The HO Scale MLW M420 - Never Before Made in Plastic
Rapido Trains Inc. is proud to reveal its latest all- Canadian model in HO Scale, Montreal Locomotive Works M420 locomotive, MLW’s answer to the popular GMD GP38-2.
The early 1970s were a time of massive change in Canadian locomotive design. CN’s mechanical boss, Bob Radford, worked with MLW designers, locomotive crews and the unions to devise a new cab design for freight road locomotives. This would become known as a (Canadian) Comfort/Safety Cab. The first units to be equipped with this cab was the M420 and it hit the rails in 1973, just a few weeks before the similarly-equipped GP38-2(W).
The M420 was equipped with the ALCo 12V-251c3 prime mover producing 2000 H.P. Most M420 units rode on MLW ZWT (Zero Weight- Transfer) trucks. The only exception to this were the 5 units built for the Providence & Worcester, which rode on Type B roadswitcher trucks as commonly found under most ALCo-designed 4-axle locomotives. The P&W required a different bolster design and different truck spacing, making them unique.
MLW constructed 103 M420s between May 1973 and February 1977 for four railways including CN (80), BCR (16 including eight B units), Ferrocarriles del Estado (2), Providence & Worcester (5).
CN would take delivery of the M420s in 3 groups: MR-20a class 2500-2529 (delivered 1973), MR-20b class 2530- 2559 (delivered 1974), and MR-20c class 2560-2579 (delivered 1976).
All of the CN units were retired by 1998 and today many of these locomotives have found second careers on short lines all over North America.
3D scanned from an actual M420. This is as close to real as it gets!
MR-20b and MR-20c classes available in the first run
Rapido’s innovative dead straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
Incredible underframe detail including traction motor cables and other piping, rerailer and a silly number of separately-applied parts
Two or three panel radiators, louvered or large opening electrical cabinet door, open or closed truck bearings
Operating headlights, rear lights, tri-colour class lights, and illuminated cab control stand
Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
Highly detailed cab interior with optional open front door (yes you read that correctly)
Heavy, die-cast chassis with Rapido’s silky-smooth drive
DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound (ESU Loksound V5)
Accurate sounds recorded from a real M420
Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height
10 models of M420 #2557 will include a CN 100th anniversary commemorative coin from The Royal Canadian Mint! * †
The Postcard Guy
We can honestly say this is the most-requested locomotive at Rapido. But the funny thing is, it's mostly requested by one guy. We get a postcard almost every week (and sometimes twice a week) asking for us to make an M-420. So we're proud to tell Postcard Guy - and everyone else - that it's finally happening! Woo-hoo!
The infamous postcards
Stack of the postcards received to date. HO Budd mid-train dome for scale.
Important M420 Update
We have an important announcement regarding the HO scale M420. As you know, we have been developing a new Rapido-TCS decoder. Because of COVID, the decoder development was set back by several months.
We have therefore decided to hold back the Rapido-TCS decoder for the Alco PA/PB project, and we are instead using an ESU LokSound V5 decoder in the M420.
Here's a quick Q&A for those of you who have ordered:
How does this affect my order?
If you have a sound locomotive on order, it will now feature an ESU LokSound V5 decoder.
I ordered DC. Will I be able to change my order to sound?
Yes, but you only have until the end of this month to do so.
I haven't ordered an M420. Can I still order a sound locomotive?
We have made some extras, but not that many. Your best bet is to contact your dealer or visit our website to try to order. DC models are sold out.
How does this affect the PA or future projects with TCS?
Not to worry, the Alco PA/PB project will still feature the new Rapido-TCS decoders! We are very excited about these.
Is Bobby sad that he had to drive all the way out to Oil Creek?
Of course not! Don't be a hosehead. He got to sit in an M420 for two days straight!
Rapido Trains Inc. is a high-end manufacturer of model trains and accessories in HO, OO and N (North American 1:160 and British 1:148) scales. Our aim is to recreate the entire rail travel experience, from fully-detailed interiors and underframe equipment on our trains to fully-wired telephone poles for your model railroad.