Rapido News

Rapido News Volume 54 - ©2014 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

It's been a long time since our last newsletter, so let's get right to it.

In this issue of Rapido News:

Rapido Trains Freight Cars

It's a Pile of Gons!

(We apologize for the lack of taste in the above photograph. Those responsible have been sacked.)

Three New Silly Videos

In the midst of the madness here at Rapido, Mike and I found some time to make a couple of movies. Here they are from sanest to silliest.

Firstly, our CN and VIA F9B locomotives arrived - all of them at once! Our warehouse was a sea of locomotives for more that two weeks. In the first video, I take one from its carton in the warehouse to the test track to see how it runs. The F9B has an ESU LokSound decoder while the FP9A has a SoundTraxx Tsunami decoder. Before production of the F9Bs began, Dan spent three days programming the LokSound to match the SoundTraxx in volume and operating characteristics. See for yourself:

F9B Video

As you'll see in the video, I discovered that some of the CN and VIA F9B locomotives were delivered with CP F9B winterization hatches on the roof. Eeeek! A CP hatch on a CN model? FOR SHAME!

At first I was ready to go to China and jump up and down on the factory owner's toes while wearing ski boots, but then I realized that everyone makes mistakes and it is a very minor part on the model. Our engineer who sources all the parts for the prototype variations does a great job, and I can't blame him for this very minor oversight.

So if you have a CP winterization hatch on your CN F9B, please give us a shout and we'll send you the CN hatch (at no charge) so you can do a swap. If you don't know what a winterization hatch is, then I wouldn't worry about it. The two hatches are identical except that one is a bit taller.

Click here for info on the F9B.

Secondly, our HO scale Ultimate Canadian Gondola models have arrived. I think this is a record for us. We announced this project in May, took orders until October, and delivered it in March. That's a complete project from announcement to delivery in less than a year!

OUCH! Sorry - one of our LRC Locomotive customers just threw his bagel at me. Come on! He's only been waiting since 2005. What's a decade or two between friends?

Mike and I recorded an even sillier video that is ostensibly about the gons but was really just an excuse to dress in Star Trek clothes and cavort with penguins:

F9B Video

The following gons are now available at hobby shops and are quickly selling out. (We're sold out already.)

The CN and PGE gons are arriving this month. Click here for more info on our Ultimate Canadian Gondola models.

Finally, just to prove to you how bonkers I am, here's a silly video about the train in my basement that I recorded the other day when I couldn't sleep... and it's completely in Chinese! You can now call me "Feichang Da Shagua" - this means "really big melon head." If you know anyone who understands Chinese, please forward the video to them and maybe we'll reach 12 views. If you are in China, click on the YouKu link. Everywhere else, click on the YouTube link.

Jason Shron Chinese Video

Jason Shron Chinese Video

We update our Facebook page almost every day, and sometimes several times a day. You don't need to be a member of Facebook to visit our page and read the latest news. Click here to go there.

HO Steam Generator by Rapido Trains Inc.

The Return of the "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car
(Yes, we have a penguin fetish in this issue. It's been really cold!)

"Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Cars

They're baaaack! We're delighted to announce a new run of our very popular "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Cars in HO scale.

We often get requests for these, especially from Great Northern and other American modellers who didn't have a clue who we were last time we made these in 2009. After seeing more and more Steam Generators fetch brass-like prices on eBay, we decided it was time to do something about it. We're rerunning some of our more popular paint schemes and introducing new ones to boot.

Steam Generator Unit

Two Steam Gennies work their tushies off in Churchill, Manitoba.

For most of the 20th century, passenger trains were heated by steam. The problem was that once diesel locomotive use became widespread in the 1940s, there was no longer a guaranteed source of steam at the head end. Any railroad that headed north of about Georgia or up in the mountains needed a source of heat, so most major railroads in North America developed steam generator cars (also known as "heater cars" and "Steam Generator Units") to create the steam for on-board heating.

Steam Gennies were often used even when the diesel locomotive had a built-in steam generator. Locomotive boilers were fine for a short train in mildly cold weather, but a long train or one crossing the Prairies in 20 below freezing would often make use of a Steam Genny.

Steam Generator Car and GP40

Steam Generator Car behind a CN GP40
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection

Railroads got creative - some Steam Gennies were built out of boxcars, others from old tenders, others from B units. The variety was endless. Only one railroad had a fleet of Steam Gennies specially built by three builders. That was of course CN, the largest railroad to serve the frozen wastes of a strange, foreign country north of Buffalo. Our model is based on the CN prototype built by General Motors.

Rapido Steam Generator Car

"Oh, So Steamy!" In Action...

Our HO Scale "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car actually generates a steam effect (if desired) and expels it through the "Separator Blowdown Funnel" on the bottom of the car. Hook it up behind your locomotives, turn on the steam, ease the throttle, and watch as steam wisps out from underneath your passenger cars, just like it did on the real thing. The steam is non-toxic and actually cleans your track!

You have to see this to believe it, so here's a really old video we posted on YouTube back before I was born which has a working Steam Genny in it. What I love is how the steam wisps along beneath the passenger cars, just like the prototype.

Steam Generator Video

The funniest part of this video is when it says that the LRC locomotive is coming in 2010. BWA HA HA HA HA!!!! Oh my, we were so naive back then. Now whenever anyone asks me anything about an "LRC locomotive" my head explodes and I am unable to answer them, not having a head and all. (Actually we just posted new LRC locomotive sample photos on our Facebook page and we are again taking orders for them, but that's another story.)

The "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car also features working backup lights. You can turn the steam and the lights on and off using the Rapido Lighter (included). The car also includes EVERY pipe that is underneath the prototype that is 5/8" diameter or greater. Have a lookey:

Rapido Steam Generator Car

Underneath the Rapido Steam Genny
What a lot of pipes!

Here's a complete list of features:

  • Up to five numbers per paint scheme
  • Real "steam" effect which can be turned on and off
  • Operating backup lights
  • Works on DC and DCC layouts
  • Full underbody detail, including ALL steam and air lines
  • See-through etched metal platforms
  • Separate, metal brake chain (sorry - it doesn't work)
  • Accurate BX express trucks
  • Reliable electrical pickup
  • Separate metal grab irons painted and applied at the factory
Four all-new paint schemes are included in this run: Amtrak Phase 2, Canadian Pacific, Ontario Northland (Green) and Spokane, Portland & Seattle. Both Bill and Mike have told me that SP&S sells well. OK all you SP&S guys - please prove them right and order 300 of each number. Pretend that SP&S took over every other railroad on the planet. Go on! You know you want to!

The MSRP for the HO Scale "Oh, So Steamy!" Steam Generator Car is $79.95. Orders will be accepted until 30 September 2014 and delivery will begin in early 2015. Please note that we don't make inventory. If you don't order by the deadline, you won't get any. More information can be found here.

Click on an image below to view car and product numbers for that paint scheme, or just scroll down past them if you are modelling the Krakatoan Railways and don't need any heat in your passenger cars.

Amtrak Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Amtrak Phase 2 ALL NEW!

Canadian National SGU

Steam Generator Unit - Canadian National (1954)

Canadian National SGU

Steam Generator Unit - Canadian National (Noodle)

CPR Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Canadian Pacific ALL NEW!

D&RGW Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Denver & Rio Grande Western

Great Northern Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Great Northern

Milwaukee Road Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Milwaukee Road

Milwaukee Road Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Milwaukee Road (UP Scheme)

New York Central Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - New York Central

Northern Pacific Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Northern Pacific

Ontario Northland Steam Generator Unit

Steam Generator Unit - Ontario Northland (Chevron)

Ontario Northland Steam Generator Unit

Steam Generator Unit - Ontario Northland (Green) ALL NEW!

PRR Steam Car

Steam Generator Car - Pennsylvania

Santa Fe Steam Heater Car

Steam Generator Car - Santa Fe

SP&S Steam Heater

Steam Generator Car - Spokane, Portland and Seattle ALL NEW!

Union Pacific Steam Heater Car

Steam Generator Car - Union Pacific


Steam Generator Unit - VIA Rail Canada


Steam Generator Car - Undecorated

Here's that link again for more info: that link again. Please remember to order yours by the end of September to ensure you don't miss out this time and have to pay over $200 on eBay!


F40PH-2D pre-production sample at the MLW factory

VIA F40PH-2D - Get Your Orders In!

The order deadline for the HO scale VIA F40PH-2D locomotive is swiftly approaching. Orders need to be received by VIA by April 28th to guarantee delivery. More info on the project can be found here, and orders can be placed by clicking here.

I've heard from a few guys who like to support their local hobby shop about the VIA F40. They asked me, "If I wait, will this model ever be sold in the stores?" The truth is, I don't know. The F40 is a VIA project and it is up to them. For now you need to order the F40 from VIA.

I believe very strongly that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (I also believe that you should never bite the horse that feeds you.) If you want to ensure that you get the first-ever accurate model of Canada's iconic F40 locomotive, then I recommend you order now through VIA.

If you are thinking about buying an F40 or two but have not yet taken the plunge, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Remember the "Totally Wired" Telephone Poles? I'm glad I bought several packs for my nowhere-near-ready layout when they were available, as it doesn't look like they will be released again any time soon. Our costs have gone up by a factor of three.
  • We've had more than 400 requests for The Canadian since the train came out, and we still get more every week. As The Canadian was made to order, we've had to turn down more than 400 people. The Canadian is now fetching more than $2000 on eBay at times, and we've even seen one go for $3000 - that's twice the retail price!
  • People who sat on the fence when VIA released the HO scale Skyline car are now paying three or four times retail for it on eBay.
I think I've made my point... Click here to order.

(P.S. Despite the fact that there is a "discount code" field in the VIA F40 shopping cart, there are no discount codes that apply to the F40 model. I always wonder about that when I see "discount code" fields in shopping carts. The annoying thing is finding out afterward that the car rental could have been $100 cheaper had I only known to write "U133214" in that little box....)

(P.P.S. Go ahead - try entering U133214 next time you book with Budget. You will be pleasantly surprised.)

CPR 10-5 Sleeper

Panorama Line 10-5 Sleeper - Canadian Pacific (HO model shown)

Exclusive! N scale CPR 10-5 Sleepers

Here's some great news for N scale modellers who think we're neglecting them again: Pacific Western Rail Systems has commissioned an exclusive run of our Panorama Line 10-5 sleepers in Canadian Pacific colours. CP did indeed own a "fleet" of four ex-New York Central smooth-side 10-5 sleepers which were used primarily on eastern routes but also on the Dominion. While our car is based on a CN prototype, what's a couple of windows and bulkheads between friends?

Here's a bit of Mike McGrattan trivia for you - the last assignment for two of CP's ex-NYC 10-5 sleepers was sitting in a parking lot of a Montreal motel as bedrooms during Expo 67. I would hate to have been the dude tasked with cleaning up under those toilet chutes.

You can reserve your CP 10-5 sleepers with PWRS by clicking here.

Rapido Trains Samples

A selection of MLW and VIA Rail samples for Supertrain

Upcoming Shows and Deliveries

The show season is in full swing up here in the frozen north. Because we only take advance orders, these shows and meetings are your opportunity to see the models in person before you place your order. Even though we usually have pre-production samples on display, we hope you will still get a feel for the quality and you'll order by the gazillion.

These shows and presentations will be your only chance to see the FPA-4 and FPB-4 locomotive samples before the order deadline of 13 June 2014. So please come out and say hi!

Rapido GMD-1 production

HO scale GMD-1 locomotives in production

Delivery Schedule

Continuing this awesome new trend of delivering models in the same century they are announced, the photo above is from the GMD-1 production line at the MLW factory. We officially launched this in May (though we leaked that we were doing it in late 2011) and the first shipment is leaving the factory in a matter of weeks!

Here's a rundown of upcoming deliveries. Arriving around 23 April:
Arriving around 15 May:
Arriving around 3 June:

UK Product Launch

Rapido's First UK Outline Model?

UK Product Launch

Please spread the word if you are reading this in the UK. Bill and I will be in the UK in June, and we will be hosting a Rapido Launch Party on Tuesday 24 June at Locomotion in Shildon. We'll be performing a 3D scan of our chosen locomotive, provided it is actually at Locomotion on the 24th. We're in the process of getting our ducks in a row to ensure that.

While I can't yet tell you what we're scanning, I can tell you that there will be nosh, exclusive badges (everyone loves exclusive badges) and tours of historical equipment not normally accessible to the public.

So if you live within a 900-mile radius of Shildon, please book off the 24th and plan to join us. It will be a lot of fun. We will have lots of samples of Rapido products so you can get a feel for our quality and our absurd level of detail. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

More info in an upcoming Rapido News. Please forward this newsletter to all your friends in Pommyland (using the link at the bottom of this email) and tell them to sign up for future issues!

Rapido Warehouse

A sea of boxes takes over the Rapido warehouse... again!

New (occasional) position at Rapido

Growing pains are good pains to have, but it means that we're having trouble keeping up. We've delivered more product in the first three months of this year than in any other three-month period in history. The downside is that we've been completely overwhelmed.

Most people don't realize that, including me, Rapido has only three full-time employees in Canada (plus one in the US and one in China). When we get a shipment of 5000+ freight cars in, it is processed almost entirely by Dan and Mike, with the occasional help of some of our friends. As a result, we've gotten really far behind on dealing with warranty issues and emails, and I'd like to apologize for that.

To help alleviate the workload when we get shipments in, we're looking for more people to help us in the warehouse. We pay $12 per hour by cheque or in Rapido goods. Note that it's not a full-time position. Basically we would give you notice of when shipments are coming in and if you are available you would come work at Rapido galactic headquarters for a few days. We get one or two shipments each month.

If you want to help us out, you preferably should:
  • be retired and a bit bored and looking for something to do
  • be healthy enough and have the stamina to bend down and stand up a lot while carrying boxes
  • be good with numbers
  • have good social skills
  • have a very solid understanding of personal hygiene...
Please get in touch with us if you think you can help out, and provide us with your bona fides. We're based in Markham, Ontario.

Dalya Rivka Shron

Waiting for the Train
Bonaventure Station, Montreal, Quebec


I think we can all agree that model railroading and railfanning are boys' hobbies. The vast majority of my customers and railfan friends are men. Thanks to a generous gift from Mike, my youngest son, Isaac, is currently in the height of his Thomas obsession. Boaz went through the same thing when he was that age. Dalya? Not as much.

But daughters can develop a love of trains. For most of them, that love of trains comes not from watching videos of F-Units or from playing with model trains, but from being with Daddy.

Dalya and Jason Shron

Boarding the LRC for Montreal

Last month I took Dalya to Montreal for one night. We got discounted tickets so we could travel in business class, and the trip was so special. When Dalya and I travel on the train, we don't get out our screens and space out. Instead, we look out the window and find exciting things to see. When we hear the horn, we start saying, "Here comes a crossing..." and when we finally pass the crossbucks whoever shouts "There it goes!" first wins.

Dalya on the train

Relaxing on one of VIA's beautifully rebuilt LRC Club cars

In Montreal, I made sure we stayed at a hotel with a good view of the tracks. The best view of the tracks downtown is without a doubt from the Hilton Bonaventure. It's across the street from Central Station, so you don't need to rent a car or even hire a taxi. After booking online, I called the front desk (ask for the front desk, not reservations) and requested a view of the tracks. Every time I have stayed at the Bonaventure I have got a room with a view, and this time was no exception:

View from Bonaventure Hilton, Montreal

Looking out our hotel window, #1

View from Bonaventure Hilton, Montreal

Looking out our hotel window, #2

I had to follow Dalya's lead if it was going to be a memorable experience for her. As much as I would have liked to go to Exporail or to ride the Montreal-area commuter trains all day, I made sure we did things she wanted to do, so we went swimming in the outdoor pool on the roof of the hotel (Brrrrr! I hate swimming, especially outside when it's below freezing!) and then we spent the morning at the Biodome! This is an amazing museum that recreates several different biological ecosystems in one building, from the mountains to rainforests to the Antarctic ice.

Dalya at the Biodome

Dalya in the rainforest at the Biodome in Montreal

I think it's easy and expected for those of us with boys or grandsons to share our train obsessions with them. We buy them wooden trains and train books, then model trains and train tickets. But what about our daughters and granddaughters? They can share in our passion as well, but if they aren't so receptive to the train toys and books, all is not lost.

Take them on the train. Let them associate their memories of the train with their memories of you. If they then decide to become modellers or railfans, it's a bonus. But more important to me is that Dalya will have fond memories of taking a special trip just with Daddy: of riding the GO train and the VIA train; of getting lost in the hotel in our towels and bathing suits; of seeing all sorts of animals at the Biodome; of riding the Metro and shopping in Place Ville Marie; and of getting back to Toronto past bedtime and falling asleep in Daddy's lap on the late-night GO bus.

I hope she remembers these special moments when she is older and when I am gone. And if seeing or riding a train brings her back to that place, then I have succeeded.

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

Dalya and P42DC

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