Rapido News

Rapido News Volume 70 - ©2015 Rapido Trains Inc.

Dear Rapido Customer,

In this issue we have not one but TWO completely new product announcements in HO and N scales. Click on a link below or simply read on!

All Aboard the Rapido

No other way to travel...

Join Us Aboard the Rapido!

For over twenty years, the name "Rapido" represented the ultimate achievement in fast and comfortable train service in Canada. CN and VIA's Rapido was the inspiration for our company name, and now we're coming full circle by running our own "Rapido" between Toronto and Montreal.

In partnership with VIA Rail Canada, Rapido has chartered a dome car (either a Park Car or a Skyline - we'll know closer to the time) and a VIA 1 Club Car to travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on Sunday 11 October, returning the next day after our Rapido Product Launch Party at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. We are inviting you, our regular customers, to join us on this exclusive ride aboard The Rapido.

VIA Canadian Pickering

Domes Between Toronto and Montreal in 1983
(They're way at the back - you need to squint a bit!)

The neat thing is Rapido has produced every piece of equipment in this photo, including the telephone pole!
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.

Dome cars have not travelled between Toronto and Montreal during daylight hours since 1985, and they haven't travelled between Toronto and Ottawa in VIA service ever. Similarly, dome cars have not run between Ottawa and Montreal since January, 1990. Our train will be your first opportunity in over 25 years to ride a dome car on the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal route.

All in all, we've put together a railfan's dream two-day mini-vacation, and we'd like you to join the Rapido team on board this adventure. Here are the details:
  • Rail travel from Toronto to Dorval via Ottawa on train 52, Sunday 11 October
  • Exclusive use of our private Dome Car and Club Car on board
  • Lunch, hot and cold drinks provided with alcoholic drinks available for purchase
  • Accommodation at the Fairfield Inn & Suites adjacent to the CN and CP tracks in Dorval
  • Charter coach to Exporail on Monday 12 October for the Rapido Product Launch Party
  • Admission to Exporail and access to exclusive equipment tours
  • Complimentary lunch and Rapido new product T-Shirt
  • Charter coach to Montreal Central Station
  • Rail travel from Montreal to Toronto via Cornwall on train 69, Monday 12 October
  • Exclusive use of our private Dome Car and Club Car on board
  • Dinner, hot and cold drinks provided with alcoholic drinks available for purchase

VIA Skyline

On Board VIA's Skyline Dome Car
Photo courtesy VIA Rail Canada.

The total cost for this trip is $450 (double accommodation, per person) or $500 (single accommodation). If you just want to join us for the train ride and you don't require accommodation or admission to Exporail in Montreal, the cost is just $400. We can only sell return trips, but if you want to split the train travel with a friend and each go one way on The Rapido, that is certainly permitted.

We are limiting reservations aboard The Rapido to just 60 people. To ensure total fairness in booking, we've set up a live shopping cart on the Kingston Sub server. When 60 reservations have been made, the cart will no longer accept bookings. Reservations are available purely on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to book.

Book Now

Boaz Shron in the dome

Boaz makes good use of the Park Car dome on board The Canadian.
I feel like that photo was just taken recently but he's ten years old now...

Ride The Rapido FAQ

Can I still come to the launch if I don't ride The Rapido?
  • Of course! All are welcome to the launch. Just pay normal Exporail admission when you arrive. The festivities start at 10:00 on Monday 12 October. The price is the regular Exporail admission, and you can purchase the special T-shirt at the launch.
What are the places, dates and times for the Rapido?
  • Outbound Trip
    Departure: Toronto Union Station, 11 October 2015, 09:25
    Arrival: Montreal Dorval Station, 15:50
  • Return Trip
    Departure: Montreal Central Station, 12 October 2015, 17:00
    Arrival: Toronto Union Station, 21:51
How much does it cost?

  • $400 (return train travel only), $450 (double accommodation, per person), $500 (single accommodation).
    Accommodation prices include travel in Montreal, admission to Exporail, free T-shirt, and lunch at Exporail.
Is this a separate train?

  • No. It's two chartered train cars coupled to the rear of VIA's regularly-scheduled passenger trains.
Can I travel one way?

  • We are only selling return tickets, but you may split the ticket with a friend and each go one way. We would need to be informed in advance if you decide to do this
Is travel from/to Ottawa or other intermediate stations permitted?

  • Unfortunately, no. The charter agreement with VIA is from Toronto to Montreal and return.
Is my ticket refundable?

  • Tickets are non-refundable. But if you can't make it and you can find someone to go in your place, we can change the name on the ticket for no charge.
Click here to book your tickets now!

FA-2 Models Suck

Let's face it. All the FA-2 models out there suck!

NEW! HO Scale FA-2/FPA-2

As more and more museum-quality locomotives are released by a number of fine manufacturers, those models we thought were "top notch" back when George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton were president no longer make the cut. While it can be argued that EMD's F-unit has been properly addressed in HO scale, our options for the iconic Alco FA-2 are very limited: one model approaching its 25th birthday and another model that is "train set" quality.

Well, not any more.

Great Northern FPA-2 277-B

Great Northern FPA-2 #277-B leads the International in July 1962.

Photo by Peter Cox, courtesy Mark Perry.

Rapido is pleased to announce the definitive HO scale model of the Alco/MLW FA-2 and FPA-2. The FA-2 was Alco's response to the ubiquitous EMD F7 that was swiftly becoming the locomotive of choice for many freight and passenger railroads. The FA-2 was intended for freight service while the FPA-2 included a steam generator for heating passenger cars and its obligatory large water tank. Our models will have the correct details for each version.

Delivered between October 1950 (Erie 736A) and June 1956 (L&N 211), a total of 283 FA-2 and FPA-2 locomotives were built by Alco in Schenectady, New York for 12 different American railroads. A further 51 FA-2 and FPA-2 locomotives were built under licence by Montreal Locomotive Works for CP, CN and NdeM. Each 1600-HP locomotive had a 12-cylinder Alco 244 prime mover. These proved unreliable, which accounts for why these locomotives rarely lasted past 1970.

However, many were repowered with reliable Alco 251 engines or even EMD prime movers and lasted much longer. The hardiest survivors were no doubt the Long Island's 11 FA-2s used to provide Head End Power to its commuter fleet. LIRR 3100 (former Western Maryland FA-2 #304) is still on the commuter railroad's roster, albeit without a cab!


PRR FA-2 9608A leads an eastbound freight on Horseshoe Curve, September 13, 1958.

Photo courtesy William D. Volkmer.

When it comes to FA-2 locomotives, one size definitely does not fit all. There were substantial variations from railroad to railroad, and we're covering all of the major ones. Rapido is the first company ever to offer in ready-to-run form:
  • Correct water/fuel tank combination for the FPA-2
  • Steam Generator Roof Panel
  • Vertical battery box louvers
  • Farr bodyside grilles
  • Prototype-specific details
  • Underbody piping and conduit
  • Nose louvers for B&O
  • FA-2 Trainphone Antenna for PRR
In all, we are actually tooling four different fuel and fuel/water tanks: two FA-2 fuel tanks (one for CP and one for everyone else) and two FPA-2 fuel/water tanks (one for CP/CN and one for everyone else). Darn CP. That railroad keeps costing us more money!

Most importantly, our Alco/MLW FA-2 and FPA-2 are the ONLY FA-2 models ever produced that are scaled from a 3D scan of the prototype, FPA-4 #6765 in Exporail. The nose on our model is the only one guaranteed to be the correct shape, as it's the only one designed from a 3D scan! It is quite different from the nose used on older models. They were far off the mark.

Canadian Pacific FPA-2

Canadian Pacific FPA-2 in the "Script" Scheme
Note the crazy Canadian fuel tank! We just have to be contrary up here in the Far North...

Photo courtesy Dave Love.

Here's a complete rundown of the Alco/MLW FA-2 and FPA-2 product features:
  • HO Scale DC or DC/DCC/SOUND
  • 5-pole, skew-wound motor with excellent slow-speed performance
  • Operating number boards, headlights and two-color class lights (white/green)
  • Roadname-specific details
  • Dynamic brakes
  • Etched-metal grilles (Farr or chicken wire, as appropriate)
  • Full underbody piping and conduit
  • Correct, roadnames-specific FA-2 and FPA-2 fuel tanks
  • Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis
  • Full cab interior
  • Accurate ESU LokSound recordings from a real Alco 244 prime mover
  • Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height
If you would like to get a feel for how our FA-2 and FPA-2 models will look and behave, I recommend you watch James Wright's review of our recent FPA-4 locomotive. The FPA-4 and FA-2/FPA-2 are "cut from the same cloth." If you are impressed with the FPA-4, you will love our FA-2/FPA-2. Click here or on the image below to watch it.

Rapido locomotive review

The MSRP is $225 (DC) and $325 (DC/DCC/Sound). The MSRP in Canada may increase slightly depending on the value of the Canadian dollar at time of delivery. (Hey, Canada - Can you hear the sound of a toilet flushing?)

Please click here for full information on the Rapido FA-2 and FPA-2. You can reserve with your local hobby shop or directly with us. As usual, these engines will be made to order.

Delivery is expected in summer 2016. The order deadline is Friday, February 12th 2016. You will be able to see and hear the FA-2 in person at the Springfield Show before placing your reservation.

Click on a paint scheme below for more info or to place your order.

(Note: The links below go to the FA-2/FPA-2 page on our web site with US dollar pricing. If you are viewing from Canada, click here to go to the Canadian page for Canadian dollar pricing.)

Rapido B&O FA-2

Baltimore & Ohio FA-2 and FPA-2

Rapido CNR FA-2

Canadian National FA-2 (Delivery Logo and 1954 Logo)

Rapido CPR FA-2

Canadian Pacific (Block) FA-2 and FPA-2

Rapido CP FA-2

Canadian Pacific (Script) FA-2 and FPA-2

Rapido Erie FA-2

Erie FA-2

Rapido GN FA-2

Great Northern FPA-2

Rapido LV FA-2

Lehigh Valley FPA-2

Rapido NYC FA-2

New York Central FA-2

Rapido PRR FA-2

Pennsylvania Railroad FA-2

Plus undecorated, which can be found here. Undecorated units have both Farr and chicken wire grilles, as well as horizontal battery box louvers. If you don't see the paint scheme of your choice, don't worry! We have further runs planned.

1400-Series GMD-1

Modern Canadian GMD-1.
Sorry, HO modellers. This will be in N scale only for now!

Photo courtesy Ken Goslett.

NEW! N Scale Modern GMD-1

Rapido has focused more on the "transition eras" of the 1950s and the 1970s in our model releases, and the contemporary modellers have been bugging us for more modern stuff. So we are pleased to announce the 1400-series GMD-1 Locomotive in N scale.

The fact that the GMD-1 is still widely used across Canada despite major fleet rationalizations over the last ten years is a testament to its resilience and reliability. In 1988, CN began a rebuild program on its GMD-1 fleet. The 1600s - locomotive class GR-612a or GMD-1A - retained their three-axle trucks and small fuel tank and were used on branchlines. The 1400s - locomotive class GR-412a or GMD-1B - were used on mainlines and in yards. These had two-axle Flexicoil trucks recovered from retired lightweight GP9s.

By the late 1990s, the number of light-rail-equipped branchlines had dwindled to a handful. The 1600s were upgraded to 1400s - the larger, 2000-gallon fuel tank and two-axle Flexicoil trucks were added from retired 1100-series GMD-1 locomotives. These new 1400s, numbered 1430-1444, were classified GR-412b. General Motors Roadswitcher, 4 Axles, 1200 horsepower, group B. We are releasing every number of GR-412b still operational (as of last year), along with an unnumbered version so you can have the specific unit of your choice.

GMD-1 1435

1435 and 1434 pose in Winnipeg in 1999, one year after being outshopped.

Lessons Learned

We learned a great deal from our first run of GMD-1 locomotives. Our 1400-Series GMD-1A will have precisely-spaced wheelsets for trouble-free running over most commercial turnouts. It will be offered in straight DC or DCC/Sound. Most importantly for DC users, it will travel in the same direction as the other locomotives in your fleet. We won't get our wires crossed this time...

However, we would very much welcome the input of experienced N scalers out there. The trouble we're having is that there does not appear to be an N scale standard for circuit boards and DCC dummy plugs. We don't want to strike out on our own with this one - we'd rather get your feedback. So please email us your suggestions, wiring diagrams, you name it. We'll follow the best/most common advice for our DC version. We want the model to be easily upgraded to DCC but reliable for DC operation.

And I promise no more jokes about DC control for our N scale customers! I'm still plucking the tar and feathers out of my favourite shirt...

Below is a cross-section of our 1400-Series GMD-1A. (Ignore the backwards-facing seat.) I've shown the dimensions of our available space, and you can see we don't have a lot of room for a circuit board and DCC plug... Your feedback is welcome!

Rapido GMD-1 cross section

Rapido GMD-1A Cross Section

The N scale 1400-Series GMD-1A features:
  • DC silent or DC/DCC/Sound
  • Accurate upgraded EMD 645C prime mover recordings
  • 5-pole, skew-wound motor with excellent slow-speed performance
  • DC models wired to match the rest of your DC fleet
  • Accurate dimensions from GMD blueprints and field measurements
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis for great pulling power
  • Accurate four-wheel Flexicoil trucks and 2000-gallon fuel tank
  • Full cab interior oriented the correct way (short hood forward)
  • Body-mounted Micro-Trains couplers
  • MSRP $159 (DC), $259 (DC/DCC/Sound)
You can read more or place your order by clicking here. Reservations need to be in by Wednesday 30 September. Some of our printed advertisements say that the deadline is at the end of October, but we have a production slot at the factory opening up in early October and we want to include these models in that slot. So please reserve yours on time.

Click here to read our GMD-1 Master Class.

GMD-1 1435

1438 rests in Symington Yard, Winnipeg, in 2011.

What about the first-run GMD-1 fixes?

Aye, there's the rub. In order to meet the MOQ (minimum order quantity) for the replacement GMD-1 chassis, we needed to increase the numbers of GMD-1 locomotives we're making. Hence the announcement of 1400s. So those of you grateful for the announcement of the 1400s can thank our mess-up on the DC-powered 1600s....

The replacement first-run wheelsets will be here next month. The replacement chassis will be delivered alongside the 1400s in early 2016. If we've already received your "box tops" for the replacement GMD-1 chassis, we appreciate your patience. Along with your new chassis we will send you one complimentary N scale Meat Reefer as a way of saying "Sorry for the delay."

More information about the first-run GMD-1 fixes can be found here. And in case you missed the ten other links, you can find out more about the new 1400s and place your order by clicking here.

Rick Abramson's model railroad

Rick Abramson's Beautiful New Haven Layout.
I had to wipe my drool off the catenary...

HO Scale FL9 Full Product Features Video

The first shipment of HO scale FL9 locomotives is due to arrive in a week! As we're getting very excited for our first fully-fledged, 100% American prototype locomotive model, we decided to take two production samples to Rick Abramson's famous New Haven layout near Bridgeport, Connecticut. Click here or on the image below to watch the FL9 locomotive in action, incuding a demonstration of many of its unique functions.

Rapido FL9 Video

You can read about our FL9 locomotive here. We're sold out of the FL9 (except for a handful of the more modern schemes) but some dealers may have ordered inventory. If you think the FL9 is awesome and you didn't pre-order, please consider pre-ordering Rapido products in the future. How about an RDC or six?

Rapido Passenger Car Edmundston

Ted Wakeford (left) and Mark Magers roll a truck out from under our 1:1 scale model.

The Latest on Our 1:1 Scale Pullman-Standard Sleeping Car

I'd like to thank everyone for their words of support and encouragement after our last newsletter. It was heartening to read so many kind comments and I'm glad to know that most of you support Rapido's efforts to preserve a part of our railway heritage. For those of you new to our newsletters, we recently got in over our heads by purchasing a full-size Pullman-Standard sleeping car, Edmundston. You can read about it in our blog here and in our last newsletter here.

Click here or on the image below for a video of our latest adventure preparing our money pit passenger car for its move north.

Rapido Passenger Car Video

If you live along the CSX and CP lines from Marietta, Georgia to Streetsville, Ontario (via Cincinnati and Detroit), please keep an eye out for our car. We'll be posting updates on its travel on our Facebook page, and we would like to post your photos of it if you catch it on its way. If you have access to railway equipment tracking, the car is ORXX1115. Please let us know where it is!

All going well, you will be able to ride in Edmundston this fall. We'll let you know the details through our newsletter and on the new Edmundston web page as soon as we know them ourselves!

Rapido Osgood Bradley Coach

N Scale New Haven/B&M Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coach

N Scale New Haven Osgood Bradley Coaches

We've been delivering a lot of new product lately, and our time from announcement to delivery is usually within a year. That is, except for certain products.

We saw our first samples of the N scale Osgood Bradley coaches last August, and to be blunt they were not up to snuff. The tooling was not at an acceptable Rapido level, and it was one of the reasons we decided to stop using that tooling factory. We have redesigned the model from the ground up, and it is currently in one of our new tooling workshops.

The shell is now a one-piece casting including the roof. The batteries for the Easy-Peasy lighting are still easily accessible, but there won't be a big gap between the body side and the roof. The Easy-Peasy lighting will now feature surface-mount LEDs rather than a clumsy lightway, and we have significantly improved the interior detail. Have a look:

Rapido Osgood Bradley Coach Interior

N Scale Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coach Interior

The MSRP remains unchanged at $59.95. We will have decorated samples at the Springfield Show and the order deadline will be shortly afterward, on Friday, February 12th, 2016. Please click here for more information or to place your order.

Rapido CP FP9A tooling

Canadian Pacific FP9A New Tooling - Mould Core

China Factory Update

As in the case of the N scale Osgood Bradley coaches, we felt that some of our old tooling needed to be refreshed. The tooling for our FP9A Locomotive has been through literally dozens of modifications. Remember when we first tooled a completely wrong nose? The tooling was also very fragile as we had too many inserts in the slides to do all of the weird roof and nose variations, and it was consequently starting to wear along the edges.

So we've decided to completely retool our HO scale Canadian Pacific FP9A Locomotive using the latest developments in tooling technology. Have a look at these electrodes:

Rapido CP FP9A tooling

Canadian Pacific FP9A New Tooling - Electrodes

Our primary tooling method is EDM, or Electrical Discharge Machining. The copper "poles" or electrodes are made by CNC (computerized milling) and these are used to burn the correct shape into the steel moulds. It's neat to see the process take shape.

The order desk for the CP and VIA FP9A locomotives is still open, and will be open until the tooling is finished, which should be in October. I'll give a final two-week notice in a newsletter at that time. Delivery is expected in the first half of 2016, possibly as early as March. Click here to reserve yours today.

We have a handful of other products facing similar delays, including the F9B locomotive, Steam Generator Car, and Budd Mid-Train Dome. I'll bring you updates on those in upcoming newsletters.


Photos of our HO scale RDC moulds just turned up in my inbox. Have a look!

Rapido RDC tooling

Here are a mould core and roof slide for the RDC-1.

Rapido RDC tooling

Those look very much like Phase 1 RDC-1 sides...

Rapido N scale Teaser

Now what on Earth is that blob?

N Scale Teaser

Between now and the National Train Show next month, we'll be sending out one more newsletter with an all-new N scale product. The first test castings have arrived and so far it looks like a very blobby blob of plastic. They are first test castings, after all!

Above is a teaser photo of one of the blobs. Tune in to the next newsletter to find out more.

National Train Show

The National Train Show
NMRA photo (ish).

Visit us at the National Train Show

Here's your penultimate reminder that Bill and I will be at the National Train Show in Portland, Oregon. It's on August 28-30, at the Portland Expo Center. We'd love the opportunity to chat with you and just hang out, especially on Sunday when most of the attendees walk up to our booth, mutter "I don't see any Thomas," and walk away.

That's all for now. As usual, we put out a big newsletter during the modelling "off season" when everyone is playing golf or panning for wombats in the Caribbean. For the seven of you still reading, thanks for your continued support!

Best regards,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

Rapido News is ©2015 Rapido Trains Inc. You have received this email because you signed up for the newsletter on our web page. Rapido Trains Inc. has never signed up anyone for our newsletters without written consent. To unsubscribe, follow the link below.

Rapido Trains Inc. is a registered trademark.