More inside information from your crazy friends at Rapido!

Rapido Newsletter Vol. 96 
©2017 Rapido Trains Inc. 
Dear Rapido Customer,

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year!

Unlike all those other corporate Christmas emails, this one actually contains news. In this issue: 
For the first time in plastic: an accurate ONR FP7
Hand-painted, pre-production sample shown.
New! GMD FP7 in HO Scale!

This is one of those things we should have done ages ago. We're delighted to introduce the first ever accurate GMD FP7 locomotive in HO scale. Our FP9A got a hugely positive response and we've often been asked why we never did the FP7 - the earlier, 1500 HP GMD passenger/freight variation. So here it is!
Gotta love that big CP water tank behind the leading truck!
Pre-production sample shown.
The GMD FP7 was delivered to Ontario Northland and Canadian Pacific between 1950 and 1953, with a total of 57 units built. They were used in both freight and passenger service and were widespread well into the 1980s. VIA's units, inherited from CP, lasted into the 1990s. Ontario Northland's units lasted until 2004 (albeit with modifications). Montreal's commuter agency operated original ex-CP units until 2002!

The FP7 differs from the FP9A in many ways:
  • Different fuel tank and battery box arrangement
  • Different port hole and louver arrangement
  • Different nose details
  • Used more often in freight service

The FP7 is four feet longer than the standard F7, and has a steam generator and associated water tank for steam heating of passenger cars. 


Unlike the FP9A, which never got an official name from GMD or CN so we just had to make one up, the FP7 is almost universally referred to as an FP7, not an FP7A. 

Correct ends for CP and ONR, including funky ONR backup light.
Hand-painted, pre-production sample shown.
Rivets and "glass" bits yet to be added!
The GMD FP7 will be available in the following paint schemes:
  • Ontario Northland (Early)
  • Ontario Northland (Progressive)
  • Ontario Northland (Chevron)
  • Canadian Pacific (Block)
  • Canadian Pacific (Script)
  • CP Rail (5" Stripes)
  • CP Rail (8" Stripes)
  • VIA Rail Canada
  • Montreal Commuter

Our model features:

  • Prototype-specific detail, including vertical dual headlight for ONR
  • Operating ditch lights and roof-mounted Gyralite where appropriate
  • Correct "No-Warp" grille style for each road number
  • Correct roof hatch and other details for each road number
  • Accurate Rapido sounds
  • Incredible underbody detail

These things could be found on all sorts of trains. Here are THREE FP7s and a lonely Geep hauling The Canadian: 

Canadian FP7 Vancouver
THREE FP7 locomotives and a friend hauling The Canadian!
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
Or how about this A-B-A set of FP7-F7B-FP7 hauling a freight through Galt, Ontario?
CP A-B-A (FP7-F7B-FP7) leads a freight through Galt, Ontario.
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
Did you know that ONR FP7s ran into Toronto into the 2000s? Or that CN used to toss them on freights to Niagara Falls? Or that they wore the early scheme well into the 1980s? These unique locomotives have an impressive history.

Bram Bailey is probably the world's leading expert on Ontario Northland - he literally wrote the book on the ONR. (You can order it here.) He has given us a huge amount of help with this project, and an incredible selection of photos. If you model the 1960s or 1970s you need at least one FP7 in the "Progressive" scheme:
ONR FP7 Progressive
1508 wears the early scheme while 1521 wears the Progressive scheme in 1970.
Photo courtesy Bram Bailey.
Here's the Northland in the Don Valley (Toronto) in 1982, with 1509 in the lead... still in the old colours! I know some modellers like their trains to all be in the same paint scheme, but I personally love mixing and matching different paint schemes, just like the prototype!
ONR Northland
The Northland in Toronto, March 1982.
Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.
ONR modellers won't want to order just one FP7. Ontario Northland almost always ran their units in pairs. Even if it's to haul a very short work train...
ONR Mixed Train
1521 and 1520 in May 1980.
Photo courtesy Jim Bobel collection.
...or even just ONE car!
The Northland with just one cafe-coach-lounge is en route to Kapuskasing in 1986.
Photo courtesy Jim Bobel.
Full information, including pricing, paint schemes and unit numbers, can be found here.

The order deadline for the FP7 is April 30, 2018. Delivery is fall 2018.

Your CP FP7 may not be that lonely. Read on...
Rapido Canadian Pacific F9B
New! HO scale F9B Relaunch... AND an F7B to boot!

You asked and we listened. Yes, we are relaunching the HO scale GMD F9B and adding to it an HO scale GMD F7B!

We had good reasons for cancelling our HO Scale Canadian Pacific F9B project earlier in 2017. The moulds for the locomotive were found to be unusable and required expensive retooling from new. Customers had been waiting for over two years and with no prospect of recutting the metal we felt the honest approach was to cancel the project rather than keep you hanging on.
The response from you, our customers was appreciated. Most of you who took the time to get in touch were disappointed but recognised the tricky position we were in. Rapido is still a small model train manufacturer by the standards of the rest of the hobby - most of our competitors were around before I was born - and our pockets are only so deep. However, ever since we made that difficult decision we've been trying to find a way to resurrect the project!
The catalyst for our change of heart was the launch of the FP7. Nobody has ever made a 100% accurate Canadian F7B. So we're giving it another go, and we're throwing the CN and CP F9B into the mix as well!
Rapido CN F9B - "E" class with 48" fans 
If you need convincing, click here or on the image below to watch our F9B video, "It Ain't Easy Being a B":
VIA F9B Video
It Ain't Easy Being a B
You can also watch an unboxing video of the first run F9B locomotives by clicking here.

The paint schemes for the GMD F7B and F9B are:
  • Canadian National (1954) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • CN (Stripes) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • VIA (ex-CN) - F9B: C/D/E classes
  • VIA (ex-CP, Rebuilt) - F9B
  • Canadian Pacific (Block) - F7B and F9B
  • Canadian Pacific (Script) - F7B and F9B
  • CP Rail (5" Stripes) - F7B and F9B
  • CP Rail (8" Stripes) - F7B and F9B
CPR F7B Artwork
Rapido Canadian Pacific F7B Rendering
Note the lack of a steam generator.
I'm going to be completely frank with you. This is a gamble. I doubt that any other manufacturer has run a B unit on its own. The only reason we were able to run the CN F9B and (we had hoped) the CP F9B in the past was because most of the tooling costs were covered by The Canadian set.

So this announcement is a conditional one. As long as we have orders for a combined 1200 B units by April 30th, this project will go ahead. That's how many we need to sell to break even.

Click here for more information or to order direct. The initial order deadline is April 30th. If we get the needed 1200 orders, the final order deadline will be a couple of months later.
Model Train Design
This was the planned announcement. 
The Announcement We Wanted To Make

Last month I told you there would be an all-new locomotive announcement in this newsletter. The FP7 and F9B/F7B were actually going to be the second and third announcements! The intended all-new locomotive was teased with the above rendering.

However, we have as yet been unable to come to an arrangement with the railroad that operated the vast majority of this locomotive type. Their standard royalty fee will add $50 to the retail price, sending it north of $400 for a sound-equipped engine. We have proposed alternative options to the railroad but have yet to reach an agreement. We aren't willing to add that kind of markup.

So... we hope to announce the above locomotive soon. Should you happen to be an executive with the railroad in question, please give me a shout.
Rapido Factory
Hanging out with Ms. Wang at the LRC Factory.  
She's 21, not 12... 
New Rapido Factory Video

As I write this I am still fighting the jet lag from my most recent trip to China. Apart from checking on production at the LRC factory, I travelled to Guangxi province with Huang and Zhou, our partners at the Rapido factory.

Costs have gone up so much at the Rapido factory that our profit margin on rolling stock has vanished entirely. We still want to make freight and passenger cars, so we are exploring whether or not we can move the Rapido factory to Zhou's hometown in Guangxi province. Overhead costs there are much lower.

Click here or on the picture below to watch a video about the trip, including a brief history of the model train industry in China, a ride on the country's incredible high-speed train network, a visit to our potential new factory location, and a visit to the gorgeous Li River.
China Model trains CRH
Relative speed: 628 km/h (390 MPH) 
Model TTC Bus
Doesn't this look gorgeous? 
The First Buses (and the rest of the FA-2s) Have Arrived!

After a dry spell of a few months, we've had deliveries fast and furious. All of the FA-2 locomotives have now arrived and been shipped to customers. All of the Dash 8 locomotives have come and gone.

And, amazingly, the first shipment of New Look (Fishbowl) buses (TTC and some Montreal) have arrived. I have to say these look even better than I had imagined. Thanks are owed to Gareth and Josh for the brilliant packaging design, and to everyone at the Rapido factory who moved mountains to get the buses delivered to the TTC and STM before Christmas. We're not used to having a Christmas deadline at Rapido. Our stuff usually arrives two years late!

Thanks are also owed to Jordan, Janice and the whole Rapido team for working so hard over the last few weeks to get all these models out to you. Unfortunately we ran out of time before Christmas and we will ship out the direct orders for TTC buses in the first week of January.

The next arrivals will be:

I'm probably forgetting something... 

Rapido factory China
Goofing off on the assembly line at the LRC factory... 
Yes, We Make Our Trains In China

I mentioned this in Rapido News 93, and I have to bring it up again. Every time we share a video of our factories in China, we get bombarded by nasty messages. A lot of people have a serious hate-on for China and Chinese people, both on the right and the left of the political spectrum. And it frankly makes me sick. The people working in our factories are human beings. They have just as much right to be employed and to feed their families as anyone else, but a lot of people sending us messages don't seem to think so.

There are a lot of ignorant trolls out there, but what surprises us the most is when model railroaders comment on our videos and make disparaging comments about the fact that we make our model trains in China. Where do these guys think their other model trains are made? Do they think Bachmann trains are made by two brothers working in a shop front in Philadelphia? That Walthers trains are made by William K. Walthers himself on Erie Street in downtown Milwaukee?

(We zap these awful messages, by the way. Our YouTube channel is not a democracy.)

The vast majority of the world's model trains are made in Dongguan, China. That is where Sanda Kan and Kader had their factories, and that is where the global expertise in model train manufacturing is centred. Yes, there are exceptions, as model railroaders often point out in their arguments against manufacturing in China. But those are exceptions. They are not the rule.

I'm not going to go over the calculations again as I've done it in these newsletters enough times, but the short and long of it is that you can't have a passenger car model with over 300 parts assembled in North America and expect to pay less than $500 for it. Because it is made in China, it can retail for $109.

How long would it take you to assemble this:
Mid-Train Dome Parts
How long will it take you to assemble this? 
As I discuss in our most recent video, the rising costs in southern China mean that it is becoming difficult to make model trains there. Our prices are creeping up, but the costs are going up far more quickly. That's why we're looking at moving the Rapido factory to Guangxi province, where the cost of living is so much lower than in Dongguan.

So yes, we make our trains in China. We are proud of our teams at the LRC and Rapido factories, and we are proud of what we have accomplished together. Most model train manufacturers have been around for generations. We've only been around for 13 years, and our first ready-to-run model was released just 11 years ago.

We've managed it by working with amazing people in China. Huang designed our first passenger car models in 2005. He is now our partner at the Rapido factory. We've gained experience and grown together (and argued together) for 12 years. Long may our friendship continue.
Rapido team China
That couch really was awful...  
In case you are wondering, Huang is 40 and Zhou and I are both 42.
They just happen to look young enough to be my kids... 
In the picture above, Huang (left), Zhou (our other partner) and I are lounging in the awful hotel in Guangxi province. That horrible overstuffed couch was steeped in cigarette smoke, the wallpaper was peeling off the walls, and there were unspeakable stains on the carpet. Next time we're staying at a different hotel or I'm sleeping in the car...
RDC 6133 Snow
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year from RDC 6133 in the snow!
Photo courtesy Chris Fox... 
who is awesome, by the way.
Christmas and New Year Wishes

Depending on when you are reading this, we at Rapido would like to wish you either Merry Christmas or Happy New Year!

I have no patience for people who won't say Merry Christmas. 99% of our customers celebrate Christmas, and Christmas and model trains have gone hand in hand for generations. And this is the Jewish guy talking!

I hope that there will be Rapido trains around your Christmas tree for many years to come.

All best wishes,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.
Rapido Trains Inc. | 1-855-LRC-6917 |