The latest and greatest from those wacky guys at Rapido!

Rapido News UK Volume 7 - ©2016 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Before I get started, please bear in mind that you need to reserve your N gauge Pendolino by June 7th - which is next week! Please click here to order in the UK and Europe. Please click here to order anywhere else.
Time flies in the model railway manufacturing business. Most products work on a 18-month to two-year development schedule from conception to delivery and it's scary how quickly that time seems to pass. This, of course, is our long way around of explaining how five months have passed since our last newsletter!

There have been some significant developments with our British projects since the Warley Show last year. The headline news is obviously the delivery of the APT-E to but we also want everyone to know that our friends at Revolution Trains have announced another new wagon. This, naturally, will be designed and manufactured by Rapido Trains Inc.

Behind the scenes, design has started apace on some big ticket projects, others are now in the tooling stage, while some are even in production. All in all there is a lot to report. So we are glad that we now have 17.3 subscribers to this newsletter. I am sure you will all enjoy it.

In this issue of Rapido News UK:
This newsletter was released at the beginning of June 2016. If you're reading this for the first time in 2017 after coming across a link from a forum or elsewhere, then you might want to consider subscribing to our dedicated newsletter for our UK projects. The link is at the bottom.

If you sign up we promise two things: 1/ we won't bother you with spam (newsletters don't count as spam right?) and 2/ you'll get your copy delivered as fast as we can squeeze the electrons down the pipe. By the way, you can also increase your social standing amongst friends by forwarding this newsletter to them as well.
The Pendolino on Law Junction at Model Rail Scotland in February.
Pendolino progress and order deadline
In the last newsletter, we were showing off the very first samples of the Revolution Trains N gauge Class 390 Pendolino. This project has shown significant developments since then with the arrival of the first working sample, which was delivered to Revolution just ahead of the Model Rail Scotland event at the end of February. The order deadline for UK customers is June 7th - NEXT WEEK! - so an update on progress is very timely. If you live outside Europe, you need to click here to order directly from us.

The actual sample arrived in late January, which gave us plenty of time to put it through our workshops here for a coat of paint. There were good reasons for this. The main one is obviously that we wanted it to look good when it debuted on the East Neuk Group's excellent Law Junction layout. But we also wanted to confirm that the livery sat nicely over the complex lines of the Virgin West Coast workhorse... Or should that be racehorse? As you can see below it looks great in the standard Virgin colours.
9-Car Pendolino formation... 11-Car and 5-Car sets are also available.
As well as sporting working power cars, the first class trailers were fitted with illuminated table lamps. There was even a sample of the new coach lighting that is being made available separately for purchasers who want to upgrade their Pendolinos. The only things missing from this sample were the windscreen wipers, pantograph heads and front and rear tail lights. The model was also DC only as the DCC/sound features are still being developed.

The importance of these samples cannot be overstated. While most customers and reviewers seem to focus on the way a model looks. We're just as concerned about the way our models run. We were happy to hear from Revolution that the sample performed reliably over the three days of the Scottish show. The main issue appears to be the innovative power couplers between cars. These still need some work before we we can consider them reliable.

We are producing four different liveries on the Pendolino, with a total of ten different running numbers (four nine-car trains and six 11-car trains). There is also a five-car set and a two-car add-on pack consisting of Coaches F and U which were added at a later date.

9-Car Class 390 'Pendolino' (all in standard Virgin Trains livery)
390001 Virgin Pioneer
390005 City of Wolverhampton
390006 Tate Liverpool
390045 101 Squadron

11-Car Class 390 'Pendolino' (in standard Virgin Trains livery unless otherwise noted)
390103 Virgin Hero (Royal British Legion 'Poppylino' livery)
390104 Alstom Pendolino (Alstom livery)
390114 City of Manchester
390122 Penny the Pendolino
390138 City of London
390151 Virgin Ambassador (Business is Great Britain livery)
Working table lamps in first class (top picture)...
We've also made a bespoke light bar kit for the Pendolino (below), see website for details.
Rapido has started contacting non-UK/Europe Pendolino customers to give them the option to choose a particular running number/livery combination for their ordered sets. If you have not heard from us, it means the email is not getting through. Please reply to this email letting us know you are still alive. We are giving customers the chance to include full train light kits with their order. These can also be ordered direct from Revolution (UK/Europe) or via our website (rest of world).

Note that there is a $99 minimum order on our web site, so you need to order a Pendolino if you want to order a light kit! If you have already ordered one, please contact us direct to upgrade your order.

Pendolino orders are being taken until June 7th, 2016. Here are those links again:

Click here to order the Pendo is you live in the UK or Europe.
Click here to order if you live anywhere else on Earth.

Orders will be accepted from the International Space Station, but P&P is £3 billion. 

The APT-E. Photo courtesy Andy York/RM Web
The APT-E arrives
After a development process best described as "challenging" we are very proud to have delivered our model of the the iconic APT-E to, the retail arm of the National Railway Museum at Shildon... and only a couple of months late! Not bad considering the fun we had designing a "museum quality" model that had to work reliably around second-radius curves.
Shrink-wrapped pallets of APT-E train packs arrive at Shildon.
We've been bowled over by the response to the models both online and in your personal messages to us. In addition, the press reviews have been more than we could ask for. After all the work that went into the model it's wonderful to see such an enthusiastic response! The APT-E has been something of a labour of love for all involved, from the good people at the NRM, the APT-E Conservation & Support Group and everyone here at Rapido.

We'd particularly like to state our everlasting gratitude to the APT-E Group, along with former APT-E Tilt Engineer Kit Spackman. Kit has been and continues to be a wonderful ambassador for the project. The product development would have taken longer and would have been nowhere near as much fun without Kit on board.
The APT-E in action! Photo courtesy Yan Leach
We know that some APT-E customers have had some issues putting the train together and that some people are worried about bending the pins that transfer electrical power throughout the train. With this in mind we've put together a webpage that we hope will illustrate all and put minds at rest. Surf over here to find out more.

The Single on simulated 4th radius curves... we just need to squeeze it a bit more!
Stirling Single update
While the APT-E has been grabbing the headlines and rapidly accumulating huge numbers of forum messages, work has been quietly moving along with our second commission, the Stirling Single.

The Stirling is another complicated project that has led to much colourful language as we've slowly developed the CAD design with our engineers in China. The results are seen here and the designs are almost ready to be sent to our tooling workshop.

The Single presents a very different set of issues to those posed by the APT-E, although if I say "second radius curves" - otherwise described as "tram tracks" by Jason - you'll realise that at least one problem is related.

Despite wheels set to OO gauge being approximately a scale seven inches narrower than reality, the clearances on the Single are super tight between the splashers on the lead bogie. The splasher design is rather unique on the Single with the splashers being both fixed to the cylinders and overhanging the bogie wheels.  

To illustrate the problem, Jason recently visited our factory in China and the first conversation with Huang went along these lines:

Jason: "How's the Single coming along?"
Huang: "Great! It is great model. Looks great. But there is one problem."
Jason: "What's that?"
Huang: "It goes straight."
Jason: "That's not a problem! It won't wobble like most steam engines!"
Huang: "No. It goes straight. It only goes straight."
Jason: "You mean..."
Huang: "It. Only. Goes. Straight."

We looked at a range of different steam locomotive models to see how other manufacturers have coped with this problem. We quickly came to the conclusion that we didn't want to use their solutions, which can broadly be summarised as follows: 1/ make it sloppier than a sloppy thing on a wet night and 2/ flangeless wheels (not an ideal solution with a single driver). Hmmm... I wonder if we can make the cylinder block rotate....... Never mind.  

We've come up with an answer that we think is a more reasonable compromise and we'll be demonstrating this when we get samples later in the year. Click here to visit our Stirling Single page.
KFA container flats with Gloucester GPS bogies. Tiphook Rail (above) and Network Rail (below) versions.
Containers/water tank modules not provided... sorry! 
Another new Revolution wagon
With the N Gauge VTG TEA tank wagon now in production (see report below), Revolution Trains has revealed its next freight-themed project, the Tiphook Rail/GE Rail Services KFA (also in N).

The KFA 60ft container flat is a key wagon for British modellers and they have been used on a wide variety of traffic since the mid-1980s. This includes containers, contaminated waste, railhead treatment trains (watercannon, sandite and weedkiller), MoD traffic, long welded rail, and containerised gypsum. Since privatisation they have been leased to most major freight operators including DB/EWS, Freightliner and GB Railfreight.

KFA container flats with Sambre-et-Meuse VNH1 bogies - common as muck in Freightliner services.
Revolution has commissioned two versions of the KFA, with Gloucester GPS bogies or Sambre et Meuse VNH1 bogies. Both types were built by Rautaruukki of Finland in 1987-8 and they were originally given the TOPS code of PFA (pre-1990).

The model will feature a die-cast underbody with plastic injection moulded body and pipework. Like the N VTG TEA, it will also include body-mounted NEM close couplers.

The CAD files show both versions. As well as the bogies, there are differences in the piping configuration and buffer design between the two types.

Six liveries are proposed, three of each version. These will cover the entire life of the vehicles from delivery to the present day.

To keep prices down, the models will be produced without containers. For "early bird" orders (before the end of this month) the wagon will be priced £22 each or £66 for three. The price will rise by £3 a wagon next month. Click here to order.
Painted samples of the N VTG TEA.
Although the Pendolino was the first Revolution Trains project, the N VTG TEA will be the first model to arrive with customers. This is not surprising when you compare the complexity of an 11-car powered train with a wagon, no matter that the TEA is a complex model in its own right.
N TEA Tank
The N VTG TEA is in the paint shop!
After a few tooling tweaks for added reliability, the N VTG TEA has now made its way into production. The orders have been very strong for this wagon and with five different detail variants, eight different liveries and 20 different running numbers it is going to take some time before it is completed. Revolution Trains will be providing more details about its planned arrival on their own website, but it is projected to be later in the summer.
For slighter larger scale modellers - that's OO gauge, not waist size - the OO VTG TEA has achieved a major milestone of its own. CAD design has now been completed and these have now been sent to our tooling workshop to be translated into hard steel. In fact, tooling is ALMOST FINISHED!
Rapido OO TEA Tank Mould
Well that was quick! OO VTG TEA body mould in the tooling workshop
The OO model will be to a very similar specification as the N version. Although we have taken the opportunity to finesse the details significantly to take advantage of the larger scale. Like its little brother, it will feature etched metal walkways on the roof - a first we think for a tank wagon in this scale.

To keep things simple, Revolution is marketing the same liveries and running numbers for the OO VTG TEA. The model is priced at £37 each or £115.50 for a triple-pack. You can place your order here.

Mike and Ben (Revolution Trains) and Chris (Eversholt Leasing) measure up the Class 321 at Asfordby.
Design starts on Class 320/321
The Revolution production line continues with the news that design has now started on the BREL Class 320 and Class 321 EMU, which will be manufactured in DC and DCC/sound versions.

We'd like to thank Eversholt Leasing for allowing Revolution Trains and Rapido access to Asfordby Depot in Leicestershire in March to make field measurements of one of its units. This was followed by a second trip in early May to Wabtec Doncaster.
Photographing every part of No. 321448.
The ROSCO also kind provided a wide range of official drawings that are now being scanned and turned into drawings that can be used for 3D design.

Eversholt provided copies of original works drawings.
After revealing the model at the International N Gauge Show in Leamington Spa last September, Revolution canvassed for expressions of interest in this model asking potential customers which liveries they were interested in. This process has now been completed and the following schemes will definitely be produced:

Class 320
ScotRail Saltire

Class 321
Network SouthEast
First Capital Connect
London Midland

Revolution are also offering the chance to order other liveries, such as Abellio, First Great Eastern, Northern Rail, Silverlink, the classic Strathclyde orange/black and WYPTE. If pre-orders reach a certain number then these schemes will also be produced in the first run. A plain white and/or undecorated version are also proposed for customers whose first choice is not being released.

First Great Eastern is one of the liveries that may be produced if demand is sufficient.
Get your orders in now for this long-lived Great Eastern Main Line livery!
The model will feature working head/tail lights (which can be switched off in DCC for use with other sets), detailed interiors with hidden motor/flywheels, realistic poseable pantograph and optional DCC/sound.

Again, an "early bird" price is being offered on all orders placed before the end of June. The three-car Class 320 is £165 (DC) and £260 (DCC), while the four-car Class 321 is £190 (DC) and £285 (DCC). Both will rise by £15 after this period. Place your order now!

The Rapido Trains Inc. and Revolution Trains stand at York.
I'm demonstrating connecting the APT-E for the the three hundredth time and clearly still in good humour.
York Show debrief
Having attended the York Model Railway Show in 2015 as guests of, this year we made it official and headed across the Atlantic under our own banner, sharing a stand with Revolution Trains.

The decision proved to be a timely one, with the first APT-E models escaping from Shildon earlier the same week and making it into the happy arms of excited customers!
Brian Greenwood (, right) and Pete Goss (layout owner, left) enjoy the sight of the APT-E
powering around Pete's incredible 'Worlds End' layout... a fantastic recreation of Knaresborough in OO gauge.
With Jason customarily heading to China this time of year for his annual karaoke-a-thon it was left to me to man stand, along with our honorary "Brit" and warranty repair expert Thomas Blampied.

The irrepressible and indispensable Kit "Mr Tilt" Spackman was also on hand on the Monday and regaled his growing army of fans of all ages with APT-E stories from the days when boffins ruled the rails and skies!

It was no co-incidence that the two Rapido staffers with the most experience with the APT-E were on hand for the show and both of us spent the three days happily demonstrating how to put the train together and then take it apart again. While most people were apprehensive at first we sent everyone away happy and surprised how easy it all was once they'd done it a couple of times!

Another view of the APT-E powering around Pete Goss's 'Worlds End' layout.
We'd like to increase our show presence in the UK and are considering adding a couple more events to our schedule from 2017. Our next official outing will be the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition over the weekend of November 26th/27th, 2016. Other than that, watch this space!
Not long to wait now...
Mystery project redux
Finally, just a little note about the mystery project that we've been working on with our as yet undisclosed partner. Both will finally be revealed - for sure this time - at the Warley Show in November. Yes, this year. We will be showing off the new model with final painted samples and we promise that they will be worth the wait.

We've just approved the first set of samples and found very little of fault so we're happy to move along to the next stage of the development. We're particularly proud of the motor and final drive configuration, which is amazingly smooth for a first sample, as well as being completely hidden and as close to prototypical as we can make it without shoehorning an actual small diesel engine in there. Oops, I may have given away too much!
All the best,


Bill Schneider
Product Development Guy
Rapido Trains Inc.