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Dear Rapido Customer,
Exclusive New HO Scale Budd Cars for VIA Rail Canada
Well, we've gone and done it again. Canada's national passenger railway and Canada's largest model train manufacturer have teamed up to bring you exclusive Canadian model trains. I am absolutely delighted to announce our latest exclusive passenger car models for VIA Rail Canada - the HO scale Budd Diner and the HO scale Budd Chateau Sleeper.
Before I give you the spiel, I have to tell you - these were quietly launched on a newsgroup a couple of weeks ago and are already ALMOST 60% SOLD OUT!!! If you want to skip everything else I am saying and go order yours immediately, click here. You can come back and read the rest of the newsletter later.
VIA now accepts orders from around the world and is now shipping via Canada Post so you won't pay silly courier shipping charges.
Here are the features of our VIA Diner and Chateau Sleepers:
These cars will not last long... especially as they will be here in less than two weeks! As I am writing this, the models are on a train from Prince Rupert to Brampton. From there, they will be delivered to our Markham warehouse and Mike will single-handedly ship them to VIA (seeing as Dan and I will still be in the UK).
These cars will make excellent Christmas presents, especially as they will, in fact, be here before Christmas!
If you work for the railway or are in the shipping business, you can trace them yourself! They are in container #YMLU8246904 and are on a CN freight train right this moment. Isn't that neat?
The Chateau Sleepers have played a vital role on The Canadian, until recently filling an entire block between two of the diners. These days, there are usually only a couple of Chateau Sleepers on each train. However, as you can see in the photo above it is still possible to see a solid run of Chateaux on The Canadian. This Canadian was being made up last month at VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre with five Chateau sleepers in a row! They are among my favourite VIA cars.
VIA has been running at least two Dining Cars on The Canadian in the high season for years and years. And if you have any Blue and Yellow VIA cars, the Budd diners ran with Blue and Yellow cars as well, all the way back to 1979. So don't just buy one - buy them all!
Click here to order your Dining Cars and Chateau Sleepers. I suspect another 5% have been sold while you've been reading this.
Rapido Coming to the UK
Dan and I are departing next Monday for the UK, and what a crazy trip we have planned! In the space of a week, we go from Heathrow to London to Durham to Crewe to Cardiff to Crewe (again) to Birmingham to Manchester to Crewe (again - hi Crewe!) to Birmingham (again) to York to Birmingham (AGAIN!) to London to Heathrow. All by train, of course! That is, unless they have the wrong kind of snow.
The next few paragraphs are heavily laden with obscure Doctor Who references. Be warned.
Bill was supposed to join me but he fell off the Pharos Project radio telescope while visiting 1981 and he regenerated into Dan. It was the end, but the moment had been prepared for...
For those of you living within a hundred remars of northwest England, I hope you'll join us for a Rapido meet & greet at the Crewe Heritage Centre. If you can't join us, you will be deleted.
We will have a veritable Panopticon of Rapido products, and we'll be sharing insights into the running of The Company. Long live The Company!
The details of Rapido's Greatest Show in the Galaxy are:
About the Crewe Heritage Centre:
The Crewe Heritage Centre occupies the original site of Crewe Railway Locomotive Works of 1840. The works were built by the Grand Junction Railway, which later merged with other companies in 1846 to form the London & North Western Railway. Some of the original employees are still there, though their bodies have been occupied by the Gelth.
How to get there:
In addition to our visit to Crewe, we have a power-boosted open-ended transmat beam directed at the Nationed Exhibition Centre so we will be materializing at the Warley Show on Sunday 24 November. If you will be there please keep an eye out for us. If you see us, come over and say "Qapla"!
Incidentally, while we are in the UK it will be Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. Did anyone catch all of the Doctor Who references in the above section?
If you can accurately name all of the Doctor Who references above and tell me what stories they are from, you will be entered into a draw to win a prize package of a) 1937 GARX Meat Reefer and an Osgood Bradley coach (for those of you modelling US roads), or b) a pair of Canadian Pacific Angus Vans in HO scale (for those of you modelling Canadian roads).
Please send me an email with your entry, and be sure to include your address and phone number so we can send you the free models if you win!
I did forget to mention why we are going to the UK. Dan and I are starting work on Rapido's first UK outline model... in OO gauge, no less! We're not ready to announce it yet, but do be splendid fellows (all of you) and keep reading our newsletters. I'll be dropping some hints in future editions of Rapido News. Top hole, pip pip and all that!
N Scale Order Deadline Extended
I'm a firm believer in honesty when it comes to communicating with my customers. It's been said that I reveal more to my customers, warts and all, than most CEOs tell their shareholders! In Rapido News 48, I announced the relaunch of our new N scale passenger cars, the Panorama Line 10-5 Sleeper and Cafe-Bar-Lounge. The order deadline was basically now, i.e. the 15th of November.
Right now our main factory is working on production of Osgood Bradley Smokers and Coaches and CN/VIA F9B locomotives, and then it's Chinese New Year and the factory will be closed for a couple of weeks. There isn't any point in pretending they will have the capacity to make the N scale 10-5 and Cafe-Bar-Lounge before then. So we're extending the N scale order deadline to Valentine's Day, 14 February 2014. Production on the N scale cars will begin in early March and delivery will start in the late spring.
Please remember the date: Valentine's Day for the Panorama Line 10-5 Sleeper and Cafe-Bar-Lounge.
New Blog Entry
Our new guy, Mike McGrattan, has become an incredible asset to Rapido in the four short months he's been part of the team. In fact, we can't imagine how we ever got by without him, and we're thinking of promoting him to Chief Rooster. But even before he joined Rapido, he was already a very prominent and well-respected figure in the global N scale community.
A few years ago, Mike sent one of his N scale freight cars on a round-the-world trip. Literally. It went around the world, from riding the rails in the far east to sinking to the bottom of a pint of stout in Pommyland. You can read about this amazing adventure here. Even if you don't model in N scale, you will enjoy the read.
The Rapido and MLW factories are very busy working on our new products. It's so refreshing to be able to deliver this stuff, and Janet (our bookkeeper) is delighted that we can actually pay our bills!
Shipping to stores now:
LRC Locomotive? In fact, I'm pretty sure someone will get this newsletter, not read it, and ask why I didn't mention the LRC. That happens every issue: someone asks why I have no news on something I discuss in that specific issue.
The report from the factory is that two of the LRC moulds still need work, and they are working on them now.
Occasionally I get a really angry email about a late project that essentially accuses us: "How dare you bring out other stuff when you promised this project so long ago?" Those of you who understand business are smiling and shaking your heads right now.
When running a business, you have monthly costs - overheads - that you have to pay no matter what. So you need to bring in a certain amount of money every month to ensure you can pay those costs. What some people ask us to do is essentially say: "We are going to sit here with our arms folded and, based on principle, we will not release another model until that LRC Locomotive (or meat reefer, or caboose, or...) arrives!" If we did that, we would be out of business so fast we'd give the real Rapido a run for its money.
In some cases, we delay a project on purpose: we delayed the LRC for several years because the orders were too low. But since we relaunched the LRC in late 2012, the orders have been great and the project will be profitable. Now the delay is caused by the slow work of modifying very complex moulds originally made by a different workshop. So we have to wait until the moulds are ready, and then we can produce the LRC. It will be some time in 2014, but I'm not going to pretend to know when.
Art Imitating Life... Again!
Back in Rapido News 48, I mentioned Canadian artist Kim Adams and his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario which featured Rapido models. Kim recently finished a new body of work featuring Rapido cabooses! They were exhibited at Diaz Contemporary in Toronto, and you can view them online here.
Kim's work is whimsical. He gives new life to Rapido's models in innovative and often very entertaining ways. I am truly honoured that Kim has chosen to use Rapido models in his art. Some of the works in the show are still available for sale. Contact Diaz Contemporary if interested in acquiring one of Kim's pieces.
Innovative Uses for GMD-1 Bits
Dave Minshall often surprises me with his incredibly detailed knowledge of Canadian National locomotives. On our GMD-1, for instance, he noticed on one of our drawings that the radius of the edge of the walkway was too tight. Seriously! So thanks to Dave we caught that mistake before producing the models.
Dave asked if he could borrow some of our early samples of the GMD-1 chassis and trucks for a modelling project. I was happy to oblige, and then a week later he came into our office with two lightweight GP9 locomotives under construction. Our GMD-1 chassis was a perfect fit, providing the frame and the trucks (at the correct spacing) that he needed.
I'm pleased to report that our GMD-1 chassis can be used under the Life-Like and Front Range GP9 shells. You may need to make some modifications to fit the small fuel tank, but that's not hard to do.
The GMD-1 Powered Chassis is available to order from your dealer (10000A/10500A is the 6-axle version in DC and DCC/sound respectively, and 10000B/10500B is the 4-axle version in DC and DCC/sound respectively). MLW has not finalized the GMD-1 numbers with the factory yet - we expect that to happen in about two weeks. So if you are quick you can get your order in before the order desk is formally closed.
More info about the GMD-1 can be found here.
Model Railroad News and the Kingston Sub
It's nice to be able to say "we did good." The latest issue of Model Railroad News features an in-depth, six-page review of our FP9A locomotive, and it is overwhelmingly positive. The reviewer, Steve Lucas, states: "In my humble opinion, what results is a model that is second to no model of an F-unit ever produced in HO scale." This is pretty awesome kudos.
He also concludes, "this is a very impressive scale model locomotive. While it is not the cheapest ready-to-run model of an F-unit around, it is the most detailed that I have ever seen, and its running qualities are excellent. It may seem a cliché, but I feel that the Rapido True North FP9A sets a new standard for HO-scale diesel locomotives against which others will be judged."
We've had our share of mishaps, such as the wibbly floors on our first releases of passenger cars in 2006 and the running quality of our first powered model, the Turbo, in 2008. There are guys out there who swore in 2006 they would never buy another Rapido model and they still haven't to this day. I don't think even a glowing review could change their minds, so I'll accept that we've lost some people.
But I thank the rest of you who have stuck with us over the last few years and I hope we've rewarded your loyalty with some really nice models. The MRN reviewer notes that our models are "not the cheapest" around, and this is something I'm proud of. If our models were the cheapest out there, they wouldn't have the detail level that I want for my layout. And that, of course, is the primary reason I'm in this business! Speaking of which...
As I mentioned earlier, I haven't had much time to work on my layout the last few months. But I have got to a point where I was able to lay my first 12 feet of track. Above is a photo of the first train I've ever run on the Kingston Sub. It's VIA-CN FP9A #6535, a VIA SGU (Steam Generator Unit) still in CN colours, a baggage car, a club car and a coach.
I thought that would be a fitting train to inaugurate the layout, which is set in 1980 and features a healthy mix of VIA and CN equipment. I would have chosen my Tremendous, Terrific Turbo, but with only 12 feet of track laid, a 7-foot-long train wouldn't be able to move very far. The 1990s-era autoracks in the background are test cars for clearances, not that their anachronistic tendencies would stop me from running them!
The tracks that Dan and I laid are the only hidden tracks on the layout. As I don't have a 147-foot-long basement, my mainline has to do a U-ey. West of Union Station, the mainline does a 180-degree turn under the roundhouse and then climbs up to meet the coach yard further west. The black arrow above shows where, roughly, the third car of the first test train is sitting. It was necessary to lay these tracks first as they will soon be covered by Spadina roundhouse.
I am working on a major update on the Kingston Sub web pages, including new products to sell and new information about my benchwork techniques. If you want to stay informed, please sign up for the Kingston Sub email newsletter by clicking here. In the 11 months since I launched the Kingston Sub site, I've managed to send out ONE newsletter. Hopefully I will be able to keep you better updated in future!
You'll notice I didn't provide a link to the Kingston Sub web site. It's so out of date it's embarrassing. I promise to let you know when there is something there worth reading.
That's it for now. The next newsletter will probably be sent from China, where I am going shortly after returning from the UK. See why my layout never gets built? We have a big Christmas announcement coming for our N scale customers, and in a few months' time we'll be announcing an all-new HO scale locomotive project which has just started tooling this week. Exciting times are ahead!
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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