Rapido Newsletter Vol. 124
©2020 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Here's another action-packed Rapido Newsletter. We're all going crazy stuck at home so we've channeled our insanity into more great stuff for you.

In this edition of Rapido News:

  • New! HO Scale Steam Heater Cars!
  • Time To Get On The Bus! And We Need Your Help!
  • The First Ever Rapido Almost Everything Sale!
  • New Rapido Videos – Freight, Passenger and Lightsabers
  • HO Scale Alco PA/PB Project Update
  • New Haven County Cars Update
  • Factory Photos and Delivery Update
  • Rapido’s Opening Schedule
  • Our Ever-Shifting Order Deadlines
  • Shameless Plug: Please Buy Sidura's book!
New! HO Scale Steam Heater Cars!

One of Rapido's first and most popular products was our Oh, So Steamy! Steam Generators. Well guess what... they're back! And instead of being steamy, they've become NOISY! Introducing the Oh, So Noisy! Steam Heater Cars in HO scale.
A four-car train with two FP9As and two Steam Gennies! That's six boilers!
I took this photo in Churchill, Manitoba in February 1996.
Steam Heater Cars, known up here in Canada as Steam Generator Units or SGUs, were introduced in the diesel era to provide steam heat to passenger trains. When passenger trains were hauled by steam locomotives, there was always a reliable source of steam. Unless a diesel locomotive was equipped with a boiler and water tank, heat could not be provided. This was before the days of Head End Power for passenger cars.

Heater cars were usually rebuilt from boxcars, B-units and old steam locomotive tenders, so they varied in shape and size from railroad to railroad. That is, unless you are in Canada. It is so cold here so much of the time that purpose-built SGUs were built by CC&F (Canadian Car & Foundry), GMD (General Motors Diesel Division) and NSC (National Steel Car).

Our model is based on the GMD prototype. Check out the usual insane amount of underbody detail!
Steam Gennies (as they were often called) were usually marshalled between the locomotives and the passenger cars, but they could also be placed at the rear of the train. They had a much higher capacity than a boiler in a locomotive, so they would be used even with boiler-equipped engines.

Check out this video of a typical Steam Genny in action by Ric Berryere. Listen closely - the steam generator is louder than the F40PH-2D coupled to it. That was normal when you were close up to these babies. And that's why we've replaced the steam feature in our model with steam SOUND!
As you have just watched (you did, right?), the hiss and sizzle of the steam generator was very, very loud. It has a huge impact on what a passenger train sounds like, and having a straight diesel prime mover sound on a steam-heated passenger train doesn't cut it. You need to hear the steam also.

Rapido's Steamy Sounds!

Our recent sound-equipped locomotives have steam included, but we don't expect you to pay $140 for a sound decoder just for steam. That's why we've made our own sound chip, just for this model! So our new Steam Heater Cars come with sound! And you can adjust the volume to suit your preferences, including turning the sound off. We think this is a beauty goal, eh?

  • Numerous popular paint schemes
  • Scaled from field measurements and original blueprints
  • Steam sounds included, with user-controlled volume
  • High-quality, high-bass speaker
  • Works on DC and DCC layouts
  • Super-detailed underframe and express trucks
  • Working backup lights, controlled by magnetic wand
  • Metal Macdonald-Cartier couplers

Please click on the image below to download the Steam Genny catalog:
The MSRP is $79.95 (US) or $89.95 (CAN). Seeing as our older Steam Gennies regularly go for $200 on eBay, we think that's SUPER CHEAP!

Please click here to visit the web site. You can order from us or, preferably, from your favourite/favorite hobby shop. We'll announce an order deadline once the stores all begin to open again.
Injection samples of our New Look bus, showing optional lower door windows, older style engine door, standee windows, and optional air conditioning
Time To Get On The Bus! And We Need Your Help!

Our HO scale New Look Fishbowl Bus is one of our biggest sellers. We're doing the final preparations for our latest bus style - the common TDH-5303 with single-stream rear doors and 2 + 2 seating. We know this bus well. We own one!
The Rapido Bus takes a pit stop at Timmy's.
Photo courtesy Richard Sun.
Our New Look Bus tooling is modular. This means that we can do our best to match the style of bus used by each transit agency. For example, we can combine the later style engine door used in our T6H-5307 with the single-stream exit doors used on our new TDH-5303 tooling. Similarly, we can inject the offside emergency exit door or leave it off, and we can include the standee windows or leave them off. We can't do every possible variation, but we can certainly do a whole bunch! Our tooling shop hates us.
Offside (also called Closed Side) comparison: The bus body in the foreground has an emergency exit door, while the bus in the background doesn't.
Unpainted sample on the left shows the 2+2 seating for our new bus model.
We're doing a whole bunch of liveries for this run of Fishbowl buses. But there are literally hundreds of possible liveries to do. So if you don't see your favourite/favorite transit agency or paint scheme, we may still do it in the next run.

Please bear in mind that unless your hometown has half a million people or more, we probably won't be able to sell enough buses to make it worthwhile. You'd be amazed at how many requests we get for buses decorated for obscure places and liveries, like Chumbawamba Bus Lines of Noodlesville, Ohio or Crock Roach Charters from Pinochle, New Jersey. Nobody but that guy and his brother wants these.

That being said, a number of hobby shops have commissioned exclusive paint schemes of their local transit agency for this run. If you are interested in doing this, please get in touch! The minimum for an exclusive is 300 buses.
Hey! See any you need?
Working Lights

The deluxe version of our New Look Fishbowl features working interior lights, destination signs, headlights and tail lights. There's a reason why almost 90% of the buses we sell are deluxe. They are just so amazing. Have a look at the photo below. At first glance it looks real... but it isn't! The lighting adds that extra level of realism.
This Toronto bus is a very long way from home as it travels along Lyn Road in Brockville on my HO scale Kingston Subdivision layout. This is the first road I've ever built!
Help Us Make These Buses Even Better!

It is very difficult to find good painting and lettering information on buses that ran in a given city or town several decades ago. So to that end we need your help. If you know any of the following information about the New Look Buses in this production run, please reply to this email and let us know! We're looking for:

  • Seat vinyl colours/colors
  • The colors/colours of the dashboard and driver area
  • Close ups of small lettering on the bus and destination exposures
  • Licence plates! We'll include them if we have enough info.

When we posted this question on our Facebook page, we had over 100 comments. And 99% of them were "I want you to make bus X" or "why isn't this in another scale?" All fine and dandy, but not in fact an answer to our question. So if your response to "Help us find more info about these specific buses" is "Can you make a completely different bus and paint it brown?" then don't bother getting in touch.

Seriously, though. Thanks to anyone who can help.
Click on the image above to download the sales catalog. The new order deadline for this run of buses is Monday May 18th. While most of our order deadlines are fluid due to the COVID crisis (see below), the Rapido factory needs stuff to make, so this bus is going into production no matter what. Please get your order in on time.

Click here for more info or to order direct.
The First Ever Rapido Almost Everything Sale!

We don't make much in the way of inventory at Rapido. But with each shipment we do make a small number of extra items. As we have been delivering so many products lately, those extras have started to add up. We now have enough stuff sitting in our warehouse that it is filling more than the usual four shelves. That's way too much.

To help clear some space, just about EVERYTHING IN STOCK is on sale. Click here to visit our web site, and use coupon code RAPIDO2020 to get 10% off everything except decoders, the FA-2/FB-2 locomotives and 3800 cu. ft. covered hoppers. Detail parts, locomotives, passenger cars, switch machines, you name it - all on sale!

For example, if you need RailCrew Remote Uncouplers for your layout, the 12-pack is already 10% off the singles. With the sale, the 12-pack is now almost 20% cheaper than the normal individual price. Go for it!

This sale is for a limited time. It will end whenever Janet says "stop giving this stuff away." We promise it will be at least a week. Or two. So please click here to visit our web site now and spend some money. You can sort through the sale items with the menus on the left-hand side of the page.
New Rapido Videos – Freight, Passenger and Lightsabers

Most of our customers are stuck at home, so we've been busy at our homes making new videos for you. Please enjoy!

New HO Scale USRA Box Car
Click here or on the image below to join Bill as he unboxes the new USRA boxcar samples. After filming this, we discovered the black doors on the otherwise gorgeous TH&B yellow boxcars were hidden on the PDF artwork so did not make it onto the model. We're now remaking all of the shells and swapping them here at Rapido HQ before we ship them to you. Glad we caught this before shipping to customers!
How to Open Up Your RS-18 and RS-11 Locomotives
Click here or on the image below to watch Rapido's newest warranty technician, Jeremy Fleming, show you how to open the MLW RS-18 and Alco RS-11 locomotives. We have since completely redesigned the RS-11 so that the next run models will disassemble in two minutes with the removal of a couple of screws. That's how it should have been done from the start. D'oh!

Even if you never plan to open your RS-11 or RS-18 (and we don't recommend that you do), this video is very entertaining.
Unboxing Our New Pullman-Standard Dining Car
Jordan and his dog, Lily, show off the new samples of the HO scale dining car. Lily truly steals the show and I think Jordan may be out of a job. Click here or on the image below to watch.
We'll be uploading more videos in the coming weeks, so please subscribe to our YouTube channel. Jeremy has shown us what happens when a professional videographer comes to work at Rapido. Whoosh! That's the sound of all of us being blown away.
Almost-finished render of the Santa Fe PA-1
HO Scale Alco PA/PB Project Update

For this part of the newsletter, I need Bill to take over. This is his baby.

Bill: Thanks, Jason. Design work on the Alco PA/PB Project is moving ahead well. Using 3D scan info from Doyle McCormack's "NKP 190" ( click here to watch the 3D scan video) and supplemented with numerous photos and other data we have the body and most basic details pretty much finalized.
The Leslie S-5T-R horn is a beauty and will be made in brass.
Currently, we are working on finalizing lots of underbody piping (this IS a Rapido project, after all!) and other road specific details. These are some of the latest renders of the Santa Fe version of the PA-1.
Models will have either original or rebuilt exhaust stacks.
Many details on the Santa Fe Alco PA-1 have been verified with the help of Robert Willis from the Museum of the American Railroad. His group is restoring Santa Fe #59L.

Robert has been kind enough to crawl around various parts of the loco to take photos and measurements, focusing in particular the Santa Fe specific details that don't show up on any blueprints or on Doyle's loco.

(If you haven't seen the 3D scan video, it's really worth watching. Click on the image below.)
The video of our 3D scan of the real PA-1 - it was a huge success!
There is a still a lot of work to do before we can go to tooling, but I think that you'll agree that the results so far are looking great!

Click here to visit the PA/PB web site. The order deadline is... a few weeks after we get our first sample! So we don't know yet, but Jason or I will let you know in these newsletters.

The orders, by the way, are great. We need to do more locomotives like this and stop doing weird, obscure Canadian models that only Dan Darnell and Jason want.

Jason: You know you're fired, right?

Bill: Right.
99% complete model render of the New Haven County car
New Haven County Cars Update

Jason: I know nothing about these either. So I'll bring in John Sheridan, our resident New Haven Nutter.

John: How's it goin' eh? John Sheridan here with an update for the NH County Cars, our latest car made in conjunction with the New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association. The designs for these cars are 99% finished, and through a process of hypnosis and other mind control methods we convinced Jason to make the different versions of these cars.
Count 'Em. Seven - yes, seven - interior arrangements.
(Ed. Did I mention you're also fired, John?)
The reason for my interrupting this newsletter is to let you know that we have added another car to the list of those available. (Ed. Clearly you didn't see my note about being fired.)

Nah. Stop interrupting my interruption. Here's the new County car:

134000 - Green Delivery Car #207 "New London County"
16 Lounge Seats - 2 Roomettes - 4 Booths - 3 Drawing Rooms - Buffet - Phone Booth

As someone (*cough* Paul Cutler IX *cough*) pointed out to me, we neglected to add a car equipped with a phone booth to the as-delivered Green cars, we went ahead and took care of this omission. So, here you go.

Click here to visit the County Cars web site.

Um, that's it. I just wanted you to tell our customers about the new car. You really didn't need to drag me away from my other work. Not that it's very exciting. You keep telling me to design "Balloon Top" passenger cars. What a cheesy name. They never ran on my club layout. Just because you need them doesn't mean anybody else does. Sheesh.

Jason: Thanks, John. I think.
The N scale Dash 8 locomotives are almost through the paint shop and ready for printing and assembly at the Rapido factory.
Factory Photos and Delivery Update

The rest of the planet may be self isolating right now, but China managed to contain the Coronavirus to significant extent a couple of months ago. So both the Rapido and LRC factories are very busy with making model trains.

Here are some photos:
The LRC factory printing room is busy with our new 53' intermodal containers .
The Rapido factory is almost finished decorating and assembling the HO scale LRC coaches . We love the yellow stripe - so bright!
The Rio Grande Ski Train is making its way through the paint shop at the LRC factory.
Eagle-eyed viewers will notice this is the new Coach/Snack tooling!
Note the blanked window to the right.
Here's our upcoming delivery schedule:

August will be a tough month for Canadian N scalers. That wasn't planned, but it looks like both the LRC and the Dash 8 might both arrive that month. Man, it's like buses! You wait for Rapido N scale stuff for ages and then two models come along at the same time! Seriously, though - we're giving you lots of notice so it's time to start hiding money in your sock drawer.

The Coronavirus has certainly caused some challenges for our delivery efforts. We've spoken to our stores, and while some are completely closed, the majority very much want us to continue to deliver products as they come in.

Right now the only person at Rapido HQ is Joel, our warehouse manager. He's been a one-man picking, packing and shipping machine. When the dining cars arrive, Joel will work during the days and Jordan will work during the evenings to get them out the door. It will take a bit longer than usual, but we'll get the job done. We're trying to keep Rapido HQ down to only one person at a time.
Last week's Zoom meeting included everyone except Sidura, who has found herself teaching our son, Isaac, pretty much full time.
Rapido has 19 employees now, aged 31 to 64. Wow.
Rapido’s Opening Schedule

Here's where things are at. Apart from Joel, we're still all working from home. Please do not send any parcels to Rapido HQ until we're once again working from the office. Canada Post is not delivering any parcels until the restrictions here are at least partially lifted. We don't want your stuff to get lost.

If we received your model for repair before we shut down the office in March, then rest assured it is in the queue and will be fixed. All the warranty guys are working from home.

Overall, Canada Post has been very flaky. Some mail is getting through, and some isn't. I had a mail redirect in place to send Rapido's mail to my house, yet half of our mail still ended up in a pile inside our office front door. One letter took eleven days to get from Bradford to Markham, a distance of 50 miles.

Non-essential businesses can't resume quasi-normal operation in Ontario until at least May 6th, but we suspect that will be pushed back and it will be June before we are in the office working sort-of normally.
Our new West Midlands Fleetline... now in tooling! Isn't she gorgeous?
Full announcement, including pricing and liveries, to come in the summer.
The good news is our product development team has been working on overdrive. We've got several new freight cars almost finished 3D design and we just sent the new British bus designs over to the tooling workshop. (I've been the manager on this project and it's been a blast. I love Brummie buses!)

We pray that we all get through this crisis soon so we can get our lives back to normal.
Our Ever-Shifting Order Deadlines

Rapido's order deadlines have been known to wander. As I've mentioned in several newsletters, if we aren't ready to make a model we will postpone the deadline until we are. We should add to that, "If the planet is shut down due to a pandemic it's probably not a good time to close the order desk unless you really have to."

At some point, like in the case of the New Look buses, we have no choice but to close the order desk because our factories need to make stuff.

So at this point, the only firm upcoming order deadline is:

We will announce more order deadlines in the coming weeks. The next deadlines will likely be the later phase American F40PH locomotives, the New Haven EP-5, the HO scale Comet cars and the EMD SW1200. But we need better samples (and first samples, in the case of the Comets) before we can start making these. We should have new samples next month. Stay tuned!
Rapido's "other" owner, Sidura Ludwig
Shameless Plug: Please Buy Sidura's Book!

This is a personal request from me to you and it's not really related to model trains or buses, except that it concerns the owner of a model train company.

As many of you know, my wife and Rapido co-owner, Sidura Ludwig, is also an author. Her latest book, You Are Not What We Expected, is a collection of short stories about interconnected families in the Jewish community of Thornhill, where we live. According to the publisher, House of Anansi Press:

This stunningly intimate collection of stories is an exquisite portrait of a Jewish community — the secular and religious families who inhabit it and the tensions that exist there — that illuminates the unexpected ways we remain connected during times of change.

If this is of interest to you, your parents, your grown kids, your spouse, or anyone you know - please consider ordering a copy. If every one of us orders one copy, it will be a bestseller!

In Canada, you can order it from Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, McNally's, or from any other independent book store.

In the USA, you can order from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, and again from any other independent book store.

In the UK, you can order from Waterstones, Amazon, Foyle's, and from other independent booksellers.

If you live anywhere else, it should hopefully be available. If not, let me know and we'll sell it to you directly.
If you enjoy books and baking, please join Sidura for Kneading and Reading, on occasional Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. EDT on her Facebook page. Sidura shows you how to bake traditional challah (egg bread) and babka from scratch, she reads excerpts from the book, and she answers your questions about baking, writing, Jewish life, you name it.

Click here to visit Sidura's Facebook page. She is also available for online readings, podcast interviews, etc.

Thanks for humoring me with this shameless plug. To have a book published at such a weird time is challenging, so I'm reaching out to you, my friends, to help Sidura out.

That's it for this issue of Rapido News. We're expecting lots of samples from the factories in the coming weeks so we should have some more good photos and videos for you soon. We're also working on some major new locomotive and rolling stock announcements. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can see our new videos as soon as they are uploaded.

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