Loads of new product announcements from the crazy train nerds at Rapido Trains Inc.
Rapido News Volume 76
©2016 Rapido Trains Inc.

After the last big train show I vowed we would never tie a product launch to a train show. And here we have seven new product launches tied to a train show. I'm going to fire my marketing manager. Wait - that's me.

Please come visit the Rapido team at the Springfield Show today and tomorrow. We're in the Mallary Building, section 148.

In this monster edition of Rapido News:

Rapido F40 Madness
HO Scale F40 Madness!!!
New! HO Scale F40 Madness

We've been delighted with the response we've received to our recent Amtrak F40PH locomotive. I think the market was ready for a museum-quality F40PH that finally got the dimensions right!

You can't have too much of an amazing thing, so we're pleased to announce three new F40 variations in HO scale.
Rapido Amtrak NPCU
NPCU 90221 in "Phase V" paint scheme. Photo courtesy Matt Donnelly.
Amtrak "Cabbage" NPCU

In the 1990s, Amtrak began a rebuild program to convert F40PH locomotives into Non-Powered Control Units (NPCUs). These NPCUs allow "push-pull" service and eliminate the need to turn a train at terminals. The locomotive engineer controls the locomotive from the cab in the NPCU.

During the conversion the prime mover and traction motors were removed and a large roll-up baggage door was added to the sides. This gave the NPCUs the nickname "Cabbages," for cab-baggage car.

NPCUs are in service today on numerous routes in California, the Northwest, the Midwest and the Northeast.
Rapido Amtrak Cabbage
3D rendering of our HO scale NPCU
The Model

The Rapido Amtrak NPCU is not just our F40 model with a few bells and whistles added. We have tooled up a completely new body based on a common Phase 1 NPCU design. It features operating ditch lights, accurate enlarged marker lights, supplementary air reservoirs, K5LA horn, and other accurate NPCU details.

Unlike the real Cabbage, our NPCU is fully powered. You need all the power you can get to pull your Amsleds, and the Rapido NPCU will give your train the extra oomph necessary to meet your layout's demanding passenger timetables.

Please note that Rapido doesn't make unpowered engines. They cost us exactly $6 less than a powered engine (the cost of the motor), so there is no major cost savings to having an unpowered model NPCU.
Amtrak California NPCU
Awesome Amtrak California NPCU #90225. Photo courtesy Matt Donnelly.
The Rapido Amtrak NPCU is available in four different paint schemes.
  • Amtrak Phase 3
  • Amtrak Phase 4
  • Amtrak Phase 5 (Swoosh!)
  • Amtrak California
  • Undecorated
Click here for painting diagrams, unit numbers and product numbers.

We are negotiating with interested parties to do one or more additional paint schemes. We will let you know in a future newsletter if we are successful.

The MSRP is $299.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $199.95 (DC/Silent) in the United States and the rest of the world. In Canada, the MSRP is $349.95/$249.95. The order deadline is Friday July 1st 2016 and delivery is late fall 2016/winter 2017. Click here for more info or to order direct.
Amtrak Modernized F40
A modernized F40PH. Note the ditch lights and step recesses.
Amtrak Modernized F40PH with Ditch Lights

The two most common questions we received from our F40 customers were "When will you do the later phases?" and "What about ditch lights?" You'll have to wait a little bit longer for the later phases (don't worry), but we're pleased to announce the modernized Phase 1 F40PH with ditch lights.

Stupidly, I thought this just required a new nose with ditch lights installed. But of course that would be too easy. It actually requires an ENTIRELY NEW BODY. Somebody at Amtrak thought it would be a good idea to recess the area behind the cab steps and change the design of the cab door window. They were being very inconsiderate to a model train manufacturer doing an HO scale version of their locomotive 30 years later.
Rapido Amtrak F40 Ditch Lights
3D Rendering of our new modernized Amtrak F40PH with working ditch lights
Our modernized F40PH features:
  • Updated body with recessed step wells and new cab door
  • Operating, flashing ditch lights
  • Operating strobe lights and marker lights
  • User-controlled operating number boards
  • Modernized truck sideframes
  • 100% accurate dimensions
  • Etched-metal grilles and windshield wipers
  • Unmatched underframe detail
  • Full, decorated cab interior
  • Accurate Amtrak F40PH sounds
  • Revised packaging to protect the horns!
  • ONE available paint scheme: Amtrak Phase 3
Rapido Amtrak F40
Note the recessed step wells and exposed wheel bearings.
In our first run, we made 200 extra Amtrak F40PH locomotives and they all sold out in two days. Our F40s are now becoming hard to find in hobby shops, and we suspect they will be impossible to find in a few weeks. Reserve your modernized F40PH today to ensure you don't miss it. We've already shown we can make a top-notch F40 model. This one will be even better.

Like the NPCU, the MSRP is $299.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $199.95 (DC/Silent) in the United States and the rest of the world. In Canada, the MSRP is $349.95/$249.95. The order deadline is Friday July 1st 2016 and delivery is late fall 2016/winter 2017. Click here for more info or to order direct.
VIA F40 Rapido
Two rebuilt F40PH-2D locomotives lead The Canadian in Hornepayne, Ontario.
That little guy has almost doubled in height since the photo was taken...
VIA Rebuilt F40PH-2D "Renaissance" and $10 Bill Version

F40 madness continues with Canada's passenger workhorse, the
Rebuilt VIA Rail Canada F40PH-2D .

In 2010 VIA Rail Canada contracted CAD Railway Industries in Lachine, Quebec, to rebuild its F40 locomotive fleet. This involved removal of the HEP (Head End Power) alternator and installation of a separate HEP generator in the rear of the locomotive. At the same time the locomotive was given VIA's green, grey and yellow Renaissance paint scheme first seen on the P42DC locomotives in 2001. By the end of 2012 all 52 F40PH-2D locomotives had been rebuilt.
VIA Rebuild
The HEP generator is housed in this new addition at the rear of the unit.
Photo courtesy Mark Kaluza.
Some railfan somewhere decided to call the rebuilt locomotives F40PH-3, and other railfans followed suit. It is a completely made-up name, so that sentence is the last time you'll see Rapido use it. The correct name for the locomotive is GPA-30H. General Motors Passenger A unit, 3000 HP, class H. But nobody would know what we're talking about if we called it that so we're referring to this locomotive simply as the Rebuilt F40PH-2D.
Rapido F40 Rebuild
3D rendering of the HEP cabinet on our model. Talk about see-through detail!
VIA F40 Rebuild Rapido
Here's the general overview.
Our VIA Rebuilt F40PH-2D features:
  • All-new body with different spotting details
  • All of the amazing detail found on our original F40PH-2D release
  • Accurate HEP generator details, including radiator fans, rads and cabling visible through the grilles
  • Operating ditch lights and emergency light
  • Accurate sounds recorded from a rebuilt F40PH-2D
  • Emergency horn and two types of VIA E-Bell recordings
  • Ten different locomotive numbers
Rapido _10 bill
Canada's $10 bill featuring The Canadian
In 2013 the Government of Canada issued a new polymer $10 banknote featuring The Canadian on the verso (back). The locomotive illustrated was number 6403 and the VIA logo was replaced by the Canada wordmark.

We're offering a special limited run of the $10 bill version of 6403, complete with the Canada wordmark. As an added bonus, 50 of the locomotives will have a crisp, uncirculated $10 bill (protected in a plastic sleeve) hidden in the box. One locomotive will include a collection of ten uncirculated $10 bills in numerical sequence! And we'll be sealing the boxes so you won't be able to check in the store before you buy it! Click here to order your model of 6403.

The MSRP for all Rebuilt F40PH-2D locomotives is $349.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $249.95 (DC/Silent). Despite the falling value of the Canadian dollar, this is the same price as our first run of F40PH-2D locomotives more than one year ago.

Click here for more information or to order direct. The order deadline is Dominion Day 2016. Delivery is late fall 2016/winter 2017.
Rapido FL9 NYC
Metro North Rebuilt FL9 in New York Central colors.
Photo courtesy Patrick Yough.
New! HO Scale FL9 Rebuilds

Continuing the theme of rebuilt passenger locomotives, we're delighted to announce the rebuilt FL9 in HO scale!

The FL9 was a critical locomotive for operations out of Grand Central Terminal, and in the 1980s the decision was made to rebuild and upgrade many of them. This included the addition of HEP in place of the older steam heat boilers, upgraded braking systems and electronics. These rebuilds were done in several batches for Metro North and Amtrak.
Notable among these rebuilt units were four which were sold to the Connecticut Department of Transportation and were rebuilt by Chrome Crankshaft in 1984-85. Operated for ConnDOT by Metro North, these locomotives re-entered service wearing their original New Haven McGinnis scheme.
Rapido ConnDOT FL9
The New Haven McGinnis scheme alive again!
Photo courtesy Patrick Yough.
Metro North later also repainted two units (2012 and 2013) in a fictitious but eye-catching New York Central "Lightning Stripe" scheme for service on the Hudson Line.
In their rebuilt form the remaining FL9 fleet operated until 2009, becoming the last F-units in daily mainline passenger service in the United States. Two units, former Amtrak 488 and 489, went on to see further service on the Maine Eastern until 2015.
Our HO scale rebuilt FL9 model features:
  • Correct HEP roof details
  • Updated underbody details
  • Modernized classification lights
  • Nose and rear HEP receptacles
  • Optional, operating ditch lights
  • Correct horns and accurate paint schemes
  • All of the other amazing features from our first FL9 release
Rapido FL9
A selection of FL9 Rebuild paint schemes.
Available FL9 paint schemes are:
  • Amtrak Phase 3
  • Maine Eastern
  • Metro North (Silver/Blue/Red)
  • Metro North (Silver/Blue)
  • ConnDOT (New Haven)
  • Metro North (New York Central)
Please reserve yours today.

The MSRP is still $349.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $249.95 (DC/Silent). The order deadline is July 1st 2016. Delivery is first quarter 2017. Click here for more information or to order direct.
GMD-1 CN Stripes
Yes, we're finally doing the ones with the stripes!
New! HO Scale Modern GMD-1 (with Stripes!)

Alright, alright. Ever since we announced the GMD-1 locomotive back in 2012, all we've heard is "when are you doing the ones with the stripes?"

So we are pleased to announce... the ones with the stripes!

There are three different versions of GMD-1 locomotives with stripes. And of course, we're doing all three. After these releases, we're putting the GMD-1 tooling into retirement for a while. So get them while you can!
Rapido 1600 GMD-1
A trio of 1600-series GMD-1A locos on the Prairies
Photo courtesy Brian Schuff.
1600-Series (6-Axle) GMD-1A

In 1988, CN began a comprehensive rebuild program of 15 of its 1000-series, 6-axle GMD-1 locomotives to provide the remaining prairie branchlines with reliable, lightweight power. The rebuilds were performed by CN's Pointe-St-Charles shops in Montreal and included: upgraded 645C power assembly; anticlimbers; ditch light brackets; straight exhaust stacks; upgraded sanding; improved traction motors; and Wabco 26L brakes. Most importantly, the units received a john in the short hood! The batteries were moved to the sides of the cab. To make switching easier, the units were oriented short-hood forward.

These locomotives were classified GMD-1A, or GR-612a. They operated primarily in the Prairies until their next rebuild between 1998 and 2000. (We're making those too. More on them below.)

Our model features operating ditch lights on the short hood end. Click here for more info or to order direct.
Rapido CN GMD-1 1412
1412 leads a train in Oakville, Ontario.
Photo courtesy Michael Da Costa.
1400-Series (4-Axle) GMD-1B

CN followed the 1600-series rebuilds in 1988 with the 1400-series rebuilds in 1989, numbered 1400-1423. The main difference between the 1400s and the 1600s were the fuel tanks and trucks. With the closure or selloff of most of CN's lightweight branchlines, there was less need for 6-axle units with their reduced pulling power.

The GMD-1B received a larger, 2000 gallon fuel tank and the 4-wheel Flexicoil trucks taken (in most cases) from retired GP9s.

The 1400s were designed to operate long-hood forward, and our model features operating ditch lights on the long hood end. Click here for more info or to order direct.
Rapido GMD-1
Hand-painted, pre-production sample of 1437.
Our own Dan Darnell painted it. Beauty goal, eh?
1430-1444 Series (4-Axle) GMD-1A

The purge of lightweight branchlines continued through the 1990s and CN decided to rebuild the 1600s... again. They received 4-wheel Flexicoil trucks and 2000-gallon fuel tanks from retired 1100-series GMD-1s. Many of these locomotives are still operational today.

Our 1430-1444 models feature working ditch lights on BOTH ends. Click here for more info or to order direct.
Rapido GMD-1
Here's another photo of 1437.
We are currently planning to record a 1400-series GMD-1 this spring, complete with its upgraded power assembly. We want that extra bit of authenticity for our models. If you have access to the real thing, please let me know.

The MSRP is $349.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $249.95 (DC/Silent). This is a firm price and will not go up due to currency fluctuations. Click here to place an order or for more information. The order deadline for the GMD-1 is May 24th 2016, as in May Two-Four. What other day could it be, eh?

As we only have one production factory now, we're going to space out all of these new products for delivery in the last half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. You won't have them all arriving at one time, so you can go ahead and order EVERYTHING!

Given the large number of announcements this newsletter, we'd like to remind you that we make everything to order. If we don't get enough reservations for a particular item by the order deadline, we may have to delay production or cancel it outright. So please make sure you reserve the engines you want before the deadlines.
N Bulkhead Flatcar
Production Sample: N scale Bulkhead Flatcar - MRL patch
New! N scale Bulkhead Flatcars

The announcements just keep coming today! We are delighted to announce a new run of N scale 70-ton Bulkhead Flatcars exclusively for Prairie Shadows.

These bulkhead flatcars feature:
  • Etched ladders applied at the factory
  • Full underbody detail
  • Die-cast frame for optimum weight
  • Body mounted Micro-Trains couplers
  • Blackened metal wheelsets
  • Correct ride height
  • Accurate paint and lettering
Rapido flatcar
Production Sample: N scale Bulkhead Flatcar - Finlay Forest Industries
The paint schemes available are:
  • BC Rail (two versions)
  • Finlay Forest Industries
  • Montana Rail Link (three versions)
  • Ontario Northland (two versions)
These flatcars are exclusively available from Prairie Shadows. Click here for more information or to place your order. They are en route from the factory now and will be here in mid-February. That's a refreshing change from the usual year-long wait!
Rapido N New Haven
Here's a very hastily painted sample of our new Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coach
The window frames are not yet painted and the finish is too flat.
But you get the idea.
N Scale NH/B&M Osgood Bradley Coaches
Order Deadline February 12th

Factory production this spring is heavily N scale and heavily New Haven! The N scale FL9s will be in production along with the N scale Osgood Bradley 10-Window coaches.

These coaches were the backbone of the New Haven (and B&M!) lightweight passenger car fleet from the 1930s to the 1960s, and their unique shape was immortalized by A. C. Gilbert's popular S scale models in the mid-20th century.

Our models feature:
  • Scaled from original Pullman-Standard blueprints
  • Painted window frames
  • Separate metal grab irons installed at the factory
  • New and improved Easy-Peasy interior lighting
  • Full interior detail
  • Micro-Trains couplers and coupler boxes
  • Full underbody detail with separate Barco steam connectors
Paint schemes:
  • New Haven Hunter Green
  • New Haven Pullman Green
  • New Haven 401 Green
  • New Haven McGinnis
  • Bangor & Aroostook
  • Boston & Maine
  • Long Island (Dashing Dan)
  • Undecorated
The MSRP is $59.95. Click here for more information or to order direct. You need to reserve yours by February 12th to ensure you get them. Delivery is spring/summer this year.
New Haven 8600
Pre-production samples of our HO scale 8600-series coaches
The foreground model is McGinnis without skirts.
HO Scale New Haven 8600-Series Coaches
Order Deadline February 12th

The tooling is 95% finished on our new HO scale New Haven 8600-Series Coaches. The order deadline is February 12th and only orders received by then will be guaranteed.

These coaches were delivered to the New Haven after WWII and remained in service until 1988! They were ubiquitous and were used all over the system as well as on pool trains.
New Haven 8600 Rapido
Pre-production sample of our HO scale 8600-series coach, Hunter Green.
These coaches feature:
  • Accurately scaled from original blueprints
  • Designed with input from NHRHTA
  • Correct tubular cross section with accurate Pullman-Standard stainless steel fluting profile
  • Rapido's renowned stainless steel finish at the correct color temperature for New Haven's cars
  • Partial skirting or no skirting as appropriate
  • Full underbody detail with separate air, steam and electrical lines
  • All-new 41-BNO-11 outside swinghanger trucks with blackened metal wheelsets
  • Full interior detail including see-through armrests
  • Operating diaphragms with end gates
  • Track-powered constant lighting for DC and DCC layouts
  • Separate grab irons, factory-installed
  • Can operate on 18" radius curves (minimum 24" radius without any modification)
  • Ten numbers available per paint scheme
New Haven Underbody
Check out the incredible underbody detail!
The available paint schemes for our New Haven 8600-series coaches are:
  • New Haven - Delivery with skirts
  • New Haven - McGinnis with skirts (NHRHTA exclusive)
  • New Haven - McGinnis without skirts
  • Penn Central
  • MBTA
  • Painted and unlettered

This project has only been made possible with the help and assistance of the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association. We, in turn, are giving them exclusivity on skirted cars in the McGinnis scheme. I think you'll agree the sample looks pretty awesome: 

New Haven McGinnis Rapido
Exclusive 8600-series car for NHRHTA
The MSRP is $99 per car. Click here for more information or to order direct. The NHRHTA models can be ordered directly from NHRHTA. Click here to download and complete a NHRHTA order form.

Remember - the deadline is February 12th. Be sure to reserve yours by then!
Rapido RDC-1
Second test sample, New Haven RDC-1
HO Scale RDC Update
Order Deadline March 7th

Tooling on our HO scale Absolute RDC-1 is almost finished. We need to recut some of the finer roof details and headlight housings and we have to solve some injection problems but apart from that these models are pretty close.

We will have these samples of the RDC-1 at the Springfield show, and we'll be uploading a video in late February.
RDC interior detail
Ours is the first HO scale RDC ever produced with a full interior.
We made the motor as inconspicuous as possible.

RDC Underbody
Our underbody detail is second to none, with different details for different railroads.
The slanted box with two cylinders sticking out of it is a VIA Rail AC condenser unit.
When Bill and I were in England at the Warley Show in November, we had the RDC models on display. Someone walked up to the booth, looked at the poster, and asked "Are you doing the RDC-4? The others have all been done."

When I tried to show him the museum-quality details, the full interior, the lighting, he didn't care. In his mind, if someone has brought out a model of something in the last 30 years, it's "been done." Needless to say, he didn't stay at our booth for very long.

We sincerely hope that you will take the plunge and order our RDC. If we all took the attitude that something which has "been done" can't be done better, we'd still be running Cox F7s on our layouts. I honestly think this is the best RDC model I have ever seen, and I am confident you will feel that way as well. The full interior alone is worth the price of admission...
On the left is a John Eull shot of VIA 6115.
On the right is a test sample of the same RDC, without any clear plastic parts installed yet.
Note the rebuilt cab windows, new pilot, notched diaphragm, and raised headlight.
But I guess there was no need to bother because the RDC-1 has "been done."

Rapido RDC at night
Our RDC at night. Just imagine how this would look full of passengers...
The MSRP for the RDC is $325 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $225 (DC/Silent). You can watch a video showing the 3D scan of the RDC and the sound recording process by clicking here.

The order deadline is firm at March 7th. The factory needs to hire more workers to make the RDC models and they need to know how many we are making. As usual, our models are made to order.

Click here for more info or to order direct. You can also reserve our RDC at all finer model train stores. Cox F7 it isn't...
Rapido Web site
Our new web site
Rapido's New Web Site & Swag Store

We've been working hard the last few months developing a new Rapido web site that is easier to use on mobile devices (and a pain in the rear for the rest of us). Unfortunately Google and Facebook have dragged us into the modern age as they give preference to mobile-friendly web sites.

There are loads of bugs, missing images and dead links throughout the site so if you find some weird stuff please send us a note. (Yes, the fact that I still wear bellbottom slacks qualifies as "weird" but that's not what I'm talking about.) It will take us a couple of months to remove all the gremlins. In the meantime I apologize if we accidentally blow up your computer.
Rapido store
Introducing the Rapido Swag Store
One neat thing we've added is a Rapido Swag Store, which used to be hosted on my personal site. You can buy T-shirts, railroad paraphernalia, exclusive models, and our new Chuggamugs. These mugs feature six different famous passenger cars in a neat wraparound design. I've been meaning to do these for years and I finally got around to it!

The items in the Swag Store are only available directly from us. We will regularly be adding new items and we'll occasionally put real train parts (seats, lights, etc.) in the store. The only way to know is to come back and visit once in a while. Click here to go there.
Rapido 6133
RDC 6133 waiting to be saved in Moncton
Due to the wonderful generosity of the model train and railfan community, our fundraising campaign for 6133 has raised almost $25,000! Thank you to everyone who has contributed. This is truly amazing. Once we get 6133 safe and home we will put up a plaque inside the car with the names of all of the donors. We are still accepting contributions to the effort. Click here for the web site.

Your faith in us is enormously appreciated, especially as I'm getting very high quotes from crane companies to lift and secure 6133 onto a flatcar. Chris and I are now going back to Moncton this week to change a wheelset, do a brake test and inspection, and try to get 6133 fully certified to move on its own wheels. This would be the best-case scenario as it saves about $15,000 in crane costs.

A lot of people have asked if we are going to produce a model of 6133 as a fundraising project, and we think this is a great idea. Stay tuned!
FPA-4 Canadian Money
They aren't worth as much as they used to be...
Canadian Price Guarantee (and relief!)
If it's not blindingly obvious from our emails, Rapido is a Canadian company. (How's it going, eh?)

The Canadian dollar has been on a steady slide for over a year and is now worth 30% less than it was just over a year ago. Unfortunately our tooling, production, marketing and travel costs are in US dollars.

Canadian model railroaders are watching their buying power shrink. A $300 USD locomotive will soon reach the $500 CAD mark. We are all modellers at Rapido so we are feeling this at both ends - higher costs to make stuff and higher costs to buy stuff.

That's why Rapido is now locking in Canadian prices against the falling loonie (Canadian dollar). No matter how low the loonie falls, our Canadian prices will not go up beyond what is shown below.

Will this cost us a lot of money? Yes. Will it make some projects unprofitable? Possibly. Is it the right thing to do for the health of our hobby in Canada? Absolutely.


We're in this hobby with you for the long haul, and we want to make sure our fellow Canucks can afford to buy our products.


On that good note, it's time to wrap up this newsletter. It was probably time about 23 paragraphs ago.


Thanks to the seven of you still reading.


Until next time,




Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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