Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 48 - ©2013 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,


Rapido News Volume 48.

In this issue:

Eating N scale

Passenger cars you can really sink your teeth into...

N Scale Passenger Car Relunch!

Relaunch. I meant relaunch.

Browsing the recent announcements from the National Train Show, our new guy (an N scale modeller, see below) noted the (usual) lack of new N scale passenger cars. So we're pleased to address that imbalance with the proper launch of our new N scale Panorama Line passenger cars: the 10-5 Sleeper and the Cafe-Bar-Lounge.

We had originally announced these (quietly, with no paid advertising) a couple of years ago, but then we had to put the project on hold because the factory did not have the capacity to make them. (That pesky HO scale Canadian reared its ugly head again!)

Now, I am delighted to let you know that the tooling is in the final polishing stage and we will be starting production in the fall! You'll soon be seeing ads for these cars in N Scale Railroading and N Scale Magazine, among other publications.

Erie Lackawanna 10-5 Sleeper

Erie-Lackawanna "Youngstown" 10-5 Sleeper
Pre-production sample shown.

N Scale 10-5 Sleeper

The folks over at Pullman-Standard had a bright idea!!! Passengers in double bedrooms pay a higher fare than roomette passengers, so why don't we put the bedrooms in the middle of the car so that those passengers get the smoothest ride? And thus the Rapido Trains Inc. 10-5 Sleeper was born, thanks to the bright ideas at Pullman!

The 10-5 Sleeper is Pullman plan number 4186, a CN and Erie / Erie-Lackawanna prototype. 10-5 sleepers were ubiquitous throughout North America (almost as much as the 10-6), and our car is painted in a variety of paint schemes. The 10-5 Sleeper is available with partial skirting or with fixed steps and 41-BNO-11 or 41-N-11 trucks as appropriate.

Great Northern Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Cafe-Bar-Lounge decorated for Great Northern
Pre-production sample shown.

N Scale Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Our Cafe-Bar-Lounge is similar to cars bought or rebuilt by most railroads to serve those customers who got the Munchies but weren't in the mood for a fancy-schmancy meal in the dining car. Your passengers will enjoy this model's contoured seats and its detailed take-out counter with individual display shelves for sandwiches, pizzas, and anything else your commissary cares to whip up.

The Cafe-Bar-Lounge has many of the same features as our Lightweight Coach, as it was rebuilt from a coach. It is painted in a variety of paint schemes, and all cars feature full underbody detailing including steam, air and electrical lines. It is available with partial skirting or with fixed steps, as appropriate.

Cafe-Bar-Lounge Interior Detail

Cafe-Bar-Lounge interior detail
Pre-production sample shown.

Product Features
  • Super-detailed underbody
  • Body-mounted Micro-Trains couplers
  • Fixed steps or partial skirts, as appropriate
  • All air, steam and electrical lines represented
  • Insulated 36" metal wheelsets (no pizza cutters!)
  • "Easy-Peasy" battery-powered interior lighting
  • Flush windows with painted gaskets and shades
  • Full interior detail and not just a blob of beige plastic
  • Diaphragms with etched brass end gates
  • Painted metal roof grab irons applied at the factory
  • Multiple car names and/or numbers per paint scheme
  • Will operate smoothly on curves down to 11" radius
    (or 9 3/4" radius if you add longer couplers (not included))
  • Super-detailed 41-N-11 Inside Swinghanger or 41-BNO-11 Outside Swinghanger trucks as appropriate for each roadname and car type

Cafe-Bar-Lounge Underbody Detail

I think I can safely say our underbody detail is the best in the entire industry.
That's what happens when the guy who owns the company is obsessed with Genemotors.

The MSRP is $54.95 and the order deadline is 15 November 2013. Delivery begins early 2014. You can order from your favourite hobby retailer or direct from us (minimum for direct orders is two cars). More information about the Panorama Line can be found here.

Click on any paint scheme below for complete car number/name and product number info. Note that the Erie and Erie-Lackawanna Cafe-Bar-Lounge car numbers have changed since our original announcement.

Amtrak N scale

Amtrak Phase 1

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

B&O N scale

Baltimore & Ohio

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

CNR N scale

Canadian National (1954 Scheme)

Click here for Bay-Series Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

CN N scale

Canadian National (Wet Noodle)

Click here for Bay-Series Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Erie N scale


Click here for Youngstown-Series Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Erie-Lackawanna N scale


Click here for Youngstown-Series Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Great Northern N scale

Great Northern

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Milwaukee Road N scale

Milwaukee Road (1950 Scheme)

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Missouri Pacific N scale

Missouri Pacific

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

New York Central N scale

New York Central

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Northern Pacific N scale

Northern Pacific

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Southern Pacific N scale

Southern Pacific

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

VIA Rail Canada N scale

VIA Rail Canada

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.


Undecorated (with or without skirts)

Click here for 10-5 Sleeper
Click here for Cafe-Bar-Lounge

Pre-production sample shown.

Please remember to get your order in by November 15th! We have more paint schemes to do in the next run, which we'll announce shortly after we deliver the first run. Again, more information about the Panorama Line can be found here.

Testing Bendy Track

Dan and I are (optimistically) about to test Rapido Bendy Track. It didn't go well.

Bendy Track Product Test #33A

We believe in rigorous product testing here at Rapido Trains Inc. Some of you might remember when we threw the FP9A Locomotive and later The Canadian off the balcony at our old office. (If you don't remember those videos, you can watch them here and here.)

Well we thought it only appropriate that, if we are going to enter the track market, we should do some proper testing... like whether or not our new HO Scale Bendy Track will withstand the weight of a locomotive.

Well, after a long and arduous day of testing we just couldn't get it to work. Our track simply won't withstand the weight of a locomotive. In fact, if I had to summarize the test results in one phrase I would have to opt for "complete failure." You can watch test #33A by clicking here or on the picture below.

Bendy Track Product Test #33A

We're still on track (ouch) to deliver the first shipment of Bendy Track at the end of September. Please get your initial orders in by the end of this month to ensure your track is on that first shipment. We plan to always have Bendy Track in stock or en route from the factory.

One improvement we're making to the track is the tie plate detail and tie spacing. I've asked the factory to recut the front of the mould to look more like North American 132LB track, which means the ties spaced out a touch and the tie plates with four holes on each side of the rail (one of them filled with a spike). The factory informs me that the recutting will be done by the end of this month and then we'll make the first batch.

Full information about Bendy Track can be found here.

GMD-1 Wild About The West

Come join me on tour!

Western (and Central) Canada Tour Updated Dates & Times

My train departs in just a few days - I will be with Boaz and Dalya in Compartment F of a Manor Sleeper on board The Canadian. What a way to travel! Ride it while you can: there are more cuts coming to VIA in the fall and who knows if The Canadian will survive? VIA's Express Deals currently show several discounted sleeper spots available. The kids will be getting off in Winnipeg and I will continue to Alberta.

If you aren't a GMD-1 kind of guy, no worries! There will be plenty for you to see on the tour:

We're hoping to have new LRC locomotive samples by the time I hit Ontario and Quebec in September (see below), but it's a long shot. The moulds are in pieces on the factory floor being completely revamped.

GMD-1 Samples

Making samples of the GMD-1 at our factory in China
They're not perfect yet, but they are STILL SO AWESOME.

I've finalized the dates and times for my western Canada tour, and there have been a couple of changes since my original announcement.

The presentation at On Track Hobbies has been cancelled, and I have added a second Edmonton presentation. If you can't make it to Hobby Wholesale, please join me at the Edmonton Model Railroad Association in Fort Edmonton Park on Friday 2 August between 15:30 and 17:00. If you want to avoid paying admission to the park, please RSVP to Duncan Hilchie: dhilchie (at) gmail.com - copy and paste his address into your mail program and replace the (at) with an @.

GMD-1 Mildly Amused about Ontario and Quebec

Come join me in Ontario and Quebec!

The guys in central Canada have been complaining about all this attention I've been giving to the western provinces and they have threatened to secede. In the interests of national unity I've decided to bring the samples to the east as well. Here are the confirmed tour dates for Ontario and Quebec:
  • Mon. 9 September - Ottawa, ON: Hobby House - 17:00-19:00
  • Tues. 10 September - Ste-Foy, QC: SMFQ - 18:00-20:00
  • Wed. 11 September - Laval, QC: Van Horne Hobby - 18:00-20:00
  • Thurs. 12 September - Dorval, QC: Hobby Junction Express - 17:00-18:00
  • Thurs. 12 September - Dorval, QC: West Island Modular Railroad Club - 20:00-22:00
  • Sat. 15 September - Mississauga, ON: Credit Valley Railway - 13:00-16:00
  • Tues. 1 October - London, ON: Broughdale Hobby - 17:00-19:00
  • Thurs. 3 October - Markham, ON: George's Trains - 17:00-19:00
Because of the Jewish holiday schedule this year I can't make it to the Maritimes. I hope some of you down east might consider a road trip to Quebec or Montreal for the presentations there.

I look forward to seeing many of you again and to meeting some new faces. It should be fun! Please tune into our blog and our Facebook page throughout the month of August as I will be sharing updates with tales of the GMD-1's travels through prairies and mountains!

For the three American customers still reading this "Canadian tour" section, please note that when we produce the American locomotive that is currently in the design stages I plan to do a cross-America tour like this one... That will be amazing. I love Amtrak!

GMD-1 chassis

Where are the 33" wheels? GMD-1 chassis being assembled in China

GMD-1 Chassis Available Separately

Due to popular demand, we have decided to make the GMD-1 chassis available separately for those of you who want to repower your old kits and your scratchbuilt or brass models.

Each chassis comes fully powered and includes all lighting. The DC chassis is $125 and the DCC/sound chassis is $225. Product numbers can be found here.

If you haven't taken a look at the GMD-1 Master Class yet, it's worth having a gander. You can find that here. Full information about our forthcoming HO scale GMD-1 model can be found here.

Mike McGrattan

Rapido's new guy: Mike McGrattan

Meet Rapido's New Guy!

Dan, Bill and I are delighted to introduce you to Rapido's new full-time employee, Mike McGrattan.

Mike - who is almost as old as Bill but not quite (sorry Bill) - is a well-known N scale modeller from Peterborough, Ontario. His N scale Puddington Valley layout is a fictional Canadian Pacific subdivision set in the BC interior in 1973 and has been featured in N Scale Magazine and Canadian Railway Modeller.

Mike has been in N scale for almost 30 years. He tells me that he looks forward to educating Dan, Bill and me about the smaller things in life. Evidently he is not aware of the T scale Turbo running inside the arm of my desk chair.

Mike will be assisting Dan with customer service, so please feel free to call our office and yell at Mike when your grab irons have been put on crooked. He is currently sitting beside Dan's desk with his OptiVISOR on and pliers in his hand, just waiting to straighten your grab iron.

We welcome Mike to the team and we suspect that after three months working here he will be calling the men in white coats to take the rest of us away.

Seriously, though. You might find that an email you send to me gets replied to by Mike. One of his jobs will be to ease my workload so I can focus more on product development and production supervision. With the 100-odd work-related emails I get a day I am having trouble responding to them in a timely manner.

Philip Bulman

Nope. Probably not seen this before.

Rapido Caboose Travels for a Good Cause

Occasionally someone does something really different with one of our products, and we feel we have to share it with you. Philip Bulman - who is actually an N scale modeller - recently completed the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. In appreciation of Rapido's donation to his ride, he strapped an HO scale CP caboose to his bike!

You can read the full story on our blog, here.

CP Caboose

CP Cabooses have invaded our warehouse!

Speaking of CP Cabooses, they have arrived in our warehouse and are being shipped out to customers this week! Check out our new freight packaging, which I designed over Bill's (very vocal) objections. I can't see any preference for a specific railroad here, can you? If you think it's bad on a CP caboose, imagine how it will look on a 1950s Swift Reefer!

If you have not yet ordered your caboose, we actually have a handful of extras available. So contact your dealer today! More info can be found here.

Rapido Warehouse

Artist's Colony (Gardens) by Kim Adams, with nerd-o-Jason in the background
(Notice the Starfleet communicator on my shirt? Yep, El Biggo Nerdo. That's me.)

Full Circle: Rapido at the Art Gallery of Ontario

I often get asked, "How do you get into model railroad manufacturing?" I generally reply, "You spend 10 years studying art and art history."

Next year is Rapido's official 10th anniversary (I incorporated the company on 8 November 2004) and I've been doing this full time since September 2005. But that wasn't my original life plan. I actually have an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts (drawing and installation) and a Masters of Art History from York University in Toronto. You'll notice I don't usually advertise these credentials - they aren't really needed to crawl underneath passenger cars.

Art in Transit

My 1996 university installation art project in Toronto's King subway station.
Yes, those are images of VIA trains. What did you expect?

In fact, when I started Rapido as a side project in 2003, I was in England doing a PhD in art history at the University of Birmingham. Needless to say, I never finished; when we released our first ready-to-run passenger cars in 2006 I sent a sleeping car to my supervisor with a note that said, "Here's my thesis."

Some signs that I was barking up the wrong tree were present for others to see, even if I couldn't. Sidura and I got married the summer after I finished my Masters degree. We were sitting in my future in-laws' back yard in Winnipeg and a friend asked me, "So what are you going to do for a living?" I told her, "What I'm going to do is probably go to England to get a PhD in art history and become a professor. What I want to do is build model trains all day."

Avoncroft TARDIS

What do I remember from the UK? Trains and Doctor Who.
That's a thinner, younger me in the TARDIS at Avoncroft.

I sometimes regret all that time spent barking up the art history tree. I'll turn to Sidura and say, "Imagine what I could have accomplished had we never gone to England and I just started Rapido right away?"

Sidura, who is my Rock of Gibraltar, will invariably point out to me how nothing we do is a waste. Apart from all the life-long friends we made, the solid foundation to our marriage, and the experience of living in a different country and culture, our time in the UK was the kick in the pants I needed to figure out what I wanted to do for a living and to realize how miserable I would be if I didn't take that plunge. This despite the fact that I never finished the PhD and we're still paying off the student loan to this day... (Did I mention she's also a saint?)

I love being a model train manufacturer, but it isn't a walk in the park. With the endless headaches and enormous capital costs you would either have to be a lunatic or delusional (or both) to choose to be a model train manufacturer if you didn't love model trains.

You have to listen to the signals that your heart is sending you. If you are on a career path or stuck in a job that is not giving you fulfillment, you need to look at all of your options and maybe consider taking a riskier path that will lead to long-term fulfilment. These days the likelihood of staying in one career for your whole life is pretty slim, so why not think about pursuing what you really want to do?

Kim Adams

Who thought we'd ever see a VIA Steam Generator Unit at the Art Gallery of Ontario???
There should be a permanent, full-size one in the gallery atrium. There's room. Any takers?

All that being said, you can imagine how I felt - having spent ten years studying art - to walk into the Art Gallery of Ontario and see my work on display. Yes - those are Rapido passenger cars, a steam generator and an FP9A locomotive in Kim Adams's new work! This is an incredible honour, and I feel that my career path has come full circle. I am doing what I love but my work still gets into the Art Gallery of Ontario! How cool is that?

You can see a lot more (better) photos of Kim's work at the AGO here, and none of them include me gaping in the background. My good friend, John Longhurst, wrote a blog about Kim's model train artworks, and this can be found here. Artist's Colony (Gardens) by Kim Adams is on display at the AGO until 11 August.

Class 50

"Driving" a British Rail Class 50 at Tyseley

I have to finish with one perverse (but true) comment just to nudge my UK readers in the ribs. I spent three years visiting countless preserved railways in the UK and riding wonderfully-restored pieces of early-20th-century British railway history that would make a steam fanatic or teak lover's heart swoon. The coolest thing I ever climbed aboard? A British Rail Class 50 diesel locomotive in 1980s "large logo" livery. I'd take this beautiful beastie over all that painstakingly restored old junk any day.... Cup of tea, anyone?

And that's another newsletter in the can. I'll be in touch over the coming weeks via our blog and our Facebook page. Please drop in to say hi. Westward Ho!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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