Rapido News UK Vol. 16
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Well we've been complete rubbish at sending these out every month. It feels like several decades since our last newsletter. I blame the labour laws in the West Midlands. We had hoped to pay some Aston street urchins 50p (each!) to write these newsletters for us every month but apparently "fair pay" and "human rights" and "sanitary conditions" are all "things" in Birmingham. We should have looked further north. (Ouch!)

So it's down to Bill, Gareth and me to keep our 17 UK newsletter subscribers informed. (Make that 11, now that everyone who lives north of Brum has unsubscribed.)

In this edition:

  • Jason's Coming to the UK With a Very Small Bus!
  • Heads Up! BCT 2976 on the #11
  • Factory Update on Rapido's British Train Models
  • Happy Pendos!
  • BRM's tour of Rapido HQ
  • Lost in Preservation - New Video!
First sample of our Guy Arab "New Look"
Photos taken at the factory this week!
We haven't added the rivets yet.
Jason's Coming to the UK With a Very Small Bus!

I'm already packing, actually. I depart for Heathrow on Wednesday. The main purpose of my trip? To show the UK - and the West Midlands in particular - that our first British model bus is not just a figment of my imagination!

The factory is sending the lovely sample in the photos above. It's a first sample, so it doesn't have any rivets yet and the interior colours are a bit wrong. But it will give you a taste of what is coming. Moquette!

Just in case that doesn't arrive in time, Josh is busy at his desk in Canada assembling another one while I write this newsletter - though that sample won't have the lovely moquette printed on the seats... Did I mention MOQUETTE? In a 1:76 model!

Please come join me at the Transport Museum Wythall on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday, May 28th.
The Model Bus Federation will be there with an exhibition, there will be rides in numerous vintage buses, the miniature railway will be operational, and it will be a heck of a lot of fun.

Full information on our new Birmingham City Transport "New Look" can be found here. The order desk is still very much open.

You can follow along with my trip on RMWeb. Click here to contribute to the discussion.
Heads Up! BCT 2976 on the #11

We have worked with our friends at Wythall to organise a run of preserved BCT #2976 on the famous route #11. This is scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday 29 May. I have bad news and good news for you.

The bad news is it's already sold out. That took about seven minutes. A bus doesn't have as many seats as a train!

The good news is this is a unique opportunity for my fellow Brummie bus fans to photograph a classic Birmingham bus out in the field. If you can get any great photos of 2976 "in service," please post them to our Facebook page or our Twitter or just reply to this email. The photo we like the best will win a free deluxe Brummie bus model for the photographer.
Stirling Single function testing at the LRC factory
Factory Update on Rapido's British Train Models

OK I've got all my bus stuff out of the way, and now I will hand this over to Bill who has just got home from China.

Bill: Oh this jet lag is just lovely.

Late last month I journeyed up to Toronto to attend the Platelayer’s Society Great British Train Show near Toronto. This was a fun little event, made more enjoyable this year by the visit of Phil Parker from BRM Magazine. Phil built an amazing little layout that was raffled off at the event. Seeing what Phil was able to accomplish in such a small space was quite inspirational! Phil even managed to survive a few days in the chaos that is Rapido’s Transdimensional Headquarters.
Gareth, who has been railway modelling since he was in nappies, derails the train on his first go at Didsbury Green. Top hole, Gareth!
After the show I headed to China for two weeks to work with our factories on a number of projects, including many for the UK market. We have several UK projects in various stages of production right now. Here is a quick rundown of where each is using our internal project codes as that is easier for me:

  • UK02 – About to start the second batch
  • UK03 – About to ship
  • UK04 – In production
  • UK06 – About to ship
  • UK08 – Decoration samples
  • UK10 – We’re still working on it
  • UK71 – Test parts received

Well, that should bring you up to date. Thanks for reading! Until next time…..
Ah, I suppose that you want more details. All right then:
OO Stirling Single

Starting the list with what will be shipping first, our project UK03 is the OO Stirling Single locomotive for Locomotionmodels.com . For those who have been patiently (or otherwise!) waiting for delivery of this project after reserving so long ago it must come as a relief to hear that the models are in final assembly and packing now. They are due to ship within a very short time.

This project has been one of the most challenging engineering-wise that I have been involved with! (Ed: How quickly he has forgotten the APT-E ...) The model is nearly all die-cast for maximum pulling power and is designed to operate right down to second radius curves. It is available in either DC (DCC ready) or DC/DCC/Sound versions. The sound models include sounds custom mixed for us by ESU with input and approval of NRM staff who remember the prototype during its last brief operational period in the 1980s.
Stirling Single quality control testing
The production side of this model has also been an incredible challenge, the decoration requiring no fewer than 84 separate paint masking operations ahead of any lettering being applied! Our Chinese factory has done a fantastic job and I’m happy to say that the finished result is nothing short of wonderful! Look for these to arrive at Locomotionmodels.com in late June.
A Dynamometer Car during the assembly process at the new Rapido factory
OO Dynamometer Car

While the Single occupies much of the production at one of our factories, the other factory is busy doing final decoration and assembly of UK06 - the OO LNER Dynamometer Car for Rails of Sheffield.

Famous for being the car that was used to measure Mallard’s record breaking high speed run, the LNER Dynamometer car was also used in the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials – meaning that there is little excuse for not ordering one!

This new model features full interior and underbody detail as only Rapido is nuts enough to do! The interior alone has more parts and decoration than most competitors' complete models! The model also includes full interior lighting, controllable without the need to remove the car from the track. These models should be leaving China within the next two weeks so those who have them on order will not have much longer to wait…
Production of the OO TEA Tanker
OO TEA Tanker

With all those decoration operations on the Single now complete, the tampo printing department in the LRC factory is working intensely on UK04 - the OO Gauge version of the 100-tonne TEA tank wagon we produced in N Gauge for Revolution Trains in 2016. One of Gareth Bayer's projects, the amount of small, nearly invisible printing and lettering required is mind-boggling! That's because our "British goods wagon nut" Gareth would have it no other way! The decoration workers are now removing my photos from their dart boards and replacing them with Gareth's! (Gareth - it might not be safe to go to China JUST yet.) Watch for a further update soon as we get closer to assembly and packaging.
Pre-production sample of our new J70 for Model Rail
OO Class J70 Tram Engine

The tooling is now complete for UK08, the OO J70 tank engine that we’re producing for Model Rail magazine. This tiny loco has turned out to be an amazing little powerhouse, with one of the samples pulling more than 34 goods wagons around consultant editor Chris Leigh’s home layout!

The J70 has a die-cast chassis and boiler with plastic and etched-metal details. It is available in DC form which wi ll be DCC ready (designed for a NEXT18 decoder). We’ve even included space for a sugarcube speaker inside the compact chassis. Model Rail has specified a number of detail options including skirted and non-skirted versions, two styles of ends, two styles of buffer beams and optional cowcatcher pilots. Two styles of the latter will be provided – one for Hook and loop couplings (which utilize NEM pockets) and the other a full cowcatcher for those who would like to use scale couplings.

We have received artwork approval and the factory has started work on decoration samples for approval ahead of production. These should be complete in a few weeks and we are ready to enter production as soon as they are given the green light by our friends at Model Rail. Watch Model Rail’s website for further updates as they are available.
The colourful East Midlands Trains scheme on 156410 at Nottingham.
OO Class 156 DMU   

The second run of UK02, Realtrack Models' OO Gauge Class 156 DMU, is in the very early stages of production now with material ordering underway. The first batch of Scottish-themed units was very well received and the second run should be equally as popular, if not more so! Liveries in this group include the colourful East Midlands Trains identity and the classic Provincial delivery scheme, with both original "Sprinter" and later "SuperSprinter" branding.

Realtrack have asked us to add a few extra running numbers since these liveries were originally announced, making nine in total, four EMT and five Provincial. Please note there are printing differences between all nine sets. If you're into EMT this means if the unit in question had blue destination boards and a Derby depot sticker then you can be sure your model will be accurate. Just like the first run every set will also have unique destinations at each end.
SuperSprinter and Sprinter branding on the original Provincial liveried Class 156s.
Here is the full list:

East Midlands Trains
156405 (52405/57405) Derby-Crewe
156406 (52406/57406) Nottingham-Worksop
156410 (52410/57410) Nottingham-Skegness
156473 (52473/57473) Lincoln-Leicester

Provincial "Sprinter" logo
156418 (52418/57418) Liverpool-Norwich
156438 (52438/57438) Cardiff-Portsmouth

Provincial "SuperSprinter" logo
156452 (52452/57452) Cambridge-Birmingham
156458 (52458/57458) Inverness-Glasgow
156497 (52497/57497) Carlisle-Leeds

Each set is being produced in an extremely limited number so be sure to reserve your models with Realtrack in order to avoid disappointment later.
OO Gunpowder Van

Sometimes Rapido projects have a way of taking on a life of their own. UK10, Rapido’s OO Gunpowder Van (GPV) is one of them! It was started as a fun and “simple” project some time ago and shared between Gareth and me, mostly because we both wanted some! It would be just a quick and easy little project. Of course, “Simple,“ “Quick” and “Easy” are three words not found in the Rapido Dictionary of Project Design Terminology!

Instead of one “simple” model, we currently have designed two body shells, two underframes and three sets of buffers! This mix-and-match set of components will allow us to accurately model pre-war GWR, LMS, LNER, MOD and almost all of the post-war BR standard versions.

We will be making a formal announcement with livery and pricing details as soon as we each have enough time away from other projects to concentrate on it!
OO Birmingham Guy Arab "New Look"

Jason will probably fire me for putting this at the end, (Ed: No worries - I put my bus bit in front of YOUR ENTIRE REPORT!) but I will claim that I saved the best for last. It won’t help, but I will claim it! We received our first test samples of the parts of UK71 - the OO Birmingham Guy Arab bus.

Now, I confess to not being a bus guy per-se (the bus is Jason’s baby), but as a vintage vehicle fan I can tell you that the detail on these parts is AMAZING. (Am I salvaging my job yet?) The chassis includes full transmission detail, driveshaft hoops, fuel line, separate exhaust and much more – all UNDER the bus. The model also features full interior detail with handrails, floor boards and two-part seats which allow us to decorate the seats with the correct upholstery patterns, or moquette in bus speak. (Ed: Check out the photo at the top of this email.)

Well, that's enough for now. I'm looking forward to some time off. I plan to work on Teesbury, my OO GWR branchline layout, before getting back into the thick of our exciting new UK projects.

Jason: Thanks, Bill. That was a great summary. To aid in your recovery from the jet lag, please take a short holiday... Did you enjoy it?
Happy Pendos!

For this bit of the newsletter, I hand the conch over to Gareth.

Gareth: It's been an epic journey, but the end of March finally saw the arrival of the N Gauge Class 390 Virgin Pendolino trainsets. This Rapido Trains and Revolution Trains joint project was the most significant use ever of crowdfunding in model railways to raise funds to produce a model ignored by the mainstream manufacturers. This means there was a lot of credibility riding on it.

We originally estimated that it would take a couple of years from the announcement in November 2014 to delivery, so Pendolino customers should have been opening their boxes around Christmas 2016. Okay, so we're a year and a bit late... In this business that's practically an on time delivery! Seriously though, we weren't sitting on our hands during those three years and four months. After the initial euphoria of delivering a first sample within a year of the announcement, it took another 18 months of tweaking various parts to ensure bulletproof reliability and smooth running over all types of trackwork. After that we had to make them, which took one of our factory production lines the best part of a year!

The result seems to have been worth the effort based on the reviews and customer feedback we've seen so far. Rapido handled non-UK/EU orders and we've sent Pendolinos all over the world, with a surprising number going to Japan and Australia (a big Konnichiwa and G'day to our friends on the other side of the world). We reckon our Pendo will look great next to those wonderful Japanese N Scale Shinkansen (Bullet Train) models. We'd love to see pictures of them together!
The overall response has been such that we've spent the last few months fielding many calls and emails from people that missed out. We thought this might happen so we made 100 additional sets with a new number, representing 11-car 390132 City of Birmingham in the original livery but with plain grey doors. This replicates the livery worn by most of the current fleet. We were as surprised as anyone when they sold out within 24 hours of being announced to the public back in February!

All of this means that more Pendolinos are on the way, and sooner rather than later. It's been almost two years since our original planned delivery date so we're currently drawing up plans for a second run. This will include the new (and much requested) "Azuma" scheme. Watch this space!

Jason: Thanks, Gareth. That was great! Next in Rapido News...
BRM's tour of Rapido HQ

As mentioned earlier, Phil Parker from BRM (British Railway Modelling magazine) braved the untamed wilds of the colonies to join us for a few days in deepest, darkest Canada. While here, he took a tour of Rapido's Transdimensional Headquarters. (It used to be our "Intergalactic Headquarters" but then other North American manufacturers started using the same term so we've upgraded our status. Next it will be "Hyperspace," "E-Space," "Interstitial Time," or even "The Moon.")

Click here to watch a trailer for Phil's interview. The full interview will go out at the end of the month in BRM's free BRM Express e-newsletter. Click here to sign up.
Lost in Preservation - New Video

Many model railway and model bus enthusiasts are also passionate advocates for railway and bus preservation. We are no exception here at Rapido. We were deeply involved in saving a Bombardier LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) locomotive for the Toronto Railway Museum; we saved an RDC (Rail Diesel Car, a North American DMU from the 1950s), and we own a classic bus from 1967 (but that's more for fun).

Our largest undertaking in preservation is our Pullman-Standard sleeping car, Edmundston, built in 1954. This is a larger project than all the others combined, and we've had real doubts about whether we can pull this off. It's costing more time and money than we ever envisioned.

When Rapido started to make money in 2015 I was determined to "give back" to Canadian railway preservation and save a retired VIA Rail Canada passenger car. We're not giving up, but I came pretty close. Click here or on the image below for an emotional and introspective video about the difficulties of preserving the real trains we love.
That's it for another "monthly" edition of Rapido News UK. We'll be back in touch before, erm, 2019.

Thanks for your continued interest, and please use the link below to share this newsletter with the world. We are really trying to reach 100 subscribers before 2020.

Best regards,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.