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Dear Rapido Customer,
British Rail APT-E Order Deadline
Just in case you haven't noticed, we are making a OO-gauge model of the Advanced Passenger Train - Experimental, or APT-E, exclusively for LocomotionModels.com, the retail arm of the National Railway Museum in the UK. It is available as a DC silent model or a DC/DCC sound-equipped model. Why are we bringing this up again? Because the order deadline is tomorrow!
The model can only be purchased through LocomotionModels.com. Each model comes with a commemorative book. Please click here to order yours by April 30th - that's tomorrow! More information on the APT-E, including all of the product features, can be found here.
We have three APT-E videos for you to watch on YouTube if you have some time to kill. Click on each image below to watch the associated video. The first is extremely silly; the second is slightly less silly (but it features nice shots of the train in action) and the final one is not silly at all but it demonstrates some of the model's sounds very clearly.
The E-Train Model in the UK
Now painted into its classic livery and fitted with sound at Rapido's Canadian workshops, our second pre-production sample of the APT-E made a trip to the UK to take pride of place in the Locomotion Models display case at the York show in April.
Rapido's Bill Schneider (me) accompanied the 'E-Train' along with Mr Tilt - Kit Spackman - and APT-E Conservation Group founder Paul Leadley. Held over three days, the relaxed atmosphere at the exhibition allowed interested visitors access to the model that was impossible at the NEC Warley event.
We're pleased to report universally happy smiley people leaving the stand after intensely studying the iconic trainset. It seems that there is something about the APT-E that transports us back to our youth, those halcyon days of unlimited potential, and just seems to radiate good vibes.
There was even time to record a video illustrating the incredible sounds created for this model by the infamous Legomanbiffo. The man himself (Ian Bishop) was on the Realtrack Models stand and he was also showing off a 'Western' installed with the same APT-E sounds. Sadly he was unable to get the model painted into the silver-grey and blue scheme in time for York!
We borrowed Damian Ross's incredible Diesels in the Duchy layout for a short filming session, the fruits of which are linked to above. 'Duchy' is actually 'EM' gauge so the train wasn't able to move, but while it balanced on the rails it performed faultlessly for the microphone.
Sadly the real APT-E never made it to the South West, but Kit himself got quite excited about the prospect of the gas turbine train tackling those twisty curves and challenging Devon grades.
Just a day or so after the York show, I was on the train to Locomotion Shildon for the Stirling Single Scan Party. The Shildon Model Railway Club had its layout Runswick Leamside assembled as part of the event and the APT-E performed faultlessly all day. It was frequently seen screaming around the front running opposite a nicely modelled example of the prototype diesel HST. Now there's an idea!
We're hoping to have a new sample of the APT-E to present to you in our next newsletter. This should literally be the one with all the 'bells and whistles', well in this case 'twinkling computer lights and factory-fitted sound'. It should also be able to successfully negotiate 2nd radius curves at full tilt without pulling itself apart! More news on that later.
Locomotion Models Stirling Single
We're proud of our reputation. This has been built up over the last decade or so creating a diverse range of models that include the CN/VIA Turbo, as well as diesel locomotives, passenger vehicles and even the odd freight car in N and HO Scales. Amazingly, and by complete co-incidence, the vast majority of this equipment could be commonly seen on the bit of track in Canada that our president, Jason, is modelling in his basement.
This has led to a certain expectation within some parts of the hobby as to what does and doesn't constitute a likely Rapido product. While our Amtrak F40PH - the first accurate replica of this classic US passenger locomotive - obviously shares some DNA with the Canadian version, we've just finished tooling up the uniquely American dual diesel and electric powered FL9, and we're working on a second series of coaches that only ran here in America - the New Haven 8600s. By another astounding coincidence, I live in Connecticut where these New Haven coaches spent most of their lives...
The APT-E (remember - orders close on April 30th!) and our partnership with Revolution Trains to produce the N Gauge 'Pendolino' are further examples of our willingness to break out of Canada and the north-eastern United States and seek interesting new projects. Despite all of these announcements there was still one path that few modellers expected us to travel down - the road to steam!
Our second UK Scan Party, which took place on April 8th at Locomotion Shildon, ticked that particular box, and in fine style.
Just in case you are somehow still in the dark, Rapido Trains Inc. is proud to reveal that it will be producing GNR Stirling Single No.1 in OO gauge exclusively for Locomotionmodels.com and the National Railway Museum as part of its 'National Collection in Miniature' series.
Designed with distinctive 8'-1" driving wheels and outside cylinders, 53 examples were constructed by the Great Northern Railway at Doncaster between 1870 and 1895. They were designed by GNR Locomotive Superintendent Patrick Stirling for powering top link services between York and London King's Cross and its difficult to imagine a more beautiful expression of that glorious period of Victorian ingenuity.
The striking 4-2-2 design and graceful lines belies their impressive haulage ability. They were commonly used to haul trains of 250 tons or more, while they could reach 85mph on shorter formations.
Restored almost to its original condition and partnered with a small Sturrock tender taken from an earlier locomotive its first official engagement was at the White City Exposition in 1909. It was steamed again in 1925 as part of the Centenary celebrations for the Stockton & Darlington Railway, and further took to the rails to after an overhaul in 1938 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Races to the North.
No. 1 ran under its own power again on several occasions during the 1980s, visiting the Great Central Railway and North Yorkshire Moors Railway, as well as at the NRM, York. The locomotive is now based at Locomotion Shildon, but returned to the NRM and later the mothballed Waterloo International Station, for performances of the Railway Children play - albeit with a smoke generator providing the steam!
Happily an original, correct, Stirling Single tender was found derelict near Peterborough, having somehow survived the ages in part because of its use as a water and sludge carrier! This tender has been restored by the NRM and is currently displayed with No.1.
Like other releases in the NRM's 'National Collection in Miniature' series, the Single will be a strictly exclusive product and it can only be reserved through Locomotionmodels.com. A ?50 deposit will ensure that you will be one of the first to own this truly iconic locomotive.
Design for the model is now underway utilising a combination of archival materials, state-of-the-art laser 3D scanning techniques and CAD applications. Two variants of the No.1 will be produced; with the Sturrock tender partnered with the Single between 1907-2013 or the locomotive?s original and current tender which it received in 2014. Both will be available in DC (DCC Ready) and DC/DCC/Sound versions.
We currently have no plans to put a face on the front and call it Emily, even though Jason's three-year-old son has requested it!
Pendolino Progress and Deposits
After poring over the large number of drawings provided by Alstom and Virgin Trains, combined with information gleaned from the 3D laser scan and hundreds of photographs, the initial drawings for the Revolution Trains 'N' Gauge Class 390 'Pendolino' have now been completed. These have been sent to China and we hope to have some 3D CAD files to show you in the next UK newsletter.
The 'Pendolino' is a challenging model to produce, but we are happy to have met or exceeded the initial specifications outlined by Revolution Trains. We're running a little behind schedule, but we're confident that we can make up the lost time and release this model in the first half of 2016. You can follow the updates at revolutiontrains.com or explore the Rapido Trains forum on RMWeb for the latest news.
UK-based modellers who have signed up to this exciting crowd-funded project will already have seen the 50% deposit for their models whisked away from their accounts. For the surprisingly large number of customers based outside of the country, Rapido has been handling these orders and we are set to start taking deposits over the next few days. We expect to have completed this in early May.
The fact that our administrator has gone on holiday for three weeks may cause the deposits to be delayed by a bit, but rest assured we will charge your cards. We've been inundated with emails from people wondering why their cards have not yet been charged. I wish all of our customers were so eager to part with their money!
Revolutionary TEA Tanker
With the CAD work on the 'Pendolino' now progressing well, our partners at Revolution Trains have already revealed their next project, and it's one that is arguably closer to the heart of co-founder Ben Ando.
Other than his work for the BBC, Ben is well known in the hobby for his pioneering and unpaid work developing wagon kits and, more recently, ready-to-run items for the N Gauge Society. He also partnered with Bernard Taylor to produce a small number of outstanding wagons under the name ATM Wagons.
It should come as no surprise then that Ben has been itching to produce something of a freight bent with Rapido. After some discussion the choice of prototype pretty much picked itself - the Greenbrier/VTG 100-tonne TEA bogie tank wagon.
The de facto 'standard' 100-tonner of the modern railway system, the TE014 series was developed from a Powell-Duffryn design from the 1990s. The first examples were built by Marcroft Engineering in Stoke-on-Trent in 2001 although the actual type chosen by Revolution were constructed in Poland by Greenbrier Europe since 2006.
They have mostly usurped older designs and can now be seen over much of the country, with the Midlands, North Lincolnshire and South Wales being particular hot spots. The refineries and terminals at Humber, Lindsey, Milford Haven and Port Clarence all see regular services. Ineos at Grangemouth is also due to see a further batch of dedicated wagons delivered this year, hopefully introducing another new livery!
The model is being produced with the full co-operation of the prototype owners VTG Rail UK Ltd. The company has kindly allowed us exclusive access to their drawings archive, which is usually strictly off limits, to create the artwork for this project, as well as arranging a day out for the Revolution team and photographer Tom Smith to do some first-hand research.
VTG rosters three different colour schemes on its fleet of TEAs (red, blue and grey), along with operators Greenergy (two liveries) and DB Schenker. Revolution will also be offering the attractive Freightliner 'British Racing green,' although these wagons have since been rebranded VTG. This gives seven paint jobs in the first run, which will be produced in a combination of single wagons and three-packs, with different numbers.
As with the Pendolino, Revolution have set us a challenging specification, and the model will include close-coupled NEM couplers, etched-metal roofwalks and prototypical detail variations. We have also been tasked with investigation factory weathered versions, while the models will be provided with TOPS panel decal sets to allow simple renumbering! While a price has yet to be set, they will be competitive, in the region of ?20-30!
We recently launched the first two items in a planned series of layout accessories under the name RailCrew. Designed by Canadian inventor Randy Schnarr, the Remote Uncoupler and Switch Machine (point motor) solve a couple of major issues that have plagued North American modellers over the years. There's been quite a bit of interest from the UK as well, and not just from those fine people that follow the US or Canadian scene.
The Uncoupler is ingenious and improves the experience of using magnetic knuckle couplers no end. Utilising a rotating magnet arrangement it provides a simple to use on-off uncoupler that eliminates accidental uncoupling, and with its centre-mounted LED it makes spotting the correct uncoupler position easy.
The design is particularly good for separating passenger cars and multiple units with gangways. I know that Kadee-style couplers are popular in the UK for fitting to DMUs and passenger stock. Both units are simple to fit, even to layouts that are ballasted with scenery. They might also be adaptable for use with some of the other magnet-based systems popular in the UK, so it's worth investigating if you want to upgrade your operation.
On the face of it, one of the Switch Machine's primary selling points (pun intended!) means many British modellers will overlook it. It features rotating 'targets' displaying the direction the switch is set, and includes a vast array of different targets covering most North American prototypes.
These were critical to safety on this side of the pond with many mainline switches still being hand thrown right up to the present day. In the UK, these are limited to yards and a simple lever usually suffices, although the smaller of the RailCrew targets could pass for some pre-grouping British prototypes with some modification.
Jason spent an evening with the inventor of RailCrew, Randy Schnarr, earlier this month and they looked at the new Remote Uncoupler and Switch Machine in detail. The interview was recorded in his basement earlier this month, so you can see his amazing triple-deck Kingston Sub/Plywood Pacific layout under construction.
This is not your usual ?ber-silly Rapido video, but a fairly straightforward look at how these new machines work and what they do. Hopefully it answers most of your questions about the new products. We're very proud of them - Randy really is a very clever guy.
Please click here or on the picture below to watch the video on YouTube.
Bill's British Blog
When Rapido staff travel we like to blog about it, even if we're just travelling down the street for a pint of milk. I like to think that my trip to the UK was a little more interesting than that, and somehow I managed to pack in an amazing amount of stuff outside of the important York and Shildon events.
My trip kicked off with a footplate ride on 4MT No. 75078 at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (almost straight off the plane). It also included a visit to see the A1 Locomotive Trust workshops and the Head of Steam Museum in Darlington.
You can read my blog here along with our other blogs from our travels around the UK, Canada and the USA.
It's only our third newsletter and we already have four British projects to talk about (APT-E, Pendolino, Single, TEA), with a fifth due to be announced later this year! If you want the latest updates, please visit our Facebook page.
And... one last time - this Thursday, April 30th, is the deadline for APT-E orders. Click here now to order!
All the best,
Product Development Guru
Rapido Trains Inc.
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