Rapido News Volume 75 - © 2015 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

If you are reading this on Christmas Day: Merry Christmas! Now that you've opened the presents and eaten a lot of junk food, there is some time to kill before going to your kids' place to eat turkey. Enjoy this train-related break.

If you are reading this back at the office long after Christmas has finished, the kids have gone, and the presents have all broken down: We're so, so sorry. You missed one amazing Rapido-filled Christmas party. But read on, all the same, and Happy January!

In this issue of Rapido News:
Rapido Cabbage
Rapido's next announcement
New Product Teaser #1
The photo above pretty much says it all. No, we haven't started smoking the good stuff. Anyone modelling prior to about 1996 would have no reason to know what this photo represents. But for a lot of modern guys, this beautiful vegetable is a long sought-after addition to their model railroads.

More information will be released during the weekend of the Springfield show, otherwise known as the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show on 30-31 January 2016. Click here for more information about the show, and please come by and say hello!

If you want to try and prise more information about upcoming releases out of us, Bill will also be at Prototype Rails in Cocoa Beach on 7-9 January 2016. This is an intimate show that is frequented by many of the greats in our hobby. Click here to visit the show web site.
Rapido PRR FA2
HO scale FA-2: Pennsylvania Railroad
HO scale FA-2/FPA-2 Progress & Images
I'm pleased to report that the FA-2 and FPA-2 have finally made it into the tooling workshop. We expect the first samples to arrive before Chinese New Year (8 February) and, if we're lucky, they will arrive before the Springfield show.

The Rapido FA-2 and FPA-2 are the first museum-quality American FA models ever offered. By museum quality, I mean we're including prototype-specific details such as Trainphone antennas on the PRR engines or nose grilles and etched-metal heralds on the B&O engines. Our FPA-2 is also, frankly, the first FPA-2 ever offered, which means it includes the large water tank (more than one style produced) and steam generator.

The other manufacturers have shied away from doing a high-end FA-2 model because there have been so many entry-level (or "high quality for 1992") models done in the past. We don't shy away from a challenge so we're doing a museum-quality FA-2. The older models really don't compare with what is achievable today.

(It often takes some work to convince model railroaders that the trains they bought when they still had hair can be improved upon. At the Warley show last month, someone wasn't interested in our RDC samples because we weren't doing an RDC-4 and "the others have all been done." Sure they have been done... with a honking great motor filling the interior and moulded-on everything! But I digress...) 
HO scale FPA-2: Baltimore & Ohio
As you can see in the rendering above, we've tried our best to include all of the major spotting details. Notice that the B&O FPA-2 has a large fuel/water tank and horizontal louvers on the battery box door below the cab window. Now scroll back up to the PRR locomotive and you will see vertical louvers on the battery box door.

The available paint schemes are below. If you are located in the United States or anywhere else on the planet that isn't Canada, you can reserve your locomotives directly from our web site by clicking on the roadname of your choice. 

To reserve the FA-2 or FPA-2 in Canada, click here. Check out the Farr grilles, CP fuel and water tank, winterization hatches, and other unique CP details in the rendering below. 

Rapido FPA2
HO scale FPA-2: Canadian Pacific
The MSRP for the FA-2 and FPA-2 is $325 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $225 (DC/Silent). We are currently working with ESU to get good Alco 244 sound recordings, and you can rest assured the sound quality will be equal to our outstanding FPA-4 locomotive.

The order deadline is currently 12 March 2016. However, given the huge number of RDCs we'll be making this spring, the FA-2/FPA-2 deadline date may slide by a month or two. I will let you know when the deadline is firm.

Full information on the FA-2 and FPA-2 models can be found here.  
HO scale FA-2/FPA-2 Master Class
FA-2/FPA-2 Master Class
What is the difference between an FA-2 and an FPA-2? Should my FA-2 have Farr grilles or chicken wire grilles? What the heck is a Farr grille, anyway?

One of our FA-2 experts, Ed Charnwood, has kindly put together a Master Class chronicling the history of the FA-2 and FPA-2 locomotives. The Master Class points out all of the major (and many of the minor) spotting differences between locomotives and is richly illustrated.

Please click here to read the FA-2/FPA-2 Master Class. This will help you decide which locomotive is right for your layout. 
Rapido F40
Rapido's HO scale Amtrak F40PH. Weathered model by Dan Darnell.
HO scale Amtrak F40PH has arrived!
They've come and gone. Our second 100% American locomotive model, the HO scale Amtrak F40PH, shipped to stores earlier this month. (Our first American locomotive was the New Haven FL9, which is also sold out in most places.) We made 200 extra F40 locomotives. They are all gone. We also had to turn away an order for 200 more.

Many stores are already sold out of the F40. If one of your buddies is upset that he couldn't find one, please encourage him to pre-order next time. We're a small company and we build to order.

For more information about the harder-to-find-by-the-minute Amtrak F40PH, please click here. We have no plans to do a new run of this version any time soon, unfortunately. 
Royal Hudson
BCR Royal Hudson 2860. Peter Cox photo courtesy Mark Perry.
Royal Proclamations: Our Royal Hudson Model FAQ
The interest in the recently announced Royal Hudson and the entire Icons of Canadian Steam project has been overwhelming. Hundreds of Rapido fans have taken the time to contact us with a wide range of comments, questions and queries.

Rapido's own Mike McGrattan (still kicking!) has put together the following list of frequently-asked questions and answers.  
Q: Will I be able to buy an H1c without the crowns (pre-1940)?
A: No, but we are looking at an additional part (the running board cover) being available in the pre-crown design. As soon as we figure out if this is possible and practical we'll announce it.
Q: Did you guys know the Southern RR ran a Royal Hudson? Will you add it to the list? 
A: H1c 2839 did run excursions on the Southern for about a year and a half. We've decided to add it to the list in one of the paint schemes it wore when on the Southern. Stay tuned for more info on this new addition.
Q: Can I buy just a tender? I want to retrofit my existing Canadian Pacific steam engines.
A: Yes. Our web page has all three styles of tender listed for sale.
Q: Will Rapido's Royal Hudson have working steam?
A: This question has caused considerable thought and discussion here at Rapido HQ. None of us at Rapido is a huge fan of smoke generators in model steam engines but we do realize that there are some modellers who really want to see their Royal Hudson puffing away. We are working now to design the model so that it will accept an after-market smoke generator, but it will not include steam effects from the factory.   
Q: Will the Hudson have a choice of pilots? There were two styles.
A: We have designed both styles of pilot. Right now we are considering whether we should make the models with one style and make the other an available part or if we should equip some models with one style and other models with the other style. More on this when we make a final decision.
Q: Can I get a totally undecorated Hudson?
A: Unfortunately, no. We are not offering an undecorated locomotive but we are offering unnumbered.
Q: Will there be a way to attach a second tender (like the modern BC Rail Royal Hudson)?
A: We are working on a design that will allow a second tender to be fitted. You will be able to remove the rear coupler on the first tender and install a drawbar connection, included with every BCR Royal Hudson. Please note that we are not tooling a 100% accurate second tender as the prototype second tender was from a D&H 4-8-4 Northern.

Q: When are you announcing the N scale Royal Hudson?
A: Sorry; even N scale Mike doesn't think we should go there right now. We have no plans for N scale steam. Hey! We're still just getting started in HO steam!
Q: We love your steam project but why haven't you announced (fill in any one of fifty locomotives we didn't choose)?
A: When you are trying to narrow down a field as broad and complex as Canadian steam locomotives you're never going to satisfy everyone. When we chose the Icons we looked at many factors including locomotive history, quantity, longevity, perception (by the railroad, by the public and by model railroaders), and available alternative models. Even after all that we did leave some great Canadian locomotives off the initial list. As we move through the Icons list who knows if we will be able to add some further down the line? Let's hope so!
Q: You are doing a Royal Hudson. So does this mean you're doing an RDC-4?
A: Um.... (Jason bangs head on desk. He really got that question when he first announced the LRC coach kit in 2003.)  
We try and answer every question you send us about the Royal Hudson but we are still deep in the engineering and design phase of the project and sometimes we can't give a definitive answer. Before we start the tooling process, we plan to share images of the Royal Hudson designs on the RMWeb Rapido forum for feedback and corrections. Click here to visit the forum. Signing up just takes a minute and is free. 
Rapido Bus
Oh no. Here comes trouble. Yes, Bill and I got to drive this. The poor, poor bus.
New Blog: Bill and Jason's Excellent Adventure
Most of our North American customers don't realize that we have a whole other side of our business. Rapido also makes British trains.

Great Britain is tiny. The whole place would fit inside Wyoming. So Bill and I make a point of travelling up and down the British Isles every time we go there for a meeting or train show, and a whole bunch of silly stuff happens whenever we do. To our British friends, this is completely nuts. They don't drive 100 miles without stopping to have a cup of tea and read the newspaper. A 200-mile drive requires several weeks of planning and an overnight stay.

For us North Americans, we'll drive 200 miles to go to a good restaurant. (My record drive for a meal is 240 miles - 120 each way - to go for supper in Montreal when we lived in Ottawa.)

You can read about our most recent crazy British adventure by clicking here. Even if you have no interest in "foreign" trains, it's an enjoyable read. 
Rapido factory
All-new tooling from Rapido
New Product Teaser #2
The above image shows two of the copper electrodes from a new tooling project. We expect to have the first rough samples in February, all going well.

If you can figure out what this photo is actually showing you, we'll be mightily impressed. All I will tell you is that it is HO scale. 
Rapido New Haven
New Haven 8600 Tooling: truck sideframes, steps and floor moulds
STOP PRESS! New Haven 8600 Coach Tooling and Sample Photos
We just got these photos from our other tooling workshop, and it appears the New Haven 8600-series coach tooling is 99% finished. In the photo above, from left to right, you've got a detail parts mould (including steps, coupler box and 41-BNO-11 truck), and the bottom of the floor and chassis mould. 
Rapido New Haven Tooling
New Haven 8600 Tooling: floor and chassis (top half of mould)
In the photo above you can see the top half of the floor and chassis mould. All of those bumps are holes for the individually-installed seats. Remember, the mould is the reverse image of what is on the model. All those mounting holes are needed because in many of our models the seats are separate castings. This allows us to have see-through armrests and other neat details.

Finally, here's the first test shot of the 8600 coach body. 
First Test Casting Rapido
New Haven 8600 Coach: First body test shot
You can reserve your New Haven 8600-series coaches from our web site by clicking here or you can order them from your dealer. The order deadline is 12 February 2016. Please reserve yours before the deadline!

That's it for this, our 75th newsletter. For those of you who have just found out about Rapido, Welcome! With 75 newsletters (plus some unnumbered ones) under our belt, we've been around the block a few times...

Please note Rapido will be closed from now until Monday 4 January. Sidura and I have decided to give everyone the week off. If you have a model train emergency between now and then, take a step back and realize that there is no such thing as a model train emergency.

All of us at Rapido wish you a wonderful, train-filled 2016! 
Take care,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.