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HO Scale Tempo

CN 3150 leads a 5-car Tempo train west through Bayview Junction, Ontario in Fall 1973.

Photo courtesy John Eull.


Rapido Trains Inc. is very excited to announce its latest museum quality complete passenger train, the Tempo, in HO scale. Originally introduced by CN in 1968, majority of these cars still run today and are once again under the ownership of CN after operating for different carriers. June 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Tempo, a unique CN passenger train that operated between Toronto, Windsor, Sarnia and Chicago. For those of us of a certain age, the Tempo was as much a part of the Toronto railroad scene as the CN Tower and Union Station. It’s our railroad history, and we haven’t forgotten it.

Our first Tempo test castings pose on Jason's under construction Kingston Sub layout.


CN 3152 leads a 4-car Tempo train east out of London, Ontario in July 1975. John Eull photo.

The Tempo was transferred to VIA Rail Canada in 1978 and in 1983, the Tempo coaches were converted from 575V to 480V so they could be hauled by VIA LRC and Amtrak F40 locomotives, usually on the International between Toronto and Chicago. In 1987 most of the passenger cars were sold to the Rio Grande Ski Train. In 2009 the Tempo was sold back to CN for use on the Algoma Central and the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The Tempo is still in service today, 50 years later. [caption id="attachment_10360" align="aligncenter" width="800"]

When CN rebranded all of their passenger services into VIA, it didn't take long for the Tempo cars to get some blue and yellow. Here's Club car 321 at CN's Spadina Yard in March 1977. Note the new disc brake on the 2nd axle, which has yet to see service. Don Jaworski photo.


First test samples of our new HO scale Tempo train

From top: Club, Cafe-Bar-Lounge, Coach

Rivets and other final details not yet added.

The Tempo coaches were built by Hawker-Siddeley and were the first aluminum, head end power (HEP) equipped passenger cars in the national fleet. CN rebuilt six RS-18 locomotives, increasing the length of the short hood to install a Cummins diesel generator which provided HEP for the coaches. This new “MRE-18g” class of locomotives received a striking orange and white paint scheme.


CN promotional photos showing the modern furnishings of the Tempo in the Cafe-Bar-Lounge car (left) and the Club car (right). Richard Longpre collection.


Tempo Club Car features individual seats and fully-detailed galley.

[/caption] The Tempo is all about modern comfort. The 82-seat coaches feature comfortable seating, overhead reading lamps and doors that opened at the touch of a button. If your passengers are feeling hungry they can stroll to the cafe, where microwave ovens prepare piping hot food in just seconds. First class “club cars” feature ultra-comfortable 2+1 seating and hot meals served at your seat.

At the end of its run, CN 3154 pulls into Windsor Station on July 15, 1980 with a 4-car set from Toronto. John Sjorlander photo, Kaluza-Mueller collection.

The Rapido HO Scale Tempo box set features:

  • One RS-18 MRE-18g Tempo locomotive (DC/DCC/Sound or DC/Silent)
  • One Tempo Coach Car
  • One Tempo Club Car
  • One Tempo Cafe-Bar-Lounge Car
  • Two commemorative Tempo tumblers
  • 100 commemorative Tempo cocktail napkins
  • Tempo 50th Anniversary Photo Book


CN 3154 and sister 3150 rest in CN's Spadina Yard on April 17, 1979. Note the HEP-equipped VIA baggage car behind the units, freshly painted to match the Tempo cars. Don Jaworksi photo.


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!

Each HO Scale Tempo RS-18 model features:

  • Correct hood and roof profiles 3D scanned from the prototype
  • Extended short hood complete with HEP equipment on the roof
  • Incredible underframe detail including traction motor cables and other piping
  • Rapido’s innovative dead straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
  • Operating number boards, headlights and green and white class lights and cab control stand lighting
  • Separate grab irons and wire handrails installed at the factory
  • Highly detailed illuminated cab control stand. Yes, we said illuminated!
  • Heavy, die-cast chassis and full, multi-colour/color interior
  • 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)
  • Accurate sounds recorded from a real Alco 251B prime mover
  • Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height


Who says an RS-18 has to pull Tempo cars? Fairly new LRC 6902 does the honours in August 1983 east past the future location of VIA's Aldershot station. Kaluza-Mueller collection.

Each HO Scale Tempo passenger car features:

  • Scaled from blueprints and field measurements
  • Full, multi-colour interior with individually-installed seats
  • Complete underbody with separate piping and conduit
  • Free-rolling, ball-bearing wheelsets
  • Track-powered interior lighting and working marker lights
  • Etched-metal end gates

The Rapido Tempo complete set is available in 2 different paint schemes - Canadian National and VIA Rail - with two sets of each scheme offered. Additional cars are also available for both CN and VIA, as well as the Algoma Central/Agawa Canyon Tour Train. Undecorated coaches are also available (Undecorated cafe and club cars are not being offered).

Please note the Algoma Central/Agawa Canyon Tour Train cars are a conditional announcement. These cars WILL NOT be made unless orders reach our minimum production threshold.

In Canada, the MSRP for sets is $599.95 (DC/Silent) and $699.95 (DC/DCC/Sound). The MSRP for single cars is $119.95. For USA and International customers, the MSRP for sets is $529.95 (DC/Silent) and $649.95 (DC/DCC/Sound). The MSRP for single cars is $109.95. As usual, the Tempo equipment will be made to order.

The order deadline has passed. Delivery in mid 2019.


Beautifully recreated interiors (check out those Mount Royal seats in the coach - the same as in Jason's coach in his basement) and our usual extreme levels of underbody detail, including the distinctive Tempo trucks with outside disc brakes.


The 26C brakes on the Tempo underbody.


3155 stretches her legs fresh out of rebuild on June 29th, 1976 ... IN HALIFAX! Due to the familiarity of MLW units to shop personnel, all of the RS-18s got major work performed at CN's Moncton Shops. We're certain the striking paint scheme sure turned heads in the Maritimes! Norman Shapland photo