Rapido Newsletter Vol. 117
©2019 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Wow! Two newsletters in one month! And another in less than three weeks. I need a vacation. In this edition of Rapido News:

  • New! Museum-Quality Alco PA and PB Series in HO Scale!
  • New! New Look “Fishbowl” Bus – New Body Styles!
  • Last Chance! HO Scale Rebuild FL9 – New Video!
  • Last Chance! N Scale F40 and LRC – New Video!
  • Rio Grande Ski Train – Get Your Snacks Here!
  • Running Issues in Some RS-18 Locomotives
  • Trainfest and New Tooling Update
  • Thanks

Please note if you are waiting to hear about the fate of our two Canadian ten-wheelers, the orders are still coming in so we have not yet crunched the numbers. Bill will report in the next newsletter.

(Oh, Bill... I forgot to tell you that you're writing the next newsletter.)
New! Museum-Quality Alco PA and PB Series in HO Scale!

We are delighted to announce an all-new locomotive series in HO scale - the Alco PA and PB! To many people, this iconic locomotive represents the apex of the streamline era, its unique cowl and curves known around the world and forever associated with the golden age of railroad travel. It's also just plain gorgeous.

This is the first time the Alco PA and PB have been given the museum-quality treatment, and to ensure we get the looks of the PA bang on 100% accurate, we are doing a 3D scan of the real thing! In fact, if you're reading this newsletter on Sunday October 27th, the scan is happening right now! Please click here to visit our Facebook page and watch the video.
Builder's photo of the New Haven PA-1
Prototype History

The PA and PB locomotives were built by a partnership of American Locomotive and General Electric between 1946 and 1953. Alco's first PA/PB offering was the PA-1 and PB-1, introduced in 1946. These were each powered by Alco's 16-cylinder 244 diesel engine generating 2,000 HP. In 1950 Alco upgraded the prime mover to 2,250 HP and introduced the PA-2. Most people don't even know that there was a PA-2! Don't get us started on 3s and 4s.
This is why you don't need one or two PA-1s. YOU NEED FOUR!
Tom Acheson Photo courtesy SP 9010 Collection
Alco offered a few options on the PA, the addition of dynamic brakes and second headlights for warning use chief among them. However, as the units ran in service most railroads made numerous small changes that made their units unique. Changes to number boards, MU equipment, side grilles and numerous small appliances making nearly every railroad's units distinctive.

The PA locomotives were designed to compete with General Motors’ EMD E-units in the passenger locomotive market. While one could argue the Alcos won in style, they did not win in reliability. Their 244 prime movers could not unseat the EMD 567, and the PAs were demoted to secondary service on many lines. Most were retired as passenger service declined in the 1960s, and nearly all were scrapped.
Doyle McCormack's preserved PA-1 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center
Happily for Alco PA railfans, four retired Santa Fe units were bought by the Delaware and Hudson in 1974 and sent to Morrison-Knudsen for rebuilding and upgrading with Alco 251 V-12 engines. These four units were used on Amtrak’s “Adirondack” for several years and also saw service on Boston area commuter trains under an MBTA lease. All four units eventually ended up in Mexico.

Two of the ex-D&H units have since been brought back to the US, one residing at the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas. The other unit is privately owned by Doyle McCormack and is being restored to operating condition painted as Nickel Plate #190.
The American Freedom Train in 1947.
The American Freedom Train

In 1947 the American Heritage Society put together the American Freedom Train. This train toured all 48 states and carried numerous historic artifacts including the Declaration of Independence. A PA-1 locomotive was chosen to pull the train and was painted in a patriotic red, white and blue scheme and numbered 1776. Between 1947 and 1949 the train ran over 40,000 miles on 52 different railroads. #1776 may well be the only locomotive to operate in all 48 states then in the Union! We are offering unit #1776 as a conditional release, i.e. if we get enough orders we'll make it!

Now read on to find out more about the model!
Santa Fe models feature lit number boards on the sides!
The Rapido Model

The two most important ways that our HO scale Alco PA and PB models differ from ALL the others are:

  • Traced from a 3D scan of the prototype!
  • Prototype-specific details including all sorts of number boards!

That should be enough to convince you. But in case you need more convincing, please look at some of these preliminary images that our PA/PB project manager, Bill Schneider, whipped together. Full features are below.
OK, here are the full features of our Alco PA/PB models:

  • Correct nose and roof profiles 3D-scanned from the prototype
  • Loads of roadname-specific details
  • A units and A-B sets available
  • Dynamic or non-dynamic brake versions, where appropriate
  • Underbody piping and conduit
  • Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
  • Etched-metal grilles, where appropriate
  • Lit number boards, headlights and green and white class lights
  • Lit control stands and full cab interior
  • Operating Gyralite or red Mars light, where appropriate
  • Rapido’s proven drive system adapted from the FA-2
  • DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound options
The HO scale PA and PB series paint schemes include:

  • Santa Fe - PA-1/PB-1 set and PA-1
  • Delaware and Hudson - PA-1
  • Denver & Rio Grande Western - PA-1/PB-1 set and PA-1
  • Lehigh Valley - PA-1
  • New Haven - PA-1
  • New York Central - PA-1/PB-1 set and PA-1
  • Nickel Plate Road - PA-1
  • Pennsylvania Railroad - PA-1/PB-1 set and PA-1
  • Southern Pacific (Daylight) - PA-2/PB-2 set and PA-2
  • Southern Pacific (Bloody Nose) - PA-2/PB-2 set and PA-2

The PB-1 and PB-2 are only available in A-B sets, i.e. along with an A unit. However, before anyone has a canary please note that dealers, clubs, and even model railroaders can order a six-pack of unnumbered B units. They need to be ordered direct from Rapido rather than through a distributor. So talk to your dealer or your friends and see if you can get an order together.

(We always offer unnumbered models of any of our products if you order by six-pack.)
Wow! Sound!
This is a gratuitous use of a pretty woman's picture to make a point.
Next time maybe we'll just use Jordan.
Train Control Systems (TCS) DCC Sound

The Alco PA and PB will feature all-new exclusive TCS sound decoders featuring Rapido's own Alco 244 recordings. These decoders are being customized for Rapido to be fully compatible with our proven range of ESU LokSound decoders, and they feature phenomenal motor and slow speed control.

We are excited to be working with Pennsylvania-based TCS. I've been a personal customer of TCS since the mid-1990s and it's a pleasure to be working with the Forsyth family and the whole TCS team to bring their exceptional sound decoders to the wider Rapido community. We promise you will be impressed.

ESU fans have no fear! We are continuing to use ESU LokSound decoders in many of our sound-equipped locomotives.
Full information including product numbers and pricing can be found here.

The order deadline is tentatively set at May 22nd. We intend to start cutting the tooling on March 1st. If the tooling is not ready by May 22nd, we will extend the order deadline until it is ready and you've had the chance to see the PA and PB on our YouTube channel and possibly in person at a show or two.

We're very excited about this project and we hope you are too. This is just the first run. We have more roadnames planned!
This is our very own TDH-5303 New Look, Rapido Trains #3380.
The gorgeous photo was taken on the Trans-Canada highway near Brandon, MB.
New! New Look “Fishbowl” Bus – New Body Styles!

The New Look Bus was the face of North American public transit in the latter half of the 20th century, with almost 45,000 built between 1959 and 1986. Everyone remembers the New Look, also known as the “Fishbowl” Bus.

We are delighted to introduce the second release of the New Look Bus in HO scale. This time with a single-width rear door, this bus model has various improvements over the first release from 2017 but still comes packed full of detail and realism that you expect from a Rapido model, right down to every rivet. This model represents the second through fourth generations of the New Look bus, spanning from the mid 1960s right up until the last one was produced in 1986, and comes with agency-specific details from advertising panels to roof hatches.
Nana nana nana nana BATWINGS!
New York bus with Bus-O-Rama in all its glory!
Photo courtesy David Onodera.
All of our HO scale New Look Bus models include:

  • Correct tubular profile traced from a 3D scan of a real New Look Bus
  • Single-stream rear exit door in either 2-window or 4-window variants (as appropriate)
  • Era-correct rear engine door available in either early (5303) or late (5307) styles
  • Optional closed-side emergency exit door, a trademark of the early productions
  • Full interior including separate seats with seatback handrails and grooved flooring
  • Full chassis detail, including correct fuel tank location
  • Etched-metal interior stanchions, stamped-metal handrails and separate farebox and steering wheel parts installed
  • Steerable front wheels and REAL rubber tires
  • Three types of bumpers - steel, water and rubber - installed as appropriate
  • A wide variety of optional parts pre-installed (where appropriate)
  • Separate advertisement frames included with each model
  • Pre-installed route destination signs for added realism
Hand-painted MTA TDH-5303. Production models of 8170 will have an AC blister.
This is our first pre-production sample of our latest New Look Bus, specifically MTA TDH-5303. This has been beautifully hand painted by Mark Kaluza. We expect MTA and MUNI to be our biggest sellers. Yes, we know the interior colors are wrong - this is just a sample.

For MTA bus customers, the roundel on the Bus-O-Rama (batwing) advertisement rack can be customized by the customer - several will be included in the box. Note that this sample does not yet have rivets. Rivets are added once all tooling corrections have been completed.
Rear view showing the TDH-5303 style engine door. Production models will not have the closed-side emergency exit door shown on the sample.
Here is just a sampling of the new liveries on our new New Look Bus. We particularly like the bus on top. It's ours! Click here for a full livery and product listing.
Just a few of our new bus liveries. The bottom bus shown is very Speedy.
Keanu makes you want to order one. If you don't, that's a load of Bullock.
On top of all the incredible detail mentioned above, our Deluxe New Look Bus models also feature:

  • Interior lighting
  • Working headlights and tail lights
  • Illuminated front destination sign
  • Painted seatback handrails
  • Two-tone seats (where appropriate)

A 9-12 volt DC power supply (not included) is required to power the lighting features. You can watch a video showing the features of our first run New Look Bus by clicking here or on the image below. The video is still pretty much up to date except that we no longer include route decals as that would up the bus price by about $10. We also fixed the tooling error on the bus side (visible in the video) before we started production back in 2017.
Did you know that we own a real New Look Bus? You can watch our epic video of driving Rapido Trains #3380 across Canada by clicking here or on the image below. When we filmed that video, Josh worked for the Toronto Transit Commission. Now he works for us, and is the manager of the bus project!
The MSRP is unchanged at $49.95/$69.95 (US), $59.95/$79.95 (CDN). The order deadline is April 20th.

We offer four different bus numbers per agency. If you want to order an entire fleet of buses, you can order unnumbered buses in cases of six. Unnumbered buses need to be ordered through Rapido rather than through a distributor.

Click here to visit the New Look Bus web site. You can order your New Look Bus fleet from your favorite/favourite hobby shop or directly from us.

Please note that prices are higher for transit agencies that require a royalty payment, and some prices may increase without notice depending on final terms negotiated with the agencies. It's best to order your buses early.
Our new FL9 pushes some very detailed Horizon coaches in our new video.
Last Chance! HO Scale Rebuild FL9 – New Video!

The order deadline for the Modernized FL9 locomotive is Hallowe'en, which is this week! Please get your order in with your store or directly with us ASAP. Our sensational YouTube superstar, Jordan Smith, has filmed a video showing off the details and features of these neat locomotives, which I tend to think of as aging hipsters. They are so hip, and stayed in service so long... they will never go out of style.

Please click here or on the image below to watch!
If you like taking a printed brochure to your hobby shop, you can download an FL9 sales brochure by clicking on the image below.
Click here to order your FL9 locomotives. It's been over four years since our first run of FL9 models, and I'm please to say the price has not increased.

Remember that deadline - Hallowe'en! (But we'll take orders next week too. Boo!)
If it weren't for the huge hand, you'd think it was HO scale...
Last Chance! N Scale F40 and LRC – New Video!

We're finishing up the tooling corrections for the N scale F40PH-2D ( original and rebuilt), as well as the N scale LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) coaches and business class cars. The order deadline for these is also October 31st. We suddenly realized that, while we had exhibited these models on our Facebook account, we had not made a YouTube video!

Despite the lateness of the hour, Jordan dutifully got in front of the camera once again to show off these gorgeous models. Click here or on the image below to watch. He actually left for Portland without finishing the video. So Janet had to finish it.
These models are unique! There is nothing remotely resembling the LRC available on the market, and if you've got a good eye for detail you'll know there's nothing remotely resembling a VIA F40 either!

Did you know that the VIA F40 side door is in a different location from American F40s? Or that the fuel tank and air reservoirs are different? Or that the nose is different? And the rear details? I could go on. An Amtrak F40 painted in VIA colours will always be an Amtrak F40 in VIA colours. It won't be a VIA F40.

The F40PH-2D, Rebuilt F40, and LRC are essential for anyone modelling modern Canadian passenger trains in N scale. The LRC coaches feature fully-detailed interiors, interior lighting and working marker lights. The F40 locomotives feature accurate Canadian details and sounds.

We would really appreciate if you could let your friends at the club or hobby shop know about them as we don't want anyone to miss out.

Please click on the images below to download sales packs for these great new products.
Remember the order deadline - October 31st! We will keep the online order desk open until we start production, which will be as soon as the final tooling revisions are completed.

Click here for more information on the original VIA F40PH-2D (1986-2012)
Click here for the Rebuilt VIA F40PH-2D (2010-present)
Click here for the LRC coaches and business class cars.
You asked for it! Our new Ski Train Snack Coach is in the tooling shop!
Rio Grande Ski Train – Get Your Snacks Here!

We are delighted to let you know that the demand for the Rio Grande Ski Train has been so strong that we have enough orders to tool the unique snack coaches!

Between June 1983 and May 1984, VIA Rail Canada rebuilt six Tempo coaches into coach-snack cars. This involved fitting a snack counter, blanking a window on each side, and adding a smaller window on the right side.
The window was blanked using a piece of sheet metal riveted to the car side.
You can clearly see the difference between a coach (left) and a coach snack (right) in this gorgeous photo by Steve Patterson.
It's going to take us about six weeks to tool up the new slides and interior partitions for the coach-snack car, so we are reopening the Ski Train order desk until it's ready.

Please click here to order your Ski Train coach-snack cars. But hey, if you haven't ordered your Ski Train yet, please don't stop at just the coach-snack cars - please feel free to order the whole darn thing!!!

While we're talking Ski Trains, if anyone has photos of the interior of the cafe-bar-lounge cars in Ski Train service, please send them to us. We want to get the colors right.
Mohan is talking to the coffee maker again.
Running Issues In Some RS-18 Locomotives

As you know from reading our newsletters and seeing our videos, we put a lot of ourselves into every one of our models. So when a model has QC problems we stand by our products and do what we can to ensure you are a satisfied customer. To that end, we have to report that some of the RS-18 locomotives are exhibiting motor issues.

Mohan and the LRC factory have been working non-stop for over a week to get to the bottom of the problem. And I mean non-stop - Mohan hasn't slept since October 17th. As you can see in the photo above, he's now talking to the coffee maker...

If your RS-18 starts to behave erratically, please use the warranty form on our web site to get in touch and we will arrange to repair it for you once we are certain that the solution is the right one.

Here's what we know so far:

  • This does not affect any DC models. It is only a problem in some DCC models, but not all of them.
  • The problem, as far as we know, seems to be caused by some kind of interaction between the ESU V5 decoder, the motherboard and the motor. It is not purely a motor issue. We believe something on the motherboard is misinterpreting the commands from the decoder, which then permanently frizzes the motor.
  • This issue will not affect any other Rapido models. The B36-7 comes from a different factory and does not have any running issues. The RS-11 comes from the same factory but does not have the same motherboard. However, just to be safe, we will test more than 100 RS-11 models when they arrive next month. If any are found to have this problem, we will delay the shipment and replace all the motherboards before the locomotives leave our warehouse.

It's very frustrating when things like this happen, and we apologize. All we can do is say we're on it and if it happens to your RS-18 locomotive, we'll fix it.
Mold inserts for the Amtrak Horizon windows - wow!
Trainfest and New Tooling Update

We hope you can join us at Trainfest in Milwaukee, November 9th and 10th. Fingers crossed, we should have the first test samples of our SW1200 locomotive, Flexi-Flo covered hopper, and Amtrak Horizon coaches. You can see from the photos that the tooling is well along, but it is getting very close to Trainfest, so we're on shpilkes. Look it up.

(I am betting that is the first time the word shpilkes has been used in a model railroad newsletter.)
Mold slides for the Horizon coaches and dinette cars.
Almost ready to inject the Flexi-Flo body!
First injection tests of the Flexi-Flo fiddly bits
Getting first tooling samples is a challenge on two fronts. Firstly, we are always pushing the workshops to hurry up and get us samples before a big show or product launch. And secondly the first samples always have major problems... because they are first samples! So we rush to get samples and then what we show the public is far from finished.

But we know how important it is for people to see actual samples rather than drawings or prototype photos, so we will always make it a priority to get and show off our first samples.

We're not just making new tooling. We've also got some neat stuff in production. Have a look:
MOPAC FB-2 locomotives in the paint shop
HO scale LRC coach shells in the injection workshop
Assembling the roof walk supports on the 3800 cu. ft. cylindrical hoppers
Our full delivery schedule can always be found on our web site. Click here to have a look. We're making an effort to have it updated each week. We're not quite there yet...
Beware of trolls!

The internet can be a very rough neighbourhood. There are some people who, for whatever reason, are angry or unhappy. And they bring that anger to their hobby, especially online.

In recent weeks there have been a number of internet discussions, whether in forums or on Facebook or via email, that have gone beyond criticisms of our products and have become quite vicious attacks on us and everything we do. Of course we make mistakes and of course we want to hear about it as well as ideas on how we can improve our products. But it's never acceptable when the feedback turns personal or attacks our employees. As far as I am concerned if someone attacks one of my employees online they can take a long walk on a short pier. We don't want their business.

After all the work we put into our products, the negative, unconstructive feedback can be very disheartening. We now know how the management of the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens must feel – many of the fans think that the managers are idiots and they can do a better job.

However... every time someone decides to vent about how awful we are, many of you step up and say, "Hang on a second - that's not the Rapido I know." Whether it's reminding people that we stand by our products, or it's sharing your positive experiences, or it's bringing common sense to a thread that is full of nonsense, you inject a bit of sunshine into the dark clouds of internet rants.

On behalf of everyone here at Rapido, from the design team to the warranty guys to the admin staff to Janet, I'd like to thank all of you who have stepped up in our defence. We really appreciate it.

We wouldn't be here without you, our customers. And we're letting you know that we notice and value every positive word.

Until the next newsletter (which I really hope will be written by Bill)...

Best regards,


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