here to order direct.

The order deadline was LAST MONDAY! So order your Dash 8 fleet immediately. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200, unless you are going to spend it on a Dash 8.
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Love that locomotive on the left...
All Aboard for Our 3D Scan Party in Portland

It's not too late to RSVP for our 3D Scan Party on October 27th at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center! If you live anywhere west of Fargo, North Dakota, it's worth coming. We're now planning to announce two new HO scale models - one that we're scanning and one that has absolutely nothing to do with the ORHS. In fact, it's not even a train.

Date: Sunday October 27th, 2019
Time: Noon - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Free!

To RSVP, just reply to this email and tell us you're coming. If you can't join us, we'll be doing a Facebook Live broadcast just after noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern. Click here to visit our Facebook page. We hope to see you in person or online!
CN H-6-d #1532. Love the overalls!
Photo courtesy John Riddell.
D10/H6 Steam Locomotive Update - Make Your Voice Heard!

In the last newsletter I expressed my concern over the pre-orders for the new 10-wheeler CN and CP steam engines. Many of you have been asking us for an update on whether or not we can go ahead with these.

We won't know until after the orders come in, and the deadline is next week. So we will give an update in our next newsletter. Please note that if we receive enough orders to justify making only one of the two new steamers, we can certainly do that. It is not an all-or-nothing scenario.
Please click on the images above to download sales sheets for our new steam locomotives. You can take these to your favourite hobby shop to order.

Please click here to visit the Canadian Pacific D10 web site.

Please click here to visit the Canadian National H-6 web site.

Stay tuned to our newsletters for word on whether or not we will go ahead. If we do go ahead, we will of course keep the order desk open for late orders. We won't close it until we are starting production.
CP F9B #4475. It's really, really RED!
Relaunch! HO scale F7B/F9B Locomotives

Hurray! We finally have a timeline for this long-delayed project. The new order deadline is November 25th. Our HO scale F7B/F9B will probably win the silver award for most-delayed Rapido project. The winner was, of course, the HO scale LRC locomotive. That was an eight-year saga...

We are delighted to let you know that the F9B moulds have been repaired and this project - both the F9B and the F7B - is finally happening.
CNR F9B #6633. This is the "E class" unit with 48" fans.
Note how different this is from its CPR cousin.
Not just another B unit...

The GMD (General Motors Diesel Division) F9B has only ever been produced by Rapido, and the F7B has never been done before.

"Hang on," we hear some of you say. "Everyone's made an F7B model!"

Yes, but nobody has made a Canadian F7B model. The Canadian B units differed from their American cousins in numerous small but still extremely-important-and-worth-the-cost ways.

  • Canadian F9Bs have unique ends with no roof overhang
  • CN F9Bs have only two port holes with a louver in the middle and more louvers everywhere you look.
  • CP F9Bs have weird skirty things beside the steps for the water filler hatch.
  • Many CP B-units have very strange grilles.
  • The trucks say "DOFASCO" as in "Dominion Steel" as in "Made in Hamilton, eh?"
  • Canadian steam generator details are very different because it's really cold up here.

And if you think F7Bs and F9Bs are exactly the same, you're out of the band.

In all seriousness, the photos below show how different these are not only from American B units, but from each other.
CN F9B photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
CP F9B photo courtesy Brian Schuff.
Click on the double image above or click here to read our GMD F7B and F9B Master Class. Those little skirty things beside the steps on the CP unit are definitely worth the cost of replacing your entire fleet! 😆

The models of course come with Rapido's amazing F-unit sound recordings that we made back in 2009. Click here to watch the video of Bill and me on the roof of a real FP9A locomotive making the recordings, and click here to watch our promotional F9B video, "It Ain't Easy Being a B."
Click here or on the image above to download a sales pack, or click here to order direct. Remember that order deadline: November 25th.

The models go into production in December and will be delivered in the spring.
New Factory Video - B36-7 Locomotives in Production!

Mohan and I recently returned from a busy two-week trip to China. We spent time at both the LRC and Rapido factories, and we took the opportunity to film the B36-7 Locomotives, New Haven Diners, and British buses in production. The video shows you the painting, printing, assembly and quality processes. It also shows Mohan. Everywhere. I think he's been cloned.

I also directly address the "Make these in America!" complaints we always get, and I interview one of our assembly workers.

Please click here or on the image below to watch it.
Scroll down for our delivery schedule to find out when these lovely trains and buses are arriving in stores.
RS-18 Locomotive Unboxing Video!

Continuing our long-standing tradition (since August, anyway) we are pleased to bring you an unboxing video of our new HO scale RS-18 locomotives. Dan Darnell, the RS-18 project manager, brakes out some CP and CN units and gives them whirl. The lit control stands and step lights are a real beauty.

Click here or on the image below to watch it.
You'll see on the video that one thing Dan does before running CP 8750 is he cleans the wheels. If your RS-18 stutters out of the box, please clean the wheels. We've been asking the factories to do this before packaging but it doesn't always happen. We're still working on it...
New Project Tooling Updates

Wow that's a lot of cab variations! Those are the mold slides for HO scale SW1200 cab sides. You can see narrow access doors, wide access doors and no access doors. You can see big cab side windows and small windows. With the SW1200, it is definitely not a case of "one size fits all."
Above is a photo of the mold core for all cabs except for GTW, which has weird roof-mounted marker lights and requires its own core. The mold core is the solid middle part of the mold that causes the plastic cab to be hollow.

(Note as this is an American engine I've left the U out of "MOLD." We're bilingual here at Rapido!)

All those little bumps on the top are actually starter holes for roof-mounted doo-dads such as firecracker antennas and vents that will be drilled out by the assembly workers during production. The slots in the mold are baffles that extend down from the roof and keep the various lights mounted in the cab ceiling separate from each other.

In the 3D drawings below, compare the Southern Pacific cab (top) with the Grand Trunk Western cab (bottom):
3D rendering of our Southern Pacific SW1200
3D rendering of our Grand Trunk Western SW1200
The lighting package is completely different between these two models, and this requires extensive tooling variations. Also notice other differences, such as the SP hood-mounted number boards and the GTW spark arrestors. Every HO scale SW1200 roadname we are doing has a similar amount of customization.

It seems in our hobby the modern-era model railroaders get a ton of prototype-specific detail but for those of us modelling earlier times we've had to settle for either one-size-fits-all or just cosmetic detail changes. As Rapido tackles more and more transition-era prototypes, we're fixing that situation. There are still many more prototypes to do.
EDM machining of our Flex-Flo hopper sides
The HO scale Flexi-Flo covered hopper tooling is also well under way. In the photo above, we're using EDM - electrical discharge machining - to make the molds for the body sides. There are three variations of body sides on the Flex-Flo, and you can see two of them above, one on either side of the copper electrode that is cutting side #3.

Below is an in-progress shot of a Flexi-Flo mold showing the hopper ends, the "V" frame supports, ladders and roof hatches.
Flexi-Flo mold progress!
We expect to have first samples of the HO scale SW1200, Flexi-Flo and Amtrak Horizon Cars at Trainfest in Milwaukee, November 9-10. The order deadline for all three is December 2nd.

We have other models in progress as well. The tooling factories are working hard, as is our bank account. Seriously, tooling is expensive. We never have any spare cash at Rapido as it's all reinvested into tooling.
The HO scale RS-11 locomotives are en route.
Look at all the lights on the SP unit!
Yes, they all work!
Delivery Schedule

This fall is a busy time for Rapido deliveries. Our apologies to your bank account, especially if you are a New Haven modeler.

Metro North modernized FL9 in the blue and red scheme
Photo courtesy Patrick Yough.
Next Order Deadline: October 31st

We're looking ahead to our next big order deadline. Please get your orders in by October 31st for:

We will be posting videos of all of these models in the coming weeks. Please click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss them. We will also feature them in our October 27th newsletter, but that is cutting it a bit fine, eh?

Some of you may have noticed that we've punted the Canadian RDC model deadline. Our factory will not have capacity to make these until 2020 so we will announce a new order deadline closer to the time.
Well this switch installation could have gone a bit smoother...
The Layout Builder's Dilemma

The other day Jordan and I spent the better part of an afternoon installing the east ladder on the (very compressed) Oshawa yard on my HO scale Kingston Subdivision. The whole time, I felt something wasn't right. That evening, long after Jordan had gone home, I took a good look at it and realized that we had got the track spacing wrong. I pulled up the switches and, in the process of removing the well-soldered rail joiners, managed to destroy two of the switches completely.

It's no big deal, and Jordan and I were able to laugh at it a couple of days later. We agreed to try again during our next build session.

But this has led me to think about what is important to me: the process or the end result? Everyone says that in model railroading the process or the "journey" is more important and the end result isn't important. But I'm going to share my insecurities with you because maybe you are struggling with the same thing - I am not honestly sure that it's all about the journey.
That pile of junk will one day be the west end of Spadina Yard.
The arrow is pointing to where the Bathurst Street bridge will be.
Below is what it will eventually look like.
The Bathurst Street bridge, July 1980.
Photo courtesy Steve Lucas.
I'm a "Type A" personality. You have to be one to build a business like Rapido from scratch. So I'm very goals-focused. It's how I built the full-size VIA Train in my basement - I had a vision and I kept at it for over four years.

But a model railroad is a much bigger project. I've been working on the Kingston Sub for six years and I haven't yet hosted my first operating session. It will probably be three or four more years before I have all the track laid and operating. Building a model railroad while running a business and raising a family means you don't get to the layout room nearly as much as you'd like to.
Progress... This is the view west from Pickering station.
In case you couldn't tell, the top view is real and the bottom view is the model...
As my usual builders - Jordan, Dan and Josh - and I slowly progress on building the Kingston Sub, I have the scenicked and operating layout firmly in my mind's eye. But let's be honest - this layout won't start to look like it does in my head until at least five years after I retire, and I'm many years away from retiring.

As I shared back in March (in Rapido News 109), I've been quite intimidated by the magnitude of this model railroad. I don't plan to scrap it and build something simpler - that's just not how I roll. I wanted a full-size train in my house from the age of about eight and I finished it when I was 37. I've wanted the HO scale Kingston Sub in my basement since I was five, and I'll finish it... well, that's just it. I don't know when I'll finish it.
Applying the yellow stripe to the train in my basement, 18 November 2012.
In the biblical story of creation, two conflicting aspects of humanity are described: "Adam 1" who goes out and conquers the world (Gen. 1:26), and "Adam 2" who cares for the world (Gen. 2:16). Adam 1 is a doer. Adam 2 is content just to be.

These days, it seems "Adam 2" is much more in vogue. Everyone and his cousin is telling us to be more mindful, to "be" rather than to "do." I've even encouraged it in these newsletters. But I'm not quite there myself. If I could find that equilibrium, I would be happy just toiling away on the layout forever with no concern for the finished product. But that goes against my nature.

Right now I feel caught between two approaches to this hobby that are totally at odds with each other. I enjoy the process but I am frustrated at how far away that end result is, and like many of you I have anxieties about a decades-long project. Will I stay healthy long enough to reach a level of completion on this layout that matches my vision? Will I live that long?

So now I open it up to you. I don't have the answers. I would very much welcome your thoughts on this struggle. Please share your perspectives by posting on the Kingston Sub Facebook Page, where I try to read and respond to all comments in a timely manner. Unlike the Rapido email account which is monitored by the whole customer service team, I'm the only who manages the Kingston Sub page. If you don't have Facebook, please just reply to this email and the Rapido team will forward your thoughts to me.

On that note, I'm going to call Jordan to arrange the next build session...

Best regards,


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