Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 46 - ©2013 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

This is the newsletter a lot of modellers (especially out on the Prairies) have been waiting for. We have two brand-new product announcements for you.

In this issue of Rapido News:

Scratchbuilt GMD-1

Bob thinks it might be time to replace his two scratchbuilt GMD-1 models...

HO scale GMD-1 Road Switcher

Rapido Trains Inc. and MLW are delighted to announce the HO scale GMD-1 Locomotive. This unique locomotive was built between 1958 and 1960 by General Motors of London. The GMD-1 is an extended 1200 HP roadswitcher, equally at home on the branchline, on the mainline, and in the yard. The 1000-series GMD-1 features A-1-A trucks to distribute its 120 tons over six axles and allow travel on light rail branches in the Prairies. The 1900-series GMD-1 features 2-axle Flexicoil trucks and a steam generator for passenger mainline and switching duties. We are doing both in the first run.


HO scale GMD-1 - CN (Black, 1961-1995)

Very early pre-production sample!
Many parts not yet installed and many corrections still to come!

Even though the GMD-1 was exclusively built for Canadian National and Northern Alberta Railways, it quickly became a Canadian railway icon with a devoted following. Simply put, there is nothing quite like the GMD-1, and it is still in service today both for CN and for numerous shortlines in the US and Canada. It is even in service in Cuba! It will be available as an undecorated semi-kit if you wish to add one of these unique beasties to your freelanced railroad.


HO scale GMD-1 - CN (Green, 1958-1982)

Very early pre-production sample!
Many parts not yet installed and many corrections still to come!

Note that the offset rad covers are intentional. We're deciding whether or not to keep them that way.

Product Features
  • HO Scale DC or DCC/Sound
  • 5-pole, skew-wound motor with excellent slow-speed performance proven in our FP9A locomotive
  • Accurate dimensions from GMD blueprints and field measurements
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis and interior: the loco weighs almost a pound!
  • 1000-series (6-axle) and 1900-series (4-axle) variations
  • Many extras included - such as large lift rings, straight stacks, sandboxes, early rad covers and cab-mounted horn - so you can choose a specific year for your locomotive.
  • Both walkway- and frame-mounted rerailers are included so you can customize their location to match a specific photo.
  • Full cab interior oriented the correct way (long hood forward for CN, short hood forward for NAR)
  • Up to six road numbers plus unnumbered for each paint scheme
  • First run paint schemes are CN (Green), CN (Black), CN (Black and Red), NAR (Grey and Blue) and Undecorated
  • True GMD-1 sounds recorded from #1118 (formerly #1018) on the Alberta Prairie Railway


HO scale GMD-1 - CN (Black and Red, 1976-2006)

Very early pre-production sample!
Many parts not yet installed and many corrections still to come!

What is MLW?

The GMD-1 Locomotive is being produced for MLW, an investment group with interest in Canadian prototype model railroading. Unlike other exclusive runs we have done in the past, Rapido is handling the distribution of this project. That means the GMD-1 will be available through all regular Rapido dealers as well as directly from us.

What's in a name?

We have original GMD manuals for the GMD-1, as well as original blueprints and original CN equipment diagrams. Consistently across all of our original documentation, this locomotive is referred to as the GMD-1 with a hyphen between D and 1. It is commonly referred to as the GMD1 (no hyphen), which is incorrect. Unlike the FP9A locomotive, which was all over the map in terms of nomenclature, ALL of our primary sources indicate that the correct name for our new locomotive is GMD-1.

Please rewire your brains accordingly, and please protest most strongly to the Bytown Railway Society, publishers of the Canadian Trackside Guide. So far my appeals for them to rid themselves of that awful "GMD1" have fallen on deaf ears. There truly are no greater causes to fight for than to get people to write "GMD-1" correctly.

I think I hear Captain Kirk telling me to get a life...

What about the striped units?

CN rebuilt its GMD-1s into the 1600 series (3-axle trucks) starting in 1988 and into the 1400 series (2-axle trucks) starting in 1989. These were decorated in the gorgeous sergeant stripe scheme and the 1400s are still in use today across Canada. Provided that the 1000s and 1900s are successful, we do intend to tool the 1400 and 1600 variations for release in 2015. If you can't wait that long, the 1400s can easily be made from an 1100-series GMD-1 with the addition of anticlimbers and battery boxes. To that end, we will produce undecorated 1100-series GMD-1 locomotives with our first run. Decorated 1100s will come later.

Despite that explanation, I am willing to wager that I get at least ten emails from people asking "where are the striped units" because they just skimmed over the newsletter and didn't see the above paragraph. I'll write back to them and tell them to read the newsletter again. For those of you reading this for a second time, hi there! Nice to see you again! Relax and have a Flaky.



Prototype photo courtesy Mike Schafer.

Other Useful Information

The MSRP for the GMD-1 Locomotive is $225 (DC) or $325 (DCC and Sound). The absolute latest date you can order your GMD-1 models is 4 October 2013. Production will begin in October, with delivery in 2014. Click here for paint scheme illustrations, road numbers and product numbers.

As is the case with most of our products, these are being made entirely to order. That means if we have advance orders for 1007 pieces, we make 1007 pieces. We don't carry inventory. So please ensure you get your order in before the deadline. Also please note that Rapido does not take deposits for the GMD-1 from its dealers or direct customers.

Full information can be found here. I will be taking improved samples on a Western Canada tour in August, with some select eastern cities in July and September. More info on the tour, as well as additional prototype information, will be coming in the next newsletter.

Dan, Matt and I went in search of the GMD-1 in late 2011 to record the sounds for this Canadian icon. Click here or on the image below to watch the video. But only do so if you have time to spare, as it's 15 minutes long!

An Amazing Alberta Adventure

What about N scale?

I can't say at this time whether or not we'll be bringing out the GMD-1 in N scale. However, I can show you a sneak peak of a new locomotive we're working on right now:

Future GMD-1

Future GMD-1 Variation

(My, that's a big coupler for HO.)

Canadian Gondola

Not one but TWO brand new products in one newsletter!

NEW! HO scale Mill Gondola

This is REALLY not helping to dispel the myth that we only do Canadian prototypes...

Rapido Trains Inc. and MLW are pleased to announce a true Canuck classic, the Ultimate Canadian HO Scale Gondola. This 52'6" mill gon was produced starting in 1943 and continuing through the 1950s for several Canadian railroads, and is the accurate model to replace all those stand-ins you bought in the 1990s!

These cars and others almost identical to them were built in large numbers by National Steel Car (Hamilton) and Eastern Car Company (Trenton). (I would have linked to their web site but they make windmills now!) Our mill gon was used in general service and travelled widely throughout the United States and Canada well past 1990. Many remain in company service today!

For those of you, like Bill, moaning that this is yet another Canadian prototype, you can see these in service in the USA here, here and here. These photos date from as late as 1991.

Canadian Gondola

Check out the proper "Z" bracing!

Our all-new model fully captures the details of the prototype car. Features include delicate Z (Zed/Zee) bracing, with separate wire grab irons, positionable drop ends and ratchet style hand brakes. Full underbody detail is of course included while a die-cast metal floor ensures good weight for trouble-free operation.

The Zed/Zee bracing is an industry first on a gondola model!

Canadian Gondola

Details inside and out - check out the rivets on the bracing!

(Hey Jason - would you check the cut bar before taking a photo next time??? -Dan)

The interior has not been neglected either: it includes full rivet and tie-down details. Three different 70-ton trucks - solid bearing, roller bearing and solid bearing side frames with roller bearing inserts - all are offered as appropriate. Trucks feature turned, free-rolling metal wheels. Our metal Macdonald-Cartier knuckle couplers are fitted standard.

Each scheme will be available in numerous car numbers, with either six or twelve numbers being offered in the first release. MSRP is $44.95. Reserve yours by 4 October 2013 to ensure you don't miss them. Delivery begins early 2014. Full information, including paint schemes and product numbers, can be found here.

Please note that we do accept direct orders for these cars but we only sell direct in case packs of six cars, each with a different road number. Your dealer can sell you individual cars so we advise that you order from your dealer.

Rapido FP9A

Canadian National FP9A

Photo courtesy CMR Line

Production and Delivery Updates

3/4 of our CN Noodle FP9A models are en route from the factory. The remaining road numbers were accidentally injected with the wrong nose details and Bill and I caught this when we were in China last month, so they will be leaving the factory in the next few days. The CNR (ugly green) FP9As and VIA (Grey Ghost) FP9As will be leaving the factory in July, with the remainder leaving in August.

Sorry! I couldn't resist the "ugly green" reference. I'll go stand in the corner now for failing Marketing 101...

Our products are now available in China! Rapido's exclusive distributor in East Asia is CMR Line. If you live in that part of the world and you find yourself craving some great North American models, please contact Ian at CMR Line. Shipping will be considerably cheaper than getting them from over here.

CMR Line

CMR Line SS3 Locomotive

Photo courtesy CMR Line.

Similarly, if you are interested in getting some gorgeous models of Chinese trains, Rapido is distributing CMR Line in North America. Just give me a shout and let me know what you would like to order from CMR Line's web site.

CSX Caboose

CSX "Safety First"

Remember the CP and CSX Wide Vision Cabooses we were supposed to deliver in late 2011? Well, Hallelujah! They are almost ready and will be leaving the factory in the next two weeks. We are completely sold out but I am sure some dealers and distributors still have availability.

CP Graffiti Caboose

CP "graffiti" caboose for Prairie Shadows
(Sorry - you will have to smash the windows yourself!)

Photo courtesy Manny Jacob.

Included in this run of cabooses are two uniquely different graffiti cabooses. The caboose shown above is being produced exclusively for Prairie Shadows. The caboose shown below is being produced exclusively for George's Trains. Please click on the links above to contact Prairie Shadows and George's Trains respectively to place your orders.

CP Graffiti Caboose

CP "graffiti" caboose for George's Trains

Meat Reefer

Our Meat Reefer - nope, still not arrived yet!


That's a good question. Since 2010, we have completely revised our FP9A tooling and delivered several thousand FP9A models both for VIA Rail and CP (in The Canadian). Since 2010, we have tooled up the complete Canadian train set and delivered all seven variations. Since 2010, we have finished the tooling of three N scale cars and an HO gondola. Since 2010, we have delivered thousands of passenger cars, cabooses, locomotives and accessories. But we have not managed to finish the tooling of one simple 37' GARX Meat Reefer. After receiving the latest sample when we were in China, Bill shared his feelings with Dennis, our factory boss...

Rapido factory

Hey Bill! Tell us how you really feel!

(Please note that no factory bosses were injured in the taking of the above photograph.)

If you are detecting frustration here, you are right. Every time we have submitted corrections to the factory for the reefer moulds, the moulds have come back with new problems. And this has gone on for THREE YEARS. After Dennis recovered from being attacked by a hulking white guy from Connecticut, the mould master responsible for this car, Mr. Yu, came to the office. He told us that it will be finished in "two weeks." Bill informed Mr. Yu that he said "two weeks" in DECEMBER 2011!!! When Mr. Yu said, "I'm serious this time" both Dennis and the hulking white guy from Connecticut completely lost it...

Rapido factory

Hey, Mr. Yu - please explain where the EXTRA BATTENS came from?

(Please note that no mould masters were injured in the taking of the above photograph.)

We have since learned that Mr. Yu has left the mould shop and is now raising Mastodons in Madagascar.

In all seriousness, the factory has assured us that ALL of the meat reefers will be delivered by the end of the summer, and because they have finished producing The Canadian it shouldn't be a problem to meet this schedule. We're not holding our breath, and I advise that you don't either. More information on the Meat Reefers can be found here. Three-year-old beef. Mmmmm.....

We're trying our best to keep our you guys up to date on our deliveries. Any time you need to know when something is coming, you can check the Delivery Schedule on our web site.

Upcoming Shows

The Collinsville RPM meet

Upcoming Appearances

This is a busy weekend for the eastern part of North America. We will be appearing at two shows. In lovely New England, Bill will be at the New England RPM Meet in Collinsville, CT. In beautiful Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Dan will be at the Maritime Federation of Model Railroaders convention. There will be samples on display at both shows, along some Rapido door prizes. If you are in the area please come on by! I have family commitments in the Toronto area so I won't be at either of these shows, unfortunately. But Bill and Dan are cute and cuddly and will gladly pose for photos or autograph your caboose.

Cloning Dan

We are looking for Dan's Evil Twin from the Constellation of Kasterborous

New Job Posting at Rapido

Dan, Bill and I are in search of a Dan clone to work full-time at Rapido. The first Dan clone we made got stuck in the 3D printer.

Our potential new employee needs:

  • to be a very experienced model railroader and knowledgeable railfan
  • to have excellent people and customer service skills
  • to be conversant in MS Office products as well as database or business admin software
  • to be able to work full-time as well as numerous weekends for conventions and shows
  • o have excellent oral and written communication skills
  • to have a professional demeanour and appearance
  • to be able to work roughy 9-5 at our office in Markham, Ontario
Basically, you need to be Dan. If you are interested in being Dan, please email us your CV/Resume and cover letter.

Train Wreck

You think that's a headache? I'll show you a headache!

The Continuing Headache of CMT's Insolvency

The following applies to those of you who were affected by CMT's apparent insolvency last year.

Due to a variety of issues which we have been unable to resolve, Rapido is unable to continue to do business with True Line Trains or 2236675 Ontario Limited o/a Hobbycraft Canada.

If you have ordered a Rapido product through True Line Trains that was previously ordered through CMT, please contact us. We sympathize with all of you who have been caught up in the CMT fiasco and we will do all we can to minimize any further inconvenience to you. However, we are caught between a rock and a hard place as we cannot guarantee that we will have available stock to fill all of the CMT orders. We have very limited availability on future Rapido items (with the exception of the LRC) and we are sold out of everything that has already been delivered. We will do our best.

There are two things to bear in mind:

1. Apart from The Canadian, we have not taken any deposits from any of our dealers for standard Rapido products.

2. We have no way of knowing exactly how many orders CMT took for future Rapido products.

If you are affected by this, please email us and attach any documentation that you can. As we expect to be inundated with emails, note that it may take a few days to get back to you. We will respond to emails in the order that they are received and as quickly as possible, and we will do our absolute best to get you the products you ordered. Also please note that we can only respond to CMT-related emails during business hours as we need to have access to our accounting database. Emails are preferable to phone calls for your initial contact as that way we both have a record of the date and time of the correspondence.

Please ensure that you put "CMT" in the email subject line.

Train Party

Pin the Caboose on the Train!

Kids and Trains (again!)

Two model railroader dad dreams came true recently. Firstly, my daughter, Dalya, asked for a "train birthday party" for her 6th birthday earlier this month. She wanted everything to be about trains. In the photo above, helper Adina Saban is directing one of the kiddies to try and pin the CP caboose onto the CP freight train! This was a very easy activity to do - the poster cost less than $10 to print at Staples and I printed the caboose using an inkjet printer.

Train Party

Decorating their own VIA t-shirts!

Sidura baked a 9x12 cake which I cut into a close approximation of a VIA logo, and we took the kids on a "train ride" in the basement. But the girls' favourite part was decorating their VIA shirts! You can order these "Kids Luv 2 Colour" VIA shirts from VIA's souvenir shop here. They are a great activity for a birthday party, a road trip or a rainy day. For the last few minutes we showed them The Big Train Trip, which is a wonderful video all about riding The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver. This can also be ordered from VIA by clicking here.

Boaz's layout

Preparing CN Turbo #1 for Departure!

The other model railroader dad dream to come true was that my son asked if we could build a layout in his room. We spent several days here and there over the last few months working on his layout, and we finally finished it last week. It's a shelf layout designed for him to set up his Bachmann E-Z Track on top, and he is having a lot of fun operating it with his 100% reliable NCE Power Cab (highly recommended).

Boaz's layout

The Turbo crosses the aluminum box channel bridge (while Dalya jumps on the bed!)

The last piece of the puzzle was to install the removable bridge spanning Boaz's bed, which is made from aluminum box channel and plywood and was very easy to do. Building the layout with Boaz taught me a lot about model railroading in practice rather than from the armchair, and changed a lot of my perceptions. You can read all about the layout, how it was constructed, and how it changed my perspective on model railroading in my recent Rapido Blog entry, here.

I'm very fortunate that trains are my job, so my kids are exposed to trains and the hobby of model railroading all the time. I have said many times before that I don't think we should worry too much about getting kids into the hobby. There is a reason why campaigns to get people into model railroading focus on nostalgia - our hobby's largest demographic has always been guys in their 50s and 60s.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the most important thing is to expose kids to trains and train travel. We have family in Winnipeg and whenever we go for more than a couple of days we take the train. This summer, Boaz and Dalya will be riding The Canadian for the 9th and 8th times, respectively (not bad for two kids 8 and under!). By using VIA Preference points, it is cheaper to take a sleeper to Winnipeg than it is to fly. Amtrak has Guest Rewards which is also a very generous reward program. If there are no intercity trains where you live, get them onto the commuter trains. If there are no trains at all where you live, make it a part of your vacation plans.

Last time I posted a blog encouraging people to take the train, it really offended some people. I have never understood model railroaders who never ride the train, but model railroaders who get pissed off when you try to encourage them to take the train are from another planet as far as I am concerned. Go collect ladybugs or take up underwater basket weaving instead. The old expression "use it or lose it" applies to rail service more than just about anything else.

All aboard VIA

Riding the LRC to London!

Earlier this month VIA announced another crazy seat sale so I booked the kids and me on a trip to London on Mother's Day, thus giving Sidura a break. It was a wonderful afternoon out and the kids had a blast, even though Daddy was very, very tired afterwards! Isaac didn't stop wandering up and down the aisles and making friends with all the pretty girls - I wish I had known to have a baby with me when I was trying to pick up girls 20 years ago! To that grumpy middle-aged lady in 6B, sorry about your iPod, eh?

If we want to keep model railroading strong in the long term, the only answer is to ensure your kids and grandkids get to ride trains like you did. In my case, my kids ride the train a LOT MORE than I did. I only got to ride VIA and GO a couple of times a year and my first trip on a sleeper wasn't until I was 18. They've got a full-size train in their basement. 'Nuff said.

Thanks to all of you for continuing to read these newsletters and for your support of Rapido. We quite literally wouldn't exist without you. As you can see, now that The Canadian has been delivered the new product announcements are coming fast and furious. Next month we'll be relaunching our new N scale passenger cars and launching a completely new product good for all eras.

There are lots of great things on the horizon from Rapido and we hope to have you along for the ride!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

P.S. have a look at the decals I just got put on my car. Yes, I'm obsessed!

Ford Flex

The latest loco in VIA's fleet!

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