Rapido Newsletter Vol. 181

©2024 Rapido Trains Inc.

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Dear Rapido Customer,

We're back (again!) and boy do we have a lot of announcements and news for you. Check out what we are covering below.

In this 181st issue...

  • Heartland Hobby HO Scale GLa Hoppers
  • February 15th, 2024 Order Deadlines
  • March 15th, 2024 Order Deadlines
  • RELAUNCH! HO Scale CN H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive
  • New Announcements!

Also other announcements...

  • Upcoming Shows
  • Product Updates - including first H16-44 samples!!!
  • See It. Say It. Sorted. Jason asks for your help!

If you are using a web-based email service such as Gmail, be sure to click on the link near the bottom of the email that says something like "[Message clipped] View entire message". That will ensure you don't miss any of this newsletter.

Please note that all renders and artwork are subject to change before the final product release.

Our latest release of HO scale GLa coal hoppers is now exclusively available through Heartland Hobby Wholesale! Ask your dealer to order through Heartland while supplies last!

For the full list of new release road names, please visit our website.

First sample of the BART train model!

HO Scale BART Trains

Click Here to Open Catalog
     Order the BART Cars     
Rapido Comet Car

HO Scale Comet Commuter Cars

Click Here to Open Catalog
     Order the Comet Cars    

HO Scale Fruit Growers Express R7 Reefer

Click Here to Open Catalog
  Order the FGE R7 Reefer  

HO Scale Pennsylvania Railroad X23 Boxcar

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the PRR X23 Boxcar 

The Conrail OCS E-unit. Remember, this is an early pre-production sample, so many things may be refined before production.

HO Scale HEP and OCS E-units

The HO Scale HEP E-units are getting closer to becoming a reality. Their order deadline is now set for March 15th and guess what? We have a new BN sample to show off. Check it out above and below. Next month we'll have a more in-depth video highlighting all of the features of these magnificent locomotives.

We just got these pre-production samples in from the factory. Have a look!

Here's the BN E9AM.

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the E-units With HEP

HO Scale PA and PB and ATSF Repowered Locomotives

We're working on a new video for the HO scale PA and PB Locomotives which should be ready in a few weeks. We're not just making the repowered Santa Fe units. Have a look at all the paint schemes! Please order yours today.

Rapido PA-1
                         Click Here to Open Catalog                         
Order the PA-1, PB-1 and ATSF Repowered Locomotives
Rapido H21 Hopper

HO Scale H21 Hopper Car

The H21 Hopper Cars were once Pennsylvania Railroad's most common type of car they rostered. Existing models of these cars have molded-on details and really deserve an upgrade on your layout or in your collection. Our models have metal wire grab irons, including on the end cages. There are no big chunky plastic grab irons here!

We just got our first samples of these cars. Have a look!

Above and below: The H21A is on the left and the H21E is on the right. Note the build differences.

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the PRR H21 Hopper

N Scale Budd RDC

Hello N Scalers! This was your time to shine with the N Scale Budd RDC. And we can happily say you have done well. All signs are looking good so far on this model. So, let's revisit next month for another look and maybe even a new video to share. Remember that you get a 5% Early Bird discount if you order by March 15th.

In the meantime, check out this new render of Southern Pacific's unique number boards.

Click Here to Open Catalog
     Order the Budd RDC      

RELAUNCH! HO Scale Canadian National H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive

Welcome back old friend. This month we are excited to relaunch the HO Scale Canadian National H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive!

The orders for this were not great when we originally launched it. Now that our CPR D10 locomotive model has proven that we can make a reliable and super-detailed Canadian ten wheeler, we would like to give CN modellers one last chance to help make the H-6-d/g a reality. Please place your order by June 17th, 2024. We're about halfway to our needed number to make this model happen.

Have you seen our Masterclass for the CN H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive? It's worth the price of admission. Click here or the photo below to learn more about this fascinating engine.

But just in case you needed to know some quick facts... Over the years, several modifications were made to the H-6 class which created some visually distinct locomotives. These include but are not limited to; installation of new steel cabs to replace the original wooden ones, coal-to-oil burning conversions for select locomotives and wooden extensions to the tender bunker for those units that continued using coal.

A gorgeous photo of H-6-d 1532 courtesy of the John Riddell Collection.

H-6-d 1536 has raised cab letters. They will be included in the box with every model.

Photo courtesy Brian Schuff Collection.

The Rapido CN H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive will feature many optional details to accurately portray H-6s in several configurations and subclasses, including:

  • Coal (with or without an extended bunker) and Oil tenders
  • Wood or steel cabs
  • Manual or power reversers
  • Vertical or horizontal slat pilots
  • Two different bell locations
  • Two different headlight sizes

Like the D10, the H-6 drive will incorporate our smooth-running gear drive with flywheel allowing sure and silent operation. Every wheel is turned by the motor and not by the side rods. Here's a complete features list:

  • Designed from blueprints and field measurements
  • Factory-applied details specific for each road number
  • Smooth-running drive and heavy diecast weight centred above the drivers for exceptional pulling power
  • Blackened metal wheels and driving rods
  • Working head, marker and classification lights, as well as a flickering firebox light (not all lights available on DC models)
  • DCC sound version includes synchronized chuff, accurate whistle, bell and many other effects!
  • Accurate and complete piping, underbody and tender details
  • Accurate paint and decoration
  • MoPower Equipped for stutter-free operation
  • 18" Minimum radius (22" recommended)

And as a reminder, check out all of the paint variations we are offering below.

Please order yours by June 17th to ensure we can make these beautiful beasties!

           Click Here to Open Catalog          
Order the CN H-6-d/g Steam Locomotive

NEW! HO Scale FL9 Locomotive - HEP and Steam Generator Variations

The original dual mode – the HO Scale FL9 Locomotive – makes a triumphant return! And it is a perfect companion model to the HO Scale Comet Shoreliner and Bomber Cars. And on this release, we also have a surprise: The Morrison-Knudsen rebuild, which consisted of five examples for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT). All five were repainted in the classic New Haven McGinnis scheme and made the majority of their commuter careers on the Hudson and Harlem Lines.

Have you seen the FL9 Masterclass? Lots of info packed into one small area. It's worth a read. Click here or the photo below.

The major spotting features of the M-K FL9 Rebuilds is a large 36" HEP fan, a flat rear end with two marker lights and a rear headlight, a larger cab side window and two door and brake lights just behind the door. They also sported a collection of Leslie and Nathan Airchime horns throughout their careers. Each road number will carry a road number-specific horn from photos. 2014 was unique in that it had a Leslie RS5T, widely regarded as the "king of airhorns."

Check out that RS5T horn 3D render above. Below, two Conrail FL9s drag an M2 car...into Rapido's design shop? Photo courtesy of the Kaluza-Mueller collection.

The HO Scale FL9 Locomotives will be offered in HEP and steam generator variations. An interesting fact is Metro-North retained a few FL9s in their as-built steam generator appearance right until their retirement in the late 1990s. Many of these had the ability for HEP pass-through connections and were often spotted leading or trailing in the standard two unit consists. For the other steam generator schemes, we will be offering the popular Penn Central and later Conrail blue and yellow design, which was later patched out for Metro-North. 70s and 80s modelers, we got your back!

Now, let's check out more HO Scale FL9 Locomotive 3D renders!

This M-K rebuild 3D render looks superb! Note on the ends, they were uniquely flat of any ribbing or equipment.

The Rapido FL9 Locomotive Features:

  • All of the amazing detail found on our original FL9
  • Morrison-Knudsen or Chrome Crankshaft body details
  • HEP rooftop details: large 36” fan or dual fans
  • Modernized underbody components
  • Nose and rear HEP plugs*
  • Optional operating ditch lights*
  • Correct horn casting per road number
  • Steam Generator versions feature as-built details
  • Separately applied wire grabs
  • Mo-Power capacitor system
  • DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound - ESU LokSound V5 Decoder

*Polybag part

Scroll down to see the schemes on this run and please note: the images specify which is HEP and which is steam generator-equipped.

The order deadline for this new run of FL9 locomotives is May 15th, 2024. Delivery is late this year or very early next year. Please get your orders in ASAP!

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the FL9 Locomotives

NEW! HO Scale Pennsylvania G22 46' Steel Gondola

You know... We're starting to get a reputation for some half-decent Pennsy freight cars! And this one has NEVER been made in ready-to-run plastic!!!

The Pennsylvania Railroad, in need of gondola-style cars, built more than 5,700 G22 Class 46' Steel Gondolas between 1915 and 1917 for general purpose service. The G22 gondolas remained in service throughout the PRR years with many seeing Penn Central and Conrail ownership.

Starting in 1930, many of the G22 gondolas were equipped with 100-ton trucks for use in container service -- the bulk commodity version. A typical load carried was several small PRR-designed containers inside the gondola well, which contained various dry aggregate materials.

Scroll down for photos of our first sample, lovingly painted by our own Bill Schneider!

Rapido’s G22 46' Steel Gondola is based on this class with either single-rib or triple-rib ends. And luckily for you, we will also offer the G22B class – with accurate containers included. But the fun doesn't stop there; we will also offer the container load as a separate sale item, too!

The Rapido HO Scale G22 46' Steel Gondola features:

  • Accurately scaled from prototype blueprints and photos
  • Diecast chassis for great weight and operation
  • Correct interior details depending on sub-class
  • K or AB brake systems as appropriate.
  • Full inside and outside rivet detail
  • Separate wire grab irons
  • Rapido semi-scale metal couplers
  • Free-rolling trucks (70-ton or 100-ton) with turned metal wheels
  • Container load where appropriate
  • Accurate paint and decoration

Below are all of the schemes and variations being offered on the initial run.

 Click Here to Open Catalog 
Order the PRR G22 Gondola

An original Berlin Mills 5241, in blazing light green. Photo courtesy of Rick Selby.

NEW! HO Scale PC&F 5241 "Berlin Mills" Boxcar

The Pacific Car & Foundry 5241 Boxcar might not have had the largest fleet, but it might be one of the most recognizable boxcars in the Northeast, as well as all throughout North America. Thanks in large part to the Berlin Mills’ 399 leased, light green boxcars that traveled all throughout New England and points west hauling paper products. This is how the “Berlin Mills” nickname found its way to the PC&F 5241 boxcar. Another 200 were also leased by the Olympic Railroad in Washington State and 200 more went to the Boston and Maine.

These boxcars came at the end of the Incentive Pier Diem era, a time when shortlines (or investors using shortline reporting marks) bought large numbers of cars for favorable car hire rates. The build shape also has a unique look amongst the sea of IPD boxcars from the late 1970s, owing to its uncommon flat roof and large end ribs.

Check out these photos of the early tooling sample. Subject to revision before final assembly.

All three original roadnames for this car have a common theme: their traffic was dominated by the pulp and paper industry. This meant the cars could be seen almost everywhere!

The B&M cars wore many scheme variations, beginning with a bold blue body with black doors during delivery, followed by various Guilford and Pan-Am schemes. The original B&M scheme as well as the latter have been documented as late as 2020!

Lots of detail underneath the car!

As time marched on, the mills began to close, railway ownership and leasing changed hands, and the cars were sold off. Since then, the Berlin Mills cars have received many patchout and “dip” repaints, including: AGR, EEC, GMRC, HS, LVRC, SLR, SRN through the early 2000s. Many cars continue in service today under BKTY and CAIX reporting marks. The BKTY (a Union Pacific reporting mark) cars are often seen in beer service from Mexico – another commodity that has them travelling all over!

psst! Check out the photo below.

Here's an ex BMS car still earning its keep in the late 2010s, now working for BKTY, a subsidiary of Union Pacific. Photo courtesy of Jeff Lassahn.

The Rapido All-New HO PC&F 5241 Boxcar features:

  • Accurately scaled from prototype measurements and photos
  • Three door styles
  • Full underbody detail
  • Separate wire grab irons
  • Rapido semi-scale metal couplers
  • Free-rolling trucks with turned metal wheels
  • Accurate paint and decoration
  • Multiple road numbers available for each paint scheme

Below are the schemes being offered on this run.

Even though we've just announced these, like, 10 seconds ago, the order deadline of April 15, 2024 is fast approaching. Please order yours today!

             Click Here to Open Catalog             
Order the PC&F 5241 "Berlin Mills" Boxcar

The annual Amherst Railway Society's Railroad Hobby Show will take place THIS WEEKEND in West Springfield, Massachusetts. We invite you to come visit our display. We'll have samples, samples and more samples to show as well as people you can talk to, to answer any question you may have. Unless it's who's going to be the next Super Bowl champ. We can't answer that yet. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tooling, Shipping and Arrival Updates

LOTS of new items are arriving soon!

N scalers - you've been asking us to make more models for years. Now they have all come at once. We hope you've been saving your pennies!

GP38s! Don't they just look great?

The Penn Central is one sharp dressed locomotive.

The BNSF GP38 sorts ditch lights while the B&O has the iconic Capitol Dome logo.

Just in time for Springfield! It's the Providence and Woo-stah M420s!

They are leaving the factory this week!

After all these years, the H16-44 has proven NOT to be a figment of our collective imagination. The first tooling samples have arrived! We'll do a feature on these next month and give the order deadline.

After all these years, the first H16-44 samples look GREAT!

Don't be fooled, those ARE metal handrails!!!

The H16-44s have been worth the wait.

N Scale fans, rejoice! The Rohr Turboliners are almost here.

Slumbercoaches slumber away, waiting on final assembly.

These were supposed to ship a long time ago, but we were not happy with the stainless steel finish so we had to remake the shells. They will be here in the spring.

See It. Say It. Sorted.


If you've been to England recently you've probably taken the train or the Tube, and you'll be familiar with this expression. Actually, you're probably too familiar with it as they play it All. The. Time. It means if you see something suspicious or someone doing something they shouldn't be doing, you should contact a member of staff as soon as possible so they can take care of it.


We'd like you to do the same with us. If you see anything wrong in our pre-production artworks or samples or 3D renders—whether it's the details, the painting or the lettering—please get in touch with us as soon as you see it so we can fix it. Sometimes we'll tell you "We designed it that way because of X, Y or Z" but often we'll say "Phew! Thanks—we didn't catch that!"

These models were completely finished. As the factory winds down for Chinese New Year we moved mountains to cut a new painting mask and spray the roofs green without delaying the shipment significantly. But had it been a more complicated rework, we may not have been able to do it. We simply can't afford to remake entire runs of models at such a late stage.

At this stage, it's probably too late to fix anything...

We make dozens of different models per year, and while we try to learn as much as we can about the models we are making, we can't be experts on everything, but we don't mind being corrected. If you see anything wrong in our preliminary designs, please get in touch with us. You can use our new form by clicking here, or you can email [email protected].

See it. Say it. Sorted.

Because we'd like to get your "Um, actually" email before we make the models rather than after production is finished!


Hope everyone stays warm this winter! We wish everyone safe travels to Springfield and see you again in a two short weeks!

Bobby Allard

Rapido Trains Inc.

USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441

Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5

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