skitrain-ltr Photo courtesy New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association.


Rapido Trains Inc. is pleased to introduce the first mass-produced HO model of the New Haven Railroad’s classic EP-5 electric locomotive. The New Haven’s EP-5s are one of the most famous electric locomotives in North America. Built by General Electric, the ten-strong class was delivered in 1955 dressed in the colorful McGinnis red, white and black paint scheme with large “NH” logos on the sides and noses.


The EP-5s were state-of-the-art for their time, being equipped with Ignitron rectifiers to convert the AC power from the overhead wires to DC for use in the locomotive’s traction motors. They also carried third rail shoes and DC auxiliaries to allow operation on the third-rail system into New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Crammed full of electronic equipment, the locos weighed 174 tons. The EP-5s were put into service in the New Haven’s electrified Shore Line route between New York and New Haven, Connecticut. They very quickly earned the nickname “Jets” because of the sound of the blower motors need to cool the Ignitron rectifiers.

skitrain-ltr New Haven 371 on a set of classic NH Parlors and 8600 Coaches, also made by Rapido! Photo by T. J. McNamara, courtesy New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association.


Their flashy paint scheme combined with their operation in a highly populated area meant that they quickly became well-known in the areas that they served. Taking advantage of this popularity, in 1956 both A.C. Gilbert/American Flyer and Lionel introduced models of “Jets” to their line-ups in S gauge and O gauge respectively. Thus many small boys would grow up familiar with this comparatively rare locomotive. Like any locomotive in regular service, the “Jets” were modified over their service lives. The first modifications came shortly after delivery when large vents were added to the sides of the otherwise smooth bodies. These provided extra cooling for the mass of electrical components within the cramped carbody. The pantograph shoes were modified from a double shoe design to a single shoe design at about the same time.

agawa-rtl New Haven 373 at West Riverside in September 1956. Photo by T. J. McNamara, courtesy New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association.


In the early 1960s the units had FRA-mandated nose grabs and walkways applied. At about this time the paint scheme was modified slightly with the nose “NH” being reduced in size and the nose road number increased in size and moved onto the nose from its previous location at the top of the anticlimber. Side skirts around the fuel and water tanks were also removed at about this time. Several EP-5s continued in service after the Penn Central merger in 1969 while others were stored (with the new class designation E40). The PC transferred some units to the former PRR territory where they were used in freight service. The last “Jet” was retired in 1977, shortly after the formation of Conrail. All ten units built were scrapped.


Developed with help from the New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association (NHRHTA) and noted EP-5 expert, Rick Abramson, Rapido’s HO model features a full range of detail options that will allow accurate depictions of the EP-5 throughout its service life. Both as-built units with smooth side panels and modified units with the large vent openings will be offered. Double and single pantograph shoes will be available and the later nose grabs and platforms will be provided as a user-installed option where appropriate.


Experimental Yellow Scheme: In 1954 Patrick B. McGinnis took control of the New Haven Railroad. Determined to revamp the New Haven’s image, McGinnis – with more than a little help from his wife, Lucille – hired artist Herbert Matter to develop a new livery for the railroad.

skitrain-ltr NH 372 in its experimental yellow McGinnis paint. Photo courtesy New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association.


Matter developed a bold multi-color scheme for the EP-5s and suggested two possible color schemes – one with red, white and black the other yellow, white and black. GE painted one unit in each suggested scheme for review by New Haven officials and, perhaps most importantly, Mrs. McGinnis! The lady preferred the red, and so the yellow unit - #372 – was repainted at the factory before delivery. Rapido is offering a special one-time run of #372 in its experimental yellow scheme. No collection of New Haven power is complete without one!


Six paint schemes: The model will be offered accurately painted for the New Haven in both common schemes, early Penn Central black and the experimental yellow McGinnis scheme. The EP-5 will be available as DC (DCC-Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound with working pantographs. (DC pantographs can be manually raised or lowered).


The Rapido Trains HO scale GE EP-5 Locomotive features:

  • Accurately scaled from prototype blueprints
  • Period-correct detail options, including carbody, pantograph and hardware variations
  • Accurate paint and lettering
  • Several road numbers per paint scheme (where applicable)
  • Full cab interior
  • New Haven delivery and repaint schemes (repainted units have smaller NH logo on nose and re-positioned/larger nose road number)
  • Directional operating pantographs (sound models only)
  • DC/Silent or DC/DCC/Sound versions available
  • DC/DCC/Sound version features an ESU Loksound decoder with accurate "Jet" recordings
  • Factory-installed MacDonald-Cartier metal couplers


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