Rapido Newsletter Vol. 122
©2020 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

We've got some big news for you in this newsletter. It's short but sweet! (Well, short by our standards, anyway.)

In this issue of Rapido News:

  • Last Chance! Help Us Make The Turboliner!
  • Final Final Deadline! New Haven 8600 Coaches
  • FA-2/FB-2 Arrival – New Video!
  • GO F59PH – Price Reduction! (Yes, Really!)
  • Coming Soon: The Amazing M420 Tour!
  • N Scale Passenger Locomotives – Please Help!
  • Rapido-TCS Sound Decoders – Coming Soon!
  • Join Us For Jason and Jordan's "Ask Me Anything"
  • Our Hobby and COVID-19 – An Update
Turboliner on the Hudson!
Photo courtesy Mike Danneman.
Last Chance! Help Us Make The Turboliner!

The HO scale Turboliner is Jordan's baby, and he's starting to have a panic attack at the thought that we won't be able to make it. So we are making a final sales pitch for those of you still on the fence. Please consider ordering a Turboliner (or two!).

Here's the deal:

  • The Turboliner is an oddball train, so we had to announce it as a conditional release to make sure we would sell enough to make a profit. We honestly have no clue if it will be a success.

  • As of right now, we are less than 50% towards the "break even" point. As people usually wait until the last minute to order, we have not lost hope. We need to reach the "break even" point next week. Provided we reach that point, we will continue to take orders until we are ready to start production in the fall.

  • As an incentive to reach the "break even" point next week, we are offering a 5% "Early Bird" discount until March 17th. That means that every Turboliner order – whether through us or through your local hobby shop – gets 5% off. As it's a high-priced train, 5% is a good chunk of change. If you only remember to order your train a day or two after the 17th, we'll still give you the discount. We may be hosers, but we're not jerks, eh?

  • A lot of people ask how many trains we have sold or what our target dollar amount is. We don't share that kind of information, but suffice it to say that we are going to try our hardest to make this model, even if the profit margins are tighter than normal.
Early Turboliner design render. More to come... if the orders come in!
The Amtrak Turboliner was the last of the three gas-turbine passenger trains introduced in North America in the 1960s and 1970s and it could easily be argued that it was the most successful. Operating in the northeast and in Canada for almost 30 years, it was a favorite among passengers and crews alike.

Our model will be scaled from prototype drawings and measurements and will feature the usual Rapido level of detail inside and out. Full interior lighting and accurate sounds are par for the course. If you haven't seen our humorous Turboliner video, please click here or on the image below.
Jordan shows some love to the Turboliner in our video.
Somebody on Facebook told us he's waiting for the M-K rebuild version, so he's holding off on ordering. Guys, if you want any sort of RTL Turboliner, now is not the time to sit on the fence. This is our one shot at making this train. And unlike our 2008 model of the UAC TurboTrain, the RTL Turboliner model will actually run! That's a big selling point, there! 😁

Click on the image below to download the sales pack.
Click here to visit the Turboliner web site. You can order direct or from your favorite hobby shop. But please get your order in by March 17th.

Jordan has wanted this model since he was ten years old. Now is the time to enhance your collection while also making his dream come true!
Station stop for the New Haven 8600s.
Beautiful modeling and photo courtesy Otto M. Vondrak.
Final Final Deadline! New Haven 8600 Coaches

"What? We're making these?"

Yes, last year we quietly announced a new run of HO scale New Haven 8600 coaches. And now it's time to get your orders in.
A long train of 8600s traverses Chris Adams's gorgeous layout.
Photo courtesy Chris Adams.
We released the iconic 8600 coaches for the first time back in 2017 and they sold out almost instantly. In this release we are including all new road numbers in the same great paint schemes. We've improved the lighting circuit and - most importantly - we vastly improved the trucks so they are extremely free rolling.

The order deadline is also March 17th, but unlike the Turboliner we are starting production immediately. Please click on the image below to download the sales pack.
Click here for more info or to order direct. Please make sure you get your orders in by March 17th. The numbers go to the factory on Thursday.
Jordan "and friends" show off the FAs and FBs in our new video.
FA-2/FB-2 Arrival – New Video!

Amongst all the uncertainty in our world right now, it's nice to have something certain - we have FA-2 and FB-2 locomotives! Finally! This shipment was stuck in western Canada for over three weeks due to rail blockades. It's nice to have it here.

So we've filmed a new video showing off the features of our new locomotives. Click here or on the image below to watch.
Who is that guy on the right? Robby? Dobby? Something like that...
We made a few dozen extras, and they are available to order now. Click here for FA-2 models. Click here for FB-2 models.

Note that if you see a DC model you want and it says "see your dealer," it means that DC is sold out but we still have the model available in DCC/Sound. The opposite also applies. If the DCC models says "see your dealer," click on the DC model option. Get them before they are all gone!

A couple of paint schemes will be delayed be a few weeks. We discovered the yellow on the C&NW models had shifted between the first sample and production, so we are having the factory remake these shells. Also, a couple of FB-2 locomotives mistakenly had chicken wire grilles installed instead of Farr grilles installed. We're having the factory send us replacements and we'll do the swap here. We'll give a full schedule to our dealers and our direct customers next week.
GO F59PH – Price Reduction! (Yes, Really!)

In December we announced our new HO scale F59PH locomotives, but the GO Transit versions were significantly higher in price than the other models. We priced them like this to account for an anticipated licensing agreement with Metrolinx, the Ontario crown corporation that operates GO Transit.

We are pleased to inform you that we are far enough along in our negotiations to be able to reduce the prices on the GO F59PH locomotives.
Another everyday scene in Toronto. The F59PH was everywhere.
Photo courtesy Dan Garcia.
The F59PH was General Motors Diesel Division's answer to Toronto's need for a high-powered, HEP-equipped commuter locomotive. These were the face of Toronto transit for 30 years, and were also the face of many commuter startups across North America. Many are still in use to this day, whether with their original or second-hand owners.

The price for the GO F59PH is now the same as our other paint schemes:

Canada: $249.95 (DC) - $359.95 (DC/DCC/Sound)
Everywhere Else: $225 (DC) - $335 (DC/DCC/Sound)

If you have already ordered your models directly from us, you don't have to do anything. We will adjust the pricing for you.

Click on the image below to download the F59PH sales pack.
We will be extending the order deadline of these locomotives by a couple of months. Once we have a decorated, sound-equipped sample we will upload a YouTube video and announce a final deadline date.

Please click here for more information or to order direct.
Coming Soon: The Amazing M420 Tour!
(Also known as the Fabulous F59PH Tour)
(Or the Neat-O N Scale Canadian Tour)

It's been a long time since we did a Rapido tour. In 2011, Dan and I crisscrossed the country with the first samples of The Canadian and FP9A locomotives. In 2013 I visited western Canada with the GMD-1 in tow. But gosh, that was seven years ago! We at Rapido feel a new tour is long overdue.

So we are planning the Amazing M420 Tour. We'll be taking the HO scale M420 models, along with the F59PH, the N scale Canadian, and other new products to hobby shops and large clubs in eastern Canada, with possible side trips to western Canadian and northeastern American locations. Provided that travel restrictions will have eased by then, the tour is planned for late May and June of this year. More information to come in a future Rapido News.

We want you to see the M420 in person and hear the rich sounds from our new Rapido-TCS decoders. We promise you will be blown away.

If you want your club or hobby shop to be included in the tour, please let us know. We are looking to reach groups of 20 or more people at each stop.

We look forward to seeing many of you again in person!
Hand-painted pre-production samples of our F40PH-2D
Rebuilt (left) and Original (right)
N Scale Passenger Locomotives – Please Help!

One of the things that's really important to us is to be honest with our customers. We tell you when things go well, and we also tell you when things go awry...

So I have to tell you that lately we've been feeling like we are totally clueless when it comes to the N scale market, even though we have three N scalers on staff.
Brand-new Dash 8 in Montreal.
Photo courtesy John Eull.
The N scale Dash 8 is in production now (finally!) and based on advance orders it will be our most successful N scale locomotive ever. Using it as a guide, we launched a tonne of new Canadian N scale models last year.

The Canadian 10-car set has done extremely well. That is a home run. Thank you to everyone who has ordered or is going to order one.

In contrast, the Original VIA F40, Rebuilt VIA F40, and FP9A models have completely tanked. And this is where I don't get it. Looking at the number of models sold, our N scale Dash 8 orders are 50% of our HO scale Dash 8 orders. That is fabulous.

But our N scale VIA F40 orders are only 15% of our HO scale orders of the same engines. Similarly, our N scale LRC coach orders were only about 15% of our HO orders. Nobody has ever made these before, and every year we would receive many requests for them to be made in N scale. It's hard to judge the FP9A because most dealers have not yet submitted their orders.

But in general we don't get why the F40 and LRC numbers are so much lower than HO compared to the Dash 8. We don't believe that "N scalers don't model passenger trains." We sold twice as many New Haven 8600s as LRC coaches, and (so far) three times as many FL9s as F40s, original and rebuilt combined! You can tell we're perplexed. There are probably about the same number of Canadian N scale modellers as New Haven N scale modelers, if not more. In HO we can usually predict sales quantities pretty well. In N we have no clue.
N scale LRC VIA Rail
Hand-painted samples of the N scale LRC coaches
Any constructive suggestions to help us better plan our N scale releases would be very much appreciated. Please reply to this email and the customer service team will forward all of these suggestions to the project management team. We promise to read and digest all of them. We want to make the N scale models that you want to buy.
The revised texture on our F40PH-2D radiator grilles. This is a huge improvement.
In the meantime, we're going to do more PR for the Original F40 and Rebuilt F40 models, and we'd really appreciate it if you could spread the word and encourage your friends to pre-order their models. The tooling revisions should be done next month, including fixing the radiator grilles to give them a finer appearance. We'll share photos of the new samples when we get them. We'd like to start production in July, so we need to bulk up the orders between now and then.

I know our N scale customers are always eager for more news, so I promise we'll have more N scale news in future newsletters. We have not given up on N scale.
Mohan and I are getting the lowdown on the first draft of the Rapido-TCS decoder installed in a Pennsy FB-2. TCS crew are (from left): Dan Mycio, John D. Forsythe and John Forsythe.
Rapido-TCS Sound Decoders – Coming Soon!

Earlier I mentioned Rapido-TCS decoders in the HO scale M420. I'd like to tell you more about this new collaboration.

We feel it is best to have more than one decoder supplier, and we've been very impressed with the folks at Train Control Systems. Our main concern with having two suppliers is that we want our locomotives to work well together. So we have been working with TCS to create a custom Rapido-TCS decoder that is fully compatible with our ESU LokSound-equipped locomotives. We are continuing to use ESU for many of our locomotive projects, and we want you to feel confident running your different Rapido engines together.

Please note that the Rapido-TCS decoder is not a WOWSound decoder. It is a new collaborative product.
Mohan checks out the Quality Control camera at TCS headquarters. Inspecting the decoder circuit boards manually used to take half an hour.
Now it takes less than a minute.
TCS is a family business and their decoders are all made in-house in the USA. This month we visited their shop in Pennsylvania and we'll be posting a video in the next few days. The video will show the TCS operation as well as how our ESU-equipped and TCS-equipped engines can play nicely together. The vibe at TCS is almost exactly the same as the vibe at Rapido – you can tell these guys really love what they are doing.
Mohan is entranced by one of the TCS Pick And Place machines.
This creates the decoders while you watch. It's really neat!
TCS now has a wi-fi compatible throttle (also made in the USA) which was a joy to use, and they have almost finished the development of a TCS Desktop Programmer which does exactly what it says on the box: it will allow you to connect your PC to your track and customize the programming of your locomotives with easy-to-use software. It's also universal and can adjust the settings of all of your DCC-equipped locomotives. The programmers should hit store shelves around the same time as our M420.

Rapido-TCS decoders will all have Keep Alive® and will incorporate many of the other proprietary TCS features as options.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can see the new video as soon as it is launched.
The first question: Why are there FOUR LIGHTS?
The answer: You should watch more Star Trek.
Join Us For Jason and Jordan's "Ask Me Anything"

On Wednesday March 18th at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Jason and Jordan are hosting an "Ask Me Anything" on Rapido's Facebook page. Join us in Jason's full-size Train in the Basement for an informal chat about the hobby, Rapido, prototype railroading, and whatever else you want to talk about (provided it is related to either Star Trek or Doctor Who). We will do our best to answer your questions, though we do reserve the right to say "we don't know" or "we know but we're not going to tell you!"

Click here to visit our Facebook page and please mark it in your calendars!
An empty street in Milan, Italy.
Photo by iStock.
Our Hobby and COVID-19 – An Update

We are in uncharted waters with the Coronavirus and, understandably, everyone is anxious. If you or a member of your family has become ill, we wish you a speedy and full recovery.

Please make sure you get your news about the virus from reputable news sources and not from social media. In general terms, the biggest concern to us here at Rapido is not the virus itself but the panic it is causing.

We'd like to give you our perspective on the situation.
Final QC inspection of CN and VIA dining cars at the Rapido factory
China Factories
The Rapido and LRC factories were closed for an additional three weeks after Chinese New Year. This has put all our deliveries about a month behind schedule. The factories are open now. The Rapido factory is at full capacity and LRC is at about 2/3 capacity. The Rapido factory just shipped the Pullman-Standard Dining Cars yesterday so they should arrive in mid-April. The LRC factory is shipping the NP Boxcars and USRA boxcars next week.

We use a third factory in another part of China and they have been having trouble getting all their workers back. So the HO scale LRC cars will probably arrive in two separate batches later this spring.

Thankfully our hobby is not seasonal, so we don't have the same problems that a lot of other importers are having. For instance, if we were expecting a shipment of Hallowe'en decorations, it would be a disaster if they arrived in late October or November. My heart goes out to my fellow business owners who find themselves missing important delivery deadlines.
Finishing up the last piece of "sub fascia" on deck two of my layout.
This will be covered by a 1/8" MDF fascia.
You can never have too many clamps...
The Silver Lining
The silver lining to all the clouds that have surrounded us lately is that we are gaining one thing that is in very short supply: time. I am a model railroader, and the biggest impediment to my getting any work done on the layout is a lack of time. I know it's the same for most of you.

Well, I had a business trip next week which has been cancelled and a business trip the week after that which has been cancelled. In fact, looking at my calendar, all of my travel until the end of April has been postponed. I am going to take all the time that I had allotted to travel, whether it was driving time to Pennsylvania or flying time to Nebraska, and I am going to spend that time in my layout room. That's actually several hours of model train time!

I hope you will take this opportunity to tackle that project in your layout room that's been nagging at you. If you have kids or grandkids home from school, now is a great time to get them to help make trees or lay track, or teach them more advanced modelling. Let's make lemonade out of the Coronavirus lemons and spend some quality time with our trains and our families.
Rapido RDCs in stock at your local hobby shop!
Your Local Hobby Shop
As you can imagine, walk-in traffic at your local hobby shop has basically dropped off a cliff. We need to support our train stores. 2008 was a long time ago, but it feels like many of us only just got back on our feet.

Please keep our hobby shops in mind. If your travel plans have been put on hold and you're going to be spending more time at home, give your local hobby shop a call. If your wife doesn't want you travelling, I'm sure the guys at the store will be happy to mail you all the model train supplies you need for whatever project you are working on.

This virus has got us all spooked. Try and keep a cool head, and try to make the most of the time you suddenly have.

We'll be in touch soon with more news and product updates. We're also reviving some Rapido products that haven't been seen in years and years, so we have some fun new announcements.

Until next time... keep calm and carry on!

Best regards,


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