Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 38 - ©2012 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

The Canadian Packaging

Dan in a sea of Canadians

The Canadian has arrived.

In this issue of Rapido News:

VIA Rail Canada Exclusive Park Car

VIA Rail Canada Exclusive Park Car

Exclusive Park Car models from VIA Rail Canada

It was only a matter of time before Canada's largest model train manufacturer and Canada's national passenger railway joined forces to bring you a special release.

We are pleased to announce that VIA Rail Canada has commissioned an exclusive, limited-edition run of HO scale Park Cars. Three names are available: Glacier Park, Kokanee Park and Kootenay Park. These exclusive Park Cars are only available directly from VIA Rail Canada, and only 200 of each name are being made.

Within half an hour of announcing the Park Cars on VIA's Facebook page, more than 50 had been sold. They will definitely sell out, most likely before they even arrive in Canada. The retail price is $100.00 per car. Click here to pre-order these cars and ensure you don't miss out.

VIA Rail Canada Exclusive Park Car

Incredible Underbody Detail

The Park Cars are leaving the factory next week and will be shipped in July to VIA's customers who pre-order before they sell out. Each Park Car features:
  • Realistic stainless steel finish
  • Full underbody detail including all piping and conduit
  • Accurate tinted windows with window blinds and interior handrails
  • Operating interior lights, marker lights and illuminated VIA logo drumhead
  • Fully decorated interior
  • "Canada" and Canadian flag decals (printed by Microscale) included to represent models post-1998
In answer to the question that many of you will ask, the underbody details are pre-HEP. If we tooled up all the HEP detailing for this release that would put the retail price at around $500. If any of you perform a conversion of these cars to HEP details, please send us photos as we would love to see it! We'll definitely put those photos up in our online gallery, which can be viewed here.

Park Car Production

Final detailing on the VIA Park Cars at the Rapido factory

Though it is not shown in the above photos, we are even including a (non-operating) light on the roof of the bullet lounge, as VIA added these soon after acquiring the Park Cars in 1978.

This is your chance to get a VIA Park Car for your display shelf or layout a year (or two) before any of our Budd passenger car models are released separately, and it is your only chance to get Glacier Park, Kokanee Park or Kootenay Park. These three famous Park Cars are only being produced for VIA.

Click here to pre-order your Park Car today.

CN train 190

CN Train 190 is assembled in Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Photo by Don Rhone.

Arrival of The Canadian

After years of hard work and weeks wondering whether or not our shipment would end up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, we are pleased to let you know that the first shipment of The Canadian has now arrived in our warehouse. This is set 210001, CP Maroon Block.

In the photo above, kindly captured by Don Rhone, CN train 190 is being assembled in Prince Rupert, British Columbia for departure to Brampton, Ontario. Our container would be somewhere on this train....

CN train 190

The Canadians aboard Train 190 east of Jasper, Alberta
Photo by Jeff Robertson.

...and there it is! That's our container on the top of TTX well car number 680191, photographed in Petley, Alberta by Jeff Robertson. Thanks to Don and Jeff for capturing our container on film. Both Don and Jeff will be getting a free Rapido sleeping car model as a way of saying "thanks!"

On Tuesday morning, the contents of the container were delivered to our warehouse:

Rapido Warehouse

Canadians here, there and everywhere!

The strength of the packaging is evident in that nothing is getting crushed under my considerable girth! The skids in the photo are less than a third of what came in on Tuesday morning. We also (finally) received new lighting kits in HO and N scales as we've been sold out for some time.

For those of you who have ordered The Canadian, rest assured we've done everything we can to protect it in transit. Each train is packed well in a double-wall presentation box, bubble wrap, and a triple-wall corrugated shipping box. We will also be adding extra cardboard as a crumple zone for all models that are shipped to direct customers. But please bear in mind that no packaging can protect fragile products from being deliberately ill treated, such as in this infamous YouTube video: (click on the image to watch it)

Guy Throwing My Computer Monitor

If any parts come loose in transit, the easiest thing would be for you to glue them back on with white glue. However, if the box arrives and there is obviously serious shipping damage (for instance, if the box is crushed), DO NOT OPEN THE BOX. Please contact us immediately so we can figure out how to deal with it. Our phone number is 1-877-738-6445 or you can send us an email through the Contact page of our web site. But it is probably best to call. Outside North America, our number is +1-905-738-6445. Ask to speak to Dan or Jason.

For those of you new to this newsletter, you can read more about The Canadian here. You can also read about how we made The Canadian in volume 37 of our newsletter, available here.

VIA FP9A in Production

VIA (ex-CN) FP9A locomotive shells in the paint shop

Other stuff actually in progress

If you read our February newsletter (available here) you are well aware that The Canadian has basically taken over our factory and delayed ALL of our other releases. It is a huge project and we underestimated how long it would take. However, I'm pleased to let you know that other stuff is being made as well... just slower than we had hoped.

Long Island Osgood Bradleys

Long Island RR Osgood Bradley coach bodies in the tampo shop

Our patient northeastern modellers: your eyes do not deceive you! The Osgood Bradley coaches we were supposed to deliver last fall are finally in production! They will take longer than usual because of the ginormous Canadian project, but they are under way. Hopefully we'll see these start to arrive during the summer. Fingers are crossed!

The funds from The Canadian will help us hire new workers at the factory, so we should be able to get through the production backlog very quickly once the majority of FP9A and Canadian models are done towards the end of this year. Thanks to everyone (especially our N scale customers!) for your incredible patience as we try our best to get stuff out of the factory.

Ottawa Train Expo

Enjoying the Rapido Lounge at the Ottawa Train Expo
Photo courtesy Stephen J. Gardiner

Ottawa Train Expo

Last weekend, Dan, Matt and I headed to Ottawa for the very first Ottawa Train Expo. In the photo above, I am sitting in the Rapido Lounge, recovering from walking the hour from my hotel. That's what you get for not driving on Saturdays...

Ottawa Train Expo

Matt talks with a fellow modeller at the Rapido booth.
Note the interesting use of LRC locomotive number boards as a decorating flourish.
Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

Photo courtesy Stephen J. Gardiner

The show was a great success, with around 5000 people dropping in over the course of the weekend despite the gorgeous weather outside. Eastern Canada hasn't had a large, professional train show like this in well over a decade. It looks like that has finally been rectified.

Next year's show is on 4 and 5 May, and I encourage our fellow manufacturers and retailers in the United States and Canada to sign up. Please click here to contact Ottawa Train Expo and reserve your space for next year. Congratulations to the organizers for a job well done!

Bill Schneider's O&W Layout

Bill Schneider's stunning O&W layout

Visit Bill's layout!

Sometimes it's OK to toot your own horn. Our very own Bill Schneider was recently described by Model Railroader's Tony Koester as "one of the most respected prototype modelers." Bill's New York, Ontario and Western layout is among the best-known home layouts in the United States, and it has been featured in Railroad Model Crastsman and Great Model Railroads 2006. According to Koester, "Bill has captured the essence of the O&W almost perfectly."

Bill Schneider's O&W Layout

Another shot of the O&W. This layout seriously needs more VIA trains...

Next month, you have the chance not only to meet Bill, but to visit his layout as well. Bill will be taking part in the Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet in Collinsville, Connecticut on 1-2 June 2012. Bill will have a display of Rapido models (including The Canadian and the new New Haven Smoker coach) at the meet, he will be hosting a clinic, and he will be inviting meet attendees to come visit his famous O&W layout.

Full information about the meet can be found here, and you can download a registration form here. Bill looks forward to welcoming you all to his O&W. Though not all at once.... For more information on the layout you can visit Bill's web site.

MLW Builder's Plate

Off on another adventure...

New recording adventure...

This is just a heads up that there will be a very interesting entry in the Rapido Blog later next week. We're off on another sound recording adventure deep in darkest Mummerset. Hopefully we won't be beset by phantom tractors or rogue meditation practitioners.

Please visit the Rapido Blog next week to get the lowdown on this new adventure.

Brockville Station

Brockville switching on the Kingston Sub
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.

Sometimes you just need more space.

This fall I will be starting work on my HO scale Kingston Sub. More accurately, it's the Kingston Subdivision, Toronto Union Station and Spadina Yard, on three decks. It's basically a passenger switching layout on the lowest deck (Spadina and Union) with a really long run on the Kingston Sub to East Staging. I plan to be working on this for over 30 years, which comes as quite a shock to most non-modelling friends who come to visit - they envision I just need a Ping-Pong table and I could "set up my trains" on that.

I have spent the last three years working on the plan, and Spadina Yard can be compressed to fit in a 5 by 30 foot space. The trouble is, the upper level of my basement was only 23 feet long. And I still needed room for the west staging yard, not to mention Kingston and Brockville Stations on the upper deck.

Spadina Yard

Spadina Yard, home of the most gorgeous train ever built
Photo courtesy Bill Morrison.

So with permission from the boss (my wife, who is a saint), we smashed through to the garage to make more room for the layout. I had a professional contractor do this using an architect's plans. I don't recommend just smashing down a load-bearing wall without doing your due diligence, as your house will fall down on you and you will be very dead.

There was one flaw in this plan. We neglected to get a permit. And the building inspector came by when we were doing this and said, "What are you doing?" I'm smashing through to my garage so I can fit Spadina Yard, Kingston and Brockville. "You need a permit." Right. How do I get a permit? "Call this number and talk to them." OK. And then he left. No fines. No stop work orders. I guess he appreciated that I was a nut and not causing anyone any harm.

So I went to get a permit. They said I needed a minor variance as I would be getting rid of my garage. So I got a minor variance, and I was the comic relief at the Committee of Adjustment meeting. "We unanimously approve your request to fit Kingston and Brockville in your garage (giggle)." Well that was another hurdle overcome.

So now I have a permit. And the inspector came back, and he wants my contractor to put in more insulation in the exterior walls. That means my 30" aisle by the helix will be squeezed by two inches. I can live with that. The inspector will be coming back for a final look next week. Once he signs off on it I think he wants to join my operating team....

The moral of this story: if you want to build a bigger layout than you have room for, marry a saint.

You'll be hearing more about the Kingston Sub in future newsletters. It's an exciting project, and so far I have completed the crew lounge, which only took me four years and 2500 hours to build. Let's hope the layout moves a little faster... I want to be running trains before I'm in a bib and diapers.

That's it for now. I'll be back in a month or two with delivery updates and info about some of the new tooling we have under way.

Talk to you soon!

All best wishes,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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