Rapido Newsletter Vol. 165

©2023 Rapido Trains Inc.

Click here to view as webpage.

Dear Rapido Customer,

Welcome to March. Two new announcements, two important order deadlines being set and lots of new info. So, without further ado, Rapido News 165...starts...right...NOW!

New Announcement!

  • NEW RUN! HO Scale 53' Husky Stack Well Cars

April Order Deadlines - April 17th, 2023

  • HO Scale GMDD GP9RM Mother and Slug Locomotives
  • HO Scale Southern Pacific PC&F B-70-69/71/75 Boxcars

General Announcements

  • N Scale Barrel Ore Hoppers - New US Variations!
  • HO Scale VIA Rail HEP2 Special Update

Second Section

  • Upcoming Shows
  • New Arrivals / Shipping Dates
  • Factory and Tooling Updates
  • An N Scale Update, from Rapido Jeremy
  • N Scale Customer Survey: We Want Your Input!

NEW RUN! HO Scale 53' Husky Stack Well Cars

The HO Scale 53' Husky Stack Cars are once again back by popular demand! But they'll have a twist this time You'll be able to select your favorite scheme with two randomly selected containers! Now if you do not want the containers, you also have a choice of cars sold in two-packs (or six-packs), totally containerless! A win-win for everyone!

A group image from the second surprise run in 2021.

Putting the "T" in terrific! 2021 production model.

The containers will be our 53' dry box containers with optional heater box and fuel tank. The insulated dry boxes are ubiquitous to intermodal trains across North America. While a good portion of these containers can be found on domestic trains across Canada, they are also seen throughout the US Midwest and as far south as New Orleans.

It's not flashy but it sure is rugged. 2021 production model.

The Race for the Cure scheme once again returns, as always for a great cause! $5 from every sale of a On Track For a Cure model will be donated to Lionel Strang's One More Year campaign with the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation to support mental health of cancer patients.

Pink for a Cause. 2021 production model.

And the loaded version. 2021 production model.

The Rapido 53' Husky Stack Well Car features a new die-cast body, injection molded end handrails and brake detail and a combination of etched and plastic walkways. The new diecast body allows for MORE see-through walkway madness. The trucks are free-rolling 70-tons, which have separate brake shoe detailing. This is one sturdy, yet highly detailed car.

We're offering a total of nine different car numbers for most of these cars. If you want to ensure you get all nine, you need to order the 3-pack of single cars with containers, and the 6-pack of cars without containers.

Check out the schemes below.

Check out the sales catalog below, in PDF form.

The HO Scale 53' Husky Stack Well Cars will have an order deadline of June 15th, 2023. This means you have plenty of time to decide which cars you want and how many!

April 17th, 2023 Order Deadlines

April is almost here! That means two more items head off to an April 17th, 2023 order deadline. This is the HO Scale GMDD GP9RM Mother and Slug Locomotives and the HO Scale Southern Pacific PC&F B-70-69/71/75 Boxcar.

HO Scale GMDD GP9RM and Slug

The Rapido GP9RM and Slug is certainly one of the most unique series of locomotives we have announced. Let's take a look at everything you haven't seen since the last GP9RM and Slug update. Beware, it's photo intense!

The classic CN Geep rebuild. 3D Renders shown, subject to revision.

The mother and slug. 3D Renders shown, subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM

And now the real deal. Check out the metal handrails!

Samples subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM

Nice and spiffy. Samples subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM

LOTS of etched parts. Samples subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM

Tons of pilot details, as well. Samples subject to revision.

These look fantastic. 3D Renders shown, subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM

Did you know there's a motor, decoder and speaker tucked up inside there?

Samples subject to revision.

Rapido GP9RM Slug

Small, but powerful. Samples subject to revision.

The HO Scale GP9RM Locomotive features:

  • Heavy diecast frame with super-detailed piping and traction cables
  • Detailed Blomberg trucks, with and without outside brake shoes
  • Traction motor details on gearbox
  • Working track lights, class lights, control stand lights and flashing belt pack light on select mother-slug sets (late sets)
  • Multiple battery box styles
  • Spark arrestors or open exhaust stacks as appropriate
  • Metal side handrails
  • Working ditch lights on 4000, 4100 and 7000 series locos
  • Front and rear plows or curved plate pilots on appropriate road numbers
  • Footboard pilots on mother units
  • Detailed walkway tread

The HO Scale Slug features:

  • Fully powered! Motor tucked into frame and body
  • Heavy diecast frame with super detailed piping and traction cables
  • Detailed Blomberg trucks with outside brake shoes or Flexicoil trucks
  • Traction motor details on gearbox
  • Metal side handrails
  • Footboard pilots or curved plate pilots on appropriate road numbers
  • Working head lights

Both the mother and slug models will be available with: DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound (with ESU LokSound decoders). The sound-equipped slugs will feature traction motor whine, air let-off sounds, and controllable light features. We have you covered!

Here are the different schemes being offered on the first run.

Check out the GP9RM and Slug catalogue by clicking the photo below, which will open as a PDF.

We are waiting for circuit board samples and then we can show you a video of the HO Scale GP9RM and Slug. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel to ensure you don't miss it. And please order your GP9RMs and slugs today!

HO Scale Pacific Car and Foundry B-70-69/71/75 Boxcar

The PC&F B-70-69/71/75 Class Boxcar certainly is one of the more underrated cars in service. Since the last update on this boxcar, we now have factory fresh samples! And with those samples comes an order deadline of April 17th, 2023.

Now, let's take a look at those brand-new samples. These photos were taken at the factory on Tuesday!

Dream becomes reality. Early samples shown, subject to revision.

The other side. Early samples shown, subject to revision.

The B end of the car. Early samples shown, subject to revision.

That coupler box really looks nice, doesn't it?

Note the etched details and the revised coupler box.

Early samples shown, subject to revision.

The underbody. Early samples shown, subject to revision.

Now, take a look at those paint schemes and variations. Scroll down to check them out.

Check out the B-70-69/71 and 75 sales catalog. Click the photo below to view it in PDF form.

The HO Scale PC&F B-70-69/71 and 75 Boxcar certainly will be a popular item, so don't miss out on these versatile boxcars. Order today from your dealer or direct!

N Scale Barrel Ore Hopper Part II

Attention N scalers! We bring you the news that no one wants to hear but has to understand: The Barrel Ore Hopper sales are lower than anticipated. This in turn has caused us to rethink our master plan of becoming an N scale only company and has made Jeremy VERY MAD. Check out the video here.

All joking aside, the sales are low. We'd love to see them increase a bit to gauge where the market is for N scale products. In turn, what we are going to do is re-open the ordering period, set the new order deadline for June 15th, 2023 and add three additional US paint schemes.

The NIHX cars. Photo courtesy Ted Curphey.

The RMGX cars. Photo courtesy Ted Curphey.

 The long barrel car.

Loaded with detail.

The short barrel car. 

Now let's check out the art for all the cars, including the three new ones:

Check out the catalogue below. It has updated info and item numbers.

So N scalers, it's time to show which scale is the best. Get your orders for the Barrel Ore Hopper rolling in before June.

HEP2 and HEP1 mix at Bayview. Photo courtesy David Vincent.

HEP2 Special Update

Now Jason has an update for you on the HO scale VIA Rail Canada HEP2 coach project.

JASON: Thanks, Bobby.

VIA's HEP2 cars are Budd coaches purchased from American railroads and completely rebuilt and upgraded with Head End Power, entering service in 1996. We've had a lot of requests for these, so we announced them last year. Our original plan was to simply paint our ex-CP coaches in HEP2 colours.

However, the demand for these has been so strong that we decided to take the plunge and tool up the correct sides, window arrangements and underbody details. Click here or on the image below to watch a video of our measuring trip to VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre.

Rapido HEP2 Video

The designs for the HEP2 coaches are finished and are about to enter the tooling shop. Currently, they will have the ex-CP interiors, as to make the correct HEP2 interiors requires three new moulds. If we can sell over 1500 HEP2 coaches by June 15th, we will tool the correct interiors. So please tell your friends and spread the word to order these cars ASAP. 

The HEP2 cars normally run between Windsor and Quebec City, but they have also run in regular service between Jasper and Prince Rupert and in Northern Quebec. Here are a few more shots of the designs:

Absolutely gorgeous! 3D Renders, subject to final revision.

Check out that correct underbody detail. 3D Renders, subject to final revision.

Can't forget the end gates and HEP plugs. 3D Renders, subject to final revision.

Let's look at some of these babies in action!

A pike-sized passenger train! Photo courtesy Dan Garcia.

These are very light, as evidence by the single locomotive.

Photo courtesy Thomas Blampied.

This business class car has recently been refurbished. 

We're making these too.

Photo courtesy David Vincent.

Gold star to anyone who can successfully model this weathering!

Photo courtesy Thomas Blampied.

OK - I think that's a decent update. Please click here to reserve your HEP2 coaches. Back to you, Bobby!

Second Section - March 2023

Thanks, Jason. Hey! Everyone needs HEP2s!

Anyway, lots of new photos, arrivals and future shows! Here comes the Second Section for March 2023. Off we go!


Help needed! We’re looking to expand our line of 1/87 scale / HO vehicles and in particular a series of Ford vehicles from the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s. We’ve reached out to Ford Global Licensing, but they are not interested in talking to us!

There are many other HO scale vehicle manufacturers making models of Ford cars and trucks without a license. We'd rather have a license than go commando. (Ed: Naughty!)

If you have an ‘in’ with Ford or their licensing department, we’d love to talk! Please get in touch with us by responding to this email, changing the subject to "FORD FANTASTIC" or "Fantabulous, Feisty, Ferocious Ford" or "I am a vice president of Ford" (if true) and hopefully we can get these fully-designed models to market with a proper license.

Upcoming Shows

Trainland Meet and Greet - March 11th, 2023

On March 11th Trainland will be holding a special in-store Rapido event featuring our own Bill Schneider! Bill will be on hand from 10 AM through 3 PM Eastern and will be bringing along many of our latest sample models and more. Stop by and say hello!

In fact, check out these new 3D renders Jeremy just did of Trainworld's exclusive LIRR 44-Tonner!

Facebook Livestream With Special Guests! - March 15th, 2023

Join us on our Facebook page, where we will host our first livestream in months! Jordan and Jason will give updates on projects, discuss the state of Rapido and will be joined by special guests Lionel Strang and Tony Cook! You won't want to miss out on this event. This is an 8PM EDT start time, so mark your calendars accordingly. And remember: the clocks change this weekend!

La Mesa Club Meet and Greet - March 22nd, 2023

Come join Jason, Jordan and Jeremy at the La Mesa Model Railroad Club in sunny San Diego, California! This meet and greet will be held alongside their beautiful layout in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. It is open for everyone to attend! Bring your suggestions, bring your questions and bring your good grooves. One night only on March 22nd, 2023 at 7PM PDT. See you there!

RPM-East - March 24th and 25th, 2023

Come on down and meet Rapido's John Frantz at the RPM East meet. We'll be at the Westmoreland County Community Center in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, on March 24th and the 25th with samples and answers to your questions and maybe even some insider info!

Rocky Mountain Train Show - April 1st and 2nd, 2023

We're back! Back at the Rocky Mountain Train Show in April, and we'll have a bunch of samples and maybe even a new announcement or two. Check us out in Expo Hall N. We'll be waiting for you to drop by.

Supertrain Calgary - April 15th and 16th, 2023

Join Dan Darnell and a bunch of American Rapido people at Calgary for the first Supertrain in a few years. We're excited to be back and will display lots of samples and answer any questions you may have. That'll be on April 15th and 16th, 2023, inside the Community Gym.

Note the convenient timing of the GP9RM order deadline to be right after this show, so all you Calgarians can see it in person and order by the dozen the next day!

See you there, eh?

Shipping and Arrival Updates

LOTS of new items are arriving soon! What could they be? Let's find out:

The Fruehauf Trailers!

These are some of the 40' Exterior Post Volume Vans.

And the 35' Integral-Post Volume Vans.

Perfect for placing on the F30 Flat cars!

Another angle.

Check out that refrigeration unit!

Showing off the underbody detail.

All of the axle detail is here.

Did we already mention these are perfect for the F30 flats?

A collection of (American) bulkheads.

And the CP bulkheads.

That awesome bulkhead deck detail.

Did we mention the County Cars feature four different exteriors and six different interiors? Collect them all!

New age Penn Central.

Classic New Haven

Yes! That's a rotary telephone in HO Scale!

Privacy, please!

Just like the real thing.

These are probably the best interiors we have ever done!

Insane interior details!

The Angus is here.

Rapido Angus Caboose

The CP Engineering maroon Van.

Rapido Angus Caboose

Algoma Central

Rapido Angus Caboose

Newly-tooled, square grabs on the Ontario Northlands!

Below are photos of the Heartland Hobby Wholesale exclusive E8 and E9 locomotives. These can be ordered from your favorite hobby shop. Any hobby shop is welcome to order these for you directly from Heartland.

Please support this exclusive offering from Heartland as it will encourage them to produce more exclusive runs in the future. 

Getting packed to leave the warehouse!

Turboliner time!

Factory and Tooling Updates

These are the N Scale Flexi-Flos in the printing room.

This Flexi-Flo is part of the test car 2-pack.

The Hudson boiler molds. All four sides!

Hudson trucks!

Here's a BC Rail M420 mold.

Check out these U25B handrails.

A Look Into N Scale with Jeremy Fleming

Fellow N scalers, it’s time for a heart-to-heart. In my time at Rapido, I’ve kind of become known as our N scale guy. And also as that "deadpan bald guy"... but I digress. Now, I’m no Mike McGrattan when it comes to being an ambassador for our scale; I can’t hold a candle to him in terms of his knowledge, influence, and – y'know – actually having a layout. But y'all seem to have gravitated towards me, so the corporate hoseheads have decided that I'm the guy to give you the straight dope.

Mike really had Jason's ear when it came to N scale. He's pretty much the reason that we have as many N scale offerings as we do. Beyond that though, he was just an exemplary human being. He is still missed at Rapido.

We’ve had some wildly successful N scale releases over the last couple of years, including the Canadian, the Autoflood III coal hoppers and most recently, the NSC centerbeam flatcar. In fact, we sold more N scale centerbeams than HO ones! We knew that they would do well due to the fact that there had been only one 73’ car ever produced, but sales still blew well past our expectations. However, it's not all beer and Skittles, as orders for some other recent projects have been…less than encouraging. Namely, these would be the Procor 5820 hoppers, the NSC barrel ore cars, and the RR56/60/61 mechanical reefers.

Wrapping our heads around this, we understand that the demand for transition-era N scale models may be waning and that the barrel ore hoppers might be a bit niche, but we're utterly perplexed as to why the 5820s are struggling to break even. This is a modern car that's been plying the rails for the past 40-ish years, is still common today, and is vital to the heavily-modelled plastics industry. It really is a beautiful car...They're ALL beautiful cars. Perhaps we've done them a disservice by launching them only with drab grey pre-production samples, so here are some 3D renders to show them off in full-colour glory!

In addition to making those videos where I awkwardly stare at you without smiling, I've also started doing our renders. I got skills.

We also understand that sticker shock may be a contributing factor to this. Keep in mind though that our pricing is in line with current, similarly-detailed offerings from other manufacturers. The fact of the matter is that while N scale models take up only 16% of the physical volume of their 1:87 scale equivalents, the tooling costs are not that far behind those for HO. Add in virtually the same costs for design, research, and labour, and the profit margins are a LOT thinner when catering to what amounts to only a ~20% slice of the model railroad pie.

About the only reduction in cost that directly correlates with a smaller model is that of the materials themselves, for which we’re talking pennies worth of plastic and metal. Also keep in mind that the street price is often significantly lower than the MSRP. In fact, it's a matter of policy that our prices will never be lower than those of our authorized dealers, so by all means, we encourage you to order through them instead of us!

Since these cars have all already been tooled, we have every intention of putting them into production at some point. But we're pumping the brakes and punting the order deadlines down the road a few months in order to better promote them. In the case of the barrel ore cars, we've even decided to add THREE schemes to the mix - the all-black liveries that these cars wore after their CN and ONR lives had ended. The HO guys didn't even get these!

Chew on that, HO scalers! (Ed: Reel it in, bald guy.) Photo courtesy Ted Curphey.

As such, I’d like to call on you to tell us what you want to see in N scale. Which era is the most appealing? Do you want more freight or more passenger stuff? Steam or diesel? Do you want us to keep the high levels of detail or is overall dimensional accuracy more important? We want to know what you think the holes in the market are.

Please click here to fill out our handy N scale form. Heck, I'll throw out what I personally want to see: I want more commuter equipment, more Canadian road switchers and while I don't necessarily need any myself, isn't it high time for a Rapido-calibre RDC with DCC/Sound??  

So much N scale want in this photo...Photo courtesy John Eull.

One more nitpick: a common complaint levelled against us N scalers by virtually every manufacturer is that we're not putting our money where our mouths are. If we're vocal about getting certain models produced, the least we can do is place a preorder when they're announced.

Case-in-point, there was a lot of demand to make the N scale New Look Bus, but almost a year after delivery there are still a bunch in stock that are taking up untold tens of square inches of Francis' warehouse! Remember: we take no money up-front for pre-orders, and you can always cancel down the road if you decide that model trains aren't your thing anymore and that your new, TRUE passion is making decorative windchimes out of dehydrated alpaca nostrils. You do you.

I'll close this...whatever this is...out by saying that we have some fantastic N scale announcements coming this year and beyond, a few of which have really solidified my goal of recreating part of the Canadian National Newmarket Sub circa 1990. If I wasn't bound by an iron-clad NDA, the violation of which would lead to my needing to be taken to the hospital in two separate trips, I'd shout them from the rooftops. They're that cool. It's a great time to be in the N scale game right now guys, so let's step up to the plate!


I'm slowly but surely amassing stuff to make my future layout a reality. Wait, is that an S scale car back there?? Yes. Yes it is. I got my finger in other non-HO scale pies...

Excellent insight into the world of N scale! Thanks, Jeremy.

If you've just scrolled down to see the link to the N scale survey, please click here.

That about wraps it up for March's newsletter. We'll be back shortly with more, so stay tuned.

Until next time,

Bob the Builder

Bobby Allard

Marketing Officer

The Grandest Poobah of Newsletter

Rapido Trains, Inc.

USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441
Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5
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