Rapido UK Newsletter No. 5
©2021 Rapido Trains Ltd
Dear Rapido Customer,

It’s another bank holiday weekend and so the perfect time for another Rapido Trains UK newsletter.

JASON: Another bank holiday? You Brits are always on holiday!

RICHARD: You have experienced our weather, haven’t you? We need things like bank holidays to look forward to, in order to stop us all from sinking into a pit of weather-induced despair!

ANDY: Isn’t that what a Rapido newsletter is for? A little piece of uplifting joy delivered straight to your inbox?

JASON: And you promised me that this one has got loads of exciting stuff in it.

RICHARD: Remember that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where all the characters start shouting ‘Get on with it!’?

JASON: Go on then, get on with it.

RICHARD: Anyway, now we’ve got the Trans-Atlantic banter out of the way, it’s time to find out what’s in this issue:

  • New tooling announcement
  • Order deadlines
  • Product update
  • Ideas for Class 28-themed layouts
Our first proper Rapido Trains UK video. Watch it to see what new model we're making.
Warning: contains scenes that Star Trek fans may find distressing.
New product announcement video

Yes, you read that right: we’ve got ANOTHER new project to unveil. But rather than just tell you, we’re going to reveal it in a video! Click here to watch!

We've dabbled in a bit of video before, showing off some of our CAD or the APT-E. But in this video, Andy and I make our Rapido acting debuts. This little film may not be as zany as the ones produced by our North American sister company (you can see them all here) but thanks to some polish by Rapido Trains Inc’s video guru Jeremy Fleming, it's now something quite Spielberg-esque...

ANDY: I'd say Scorsese-like.

JASON: John Hughes surely? He's the best. After all, he wrote and directed The Breakfast Club.

RICHARD: Come off it: Quentin Tarantino all the way...


RICHARD: Why not just give it a watch and let us know if you enjoyed it. Click here or on the image below to watch.
Spoiler alert: Janet's not in this video.
Apologies to any UK members of the Janet Golfman Fan Club.
The first Engineering Prototype of our new SECR five-plank open wagon. You can see the level of detail that the UK design team has been able to include.
New SECR wagons – designed in the UK!

We’re absolutely delighted to unveil the first ‘OO’ gauge ready-to-run Southern Region open wagons made to 21st Century standards. What’s more, they’re the first Rapido Trains UK products to be designed in the UK.

Say hello to the South Eastern & Chatham seven-planks (Southern Railway Diagram. 1355) and their five-plank cousins, the (SR) Dias. 1347/1349s.

The Dia. 1355 was the SECR’s most numerous wagon. Over 2,000 were built between 1915 and 1927. The only design change that the Southern Railway made was to add a sheet rail.

The five-plank wagons used the same underframe but were technically classified as ‘rebuilds’ (only wheels and buffers were re-used). Some 550 Dia. 1347s were built, along with 150 near-identical Dia. 1349s.
Our attention to detail even extends to tooling different buffers to suit both Diagram 1347 and 1349 versions of the five-plank.
Both designs lasted into BR days but whereas the five-planks had gone by the mid-1960s, the last seven-planks were not withdrawn until the 1970s. Both types were sold for further use, most notably with Port of Bristol Authority.

There are 19 different Dia. 1347 and 1349 five-planks to choose from and 11 different seven-planks. You can see them all here. RRP is £32.95. The order book will close on September 1st 2021 and we expect delivery late 2021/early 2022.
The SECR opens have metal bearings. Is this a first for a 'OO' gauge wooden-bodied open? They make these wagons extremely free running.
But what’s this about being designed in the UK? Well, we have a small UK-based design team who are currently working on a number of rolling stock projects for us (including some The Titfield Thunderbolt items). They’re doing a super job as well as freeing up the design teams in China, who are working on more complicated products for us.

We’re really proud of these wagons and reckon they’re the best ‘OO’ gauge wooden-bodied open wagons on the market. Why not judge for yourself? You can order them here.
Here's an Engineering Prototype of the seven-plank Dia. 1355 wagon. It features the same fantastic level of detail as the five-plank but is a little taller.
Although commonplace across the SECR system, both the five- and seven-plank wagons could be found throughout the UK, from Great Western metals to East Anglia and Cumbria... and they have even been recorded on the outskirts of Glasgow.
We've produced the Dia. 1355 with the Southern Railway sheet rail. This sample was assembled by Andy.
Of the thousands of wagons built, the Bluebell Railway has three Dia. 1355s and a Dia. 1347 whilst the Severn Valley Railway also has a Dia. 1347. Photograph: ANDY HARDY
Look at all this gorgeous detail. It was all designed in the UK and turned into reality by our factory in China.
All that lovely detail doesn't just apply to the body. The axleboxes and springs look fantastic, don't they?
Here's one final image to whet your appetite: one of our EPs hand-painted by Andy just to show you what to expect.
Rapido APT-E
The only way to guarantee yourself one of our fabulous 'OO' gauge APT-E models is to place your order before July 1st 2021.
Order deadlines!

Here’s something new for a UK newsletter: order deadlines!

We don’t want to produce too many models and have them gathering dust on shop shelves. Nor do we want to disappoint modellers by producing too few models.

That’s why we’re implementing the same ‘order book’ system that Rapido Trains Inc uses. The order book opens on a specific date and you then have a fixed period of time to place your order. You can do this either direct with us or with one of our retail partners.

While some stock will be available after deadline day, pre-ordering is the only way to guarantee the model you really want.
If you want to remind yourself just how good the ATP-E is, take a look at this short video and then place your order!
So, with June nearly upon us, there’s just one month to get your APT-E orders in. Deadline day is July 1st 2021.

September 1st 2021 is also another date to remember. That when we’ll need all orders for both the new SECR open wagons but also the Gunpowder Vans. See below for some exciting GPV news.
Stop-press from the factory: the first Engineering Prototypes of the Gunpowder Van.
Product update

So what’s happening with the rest of the Rapido Trains UK range?

Well, both the BCT ‘New Look’ Guys and the WMPTE Fleetlines are in production and we hope to show you some images of the finished product soon. Both should land in the UK later in this summer.
Fleetlines, Fleetlines everywhere! Everything's on course for delivery later this summer.
We’ve dug out the moulds for the APT-E and production should start shortly. We’re expecting these to arrive for Q1 2022 but there’s a good chance that they could be in stock later this year.

As you can see above, the first Engineering Prototypes of the Gunpowder Van have been produced. They are due to be sent to the UK imminently for evaluation and we'll be able to share more images with you in the next newsletter. Now all we need is for Bill to finish the artwork.

BILL: Oi! You've had me chasing about trying to design that 'N' gauge...

ANDY: Shh! Don't let the cat out of the bag!

RICHARD: We don't want any internal leaks here! Anyway, the Hunslet 16in is in tooling and the ‘15XX’ is waiting for a slot for tooling work to start.
The 3D-printed Class 28 noses that, by the time you read this, will have been checked for accuracy against sole-surviving D5705. Once we’re all happy with the shape, tooling can start.
Design work on the 'N' gauge MetroVick Type 2 is nearly complete too. We’ve 3D-printed the nose sections to help ensure that the shape is correct and we've sent a pair to the team that's restoring D5705 to double-check the accuracy.

We’d like to place on record our thanks to Adam Booth, the Class 15 Preservation Society's D5705 Co-ordinator, for all the help he’s provided us with this project. Check out progress on the restoration of both D5705 and Class 15 D8233 here and please contribute to support both projects if you can.

The CAD for both Lion/Thunderbolt and the Loriot Y/Dan’s House is complete and is just being tweaked. We're also delighted to report that the initial design for the ‘Toad’ brakevan is nearly complete. When that’s done, we’ll start on the Wisbech & Upwell tramcar.

Of course, we’re working on plenty more projects that, despite Bill's best efforts, we can’t tell you about just yet…

JASON: Go on Richard, throw them a bone.

RICHARD: Well, ok. Yes, Bill is designing something 'N' gauge for us and we're also working on something in a scale that's larger than 'OO'.

ANDY: Let the frothing commence!
Rapido Class 28
Ideas for MetroVick Type 2 layouts

Normally at this point in the newsletter, you’d have to wade your way through our ramblings about favourite films or favourite parts of the country. But this issue is a bit different.

ANDY: Is this because no one came up with any better titles than ‘The Essay’?

RICHARD: Not at all!

Anyway, with the MetroVick Type 2s getting ever closer to the factory, here are five inspirational images designed to get the 'N' gauge layout planning juices flowing.
A stunning view of the Furness Railway's terminus at Lakeside on July 6th 1963 with D5717 preparing to depart. An unidentified classmate has its train partially under the trainshed. To the left (off camera) are the extensive carriage sidings and turntable. Lakeside is now the terminus of the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.
Photograph: COLOUR RAIL
1 Lakeside branch

Any station with three platform faces, a trainshed, a vast array of sidings and even a turntable would surely serve a big city, right? But the Furness Railway built such a terminus to serve the small hamlet of Lakeside.

Actually, it was the waters of Windermere that lured the FR to build its 7 mile branch from the Ulverston-Arnside main line. Although steam-worked to the end, Class 28s became a common sight on this branch in its latter years.

There are so many Lake District locations that would make fabulous modelling subjects. Grange-over-Sands station for example. Or the viaduct at Arnside.
But Lakeside has to top that list. What could offer more to the modeller than a miniature main line terminus set against one of Britain’s most beautiful lakes?
Smoke-blackened buildings and tracks buried in filthy, ashy ballast: is there anything more atmospheric than a steam shed? D5714 looks decidedly shabby amidst the grot and grime at Carnforth on September 13th 1967. Photograph: COLOUR RAIL
2 End of steam shed

Was BR as embarrassed with its MetroVick fleet as it was with its last surviving steam locomotives? After all, steam was forced to retreat to the North West, being banished to the Cumbrian Coast and the ‘Little North Western’ in its last months. And so too were the Class 28s.

Looking back with 50 years of hindsight, there was something magical about those last steam sheds. Amidst the long lines of tired ‘Black Fives’ and ‘8Fs’, you might find a sparkling new blue English Electric Type 4 Co-Co. But you’d also see shabby Class 28s, looking as unloved as their steam counterparts.

Normal steam services ended on August 4 1968 and, by the end of September, the remaining ‘Co-Bos’ had followed their steam-powered cousins to the scrapyard.
The patchwork of drystone walls on the hillsides is a dead giveaway that this is the Peak District. D5705 leads an unidentified classmate as they pass Chinley South Junction in May 1960. This was the southern end of a triangle, which soars above the valley at Chapel Milton on massive stone viaducts, where the Midland Main Line curves left towards Manchester while the lines to the right join the Hope Valley line.
3 Chinley

Rumble through Chinley and there’s not a lot to differentiate this station to any other on the Hope Valley line. True, the platform is a bit wider than most but that’s about it. You might even hear the clatter of points but not pay any attention to the sleepy freight-only branch that diverges to the south.

But delve into Chinley's history and you'll find that it was once a lot more interesting than the bare island platform surrounded by modern houses that it is today. It was once a busy junction, with four through platforms, bay-platforms at either end, an extensive yard and locomotive servicing facilities. After all, this was where the Midland’s main line to London met the Hope Valley line from Sheffield.

Any Class 28s shedded at Derby were regulars here. They would rumble through with London-Manchester expresses, taking the line south, where, half a century later, only stone trains from Buxton's quarries disturb the peace.
Not the most inspiring photograph ever taken but colour images of MetroVick Type 2s hauling the 'Condor' liner train are rare. D5718 passes Silkstream Junction, near Hendon, in May 1960. The distinctive blue and red headboard is clearly visible as are the
'Conflat P' container flats behind. Photograph: COLOUR RAIL
4 The ‘Condor’

Did you know that the MetroVicks were delivered with just two lamp irons at either end? A third was added to the top of the left-hand communication door especially to take a headboard. This was not for some prestigious passenger duty, however. It was for one of BR’s most famous freight services and the train most closely linked to the MetroVicks.

‘Condor’, the overnight London-Glasgow container service, emerged in the wake of the Suez crisis of 1956, where rising fuel costs pushed freight back onto the railway. At its peak, ‘Condor’ would often load to 550 tons.

Although the ‘28s’ were officially allocated to Derby, they were rotated, six at a time, to Cricklewood in order to work ‘Condor’. Upon arrival in Glasgow, they would work local trains as far north as Stirling and Perth before returning south. Sadly, such mileage put a strain on the Crossley engines and local duties were soon replaced by spending more time in depots to keep the locomotives in tip-top condition for ‘Condor’.

The MetroVicks only hauled 'Condor' for a short period of time before BR decided to allocate more reliable machines to this prestigious duty.
An intriguing mix of rolling stock outside the Railway Technical Centre at Derby, including Wickham railbus 999507. The eagle-eyed might even be able to see APT-E in the background. What a shame that S15705 didn't receive the distinctive red and blue RTC livery. Photograph: ROGER KAY/COLOUR RAIL
5 Railway Technical Centre

Was any railway engineering facility as intriguing as the Railway Technical Centre at Derby? It was BR’s very own ‘skunk works’, turning out such revolutionary products as APT-E and the prototype HST. But it also led the way in railway experimentation and its test trains were operated by a mixed fleet of locomotive odd-balls, all given a striking red and blue livery.

It even inherited D5705. This '28' had, apparently, been fitted with a modified engine that had proved reliable enough to save it from the 1968 cull and it was transferred to BR’s Research Department to haul the Tribometer Train.

Departmental duties for the newly re-numbered S15705 were short lived as it was replaced on 'Trib Train' duties by a Class 24. But who cares? An RTC layout makes the perfect micro layout and offers something a bit different to a typical depot layout. And the best bit is that you can populate it with whatever fleet you want... including a Class 28!
Well, here we are again, at the end of another Rapido Trains UK newsletter. Before we sign off, remember that you can order our 1:76 scale buses and 'OO' and 'N' gauge railway items from our website, not to mention selected items from the North American range.

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