Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 47 - ©2013 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

Lots of stuff to get through this issue, so let's jump right in. We've got track!

In this issue of Rapido News:

Rapido flex track

It's track, right? And it bends, right?
Hence the name... Bendy Track!

HO scale Bendy Track

I am delighted to introduce the fourth new product announcement in three months! After mulling this over since 2008, Rapido is finally getting into the HO scale track market. Introducing... Bendy Track!

Why track? Simply put, a lot of modellers have been looking for affordable HO scale track that is highly detailed and, more importantly, available when you need it! Our first shipment of Bendy Track arrives in late September and we'll be receiving a new shipment of track every month.


Our code 83 Bendy Track in service

The photo above shows a section of our Code 83 Bendy Track installed on a diorama that I built this week. This is the first scenery I've worked on since Dan and I built Rapido's display layout back in 2006.

Apparently seven years is enough time to completely forget everything you ever learned in model railroading. After spreading the ballast, I gave it a nice dusting of grimy black paint. Then I wanted to add some rust to the tie plates. So I loaded rust in my airbrush and sprayed away, creating a huge swath of bright orange ballast and ground cover suitable only for the far reaches of Prince Edward Island! Potato, anyone? That took about two hours to fix. And you know what? I am sure I made the same mistake in 2006.

As you can see, our track features fine spike detail, with four spikes per tie and the spikes offset from each other just like many prototypes. It's not too clunky like some commercial track, and it's not too fine like others so your rails won't pull up out of the spikes. The wood grain is subtle rather than overdone. So often the woodgrain on commercial track is so pronounced it looks like it belongs on the walls of a 1970s basement (complete with shag carpet!) and not on HO scale ties.

Most importantly, it bends easily and then gently springs back - remember, it's Bendy! - and it doesn't kink like some commercial track. On the other hand, it doesn't have so much torsional strength that it will overpower your caulk or pins that are holding it down. If you use acrylic caulk to glue down your track, you will only need a couple of pins (if any) to keep the whole piece in place while the caulk is drying. If you use nails, the ties are half-drilled from below every few inches so you can easily poke through to create nail holes.

That was three whole paragraphs without a link to our Bendy Track web page. So here's another: Bendy Track!. And another: Bendy Track!


Close up view of our Bendy Track

After ballasting just this 15"-long section, I have come to the realization that ballasting my basement empire will probably take me until the year 2070. By that time, if I am still alive the "wet water" will be provided by the drool in my bib at the nursing home. Hopefully before then I will either learn some magic ballasting tricks or have my consciousness transferred into an android body so as to be able to ballast track at faster-than-human speeds.

HO scale track close-up

Code 83 Bendy Track before installation

Here's how the track looks without ballast and painting. It is incredibly difficult to photograph dark track on a white background but hopefully it is clear enough to convince you to buy eight truckloads of track for your four-foot module.

Did I mention we include rail joiners?

Here's a rundown of the features:
  • HO scale Bendy Track - three-foot long nickel-silver flexible track
  • Code 83 and Code 100 available
  • Each three-foot piece includes four rail joiners.
  • Bends easily without kinking - remember, it's Bendy!
  • Fine spike detail but not so fine that they break
  • MSRP: $7.50/yard (Code 83) including rail joiners; $7.75/yard (Code 100) including rail joiners
  • Product numbers: 83 for Code 83 and 100 for Code 100. Simple, right?
  • It's just three-foot lengths for now. We'll see about switches and crossings later.
  • Bendy Track is compatible with all major brands of switches and crossings.

HO scale track

Another photo of that bit of Bendy Track

Our first shipment of Bendy Track arrives in the fall. To ensure your track arrives on that first shipment, please order your first batch of track by Friday 19 July. But there is no hard deadline - we'll be getting track shipments every month. We don't sell Bendy Track direct to the public - please order from your dealer.

Here's some info for dealers. Bendy Track comes packaged in cartons of 25 pieces, and each carton is subdivided into five boxes of five. You can sell Bendy Track by the piece, by the box, or by the carton. See your distributor for details. (In Canada, that would be Dan and me. In the States, we are carried by five major distributors.)

If you haven't clicked on one of the million Bendy Track links above (now that's a million and one), more information about Bendy Track (million and two) can be found on our web site, here (million and three).

If it doesn't say Bendy Track on the box, it's probably not Bendy Track!

(And if it says "Brewed with Real Tea Leaves" on the box, then you are probably in the wrong store.)

Super Continental Line

HO scale Coaches - Order Deadline Approaching!

The order deadline for our new run of enhanced Super Continental Line HO scale coaches is the end of this month. Please order from your dealer or directly from us by Friday 28 June.

12 reasons why our passenger cars are miles ahead of the competition!

In the three photos below I highlight just a few of the features that illustrate why our Super Continental Line passenger cars have become so popular over the last few years.

HO Scale Coach End

Super Continental Line Coach End Detail

  1. Working, multi-colour diaphragms with separate support rods
  2. Etched-metal end gates
  3. Painted end doors with car number printed on
  4. Steam and air connectors

HO Scale Coach Underbody

Super Continental Line Coach Underbody Detail

  1. Many separate pipes and conduits
  2. Every underbody component big and small
  3. Super-detailed trucks, detailed on all four sides

HO Scale Coach Side

Super Continental Line Coach Overall Detail

  1. Obsessed with realism, even on the underbody parts - that's a "see-through" AC compressor!
  2. Gorgeous multi-colour interior including faucets that don't actually work
    (Sorry about that! If you wish to cancel your order as a result I fully understand.)
  3. No decals needed - many different car numbers available
  4. Window blinds at random heights for each car number
  5. "Easy-Peasy" interior lighting included
What you can't see in the photos above is the re-enforced interior construction that ensures a dead-straight appearance. The new run of paint schemes includes:
Full information about our Super Continental Line coaches can be found here. You can order from your local dealer or directly from our web site. Please remember to place your order before the end of this month!

GMD-1 1166

A sample image from my GMD-1 Master Class

HO scale GMD-1 Locomotive Master Class

Over the last 18 months working on the GMD-1 I have learned a lot about the different variations from unit to unit and from year to year, and what's the point of knowledge if it isn't shared? I have put together a GMD-1 Master Class which includes:
  • GMD-1 Locomotive Variations
  • The Rebuild Programs
  • Spotting Differences
  • Fun and Interesting Trivia!
  • Gorgeous GMD-1 Photos by Mark Perry
But don't just trust me - trust the word of several GMD-1 experts (including four mainline CN locomotive engineers) who have helped me with their valuable input and suggestions. These guys have vetted and added to the content of the Master Class. But nobody is perfect! If you find any mistakes in the Master Class, please email me and I'll update it.

GMD-1 pre-production sample

An early sample of our forthcoming HO scale GMD-1 model

After reading the Master Class, you will feel that you probably know too much about the GMD-1... It is illustrated by 32 photos, many of which have never appeared online before. You can read the Master Class by clicking here.

Full information about our forthcoming HO scale GMD-1 model can be found here.

GMD-1 1914

GMD-1 1914 with an annoying extra stanchion!
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection

GMD-1 Number Change

When I was choosing the numbers for the GMD-1 locomotive (on the plane back from China last month!) I was focusing on what locomotive had what details in which paint scheme. For instance, all of the 1000s that we chose in the red and black scheme had a ladder behind the cab rather than a set of three grab irons. (Don't worry - we include the three grab irons with the unnumbered model!)

For the 1900s in that scheme, I looked at which units kept their short hood steam generator stacks the longest. What I completely forgot about was the fact that 1913-1917 have an extra stanchion beside the short hood. They also don't have the spacer blocks behind the stanchions on the long hood. When reviewing Bill's painting diagrams the other day, I had an "Oh, Crap!" moment. That's because I chose 1913 as our locomotive in the black and red scheme.

So I've decided to change the locomotive number on the model. I know it's a hassle for our dealers and I apologize, but here's an opportunity for greater accuracy.

Rapido product numbers 10023 and 10523 (CN black and red) will now be lettered for locomotive number 1906.

If you were really set on having #1913, you can order our unnumbered 1900-series GMD-1 (product number 10024/10524). It comes with decals for all of the locomotive numbers.

Northern Alberta Railways width=

"One of each" NAR locomotive style accelerates near Edmonton.
Photo courtesy Mike Schafer

Sometimes it's necessary to make an "executive decision" that may not be 100% prototypically accurate. When choosing the numbers for our Northern Alberta GMD-1 locos, I chose two original NAR units and two ex-CN units. There are numerous differences between them (thanks to Richard Yaremko for reminding us), most notably the stripes on the pilot, the CN-style spark arrestors, and the different typeface on the long hood.

What I forgot when choosing the numbers was that the two ex-CN units were from GR-12z, the last GMD-1 order for CN. The stacks in this order are a few inches closer together than on the rest of the GMD-1 fleet. So our models of locos 311 and 312 will have stacks a tad far apart.

But you know what? I think the coolness factor of having two different styles of GMD-1 for NAR modellers outweighs the issue of the stacks. You rarely saw a GMD-1 consist on the NAR that didn't have one of the ex-CN units, so I've decided to keep our original numbers even though the stacks are a bit too far apart on our model. I hope you guys agree.

Here's that GMD-1 model link again: GMD-1 Product Info.

GMD-1 Tour

The "Wild About the West" GMD-1 Tour Poster
Click on the image above to download a printable PDF version.

The "Wild About the West" GMD-1 Tour

I must be a glutton for punishment. In 2011, I crossed Canada (by train, of course!) touring hobby shops with an early sample of The Canadian. (You can read about that tour here. Use the calendar links in the top corner to navigate through the entries.)

Now I'm about to do it all over again, though at least this time I'm sticking to only one half of the country!

For those of you out west, I hope you will be able to join me on the "Wild About the West" GMD-1 Tour. If you can't make it, I will be regularly updating Rapido's blog with stories of my travels. Just like last time, I'll be taking the train for most of the journey, criss-crossing the Prairies on board The Canadian three times!

I'm not just bringing the GMD-1 locomotive samples on the tour. I'll also have HO scale Ultimate Canadian Gondola samples, Bendy Track samples, new N scale passenger car samples, HO scale F9B locomotive samples, and hopefully new HO scale Lightweight Coach and LRC locomotive samples.

Click here for full tour details including presentation times. I will also be making a limited number of stops in Ontario and Quebec in September and October. Stay tuned to Rapido News for information on those dates!

I look forward to seeing all of you that I met back in 2011, as well as some new faces in Saskatchewan and the BC interior. I'll be sure to buy a Stetson on the trip (my size is 7 3/4 if anyone wants to donate one!) Do they make Stetsons with a huge VIA-CN logo? :-)

The Canadian

The Canadian on our old office layout

A Great Review in Model Railroader!

It's nice to see Rapido get some recognition in the mainstream hobby press, and the August issue of Model Railroader features a fabulous review of The Canadian.

You can read the review online here and subscribers to MR can watch senior editor Dana Kawala put the train through its paces on the Milwaukee, Racine and Troy layout here. Dana mentions that we've announced a second run - he's referring to the release of the cars and locomotives from The Canadian as separate items. The first release will be announced very soon right here in Rapido News, and will include other paint schemes in addition to CPR.

I still look forward to reading the stack of train magazines that arrives every month. While I enjoy digital magazines, nothing will ever replace the simple pleasure of perusing a palpable paper magazine while parked on the throne. Click here to subscribe to Model Railroader.

Rapido Warehouse

Our very small warehouse after receiving the latest FP9A shipment

Production and Delivery Updates

It's nice to see all these shipments arriving from our factory! The latest to arrive is about two thirds of the HO scale CN (noodle) FP9A locomotive production - specifically 6508, 6509, 6536, 6539, and unnumbered (48" fans).

As I mentioned in Rapido News Volume 46, we are handling the direct orders that customers had placed with now-defunct CMT for Rapido products. If you have ordered any of the locomotives that just arrived from CMT and you have not yet contacted us, you only have until 12 July 2013 to do so.

CP Caboose

Our CP Angus Van - this is a photo from our first run but the second run is almost identical.

En route from China and arriving on or around 15 July is the CP Angus Van in HO scale. As usual, we are sold out of these. Please check with your dealer. In production right now are the GARX Meat Reefer and the rest of the FP9A locomotives.

Niagara Falls

Not what I had planned for the Kingston Sub - it's too far south!

A flood. In the basement.

Yes, you read that correctly. I had every model railroader's worst nightmare - a flood in my layout room. When Sidura turned on the valve to outside for the first time since the winter there was a "rushing water" sound but not much coming out of the hose outside. She called to ask me what was going on and I shouted, "turn off the water!!!!" Sure enough, the reason that it wasn't coming out of the hose was that it was pouring into the layout room ceiling.

I called a neighbour to go give Sidura a hand (thanks, Ron!) and I rushed home to find water streaming down the layout room walls and pouring out of the light fixtures: you know, the light fixtures my friends and I had just installed FOUR DAYS PRIOR. I poked more holes in the ceiling and positioned buckets to catch the water pouring out. Whoever installed the hose bib outside did not caulk it at all, so this year's deep freeze caused the pipe to split at the elbow in the layout room ceiling.

I have never made a home insurance claim before, and I must say I was impressed. My insurance company is The Guarantee Company of North America, and within 45 minutes of my phone call the adjuster and a contractor were in my layout room. The next morning the ceiling was cut open and the dryers and dehumidifiers set up. Within two weeks, the layout room was back to the way it was before the flood (and I'm out the $1000 deductible). They even reinstalled the three light fixtures that we had put up and probably did a better job of it!

Niagara Falls

The layout room today, post-flood.

I learned some lessons here for those of you similarly planning or starting layout construction in a basement or other "low-lying" area.
  • Before drywalling (or otherwise covering) your layout room ceiling, have a reliable plumber (with good references) inspect your ceiling and relocate/replace any problematic pipes. If possible and not too expensive, relocate all pipes that are in the layout room ceiling. Our insurance people redirected the pipe in question so that it now goes straight out to the back yard from the kitchen, thereby avoiding the layout room entirely and having no hidden sections.
  • Ensure there is good drainage in your layout room just in case a flood happens. If you are planning to put carpet down, make sure the drain is not carpeted over.
  • Do not leave anything "ruinable" directly on the floor. Thankfully, all of my track and papers were in plastic covered bins so none of my VIA documents were ruined and I didn't have to extricate $90 double-slip switches from cardboard mush. Make good use of plastic/rubber bins and shelves to keep the "ruinable" stuff safe.
  • Ensure you have at least three large garbage bins (or extra large storage bins) that are water tight. If you do have a flood, you will need these to catch the water.
I am actually very lucky. I've just started benchwork construction so I wasn't faced with the prospect of water damage to a scenicked and wired layout. And my layout room walls are plywood. They dried out completely within a couple of days. And because I have a crawl space under my layout room, most of the water travelled right past the layout room floor and headed to the crawl space. It flowed straight to the drain, missing all of my stored model trains by about three feet. It could have been a lot worse, though I seem to have a penchant for floods lately. My car is at the dealership for the second time in a week because of the three gallons of water that tends to collect in the rear passenger footwell every time it rains.

If you are building an around-the-walls layout, you might want to consider using plywood on the walls instead of drywall. You can mount your shelf brackets (and anything else) anywhere you want and you don't have to worry about wall plugs or stud locations. I'll be writing more about my layout construction on my basement's web site, KingstonSub.com, when we hire someone new at Rapido and I finally have a few minutes to update it. Right now Dan, Bill and I are too swamped to be doing much apart from work!

That's another issue of Rapido News in the bag. As always, please feel free to get in touch at any time! Though bear in mind it may take me a few days to get back to you - my email inbox is overflowing and has now made a terrific mess on my office walls and floor. Darn floods again. Can't seem to shake 'em.

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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