Rapido UK Newsletter No. 1
©2020 Rapido Trains Ltd
Dear Rapido Customer,

It’s said that the best things come to those who wait…

Well, you guys haven't received a newsletter since October 2019 but we guarantee that you'll think this real humdinger of an issue has been worth waiting for. We've got some big, BIG news!

In this issue:
  • Official launch of Rapido Trains UK
  • Find out what our first FOUR new model trains are
  • Updates on our British buses
  • Check out the new website
  • Meet the UK team – Some are familiar; others will be new

And, finally:
  • Marketing Manager Richard shares some thoughts on embarking on his Rapido adventure
Back in the USA by Chuck Berry; Back in the USSR by the Beatles.
But no one has written a song called Back in the UK, which is annoying as there are no lyrics to steal for UK-based newsletter captions
It's good to be back...

We’re really excited to announce that Rapido Trains is back in the UK – and we’re not talking about teaming up with another organisation to bring you one or two models.

No, this time, you – the British modeller – will be able to buy a whole range of ready-to-run locomotives and rolling stock as well as 1:76 scale road vehicles under the Rapido Trains UK brand.

To launch the business with a bang, we’ve got FOUR new trains to announce!
And to differentiate the future British business from the previous attempt at a British business, we’ve decided to call this Newsletter No. 1.

To run the new UK arm, Rapido has made two significant signings: Andy Hardy of Hardy’s Hobbies fame comes in as Operations Manager and Richard Foster, formerly editor of Model Rail magazine, joins as Sales & Marketing Manager.
Rapido Trains President Jason Shron... in fancy dress, apparently
The whole Rapido team on both sides of the 'pond' is bubbling with excitement about this new venture and so we turned to Rapido President Jason Shron for a pithy, eloquent quote to sum up everything that we’re feeling at the moment.
So, everyone, pray silence please for a few words from our President:

"British model trains are alright
But some of them are quite a rough sight
Along comes Rapido 
Whose trains are so neato
They make all the others look like sh-"

Thanks for your contribution Jason – we’ll be sure never to ask you for a quote again.

Now we’ve got all the poetry out of our system, we know that you’re all agog to know what our new models are going to be. So, without further ado, here we go…
Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST Jacks Green at the Nene Valley Railway.
Richard once cleaned this engine...
Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST
More and more modellers have been calling for industrial locomotives in ‘OO’ so we’ve answered the call with this, the Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST.

These cheeky locomotives were the largest of a range of ‘standard’ locomotives offered by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds. Customers could buy similar looking locomotives with 12, 14 and 15in diameter cylinders.

Andy loves these locomotives and can testify that they’re great little machines to drive. He’s already been out to measure them. Sadly, Jason declined his idea for a field trip to sunny Australia to study PWD79. Instead, Andy went to Peterborough.
Our Hunslet 16in will come with a sound-fitted option, a first for a British-outline 'OO' gauge steam industrial.
The Hunslet 16in will feature:

  • Die-cast metal construction
  • High quality motor and mechanism
  • Next18 decoder socket
  • DCC Sound options
  • High level of detail
  • NEM coupler pockets
  • Sprung buffers
Here's a very early 3D render. The design is about 50% done.
It's looking good but there are a few Jacks Green-only details to remove.
Pretty, isn't it?
What liveries are we making on the Hunslet?

  • 903001: No. 3716/1952, Alex, Oxfordshire Ironstone lined red
  • 903002: No. 3782/1953, Arthur, Markham Main Colliery lined green
  • 903003: No. 2705/1945, Beatrice, NCB lined red
  • 903004: No. 3783/1953, Holly Bank No. 3, NCB lined blue
  • 903005: No. 1953/1939, Jacks Green, Naylor Benzon & Co lined green
  • 903006: No. 3715/1952, Primrose No. 2, NCB lined black
  • 903007: No. 3714/1951 Thorne No. 1, plain green
Even at this early stage, the fine detail just pops out...
The design team has even managed to get daylight under the boiler.
We fully intend that our model will be as good looking, powerful and reliable as the real thing. Andy and Richard have been poring over the first round CAD images to check that everything is spot on!

We’ve already had some preliminary artwork produced to show off the seven liveries we intend to make – and you can see just how pretty this little model is going to be.

Click here to visit the Hunslet page on our web site. You'll be able to reserve yours soon!
'15XX': The most un-Great Western-like Great Western locomotive
WR '15XX' 0-6-0PT

We couldn’t unveil a new range of models without something Great Western in the line-up.

ANDY: Oh yes, we could.

RICHARD: Shhh! Your bit's later!

The Hawksworth ‘15XX’ 0-6-0PT has been at the top of various wish list polls for ages. No one can deny that it’s an impressive looking machine – its huge cylinders, chunky boiler and short wheelbase make it look like a huge clenched fist of steel. It’s so completely at odds with the genteel, august designs that came out of Swindon Works in the 1920s and 1930s.

We like different at Rapido and so the ‘15XX’ is a perfect addition to the range. There were very few differences between them too, which makes this is comparatively simple project. Ah, those famous last words!
No. 1505 was one that received BR lined black
We're working on the Hawksworth '15XX' having the following features:

  • Die-cast metal construction
  • High quality motor and mechanism
  • Next18 or 21-pin decoder socket (we'll know soon enough)
  • DCC Sound options
  • High level of detail
  • NEM coupler pockets
  • Sprung buffers
And they also come in red...
STOP PRESS: Talk about cutting it fine! Just before this newsletter was about to be sent out, our factory sent us the first '15XX' CAD renders so we managed to shoehorn them into this issue. This is a first draft, so to speak, of the design work and there are a few things that need tweaking but it's already looking very impressive.

To visit the '15XX' page on our website, please click here.
What an impressive looking beast!
The austere design can be fully appreciated in this 'top down' shot.
Looks good from this angle too.
Rubbish they might have been but the MetroVick Type 2s were a good looking machine
Metro-Vick Type 2 Co-Bo (Class 28)

No one can accuse us of ignoring ‘N’ gauge. In fact, it’s our intention to produce models in all the popular scales and if enough people want a 3mm scale model, we’ll look at making it. But that’s something for another time.

JASON: Let’s make an ‘HO’ scale Class 40!
RICHARD: Andy, what do you think?
ANDY: Er, no. Richard?
RICHARD: Sorry, Jason, you’ve got two ‘Nos’.

Moving swiftly along...
This should make a fabulous 'N' gauge model!
Our first ‘N’ gauge model is the MetroVick Type 2 or Class 28 Co-Bo.

Does this locomotive qualify as BR’s worst diesel design? Probably. However, there seems to be a law that the less successful a real locomotive is or the shorter its lifespan, the better it makes a model. The APT-E is testament to that.

ANDY: Ooh, does that mean we can make the Kitson-Still then?

RICHARD: It is very hard to do a newsletter with so many interruptions!

Anyway, we think that Metropolitan Vickers’ stylish design and unique five-axle wheel arrangement is actually going to make a really cracking ‘N’ gauge model. It’ll certainly perform better than its full-sized counterpart.

And we don’t know about you but we think the Class 15 Preservation Society deserves more credit! They are tackling the difficult restoration of sole surviving Class 28 D5705 and ALSO the last Class 15 too. Check out the team’s work and how you can contribute at their web site.
Unfortunately for realism fanatics, ours won't catch fire.
But feel free to replicate this by fitting your own smoke unit or a butane torch!
The Class 28's specification includes:

  • Post-1961 flat screen version
  • Next18 decoder socket
  • High quality motor and drive systems
  • Directional lighting
  • Wealth of separately fitted and highly detailed parts
  • DCC Sound option
  • NEM coupler pockets
Did you know that there were two different sizes of warning panel?
What liveries are we making on the MetroVick Type 2?

  • 905001: D5709, BR green
  • 905002: D5711, BR green with yellow warning panels
  • 905003: D5713, BR green with yellow warning panels
  • 905004: D5707, BR green with yellow ends
  • 905005: D5705, BR green with yellow warning panels
  • 905006: D5701, BR blue with yellow ends
Will come in BR blue - but they didn't last long enough to get TOPS numbers
The factory is hard at work designing our ‘N’ gauge take on the MetroVick
Co-Bo and we should have some CAD for you to see soon – hopefully in the next newsletter.

And no, we're not putting a face on it.

In the meantime, why don't you explore the Class 28 page on the website? Please click here to go there.
Remember this little beast?
Yes, it’s the Gunpowder Van!

Had you thought we'd forgotten about the gunpowder van? Not all at. We got as far as producing a 3D test print of a 21st Century standard 'OO' gauge gunpowder van. However, the project spluttered to a halt because, not being set up as a UK business, we could not sell these directly to customers.

The launch of the new UK business has given us the perfect opportunity to re-launch the gunpowder van project.

We’re pleased to formally announce three versions of these distinctive little wagons: the Railway Clearing House’s standardised design (circa 1930), the GWR’s Diagram Z4 version and BR’s take on the subject, the Diagram 1/260.

Our new model will feature key variations including different ‘W’ irons, doors, buffers and vacuum brake gear.
Back with a bang - we're tooling three versions of 'OO' gauge gunpowder van
What gunpowder van liveries are we making?

  • 902001: Dia. 1/260, No. B887021, BR bauxite
  • 902002: Dia. 1/260, No. M701508, BR bauxite
  • 902003: Dia. 1/260, No. B887001, BR grey
  • 902004: Dia. Z4, No. 105777, GWR livery
  • 902005: Dia. Z4, No. 105708, GWR livery
  • 902006: RCH pattern, No. 701016, LMS livery
  • 902007: RCH pattern, No. 299031, LMS livery
  • 902008: RCH pattern, No. N260936, LNER livery
  • 902009: RCH pattern, No. 147511, LNER livery
  • 902010: RCH pattern, No. 11, Royal Ordnance Factory livery
We're tooling different brake gear, doors and buffing gear too!
This has just gone into tooling so we'll expect samples around March or April. All of China shuts down in January and February so that will cause a bit of a delay.

Explore the full GPV range by clicking here.
"I 'ate you, Butler"
And let’s not forget the buses!

Here’s a little-known fact: Jason is now not the only bus geek in the UK team. Richard also has an interest (blame his dad) and once bored his class at school with a presentation about the history of London Transport buses.
Yes, really.

ANDY: Nooo!

RICHARD: Hard luck, mate. Our bus models need no introduction. The Birmingham City Transport ‘New Look’ Guy Arab model broke new ground for 1:76 scale road vehicles with its level of detail, poseable front wheels, headlamps and internal lighting. We’ve followed this up with the Leyland ‘West Midlands’ Fleetline.
The Fleetline EP on Jason's Canadian layout.
No, we also don't quite know how the bus managed that bridge.
The Fleetline has got to the Engineering Prototype stage and is looking good. The sample is missing two batten strips on the front as well as the screw head detail. They've since been added.
Fleetlines, Fleetlines everywhere. Which one will you choose?
It’ll be offered with the original and the rebuilt front headlamp/indicator arrangements. We’re offering 20 different registration numbers and destinations to choose from. Click here to check out the full list.
You wait ages for a bus...
We haven’t forgotten the ‘New Look’ Guy Arab Birminghams either. Coming soon are 11 new BCT and WMPTE buses with different, previously unreleased registration numbers and destinations.
More BCT 'New Looks' to add to your collection
We're also including the Birmingham city coat of arms we - er - neglected to include on the bonnets in our first run!

Both buses are due spring/summer 2021. RRP is £54.95. Click here for more information.
Will we ever see a 1:76 scale RT to Rapido's high standards? Watch this space!
Pic: Peter Foster
We have a long list of exciting bus plans (Richard keeps muttering things about RTs and RFs) so keep an eye out for them.

JASON: Brummie buses all the way, baby!
RICHARD: We’ll see about that. London has something like 500 times the population of Birmingham.
JASON: Yes, but Brummies are cooler. I mean the people AND the buses!
RICHARD: Do I have to put up with this nonsense?
JASON: I sign your paycheque.
RICHARD: Moving right along…
Where to buy and explore our range of models?

A new business demands a new website and we have a bright and shiny new site that's just begging for you to visit it. Please click here to visit.

You'll be able to explore the full product range, take a look at past products, learn more about the world of Rapido Trains and, in the fullness of time, order our products.

Unfortunately, there's a slight hitch at the moment as we don't yet have a British bank account. Why not? Because British banks keep telling us to go away. It's caused Andy a lot of stress, especially as the lovely Janet is itching to put some figures in the 'Income' column on her UK business 'Profit & Loss' account. If you happen to be a senior person at a wonderful and impeccable British bank and you'd like to help us open an account, please get in touch!

For the rest of you, such matters are of no concern. All you need to know is that, in future, you'll be able to buy your new Rapido models from a range of UK stockists or direct from the website.

So please go and check it out now: rapidotrains.co.uk
Sorry - couldn't think of a more British group of people
Meet the UK team

Most of you will already know Jason and Bill Schneider. But who are the new guys?
Andy on the footplate of Tornado
Pic: Mandy Grant
Andy Hardy, Operations Manager
Andy has a life-long obsession with railways, so much so his parents say his first words were “coal” and “buffer." He's worked at the National Railway Museum and the Kent & East Sussex Railway. He’s also run his own model manufacturing business. He's written a railway book and he is also a pretty snazzy trumpet player. He is a qualified steam locomotive driver and even works out on the main line with the A1 Steam Trust.

Andy will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of everything Rapido in the UK. Website, orders, procurement of biscuits and lots more will be keeping him busy for some time to come.

In true Rapido style, we thought we would share some interesting and random facts about Andy. Only one of these is a lie – it's up to you to work out which:

  1. Andy has performed in a concert for HM the Queen.
  2. He’s ridden the footplate of an East Coast Pacific across the Forth Bridge.
  3. He’s driven an RT bus (we told you he liked buses!).
  4. He collects and plays oddball brass musical instruments including the slide trumpet.
  5. Andy has driven the Hogwarts Express.
  6. He has built an extensive collection of Lego trains.
  7. He has raised money for charity with a team by completing 100 miles in one day on a rail handcart.
  8. Andy applied for the Ops Manager job with a covering letter talking about his hair.

Since joining the Rapido team he has hit the ground running getting everything ready for our launch later in the year – not an easy task, especially given the banking situation. But he has already been out with a camera, drawings and a measuring stick. And he’s been learning an awful lot about buses.
On the 'footplate' of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster FM213 during its visit to RAF Coningsby
Richard Foster, Sales & Marketing Manager

Richard is possibly a more familiar face, given that there’s been a picture of him in every issue of Model Rail magazine since 2008. He started his journalistic career as the Junior Writer on MR’s sister title Steam Railway way back in 2004.

Richard is also a life-long railway enthusiast and has a wide-ranging interest – which means his fantasy layout list is quite an extensive one – but he’s never actually finished a layout before (probably because he spends a good proportion of his modelling time ham-fistedly building aircraft kits).

Here are some random facts about Richard – and they’re all true:

  1. Richard still owns his first car
  2. He got married in a zoo… and his stag-do involved driving narrow gauge steam engines
  3. He played guitar in a covers band (YouTube footage does exist)
  4. He injured himself playing air guitar… and had to visit hospital
  5. He got stuck in a lift with Ocean Colour Scene’s drummer
  6. The largest vehicle he’s driven is a MAN tractor unit.
  7. He’s been attacked by A-10 Thunderbolts
  8. He supports Norwich City FC

Richard is looking forward to making Rapido Trains UK the biggest and best model manufacturer in Britain… and eating all the biscuits Andy provides.
Which one do you take?
What's it like joining Rapido?
Richard's personal journey

Is there anything worse than when work causes you sleepless nights?
Well, since I’ve joined Rapido Trains, I’ve had several sleepless nights. But it’s not stress-induced insomnia – it’s excitement.

I struggled to get to sleep one night as my brain pondered how many versions of a certain locomotive we could produce. I struggled again more recently and effectively wrote the introduction to this newsletter in my head.

During the day, sitting at my desk, I find myself spontaneously beaming – I’m that happy to be working for Rapido Trains.

This is not a piece of company-sponsored propaganda, though Jason just texted me to say "but it’ll do nicely!”

In all seriousness, I’m not a spiritual sort of chap but I can’t help feeling that the stars have aligned in some way to give me the sort of Holy Grail that most people long for – the Dream Job. I feel extremely lucky and very privileged to have found it.

OK, it’s only been a couple of weeks and Rapido Trains UK is still at an embryonic stage. I’m sure there will be more sleepless nights in the future where Rapido is on my mind that won't be as a result of being excited.
Covid scuppered any plans to go to Canada to meet the Rapido team in person. Therefore, I've only ever made one visit there, back in 2006. Here are a couple of train related snaps. First stop, Canadian Pacific HQ in Calgary.
How did I end up here? Was it fate or destiny or something else that caused Jason to let slip at 2019’s Warley National Model Railway Exhibition that Brexit had forced Rapido to hold off on its plans to launch a proper UK business?

I remember the epiphany I had the following Monday morning. I was brushing my teeth when I suddenly realised that I could run Rapido’s UK business.
I have experience of developing models and I know the UK model industry. Heck, I even have plenty of space for a test track.

To say that Jason liked the idea was an understatement.

But there was a problem. I had worked at Bauer (previously EMAP) for
16 years. That’s a big chunk of my life. When I joined Steam Railway as Junior Writer, I was in my early 20s. I’d just come back from backpacking around Australia. I had no ties, no worries. If it didn’t work out, I knew I could walk into any job at any logistics company.
The Chateau Lake Louise, formerly a CP hotel.
Fast forward to 2020 and I’m married with a young family. I have a mortgage. Joining what was effectively a start-up business seemed a huge risk. I was no longer the care-free twenty-something of 2004. Having done shift-working, working weekends and even Boxing Day, my leisure time is extremely precious to me. Could I cope with Jason’s very North American work ethic?

I’m sure Jason started to experience doubts about me, particularly as it was envisaged that I’d be running the whole show. An exciting challenge but a huge responsibility.

I’d be working from home too. Working in a big office has its fair share of problems but it’s nice being surrounded by the hubbub of creative people being, well, creative. Could I cope with the isolation of home working?

In short, I felt like a bit like Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption who can’t cope with life outside the prison. He'd become institutionalised. I could empathise. I'd become institutionalised at Bauer. Life on the outside looked scary.
A sublime spot to watch trains. Could have been my 'Mastershot' if I'd known how to shoot into the sun properly!
I was about to sign on the dotted line when Covid struck. Launching a new business with the country in lock-down was not a good move so Jason and I agreed to put everything on hold. I gave a huge sigh of relief. I wouldn’t have to take a leap into the unknown.

It didn’t take long, however, for that desire for a fresh challenge, one where I could play a big and influential part, began to again gnaw at my insides again. But could I actually do it?

When life returned to something a bit more like normal during the summer, Jason couldn’t wait any longer to launch the UK business. Like Neo in The Matrix, do I take the red pill or the blue one?

I took a deep breath and signed up. To continue the cinematic and literary metaphors, I was now Alice going down the rabbit hole.

Or, as Jason put it, the Doctor falling into the antimatter pit on Zeta Minor.
Seriously, where does he get this nonsense?
From the footplate of No. 2816 somewhere near Kicking Horse Pass. Going through the Spiral Tunnels on the footplate was a fabulous experience.
Everyone looks for a silver lining to the Covid cloud and I found mine.
For a start, I wouldn’t be home alone – my wife would also be working at home with me.

Secondly, Rapido HQ realised that setting up a UK business was actually a two-person job and – was it fate again? – I’d be working alongside Andy Hardy.

Andy and I had got to know each other when, in his previous role at the Kent & East Sussex Railway, he’d given Jason and me access to study and measure No. 1638. He'd applied for the Operations Manager job and got it.

As the day got closer to starting with Rapido, Andy’s infectious enthusiasm galvanised my feeling that this move was the Right Thing To Do.
Canadian Pacific's magnificent 4-6-4 No. 2816 at speed somewhere near Kamloops.
I wonder if anyone makes an 'HO' model of it?
The first day was a very strange experience. I didn’t have to worry about commuting to a new office and remembering where the toilets are. My desk was the same desk in the spare room from where I’d edited Model Rail. I didn’t have to worry about learning everyone’s name – because I knew Andy, Jason and Bill already.

What really sealed the deal for me was the first weekly Rapido team meeting. Here I was, connected to guys and gals all over North America, from California in the west to New Jersey in the east and, of course, to Toronto in the north. Despite being spread across thousands of miles, they're all united by a love of trains and the desire to produce the best models possible. My immediate impression was of a sense of community and one of fun.

More importantly, I felt a sense of security that Jason and Bill, along with Janet and Mohan, know how to run a model railway manufacturing business. Joining Rapido felt right.

Now all we need to do is get on with the business of making Rapido Trains UK the biggest and best model train manufacturer in Britain. It’s going to be an exciting ride and I’m simply thrilled to be a part of it.
They have BIG trains in Canada!
And the answer is yes - Rapido will shortly be making a model of No. 2816!
Last but not least...

Don't forget that there's a whole team of people in both Canada and the US developing a simply staggering range of wonderful 'HO' and 1:160 scale 'N' gauge North American outline models. Click here to visit the North American web page.

Andy and I hope you've enjoyed our first new UK newsletter. For the seven of you still reading, thanks for sticking with us!

We will be in touch early in the new year with our next newsletter and hopefully we might even have a bank account by then!

Until next time,


Richard Foster
Sales and Marketing Manager
Rapido Trains Ltd
You can write to us at Rapido Trains UK, PO Box 1408, Maidstone, Kent, ME149YR
or e-mail us at customerservice@rapidotrains.co.uk