Louisville & Nashville was the third largest owner of FA-2s, FB-2s and FPA-2s with 58 units in total. The fleet lasted right until the dawn of the 1970s, often working heavy coal trains as in this outstanding shot of an A+B+B+A set in action at Rosedale, Kentucky. Even then that wasn't entirely the end as six units survived another two decades in service with the Long Island Railroad as control cabs. Photo by Dan Finfrock, courtesy L&N Railroad Historical Society.
The Rapido Trains Inc. HO Scale FA-2 and FPA-2 was widely regarded as one of the best locomotive releases of 2017, so we are very pleased to reveal our highly anticipated second run of the classic Alco/MLW cabs. We've gone through our emails and messages and chosen the most popular requested paint schemes, so there's sure to be something of interest to you. If the first run of freight FA-2 and dual-service FPA-2 locomotives majored in those gorgeous 1950s delivery schemes, the second run has something of a 1960s flavor and loads of new to Rapido roadnames as well. To cater for this expansion into new territory we've tooled up additional body styles and loads of extra road specific details too. That's Rapido, eh! Oh yeah, and we're making the B unit (FB-2 and FPB-2) as well!
The Missouri Pacific fleet of Alco cabs was second only to the mighty New York Central, with 102 units on the roster. This included 19 FPA-2s, making the Mopac Alco's largest customer for the dual-service version. Notably these were the only FPA-2 units outside of Canada to regularly see passenger service. Unusually the B-units Mopac purchased to partner the As were standard FB-2s. Photo courtesy Missouri Pacific Historical Society.
The new body styles aren't minor changes either. We've made brand new non-dynamic brake bodies to accurately represent the large Louisville & Nashville and Missouri Pacific FA-2 and FPA-2 fleets. The L&N units, along with the Ann Arbor/Wabash cabs, also feature the repositioned headlight in the nose door, with oscillating Gyralite in the usual headlight position. Meanwhile, the unique Chicago and North Western pair have a large red Mars emergency light in the nose door, while the Western Maryland units have a unique nose with MU doors and ventilation louvers.
As usual, we can't help ourselves when it comes to road-specific details. New to this production run includes extra horns, a crazy variety of grab arrangements, the L&N's additional underbody battery boxes and nose side ladders, spark arrestors, sunshades, and other parts designed to accurately represent these units at specific periods in their two decades of service. All that said though, the best thing about this new production run though might just be that the American retail price remains unchanged, even though we first announced FA-2 locomotives nearly three years ago!
Pennsylvania RR FA-2 from the first run of this locomotive showing off its vertical battery box louvers, coupler cover and trainphone antenna.
So if you thought your old FA-2 models were "good enough" and you decided to sit out the first release, I hope we've managed to convince you to think about picking up a Rapido FA-2 or FPA-2. Not convinced yet, here's what Model Railroad News wrote about our model:
From head to toe, Rapido has done its homework and the FA-2, and its 1:87 renderings are easily the best and most authentic reproductions of the Alco-GE prototype to ever run on HO-gauge rails, period.... Rapido has once again hit it out of the ballpark; the company's new HO-scale Alco FA-2 is a home run indeed.
Based on past experience, we're going to sell the same number of CP Rail FA-2s as EVERYTHING ELSE COMBINED. Despite the fact that we now make as many American models as Canadian models, we're asking you, our many American customers and fans, to please help correct this gross inequality. Show the world that Americans love their FA-2s and FPA-2s as much as their Nutty Northern Neighbours with a "u". Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller collection.
Here are the new paint schemes for our FA-2 and FPA-2. Each one features the correct battery box louvers, roof details, nose details, you name it. We've had many requests for all of these schemes, but to be honest we've never done most of them before so we're not sure what the demand is. Maybe there is one really big Ann Arbor fan who keeps emailing us over and over again from different email addresses... To that effect, many of the schemes are conditional upon us receiving enough orders to meet our minimums.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Penn Central railroad, we are offering three PC units in two paint schemes. PC 1302 and 1373 are former New York Central "Cigar Band" units with new PC numbers, while PC 1350 was the only unit to be repainted in all-over black, the ex-NYC locomotive gaining the short-lived red "P" logo at the same time.
Our FA-2 and FPA-2 models feature:
- Correct nose and roof profiles 3D scanned from the prototype
- Operating number boards, headlights and green and white class lights
- Operating oscillating Gyralite or red Mars emergency light where appropriate
- Roadname-specific details with or without dynamic brakes where appropriate
- The only HO scale Alco/MLW cab with accurate phase details
- Etched-metal grilles (Farr or chicken wire, as appropriate)
- Full underbody piping and conduit
- Correct, roadname and manufacturer-specific FA-2 and FPA-2 fuel tanks
- Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
- 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) options
- Accurate sounds recorded from a real Alco 244 prime mover
- Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height
The MSRP is still $225 (DC/Silent) and $325 (DC/DCC/Sound), despite rising costs in China. The Canadian MSRP $249.95 (DC/Silent) and $359.95 (DC/DCC/Sound). As usual, these engines will be made to order.
Chicago and North Western only rostered one A+B+B+A set of cab units, all former Alco demonstrator units, but they made up for lack of numbers in sheer beauty. Naturally the Rapido CNW FA-2 will feature that large red Mars emergency light - and it works too! Photo by Thomas A. Wilson, courtesy CNW Historical Society.