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Dear Rapido Customer,
Though I'll never pass up the opportunity to cause mild offense (or major offense, if you have no sense of humour), I don't want to sound like I'm dissing the Phase 1s, the attractive beasties that they are. They did vastly outnumber the Phase 2s, after all.
Above is a photo of a Phase 1 RDC on the left coupled to a Phase 2 RDC on the right. You can see the differences pretty clearly. The roof ends are completely different in shape, and the only way we were able to match these contours precisely was to do a 3D scan of both prototypes (which we did!). You can also see the differences around the doors and the way the fluting terminates.
When I was looking at this picture the other day I called Bill in a panic. "We have a problem! Did you notice the Phase 1 and Phase 2 doors are different widths?" Bill started hemming and hawing, and mentally started drafting the panic email to the factory. But then I opened the 3D designs from the factory and - sure enough - the doors are different widths on our model. Phew! Saved by the 3D scan again!
The Phase 2 RDC has a different roof blister than the Phase 1 RDC. But, as you can see above, the Phase 1 RDC has two different roof blisters as well! (Actually three, but we're looking at the ceiling and whistling when you mention that. The Phase 1a blister was only used on a handful of units.) We're pleased to let you know we're tooling all three blisters shown above.
Our goal with the Rapido Absolute RDC is that you'll never need another one. We are tooling all of these myriad variations so that you feel that the Rapido RDC model will last you the rest of your life. Should the technology change and we all ditch our DC and DCC layouts for something different (ion drives, perhaps?) then there will be room for a new RDC model. But until then, we want you to be satisfied with our RDC model even if you are a young'un and the Rapido RDC is still soldiering on your layout 50 years from now.
Back to spotting differences... When the Phase 2 RDC comes hurtling down the track, one can't help but be impressed by its manly unibrow.
That Phase 2 unibrow is awesome, isn't it? And being close friends with Dan the Portuguese Superman I heartily approve of unibrows. My own personal favourite RDCs are Canada's rebuilt Phase 1s which look to me like they are wearing a funny British hat on each end. Fancy a tour of the Tower of London on an RDC, anyone? Pip pip, top hole, cheerio and all that!
That wacky hat on the Canadian units was done to allow the installation of diaphragms. Many American and Canadian RDCs were modified to have diaphragms installed, and we will be tooling the Amtrak/B&O version of the "hat" as well (along with many other prototype-specific details).
Just to remind you again (because I haven't mentioned it enough times), we are doing both Phase 1 and Phase 2 RDCs in our first production run. Please refer to the listings on our web site if you wish to check whether the product number you are ordering is a Phase 1 or a Phase 2. We recommend you buy both...
Here is a complete rundown of our Absolute RDC features:
We have a team of experts working with us to finalize all of the RDC design work over the next four weeks and the RDC will enter tooling in the first week of March. We expect to have the first samples in the spring, and we'll be sure to show you lots of photos in a future issue of Rapido News. We plan to be at the National Train Show this year where you will have the opportunity to see them in person before the order deadline of September 30th, 2015.
RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3, RDC-9 (and RDC-4!)
The RDC was delivered in five major variations. The RDC-1 contained coach seating only. The RDC-2 was a combination coach-baggage. The RDC-3 was a combination baggage-mail-coach. The RDC-9 was a trailing coach unit with no cab and only one motor. And the RDC-4 was a shorty RPO/baggage only. Until we upload our brilliant Master Class, you can read more information about the variations at the Wikipedia RDC page, here.
As I mentioned in our January newsletter, we are tooling up the RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3. If you want to see the RDC-9 and/or the RDC-4 models produced, please encourage everyone you know to order our RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3 models. If we exceed our sales targets, we can do the two oddballs. The RDC-4 requires a massive tooling investment, so sales need to be really strong to encourage us to produce those weirdoes. I've actually driven an RDC-4. That was the second neatest thing I've ever driven. The first neatest thing was my friend's grandmother's K Car which was equipped with warp nacelles.
The first production run comprises just RDC-1s. As it is, we're only announcing fewer than half the possible RDC-1 paint schemes and we've already got almost 100 item numbers! Some of our distributors are ready to hang Bill and me up by our toenails.
So if you don't see your favourite (or favorite) scheme listed, please have no fear! It may be that your railroad did not have any RDC-1s (ALASKA!) or that we just couldn't fit it into the first run. Here's the link again to our RDC web pages.
HO Scale RDC - American Version
Our American RDC models feature numerous roadname-specific details, including accurate roof blisters; etched window safety grills; shop-built headlight assemblies; pilots or no pilots as appropriate; accurate interior colors for each roadname; and optional diaphragms, as appropriate.
Most importantly, all of our RDCs feature full interiors; full underbody equipment; lit numberboards, headlight and class lights; and the option of amazingly accurate sound.
Full information, including car and product numbers, can be found here. The MSRP is $325 for DCC/DC/Sound or $225 for DC Silent. Click on any paint scheme below to go directly to that scheme. You can reserve the RDC with your dealer or directly with us.
Click here to visit our American RDC web page.
Once again, click here to visit our American RDC web page.
HO Scale RDC - Canadian Version
Like so many other prototype locomotives, Canada's RDCs tended to be just a little bit different. Our Canadian RDC models feature accurate Canuck modifications, such as the unusual headlight and number board assembly and rebuilt, smaller windshields used on CN's Phase 1 units, as well as accurate Canadian horns and diaphragms.
CN and CP rostered large numbers of RDCs, which later passed to VIA. The RDC served branchlines from coast to coast, and were a means of reducing the costs of unprofitable local runs. They were also ubiquitous on the mainline, often running in long consists. CN's oddball RDCs (many sporting rebuilt headlight assemblies and diaphragms) could be found across the country in early years and mainly in the Toronto area in later years. Eager to cut costs, CP used the RDCs everywhere, especially in commuter service, the Maritimes, and Vancouver Island.
In VIA years, the RDC formed the backbone of shorter services in Quebec, the Toronto area and the Maritimes, as well as in Alberta and BC. PGE and later BCR used a fair number of RDCs in British Columbia right up until 2002. VIA still uses RDCs in northern Ontario and has tentative plans to use them in other services in the future, including returning them to Vancouver Island.
Canadian Pacific RDCs operated into the United States in New York and New England, and Canadian National RDCs operated into Vermont and Minnesota. As well, much of CN's RDC fleet came secondhand from the United States, including more than 15 from the Boston & Maine.
At this point we don't have plans to produce the massively wacky rebuilds (snack bars, RDC-5 conversions, etc.) as we would not want to deprive our Canadian customers the opportunity to do some kitbashing!
Canadian Pacific regularly ran their RDCs in commuter service on trains that really should have been conventional equipment. It was not unusual to see 11 RDCs in one train. VIA continued this tradition with some absolutely massive RDC trains, especially between Toronto and London or Toronto and Niagara Falls.
We have received a number of emails requesting that we don't bring out all of our Canadian RDCs at once to allow you guys to afford to model these longer trains. So in this first run, we're dividing up the paint schemes and only doing Phase 1 units for some and Phase 2 units for others. We are also leaving several paint schemes and paint scheme variations for the next run as there were simply too many to do at one time.
Full information, including car and product numbers, can be found here. We have decided to reduce the Canadian MSRP to $325 for DCC/DC/Sound and $225 for DC Silent. If the Canadian dollar does not recover, this will hurt us. But you know what? I don't care. I personally need about 25 of these, and I know I am not alone. If anyone else in Canada wants to model a big fleet, I want to ensure that you guys can afford it.
If the Canadian dollar continues to fall, the prices will have to go up, obviously. But if the loonie is trading at $0.80 US or higher when we deliver the RDCs, we'll hold the price to $325/$225.
Click on any paint scheme below to go directly to that scheme. You can reserve the RDC with your dealer or directly with us.
Click here to visit our Canadian RDC web page.
Once again, click here for full information about our Canadian RDC. And remember that order deadline - September 30th. Plenty of time to save up!
HO Scale RailCrew Switch Machines and Uncouplers
While Rapido is best known for its museum-quality locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars, we want to help you recreate the entire rail travel experience on your layout. You may remember our amazing "Totally Wired" Telephone Poles that were available between 2009 and 2011 before the factory tripled the price on us. By the way, we do still intend to bring those back in the next couple of years.
The new RailCrew HO scale range kicks off with a switch machine (and matching switch stands with rotating targets) and a low-profile ON-OFF remote, magnetic uncoupler. RailCrew was born when Canadian inventor and model railroader Randy Schnarr visited us back in 2012 with his awesome new ideas, which happened to be exactly what I needed for my own triple-deck Kingston Sub layout. RailCrew products are ideal for a new layout and can easily be added into your already-finished masterpiece.
RailCrew Switch Machine
The RailCrew Switch Machine is the only hidden switch machine guaranteed to turn heads after you install it on your layout. As well as the machine itself, it comes with three different WORKING plastic switch stands and ten different photo-etched metal targets based on most major North American railroad designs. It also includes two styles of (unlit) lanterns. The target actually rotates just like the real thing. Yes, you read that correctly. The unit also comes complete with SPDT auxiliary contacts to power frogs and signals.
The switch machine works by moving the throwbar to your points, just like the real thing. And the target rotates, just like the real thing. This is ideal for shoulder- and eye-level layouts where you can't necessarily see which way the points are set. Each RailCrew Switch Machine comes with three different switch stands and 10 targets, so you have plenty to choose from!
The mechanism is barely the thickness of your subroadbed, which is a massive step up from the bulky machines on the market today. This makes our switch machine ideal for multi-deck layouts, even with the tightest vertical clearances. We know we'll never unseat the Tortoise, but we want to be Number Two!
You can easily add an accessory decoder to our Switch Machine, and you can order the switch stands separately. Click here to visit the web site for product number and pricing information. This will be a stock item, but ordering in advance is advised if you want to get your Switch Machines and Switch Stands in the first batch. The first shipment is due to arrive in early May, and then we will keep making more so long as we keep getting orders from you guys!
RailCrew ON-OFF Remote Uncoupler
The RailCrew ON-OFF Remote Uncoupler sits under the roadbed to reliably uncouple locomotives, passenger or freight cars, no matter what brand of standard magnetic knuckle couplers you use. At just 1 3/4" (44mm) wide and 7/8" (22mm) deep it's not much larger than a permanent magnet and can be easily controlled by DCC accessory decoders. It also features an LED between the rails that marks the uncoupling zone which only operates when in the "ON" position. This is handy to have as the uncoupler is totally hidden from view.
When the uncoupler is "off" it has no effect on the couplers on your equipment. That means you won't have any unwanted uncoupling. This is really handy in large yards and on the mainline, especially near runaround tracks or industrial spurs.
As a passenger train modeller, this uncoupler is absolutely essential for me. Randy keeps reminding me that it is even more useful for freight switching (especially in hard-to-reach areas) but for those of us who have diaphragm-equipped passenger cars, uncoupling is currently an absolute nightmare. The new RailCrew ON-OFF Remote Uncoupler solves that beautifully, and most importantly I can use it on my multiple-deck layout.
Here is the rundown:
The RailCrew ON-OFF Remote Uncoupler is available as a single unit, in a six-pack or in a 12-pack. Installation onto an existing layout is easy: drill a 1/8" hole between the ties at the track centre line. Insert the steel centering pin (included) into your hole saw and cut a larger hole from beneath the subroadbed using the 1/8" hole as a guide. Push the uncoupler in from below and connect the power. That's it. If you are doing a new layout build you can do the entire installation from above.
Full information can be found here. Like the Switch Machines, these will be stock items and the first shipment is arriving in early May.
We'll soon be launching a revolutionary new roadbed to go with these awesome accessories. Stay tuned!
HO Scale Superior Stainless New Haven Coaches
Rapido is well known for its highly-detailed passenger cars, so we don't want the details of the New Haven 8600-Series Coaches to be lost in all the talk of RDCs and RailCrew accessories. If you're one of the many customers who has pre-ordered an FL9 you'll want to read on. You'll need something to run or display with your FL9 after all!
Pullman-Standard built 180 lightweight stainless steel passenger cars for the New Haven at the old Osgood Bradley factory in Worcester, MA, after the Second World War. 103 coaches were built from 1947, with the rest being made up of parlor cars, diners, grill diners, combination baggage buffet lounge/parlors, and two tavern lounge observation cars. They were used system-wide on all the New Haven's most famous trains well into the Penn Central era. Around three quarters of the coaches were later sold to MBTA and continued serving Boston area commuters until 1988.
We pre-announced the coaches at the New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association's annual reunion last November and they have been generating lots of discussion amongst northeastern modelers ever since. It's great to read that there is strong demand for these vehicles, so we're pleased to finally be able to provide full details of paint schemes and numbers. Remember, if the coaches sell well then there is a strong possibility that the parlors, and maybe even the diners and combination baggage buffet lounge/parlors, will follow in the future.
Our HO scale Superior Stainless model of the 8600-series coach is being produced in association with NHRHTA. It will be produced in five paint schemes, each with ten different numbers available. The cars will also be available fully painted but unnumbered (and will include the necessary decals). Click on each scheme for product number and car number info.
There will also be two painted and unlettered versions of the coach in both original skirted and skirtless configurations. These will not have a color window band, allowing you to modify the basic finish to your own specification. Perfect for oddball schemes and for those that want to add a little post-war stainless steel glamor to their own railroads.
The MSRP is $99 per car (higher in Canada) and each has the following features:
The order deadline is September 30th, and these cars will be delivered in early 2016. Click here to visit our New Haven 8600-Series Coach web page. You can reserve the 8600 coaches with your dealer or directly from us, but note that the minimum direct order is two cars. The McGinnis scheme with skirts can be ordered directly from NHRHTA.
N and HO Scales Order Deadline Reminder
We have three big order deadlines coming up.
February 20th - HO Scale Superior Stainless Mid-Train Dome
Make sure you get your orders in on time for the Mid-Train Dome, featuring our insane amount of detail inside and out, such as see-through arm rests in the dome seats and all separate piping and conduit under the floor. Available in American and Canadian paint schemes. Click here for info or to order. Delivery is in fall 2015.
March 9th - HO Scale FL9 Locomotive
We've postponed the order deadline for the HO Scale FL9 until March 9th so we can show the pre-production sample photo in Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. March 9th is the absolute latest you can get your order in. Production begins on March 11th, and any orders received after March 9th cannot be guaranteed. We are not making inventory on these models so please order from your dealer or direct by the 9th to make sure you are not disappointed. Dealers please note that your distributors are not carrying a ton of stock so we advise you to order a few for the shelf - this is the first mass-produced FL9 model EVER RELEASED. Click here for more info.
March 17th - N Scale Meat Reefer and HO Scale GMD-1
St. Patrick's Day is the deadline for our N scale Meat Reefer and the HO Scale 1100-series GMD-1 Locomotive. Orders for the Cuban GMD-1 locomotives are also due on the 17th. If you want these let us know because I think we only have orders for about three of them.... Why don't you celebrate the thawing of American-Cuban relations by ordering a bunch of Cuban locomotives? Oh well, it was worth a shot... Click here to view the GMD-1s for Canada and Cuba, the "Pearl of the Antilles." (That's a nickname for Cuba, or so I have been told by The Wikipedia.)
We don't plan to make inventory of the N Scale Reefers so please get your orders in on time. Dealers please note that the Meat Reefers are sold in four-packs but are packaged for individual sale. Also dealers please note that full wholesale discounts apply. Click here for full information about the N scale Meat Reefers.
The N scale FL9 Locomotive order deadline is postponed until we can show you a pre-production sample, which will hopefully be in the next newsletter. We wouldn't want you to commit to ordering these sight unseen!
N and HO Scales Shipping Update
We have had numerous shipments in the last little while and more on the way.
In early January, we shipped out the VIA F40PH-2D locomotives. Several stores still have some available, so please contact your dealer to order. These are not available direct, unless you live in the UK.
A couple of weeks ago we shipped out the N scale GMD-1 locomotives. While DCC users have been thrilled with the engines, we have since discovered that the locomotives have been behaving oddly in DC. For instance, the headlights on the silent models don't work unless you turn them on in DCC first! This doesn't help our customers who don't have access to a DCC system. As well, the way that the short-hood forward silent locomotives are wired results in the silent models going backwards on many DC systems.
I owe an apology to our N scale DC customers. In each of our HO locomotive manuals, I rib DC users for not switching to DCC. It's all meant to be in good fun, because our HO scale models do actually work well in DC. In the manual for the N GMD-1, I included the usual chastising of DC control. But our model hasn't worked reliably in DC, which made us look like jerks and upset several people. So I apologize to our N scale DC users for the tone of the instructions, especially in light of the fact that there are indeed running issues in DC. I will be honest and say I can't promise never to make silly DC jokes in our instructions (because I like making silly DC jokes), but we'll make darn sure the models run reliably in DC before I do.
There is a caveat, however. The reality is that it is becoming more and more difficult for us to make models in 2015 that are backwards compatible with a model train control technology that has remained essentially unchanged since the 1930s. We will keep trying, as we know a lot of you still use DC control. But sometimes issues crop up that are caused by that disconnect between 21st-century electronics and early 20th-century electrics. In the case of the N scale GMD-1, we made decisions without Mike (Rapido's own N scaler and DC modeller) being in the office and we now realize that they weren't the right decisions for DC users. I take full responsibility for that.
If you model in DC and you are having running issues with your N scale GMD-1, we are working on a number of options to help fix it. For more information, please visit our N scale GMD-1 support pages, located here.
Newly arrived in our warehouse are the Panorama Line N scale 10-5 Sleeper and Cafe-Bar-Lounge cars, along with the surprise run of Duplex Sleepers. These look stunning. Because these were a surprise run, we have some availability on the Duplex Sleepers and on the Burlington Northern Executive Scheme cars. Please contact your dealer to order.
Click here for more information on the 10-5 Sleeper; click here for more info on the Cafe-Bar-Lounge cars; click here for more information on the surprise run of Duplex Sleepers and Coaches; and click here for more information on the business cars.
After more than eight years since I first announced this as a resin kit, the ready-to-run LRC Locomotives are on their way. VIA (the regular scheme, not the weird blue thing) has left the factory and is currently boarding a ship in Hong Kong port. The remaining locomotives will leave the factory in the next few days. So... For real this time... the LRC will be here in March! Click here for more information about the LRC.
Because a few stores have closed down since we announced these models a lifetime ago, we will probably have a handful left in stock. Please email us if you have suddenly decided you absolutely need one (or six). If you have not been in touch with your store in a long time and you reserved these back when Gordon Jump was still playing Mr. Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati, please check to see if your store is still around and still has your engine on order. If not, please give us a shout.
Nope. Don't know what those are.
The first shipment of HO scale FPA-4 and FPB-4 Locomotives is leaving the factory on Tuesday and is expected to arrive in late March. (Shipments take longer than usual at this time of year because of Chinese New Year.) This shipment comprises CN (1954) and CN (Noodle). The remaining schemes will leave the factory at the end of March, once we are able to find some new workers to replace the ones that don't come back after New Year!
We have onesies and twosies available for most FPA-4 and FPB-4 product numbers in the two CN schemes (sound only), so please contact us or your dealer if you missed the train on this one. We also have availability on the US schemes. VIA, however, is completely sold out, except for a couple of B units. VIA was the highest-selling paint scheme for the FPA-4. I would have thought the CN stripes would be more popular but what do I know?
More information on the Rapido/MLW FPA-4 and FPB-4 can be found here.
Rapido is Hiring!
If you've been frustrated lately by the fact that it is so hard to get in touch with us, we share your frustration. A lot of people have suddenly taken notice of Rapido and, as a result, we've been inundated with calls and emails. Being a small company, we haven't been able to handle the increased attention, so it's time to change that!
Rapido is looking for a new, full-time employee to work out of our increasingly-cramped Markham office. (We're working on that too...) Have a look at our list of criteria below and please get in touch if you think you may be the man or woman for the job.
Before applying, please take note of these TWO important points:
Now that the formal stuff is out of the way, here's what we're looking for:
Please email Dan or me with a cover letter and resume if you think you fit the bill. Hopefully this list discourages shrubbers this time.
That's it for this newsletter. We actually had more stuff to include, but we wanted you to finish reading the newsletter before Easter so we left it off.
We'll be at the Copetown Show this Sunday. Click here for more info. Copetown is located about an hour west of Toronto and is my favourite show. Unfortunately I have to leave around 13:00 so I can get back in time to take my son to hockey (I'm his goalie coach, the poor guy), so if you want to come and chat with me specifically please come early. Dan and Randy will be there until the end of the show. We'll have the RailCrew stuff on display along with some other goodies.
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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