HO Scale MLW RS-18 Locomotive

CPR RS-18 #8766 is doubled up with another MLW product, FB-1 #4404, in 1964.

Photo courtesy Don Jaworkski collection.

The MLW RS-18 was the successor to the 1,600hp 244-powered RS-10 which proved to be somewhat unreliable. There were no such issues with the 1,800hp RS-18, with its 12-cylinder model 251B diesel engine, and it is widely considered to be MLWs most successful product from both an operational and a mechanical point of view.

CN #3112 departs Coteau, QC, with a short VIA passenger service on October 14th, 1981. Note the lightweight trucks.

Photo by Ronald J. Visockis, courtesy Kaluza-Mueller collection.

Based on the Alco RS-11, the Canadian-specific RS-18 (which MLW designated DL-718) was alike in most aspects externally and internally except for the notchless hood ends. Montreal Locomotive Works constructed 351 RS-18s between December 1956 and June 1968 for eight railways including Canadian National (225), Canadian Pacific (72), Pacific Great Eastern (29), and 25 for smaller railways. The RS-18 was available in both “standard” and “lightweight” versions, which usually, but not always, rode on standard 9’-4” wheelbase AAR type B trucks or special lightweight trucks respectively. CN acquired examples of both (131 standard versus 94 lightweight units).

CN #3117 at MacMillan Yard, Toronto, on September 7th, 1980. This unit is also equipped with lightweight trucks.

Photo courtesy Don Jaworski.

Canadian National’s fleet of 225 units, numbered 3615-3893, was delivered between December 1956 and August 1960, designated MR-18-a to MR-18-g. This included 30 units with 80-mph gearing and steam lines for passenger service. The last was retired in 1993 after nearly four decades of service.


CN Tempo conversions #3151 and #3150 pass Bayview Junction on May 31st, 1982.

Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller collection.

One colourful aside took place in 1967 when CN rebuilt six RS-18s with a new engine and extended length short hood for Tempo passenger service in southwestern Ontario. Canadian Pacific’s units, numbered 8729-8800, were assigned classes DRS-18a and DRS-18b and were delivered between March 1957 and July 1958. All were equipped with a steam trainline so that they could be partnered with a steam generator equipped unit.

Ditch light equipped CP #8780 at Agincourt Yard, Toronto, on May 21th, 1979.

Photo courtesy Don Jaworski.

Starting in 1980 CP began a major rebuild program at Angus Shops, Montreal, to extend their useful lifespan another 10-15 years. Eventually all 69 remaining locomotives were upgraded, gaining the designation RS-18u. Both the CN and CP fleets mostly worked across Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, although CP’s units occasionally worked west of Winnipeg.

Our new HO scale RS-18 - this is the CN Tempo version, MRE-18g. First test casting shown with some parts 3D printed.

Like the RS-11, the tooling isn't quite finished yet!

MLW RS-18 first test casting. Beauty, eh?

We're revising the design so the etched walkway is never visible below the cab.

About the Rapido MLW RS-18 One of the most requested locomotives in Rapido’s history, the MLW RS-18 has been something of a labour of love for us because nearly all of us here at Rapido need them for our layouts! We’ve really gone crazy on the road specific details and, of course, we couldn’t make MLW’s classic Canadian roadswitcher without offering the entire fleet of Canadian National Tempo conversions, complete with Hawker-Siddeley Tempo cars!

Like many of our locomotive projects, our designers started with a 3D laser scan of the real thing. This means for the first time ever our Alco/MLW roadswitcher has the correct hood radius and main dimensions. The RS-18s come installed with standard Dofasco Type B trucks or one of two types of Canadian Steel Foundry (CSF) lightweight trucks, as appropriate. The long and short hood details correctly replicate the differences between CN and CP locomotives as well as changes that occured between various build groups. We’ve even made two different frame widths to replicate this never before offered feature!

3D renderings showing all three types of trucks being made for the Rapido RS-18.

The two lightweight trucks are Canadian Steel Foundry (CSF) products.

Here are the versions of the RS-18 we're doing in the first run:

  • CN 3100s with pass-through steam lines
  • CN 3150 Tempo units - with HEP (only available in the Tempo box set)
  • CN 3150 Tempo units - without HEP
  • CN 3800s
  • CP 8700s

Two of the Tempo units, 3151 and 3153, were involved in wrecks and rebuilt without their HEP alternators in the short hood. These are available separately but the only way to get the HEP-equipped Tempo units is to buy the Tempo box set.

A range of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific paint schemes are available in this first run. Other Canadian roadnames, such as Pacific Great Eastern, will follow in the future if there is demand.

Our HO Scale MLW RS-18 features:

A range of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific paint schemes are available in this first run. Other Canadian roadnames, such as Pacific Great Eastern, will follow in the future if there is demand.

  • 3D scanned from an actual RS-18 for 100% accurate shape and dimensions
  • Rapido’s innovative dead straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
  • Incredible underframe detail including traction motor cables and other piping, re-railer and a ridiculous number of separately-applied parts
  • Roadname-specific details with or without dynamic brakes where appropriate
  • Operational headlights, rear lights, bi-colour class lights, illuminated cab control stand & operational factory-installed ditch lights (where appropriate)
  • Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
  • Highly detailed cab interior with dual control stands where appropriate
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis with Rapido’s proven 5-pole skew-wound motor with dual flywheels and silky-smooth drive
  • DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound (ESU LokSound) options
  • Accurate sounds recorded from a real Alco 251B prime mover
  • Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height

The MSRP is $249.95 (DC/Silent) and $359.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) in Canada. The US MSRP $225 (DC/Silent) and $335 (DC/DCC/Sound). As usual, these engines will be made to order.

Order deadline has passed.

Copyright © 2023 Rapido Train, Inc. All rights reserved.