Rapido Trains UK Newsletter No. 3
©2021 Rapido Trains Ltd
Dear Rapido Customer,
Welcome to a newsletter that ought to be accompanied by popping champagne corks and fireworks

What’s in this issue:
  • Exciting product updates
  • Cool silver buses
  • A sensible comment about 3mm:1ft scale
  • Jason's model railway viewed from onboard a train!
  • Very exciting news about ordering Rapido products

And finally...
  • Lots of stuff about The Titfield Thunderbolt!

Why is this issue so exciting?

Well, we were originally going to use this newsletter to tell you whether our The Titfield Thunderbolt taster was real or not. Then we thought we'd add the fact that we have over 50 stockists signed up who are ready and waiting to take your order.

And then, just as we were about to put this issue to bed, came the news that WE HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT!

It might have been a long time coming (we'd love to publish the full story one day except that no one would believe it) but everyone at Rapido Trains UK would like to thank Andy Collins at Barclays and Mark Green at Crowe for everything they have done to finally get us up and running.

Janet, who controls to purse strings from the Toronto office, summed up our feelings beautifully: "Long live Rapido Trains UK!"

And to add to the celebrations, this issue is also Dr Who free! Woo!
Is your '16XX' struggling on DCC? It's probably down to this wee beastie...
Model Rail '16XX': Solving the DCC issue

Before we start, we need to address an issue with the ‘16XX’ 0-6-0PT that we made for Model Rail. A trickle of issues about performance on DCC turned into a small flood and so we got Mohan George, the DCC and electronics guru in our Toronto office, on the case.

Mohan tracked down the source of the problem: a rogue voltage suppressor. These are designed to protect delicate electrical components from unwanted voltage spikes. We'd specified 27V but, unfortunately, the circuit board supplier fitted one limited to 18V, which is prime output voltage for most DCC systems!

So, what are we doing about it? Well, if you’re electrically handy, you can simply remove the suppressor.

Otherwise, you'll just have to hold tight for the replacement circuit boards that we're having made to arrive. You can order one by clicking here. As soon as they land in the UK, we'll send it to you free of charge.

If you’re in any doubt about fitting a new circuit board or modifying the electrical components, don’t worry. Drop us a line and we'll see what we can do to help.
CAD render of '15XX'
The '15XX' is making good progress... it'll just be a tad more expensive than we'd originally planned.
What’s the latest with…?

Just because we’ve been a bit Titfield focused lately, we haven’t forgotten about the projects that we announced back in December.

Cor, doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?

Here are the latest updates from each one:

We made a couple of flippant comments last time...

ANDY: Only a couple?

…but one of those was about Jason’s ‘love’ of the ‘15XX’.

JASON: Apparently, that was sarcasm. You know that it's Americans that don't get sarcasm, right?


RICHARD: As great as it looks, all that outside valvegear actually requires more moulds than you'd expect from a locomotive of this size, which is just the sort of worry that keeps Jason awake at nights. Due to this, we’ve had to increase the RRP to £149.95 (£249.95 with sound) just to cover the costs of making it. We trust you understand the reasons behind this.

Raising prices is never an easy decision to make but it's always worth bearing in mind this famous quote from Rolls-Royce's Henry Royce:
Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”.

But in happier news, take a look at the N gauge Class 28 Co-Bo video below. Isn’t this little locomotive going to be a stunner?
Class 28: enjoy the show!
Limited edition silver Fleetlines - only available from TTCDiecast.
Fleetlines with a difference

With the 1:76 scale Fleetlines now in production, our friends at TTC Diecast have commissioned four exclusive ones. One, No. 6537 (registration SDA 573S), will be produced in WMPTE blue/cream with Route 9 (Quinton via Hagley Road) destination blinds.

The highlights, however, are the three West Midlands Fleetlines that received
this striking livery to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. The three vehicles are:

  • No. 6431 (NOC 431R), Route 501 Wolverhampton and Tettenhall
  • No. 6432 (NOC 432R), Route 9 City Centre via Hagley
  • No. 6433 (NOC 433R), Route 14 City via Alum Rock

TTC is also taking pre-orders for ex-WMPTE Fleetlines in Midland Fox livery. These models will form part of the second run of Fleetlines that are provisionally planned for late 2022.

If you fancy any of these exclusive Fleetlines, you can order them from TTCDiecast now. 
If you think that the humble BR Mk I coach would make a model that every 3mm:1ft modeller would want, why not tell the 3mm Society?
3mm – Have your say

We've also made a couple of flippant comments about 3mm:1ft scale
Class 28s in past newsletters.

ANDY: Again, just a couple?!

We might have made this scale seem like a bit of a joke but we’re serious: if there’s enough demand for a ready-to-run 3mm model to 21st Century standards, then we’ll consider making one.

We have to be honest though. The 3mm market is so small that if we were to make something, every 3mm modeller would have to dip their hands in their pockets and buy one. The market's just not big enough to produce something that might only appeal to a fraction of it. So we're looking at vehicles that will find a home on all layouts, such as the Mk 1 coach (see above) or the 16t mineral wagon.

With that in mind, we’ve had a chat with the 3mm Society and have devised the following plan. The society is to canvass its members over the summer via its newsletter in order to find out if there’s a 3mm model that would satisfy all. It will then report back to us and we can decide if such a project is financially viable.

If you’d like to have your say, click here and sign up to the society's newsletter.
We can make no promises but this is probably the best chance to see a 3mm:1ft ready-to-run model to 21st Century standards.
Jason's model railway viewed from onboard a train!

If you haven't seen this already, it's seriously worth five minutes of your time. Jason has a typical North American model railway: it fills a good portion of his basement and is about the size of a small two-bedroom flat. Until Covid, his layout was just timber and track. But Covid has been good to Jason's layout. He's spent the last year adding scenery and buildings to the top level. (Did I mention it's a triple-deck layout with a main line run of over 600ft?)

He got a hold of a miniature camera and filmed the layout from the perspective of a passenger on board a Canadian VIA train back in 1980. Even if you have no interest in Canadian trains, we think you'll be very impressed by this video. Other people have been... It's had 70,000 views in its first week!

Please click here or on the image below to watch.
Fill your shopping cart with Rapido Trains UK products!
You can now buy Rapido Trains UK products!

We know that you’re all itching to buy our products so here’s some exciting news: we have over 50 model shops and retailers who are ready and able to take YOUR orders!

From Scotland to Cornwall, Kent to Wales, there's a Rapido Trains UK stockist near you. To see the full list, click here.

Don't forget that you'll also be able to order direct from the Rapido Trains UK website too (although we won't discount below the RRP in fairness to our retailers). As Barclays announced that we'd got our account just before this issue closed for press, Andy (and IT expert brother Steve) have worked flat out to get the online shop working in time for today's announcement.

JASON: If the pubs were open, I'd buy you both a well deserved pint! Now go and get some sleep!

We're going to do things slightly differently, however.

ANDY: Would you expect anything else?

If you pre-order a model direct from us, we'll ask you to pay a deposit. Why? Well, we're a new business and cash flow is still an issue. Your deposit will help with this issue. This isn't crowd-funding. But your money will enable us to bring more models to market just that little bit more quickly.

We do have one small apology to make, regarding the shopping cart. Given the rush, we've not been able to make the system be able to process orders for multiple products that are due to arrive at different times. You could order two Hunslets for example but if you wanted a Hunslet and a '15XX', you'll have to place two orders.

We're really sorry about this. Resolving it is going to take a bit more time than we'd originally allowed but we wanted to get something up and running to allow you to order products. We're aiming to get it fixed as soon as we can.

And now for some things that you might want to order…
Rapido's Titfield film poster
Real announcement or huge practical joke? Judge for yourself!
“We want the 'Titfield Thunderbolt'!”

The $64,000 question: was our faux The Titfield Thunderbolt film poster an elaborate practical joke or an announcement that would delight fans of this seminal railway classic?

Well, we’re pleased to announce that we're going to make FIVE new
1:76 scale models inspired by The Titfield Thunderbolt. They will be the most accurate The Titfield Thunderbolt models ever produced and are being developed with full co-operation of STUDIOCANAL, which owns the rights to film.

Without further ado, here’s what we have planned...
"Oh Sam, what a beauty!”
A 3D render, taken from the design files, of two of our Titfield models.
Thunderbolt (aka Lion)

The Titfield Thunderbolt might have starred Ealing Studios regulars such as John Gregson, Stanley Holloway and Sid James but we know that the real stars were ‘14XX’ No. 1401 and Thunderbolt.

In the film, Thunderbolt, the Mallingford-Titfield line’s original locomotive, is resurrected to haul the official inspection train in the wake of Pearce & Crump’s sabotage attempts. Issues with its coupling adds drama to the inspection train but the antique locomotive responds to the attentions of Rev Weech and Bishop Matthews and saves the day.

Thunderbolt is, of course, Liverpool & Manchester Railway 0-4-2 Lion. We’re producing Lion in its post-1928 condition. So if you’re not modelling The Titfield Thunderbolt, you’ll be able to run our Lion on 1930s LMS layouts or even 1980s BR layouts too.
"I did once mount the North Star, you know, Gooch's 2-2-2 with the double crank driving axle but this...?!"
"She'll still take steam, I know she will, she's as good as ever she was."
“About half an inch lower than The Grasshopper”
The ex-Wisbech & Upwell coach will have a full interior, including bar.
The Buffet Car (aka ex-Wisbech & Upwell tramcar)

In the opening scene, where the blast of a Bulleid whistle is answered by the curious two-tone cheep from No. 1401, the 0-4-2T clanks along the branch line with an unusual low-roofed bogie coach in tow. It’s a strange looking vehicle, with its end balconies. So what is it?

Well, it was one of a pair, Nos. 7 and 8, built by the Great Eastern Railway for the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway. Their low height and open platforms enabled passengers to use them from the W&U’s roadside depots.

Both were transferred to the Kelvedon & Tollesbury Light Railway in Essex in 1928 after the W&U suspended passenger services. BR scrapped No. 8, which starred in the film, but the body of No. 7 survived and it’s been fully restored at the North Norfolk Railway.
"Come on up, Mr Chesterford. Driver didn't see you, did he?"
This is a Dia. AA20 'Toad', just like No. W68740, but with the earlier style of footboards that half cover the axleboxes. Credit: COLOUR RAIL
The ‘Toad’ brakevan

‘Toad’ No. W68740 is the only vehicle not wrecked by Pearce & Crump. It ran behind No. 1401 and the tram car and behind Thunderbolt and the Loriot Y (with its coach body load).

No. W68740 was a Diagram AA20, built between 1934 and 1943, which is a diagram that has never been produced ready-to-run before. Outwardly, the AA20 follows the distinctive GWR ‘Toad’ shape but they were built with inside lamp brackets, lamp irons and a padded seat for guards.
"Couldn't Dan help us out there?"
Loriot Y No. 41989 with Dan's house on top.
Loriot Y and Dan’s House

Platelayer-cum-fireman Dan, played by Hugh Griffith, lived in what appeared to be a grounded coach body. In actual fact, this was a prop built for the film. When his house is commandeered for use on the railway, it is mounted on a GWR ‘Loriot Y’ wagon. As you can see from this 3D print of the CAD, it comes with a full interior. Andy's painted and detailed this interior to show you how far you can take it. The model interior will be detailed in several colours, but you'll need Andy's skills to make it look quite like that.

The GWR built two ‘Loriot Y’ machinery trucks in 1939. No. 41989 was used in the film but has not survived but its sister, No. 41990, has. It’s currently based on the Severn Valley Railway.
The inside of Dan's house, hand-painted by our own Andy Hardy.
The model will have most of this detail but you'll need Andy's painting and modelling skills to make it look quite like this...
“So they let you out on loan?”
“We’ve bought her!”
The Bedford OB will be produced to the same high standard as the BCT 'New Look' Guys and WMPTE Fleetlines.
The Bedford OB

The arch rival to the railway is Pearce & Crump's Bedford OB coach. Bedford introduced its new OB chassis in 1939 and worked with coachbuilder Duple to develop the distinctive ‘bullnose’ Vista body. Several hundred were built before the war but, when it was replaced by the SB in 1951, over 12,000 had rolled off the production line. Our OB will be have poseable front wheels and full interior and exterior detail.
One last render to whet your appetite.
Am officially out of film quotes...
There's no need to fight over our Titfield models - there will be plenty to go round!
How to buy

So that’s what we’re making. But how will you be able to buy them?

Our Titfield models will come in three packs:
  • SKU922001 is the deluxe pack, containing sound-fitted Thunderbolt, Dan’s House and Loriot Y with W67840 plus 4mm:1ft scale figures and commemorative booklet and housed in a special presentation box.
  • SKU922002 contains Thunderbolt, ‘Dan’s House’ and Loriot Y with No. W68740. However, Thunderbolt isn't sound-fitted and it comes in standard packaging without book and figures.
  • SKU922003 contains The Buffet Car and No. W68740, plus 4mm:1ft scale figures.

Plus: SKU920001, the Bedford OB, will be available as a standalone model.

All models will be in stock by March 6 2023. You’ll be able to buy them direct from www.rapidotrains.co.uk or from our retailers. Prices are still to be confirmed.
No. 1401 arrives at Lydbrook Junction with the 3.51pm from Monmouth Troy to Ross-on-Wye on May 15 1957. The Titfield Thunderbolt star was withdrawn from Gloucester Horton Road on October 6th 1958 and scrapped at Swindon in 1959.
Wot, no ‘14XX’?

While we’re really excited about the above models – and we know that you will be too – there will be some who will unhappy that we haven’t added No. 1401 to the range.

As Mr Valentine tells the policeman, “There’s no pleasing some people!”

But why not? Firstly, Hattons only produced a ‘14XX’ a couple of years ago and though not perfect, it’s generally a pretty decent little model.

Secondly, we’re going to have our work cut out with these five models and with our limited R&D Department (ie, Richard & Andy), we’d like to bring you the other locomotives, coaches and wagons we’ve got planned (and are already working on).

But never rule out the ‘14XX’ for the future…
"Oh Sam, what a beauty!"
Rev Weech takes Thunderbolt out of Titfield station with the official inspection train. Just be careful with that coupling!
The Newsletter Essay
By Andy

Our surprise announcement in early March generated a huge response on modelling forums and social media channels. One common question was: why announce and produce The Titfield Thunderbolt models now?

The ‘why’ is easy.

The Titfield Thunderbolt is one of, if not the, most popular British railway films ever produced. Inspired by the group of enthusiasts who had taken over ailing Talyllyn Railway in mid-Wales, Ealing Studio’s screenwriter TEB ‘Tibby’ Clarke created the story of a group of villagers who are determined to run their branch line themselves after British Railways announces its closure.

The film never loses its charm, which is why you can watch it over and over again… and here at Rapido Trains UK, we have. And we’re probably not alone.
The Titfield Thunderbolt kick-started Andy's interest in railways. Here, our Ops Manager-to-be, in fetching red wellies, cops 33051 Shakespeare Cliff at Maidstone West.
My dad recorded it off the TV when I was about 2 or 3. I watched this VHS tape (remember them?) over and over again and it’s probably responsible for starting me on my path to working with steam locomotives and railways.
The same thing happened in Richard’s house.

RICHARD: But on Betamax. Along with The Dam Busters and Convoy.

ANDY: That explains a lot!

Realising that so many people shared a connection to the film, it seemed somewhat strange that nobody had produced a decent quality set of models before. Well, that was something we could fix.

Choosing a Rapido project always revolves around commercial decisions: will a project be popular? Will it sell well? How much will it cost to make?
But if there’s some personal interest, then so much the better.

Bill and Richard love all things Great Western so the ‘Toad’ and Loriot Y hit the mark. Richard also likes anything East Anglian, so the W&U tramcar was a must. Jason LOVES his buses, scoring points for the Bedford OB.

And me? Well, I like anything connected with the railways of Leeds and Lion is one of my favourite engines! The Titfield range ticks all the boxes.

Why now?

Well, March 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the film’s release and what better way is there to celebrate than to produce a new range of models?
Filming The Titfield Thunderbolt took place in the sweltering heat of summer 1952 for general release the following year. But planning had begun much earlier than that.

Lion was still on display at Liverpool Lime Street station and needed a full examination before it could run again. In much the same way, Rapido’s Titfield project had to start well before its March 2023 delivery date.
Essential viewing in the Foster household...
I pitched several ideas to Jason and Bill during my first week at Rapido. The Titfield range would be the headline alongside the Hunslet 16in and others. Bill’s wry smile and Richard’s enthusiastic endorsement allowed the project to progress.

But we couldn’t do anything without securing permission from STUDIOCANAL, which owns the rights to Ealing Studios' archive. We negotiated for the exclusive rights to produce four items of rolling stock and the Bedford OB.

While this was going on, we also had to source drawings and images and to speak to owners of real vehicles. We dropped Simon Castens a line too. Simon owns The Titfield Thunderbolt Bookshop and is a respected 'Titfield expert'. He kindly agreed to help. We also watched the film many, many times.

All this research was gathered over the winter of 2020/2021 with the intention that, when the deal was signed with STUDIOCANAL, we could send all the research packages off to China.

We signed on the dotted line in early 2021. Our plan was to wait until we had Engineering Prototypes of the various models before we made our big announcement. However, this plan was dashed when the cat was let out of the bag.

STUDIOCANAL informed us that, on March 5th, another party had tried to acquire the rights to the film. We’d already signed the deal so the approach was turned down. Then, the following Monday, another manufacturer announced that it was making Lion.
The Titfield Thunderbolt was Ealing Studios' first colour film and offers wonderful period views of the 1950s railway, such as Bristol Temple Mea- sorry, Mallingford.
Could the two incidents be linked? That left us in a quandary. Do we stay quiet or announce the range?

Richard had an idea: why not make an announcement of an announcement? And, just to increase the sense of fun and intrigue, why not make the big reveal on April 1st? After all, it’s just the sort of thing that Jason would suggest.

JASON: Am I really that predictable?

ANDY: We've had a great time seeing the fallout and reading all the online comments and the correspondence you've sent us. As you can see, our Thunderbolt/Lion is making great progress and the rest of the range is coming together nicely as well. Some models will be ready in 2022 and the rest will come out in time for the 70th anniversary in March 2023.
Oh, seeing as you asked so nicely, this is the last 3D render. Enjoy!
We won’t rush our models to get them out first. We want them to be to the highest standards that we can achieve, to really do justice to this wonderful film.

As Valentine says in the film: “Roll on, you beauties!
RICHARD: Well, wasn't that an exciting issue? But before we go, Andy wants to leave you with a fun fact:

ANDY: Did you know several scenes from Dr Who in the 1960s were filmed at the same studios where scenes from The Titfield Thunderbolt were also filmed?

RICHARD: Dang it, so near and yet so far...

Until next time,

Richard Foster
Sales & Marketing Manager
Rapido Trains UK

You can write to us at Rapido Trains UK, PO Box 1408, Maidstone, Kent, ME149YR. Alternatively, you can call us on 01622 801204 or you can
e-mail us at customerservice@rapidotrains.co.uk