Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 52 - ©2014 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of John Pryke. John was a brilliant modeller, a great teacher, a generous helper and a friend. Without him our Osgood Bradley Lightweight Coaches would not have been such a great success. Thanks for everything, John!

Moving on to happier topics... Happy 2014 everyone! Because it's been a couple of months I have lots of stuff for you this issue so let's get to it!

In this issue of Rapido News:

GMD-1 Locomotive

Early Pre-Production Sample - N scale GMD-1

It's the GMD-1... in N SCALE!

Dan, Bill, Mike and I are delighted to be able to announce our worst-kept secret! Yes, MLW and Rapido are pleased to introduce the fabled Canadian National GMD-1 locomotive in N scale!

The GMD-1 is a freight locomotive designed by General Motors of London for Canadian National and delivered to CN and Northern Alberta Railways between 1958 and 1960. It is a versatile road switcher, equally at home on the mainline, on the branchline, or in the yard. Visibility in these things is great - that's probably why many of them are still in service for CN all these years later.

GMD-1 Locomotive

Early Pre-Production Sample - N scale GMD-1

The 1000-series GMD-1 was designed specifically with light rail branchlines in mind. With its A1A trucks, the weight of the locomotive is spread over six axles instead of four. The centre wheelset on each truck - both on the prototype and the model - is a 33" idler wheelset that has no pulling power whatsoever.

In 1988, CN began a comprehensive rebuilding program. 15 of the GMD-1 locomotives were rebuilt into 1600-series GMD-1A engines. The rebuilds had their prime movers upgraded to 645C (by using 645 power assemblies in the original 567 engine block). Among other things, they also had their cabs reoriented for short-hood-forward operation; the external spark arrestors replaced by internal spark arresting exhaust manifolds; brakes upgraded to 26L; and their end platforms extended with anticlimbers.

They also look freakin' awesome.

GMD-1 1600 Locomotive

Early Pre-Production Sample - N scale GMD-1A
There are a whole bunch of HO modellers drooling right now, me included.

Our N scale GMD-1 features:
  • N Scale DC/DCC dual mode (ESU factory decoder equipped!) or equipped with an ESU DC/DCC/Sound Loksound decoder
  • 5-pole, skew-wound motor with excellent slow-speed performance
  • Accurate dimensions from GMD blueprints and field measurements
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis for great pulling power
  • Accurate 1000-series (6-axle) and 1600-series (rebuilt GMD-1A) variations
  • Full cab interior oriented the correct way (long hood forward for CN 1000-series, short hood forward for NAR and 1600-series)
  • Body-mounted Micro-Trains couplers
  • Available in Canadian National, Northern Alberta, and Undecorated
  • Up to six road numbers plus unnumbered for each paint scheme
  • True GMD-1 sounds recorded from #1118 (formerly #1018) on the Alberta Prairie Railway
We know N scalers like to run long trains, so we're doing six numbers in each of the CN schemes. These regularly ran in consists of three or more. Full Rapido/MLW GMD-1 info can be found here. You can also read our GMD-1 Master Class by clicking here.

As you may have noticed in the features list, all of these babies come with DCC. If you don't want sound, you no longer have to buy a DC model and install your own decoder. Our guy Mike McGrattan is a huge N scale modeller. Rest assured, he's spearheading this project. If he's happy with it, you'll be happy with it.

Turning off the sales pitch for a moment: this is our first attempt at an N scale locomotive. I would never have tried this before Mike came on board last year, but with him here I trust that we can actually pull it off. The price (below) is a bit higher than what some of the other guys are charging, but bear in mind that the GMD-1 is an oddball Canadian branchline loco and not a GP7.

We would really like to hear from you with advice, suggestions, etc. Please call Mike at the office (1-855-LRC-6917) or reply to this email with "Attention Mike" in the subject heading and let us know what you think we should and shouldn't do. I can't promise we'll follow every piece of advice we get (the engine doors won't open, sorry) but I can promise we'll read everything and digest it and do what we can. Thanks in advance for your help.

GMD-1 CN Locomotive

Early Pre-Production Sample - N scale GMD-1

The MSRP for the GMD-1 is $159 (DC/DCC Silent) and $249 (DC/DCC Sound). NAR units are a bit more expensive due to their complexity and lower sales volume.

You can order from your favourite dealer or directly from us by clicking here. You have plenty of time to order. The order deadline is the same day as the HO scale FPA-4 and FPB-4: Friday the 13th of June.

Modern modellers have the advantage of also being able to order... THE ENTIRE FLEET!!!

CN GMD-1 Fleet

Original photo courtesy Mark Perry.


OK - I know we are crazy at Rapido. We tend to do crazy stuff. But this is probably the craziest thing we've ever done. Yes, you can...

Buy the ENTIRE Canadian National 1600-series GMD-1A fleet.

15 Locomotives.

One Box.

GMD-1 in Saskatchewan

A trio of 1600-series GMD-1A locomotives in Saskatchewan.
Stunning photo courtesy Jim Gilley.

The MSRP is $2300 (DC/DCC) and $3600 (DC/DCC/Sound). Click here for more info or to place or your order. You can also order THE FLEET from your local dealer.

I warn you: if you buy the fleet, it proves you are just as nuts about the GMD-1 as we are!

The Fleet. I love saying that. THE. FLEET. "Hey Dude - I just bought THE WHOLE FLEET!" I think I need to be committed.

Here's one final note about the N scale GMD-1. You know I am going to be inundated with emails from HO modellers asking when the 1600s will be available in HO scale. Feels nice to be on the other side for once, doesn't it?

MTA Coach

Superior Stainless Budd Coach

HO scale Budd passenger car order deadline

Hopefully you already know all about our Superior Stainless Budd Coaches and Park Dome-Observation cars. If you don't then please click here for all the info!

The final order deadline for these cars was going to be January 24th. But Bill pointed out that we will be at the Springfield show that weekend with 20,000 of our nearest and dearest. So we've decided to extend the order deadline by one week, to January 31st.

CPR Park Car

Superior Stainless Budd Park Car

Please get your orders in by the end of the month. You can order from your dealer or you can order direct by clicking here. These will be built to order, with delivery in late spring/summer. If you don't order yours in advance, you'll miss them.

In case you don't have any of our Budd cars and you haven't seen how they compare with the other models on the market, have a look at the two snapshots below.

Rapido detail comparison

Compare our detail with typical Budd car model detail.
And our "luxury" cars only cost $10-$20 more than the "economy" competition.

I included an exhaustive discussion of coach underbody details and what they do in the 50th edition of Rapido News I sent over the summer. If you didn't see it, please click here to learn all about Water Raising Reservoirs, Genemotors and D22 control valves!

Remember that order deadline: January 31st!

N scale passenger cars

Our two new N scale passenger cars

N scale 10-5 sleeper & cafe-bar-lounge order deadline

We'll be starting production of our new Panorama Line N scale 10-5 Sleeper and Cafe-Bar-Lounge cars in March, with delivery in late spring. To that end, the final order deadline is Valentine's Day, February 14th. Please get your order in with your dealer by then. It seems like years since we first announced these. Oh wait - it has been years!

Here's a quick rundown of the 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

CN passenger cars

And here they are in CN and, er, CN.
You know, we do see rather a lot of CN in these newsletters.

More information, including car numbers and product numbers, can be found here. You can order them from your dealer or direct from us, but the minimum direct order is two cars.

Remember that order deadline: Valentine's Day.

GARX Meat Reefers

Wow that's a lot of reefers!

We've got REEFERS!

Hades may have finally frozen over. We started these GARX Meat Reefers in 2010... you know, four years ago. Since then we've managed to deliver a complete passenger train with 10 cars and three locomotives, more passenger car styles, cabooses, you name it. But we never seemed to be able to deliver this little HO freight car. I never thought I'd say it, but last week our warehouse was chock full of them!

GARX Meat Reefers

Danna White and Mike Merrill show off our new meat reefers.

The Meat Reefers are now on their way to distributors and will be in stores shortly. Here are a few photos for those guys that never pre-order stuff:

GARX Meat Reefer

Oscar Mayer GARX Meat Reefer

GARX Meat Reefer

Snazzy underbody detail!

GARX Meat Reefer

Nice trucks!

After all this time, it's good to see these gorgeous cars finally arrive! I don't need them for my 1980 Canadian layout, so if you like them it's all due to Bill. If you don't like them it's also due to Bill. Just blame Bill. For everything. Everywhere.

We are completely sold out of these cars. Some dealers may have ordered extra stock, so it is worth giving your dealer a shout. If you've never heard of them before, I'm sorry about that! If you have been taking a "wait and see" approach, hopefully you can find one. If not, we will be announcing a new run shortly. For our Canadian customers, Mike has found out that these meat reefers were most definitely used in Canada in the 1950s.

Full information can be found here.

The Kingston Subdivision in HO scale

Looking west from Spadina Roundhouse on the Kingston Sub

New sound decoders and Kingston Sub update

I've finally updated KingstonSub.com, the web site for my HO scale layout and the full-size train in my basement. Dan and I have developed a new benchwork technique that we call "plywall benchwork" and I welcome your feedback on it. Click here to visit the site.


VIA-CN FP9A #6536

Also, I've added two new model train thingies to the KingstonSub.com shop: Soundtraxx Tsunami F-unit decoders with Rapido's own sounds recorded from the FP9A, as well as an exclusive model of early VIA FP9A #6536 painted in CN colours with the nose logo removed.

These are in very limited quantities, and lots of have already been picked up by KingstonSub.com newsletter subscribers. I only have 12 engines and 20 decoders left. Click here to visit the shop.

Click here to read the KingstonSub.com newsletter, and click here to sign up so you won't miss updates in future. I've Shanghaied Dan so he will be helping me on the layout for the next few months in the hope to get trains running in our lifetimes. So there should be more regular updates in future - certainly better than the one per year so far!

BCR Gondola

Ultimate Canadian Gondola - production sample

Delivery Schedule

Here's the latest delivery schedule.

Shipping to stores now:
En route from China now and arriving in early February:
En route from China now and arriving a week later:
Leaving the factory at the end of this month, arriving end of February/first week of March:

Old Saybrook Station

Sort of near Springfield? Dan took this photo at Old Saybrook after the Springfield show.
It's actually a lot closer to our US headquarters, otherwise known as Bill's attic.

Upcoming Shows

This is train show season, and the Rapido team will be at a number of shows over the next few months. Please come and join us!

1. The Springfield Show

The Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show (i.e. Springfield) will be held at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds on 25-26 January. Bill, Dan and Mike will be staffing the booth, located in the Mallary building, section #144, tables A-D. (After several months of non-stop travel, Sidura has banned me from travelling more than 335 miles from home...)

We will have samples of all of our latest models at the show, and we will be making two new product announcements! So please come by and see what we have to offer. Click here to visit the show web site.

2. The Copetown Show

Rapido and CARM are co-sponsors of the Copetown Show, held every February in the tiny hamlet of Copetown, Ontario. I can't speak highly enough about this show, which is my absolute favourite. The atmosphere is just magical - surrounded by snow-covered hills, the show is located in a friendly community centre just steps from a picturesque photo location on the busy CN/VIA mainline.

The show is a little bit of everything: prototype meet, SIG presentations, layouts, vendors and manufacturers. It is on Sunday 9 February and the new, official web page for the show can be found at rapidotrains.com/copetown. This is within 335 miles of my house, so I will be there.

Copetown Ontario

Dan took this photo down the street from the Copetown show.

3. Supertrain

Canada's largest train show, Supertrain, is quickly approaching. The show takes place on 12-13 April at the Subway Soccer Centre in Calgary. Layouts, vendors, manufacturers - this show has it all and in large quantities. Dan and Mike will be there. I'll be en route to Winnipeg with the kids (on the train) for Passover so I won't be there I'm afraid. We should have decorated HO scale FPA-4 and FPB-4 pre-production samples and HO scale GMD-1 production samples at Supertrain, all going well! Click here for more info.

4. Ottawa Train Expo

This is a great show, seen by many as Eastern Canada's attempt to match the glory and splendour of Supertrain. This year the Ottawa Train Expo takes place on 26-27 April at Ernst & Young Centre, a new location. Dan has a wedding and I will be en route back from Winnipeg, so Bill and Mike will be representing Rapido at this show.

If our samples get back from Calgary on time, we'll have lots to show! If not, Bill and Mike will be doing their award-winning, postmodern interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet on top of our display tables. I have already ordered their tutus. Click here for more info (about the show, not the tutus).

As Dan recently reminded me (while pointing and laughing), I tend to live vicariously through my team when it comes to shows. If I did all of the shows as well as travel across Canada and to China and the UK, I would never get to spend time with my family.

So if you want to scream at me in person about the fact that the LRC locomotive hasn't been delivered yet or that your FP9A locomotive contained an inspection card written in Klingon, you'll have to come to Copetown to do it.

RIP CN Caboose

RIP CMT Point-St-Charles Caboose

The CN caboose in HO scale - final word

For those of you lucky enough not to be affected by the CMT/Canadian Model Trains mess, this will come as news. For the rest of us, however...

In 2010 CMT commissioned us to make a CN Pointe-St-Charles van in HO scale. In 2012, CMT's owner, Tom Tomblin, disappeared off the face of the planet. Despite our attempts to contact him since then, we have not been successful. The CN caboose project has been in limbo ever since. CMT still owes us money for the tooling; consequently our factory is still owed money for the tooling.

A lot of you paid deposits to CMT for this caboose before Tomblin disappeared. Rapido never received any of those deposits.

I'm sorry we all got caught up in this CMT mess, and I'm sorry that it seems like it just won't go away. Feel free to discuss this on the CanModelTrains forum, but please don't vent your anger at the Rapido team. This really has been completely out of our control.

Therefore, so there is no confusion, I will state this clearly: Rapido is not bringing out a CN Pointe-St-Charles van in HO scale. Not ever.

Cross Country Voyager

Rapido visits the UK! Mmmmm.... Voyager....
Mmmmm.... Seven of Nine.... Sorry! Wrong Voyager!

Dan and Jason visit the UK

It's been so long since my last newsletter that I haven't told you all about our crazy, train-filled trip to England and Wales. It was crazy and train-filled.

Actually, we had a very interesting time as we travelled around the UK searching for Rapido's first ever British model train, which will be released in 2015. We also got attacked by a big green alien and we travelled through time. As I said, crazy and train-filled.

Please click here to read the report on our British adventure. You'll have a spiffing time, what?

And I am pleased to inform you that the winner of my Doctor Who contest in Rapido News 51 is.... Stephen Gardiner from Toronto! He got the closest (even closer than all the Brits that answered) and his name came up in the draw. Stephen wins a pair of HO scale Canadian Pacific cabooses valued at $150. Congratulations!

Rapido factory workers

One of these assembly workers is not like the others...

China factory visit

Just before Christmas I got back from an intensive trip to China to check on the Rapido and MLW factories there. As you can see in the photo above, I got a little involved in the action.

A full report on the factory visits, on the LRC mould progress and on the changes happening in China can be found here. I just uploaded it on Tuesday. I hope you find the read interesting. It was certainly an interesting trip!

When we do a newsletter and product launch it completely monopolizes Bill and me for over a week. We've both been putting in 16-hour days and I have about 140 emails in my inbox I haven't even looked at, let alone answered. There's a guy who's been standing outside our office since Tuesday and I haven't opened the door yet. I think he may have died of hypothermia.

So I plan to take some time off in the next few days, to work on my layout and to go see the Habs cream the Senators in Ottawa. I'll be in touch around the end of the month with those new product announcements from Springfield, and then in February there will be a special edition of Rapido News devoted to our brand-new HO scale locomotive. Exciting times ahead!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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