Rapido Telegraph 26

Rapido Telegraph 26 / July 16, 2010

Dear Rapido Customer,

Greetings from beautiful Milwaukee (it’s too hot here! where are the snow drifts?) where Rapido has a booth at the National Train Show. Because it’s been so long since I sent out a full-lengthTelegraph, this newsletter is about 4 million words long. So print it out, leave the printout in the bathroom, and read it at your leisure!

This trip has been an adventure, beginning last Sunday when Bill made his way up to Toronto and we rented far too large a truck to drag all of our gear down to the show. Three and a half hours at the border was an absolute joy. Really. I’m not being ironic at all.

In this issue of the Telegraph:

  • Come see us at the show!
  • FP9A new samples arrived!
  • New! Osgood Bradley Deluxe Coaches
  • New! Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coaches
  • Oh Baby, New Haven!
  • New! L&N, Wabash, CN and CN (USA Service) Sleepers
  • Super Continental Line RIP – what didn’t make it
  • Firm order deadlines coming up – if you snooze, you lose!
  • New freight car?
  • New Haven Delivery Scheme Lettering Issue
  • New catalog/catalogue now online!
  • Neat stuff to look at
  • Comment: Get off your butt and get on a train!(That’s seven “new”s in one paragraph. Subtle.)

National Train Show

Setting up the booth this morning

Come see us at the show!

The National Train Show takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (16-18 July 2010) at the Midwest Airlines Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee. This year is the NMRA’s 75th anniversary, and the show promises to be a beauty.

One of the reasons we needed such a large truck is so that we can bring over the Rapido Lounge. This year we have two original CN/VIA coach seats built by Mount Royal Transportation Equipment Ltd. in Montreal in 1954, rebuilt by CN in 1976, and reupholstered by Rapido Trains Inc. in 2008 (using original VIA upholstery, of course). We also have a CN sleeper bedroom seat from The Super Continental.

National Train Show

It has been a long few days.

Come and put your feet up, and we’ll have a grand old time. Bill, Dan and our friend Terry will be at the booth on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will be there on Friday and Sunday. But for those of you who are not able to come to Milwaukee, here’s a sneak peek at what you will see at the show.

FP-9 Locomotive

FP9 – We are ALMOST there!

FP9A new samples arrived!

We’ve finally received our latest samples of the CN FP9A, and not a moment too soon! They just arrived here in Milwaukee on Wednesday! There a couple of minor tweaks that still need to be done, especially around the louvers. But the windows and the nose are finally BANG ON! Please note that we have not yet polished off the mould parting lines, and some of the details are missing from this sample, including nose grabs, ladder rests and side window sun shades.

FP9 Engine

Check out that nose!

As I mentioned in a previous Telegraph, we discovered in the 3.2 billion hours measuring and re-measuring the real thing that the centre post on the windshield is not straight… it is V-shaped. And as far as we know, our model is the first to recreate this in any scale. Check it out in the photo below.

FP9A engine

True GMD rear F-unit details – a first in plastic!

Some of you may ask, why are we going to all this trouble? The answer is simple. There are numerous obvious amd subtle differences between a GMD FP9 – used by CN, CP and VIA and virtually every secondhand owner in North America – and the EMD FP9 of which there were a grand total of four operating in the USA and none in Canada.

Our GMD FP9 is the only accurate GMD FP9 ever made in plastic. Period.

FP9A engine

Look at the detail INSIDE THE HEADLIGHT!!!

To that end, we will not compromise on our GMD FP9 locomotive. Every detail needs to be correct, so that modellers of Canadian passenger trains do not have to accept locomotives that “vaguely resemble” the real thing. And on top of that, our FP9 has details that no other F-unit model has ever had. Come see for yourself at the show.

Stay tuned to a future edition of the Telegraph where I’ll announce the firm order deadline for the FP9. Expect it towards the end of this year.

Osgood Bradley logo

Our Osgood Bradley Lightweights logo, all dolled up. (Thanks, Bill!)

New! Osgood Bradley Deluxe Coaches

Our big announcement at this show is a new coach style for our hugely popular Osgood Bradley Lightweights. Since we announced the Osgood Bradley Lightweight passenger cars back in 2009, we have had countless requests for the Deluxe version of the car. Operated by Cotton Belt, Southern Pacific, Seaboard and Kansas City Southern, these unique cars had spacious bathrooms and a different seating/window arrangement from our 10-Window Coach.

SSW Daylight Scheme

SSW Deluxe Coach in the Daylight scheme

These new cars will be available in 3-packs with different car numbers, 2-packs with different numbers, and unnumbered single cars. 2-packs and 3-packs are packaged individually and can be broken up by dealers and sold separately.

Osgood Bradley Interior

Interior detail, showing seats and doorway

The MSRP is $234.95 for a 3-pack, $159.95 for a 2-pack, and $79.95 for individual cars. Please note that because tooling for these is almost done, we already have a firm order deadline for placing your order: December 15th, 2010. They will be delivered in winter/spring next year. If you don’t reserve with your dealer by the deadline, you likely won’t get any.

Click here for all of the paint schemes and product numbers, or you can scroll down to see what the new Deluxe coach paint schemes look like. Special thanks to members of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society, members of the ACL-SAL-SCLmodeler Yahoo! group, and the team at the Pullman Library at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern (Southern Belle)
One 3-Pack plus unnumbered


Seaboard Air Line Railroad (Green)
Two 3-Packs

Cotton Belt

Cotton Belt/St. Louis Southwestern (Green)
One 3-Pack plus unnumbered

St Louis Southwestern

Cotton Belt/St. Louis Southwestern (Daylight)
Two 3-Packs plus unnumbered

Southern Pacific Green

Southern Pacific (Green)
One 2-Pack only

SP two tone gray

Southern Pacific (Two Tone Gray)
One 3-Pack plus unnumbered

SP Sunset Scheme

Southern Pacific (Sunset)
Two 3-Packs plus unnumbered


Texas & New Orleans (Sunset)
One 2-Pack only

Pullman Green

Pullman Green (Unlettered) – Single car only


Undecorated – Single car only


Dan Dashes for all your commuter needs!


New! Osgood Bradley 10-Window Coaches

Modellers of the modern era have asked us to do some 1960s and later schemes for our popular10-Window Coach, and we’ve listened! Delivery of these cars is early 2011. Prices are as described for the Deluxe coaches above, except for Bangor & Aroostook, which is $5 more – because we are convinced only about three guys want it. Prove us wrong! If we get 100 BAR orders we will bring the BAR price down by five bucks.

We also have a hard deadline for ordering these. Get yours reserved by November 1st, 2010 or you ain’t getting any. We’re getting emails every day from people who can’t find our New Haven coaches…

A special thanks to Victor Roseman and Mike Boland for getting us info so quickly on LIRR, to Jim Homoki for all of the essential Penn Central info, and to Ron Johnson and Jim Clements for putting the Long Island bug in our ear in the first place.

Bangor & Aroostook

Bangor & Aroostook (gray)
One 3-Pack only ($239.95)


Long Island Railroad (Dashing Dan)
Two 3-Packs plus unnumbered

PC Penn Central

Penn Central
One 3-Pack plus unnumbered


Long Island Railroad (MTA)
Two 3-Packs plus unnumbered

New Haven McGinnis

Osgood Bradley coaches in service on Rick Abramson’s layout

Oh Baby, New Haven!

Famed New Haven modeller Rick Abramson sent us this photo of our McGinnis cars under catenary on his layout. It was so amazing, I had to share it with you guys. Now if one of you can please convince Rick to switch to DCC so I can come run my stuff on his layout? Nice work Rick!

Towering Pine

You asked and you shall receive: L&N “Towering Pine” Sleeper

New! L&N, Wabash, CN and CN (USA Service) Sleepers

Pullman-Standard’s Post-War 6-4-6 Sleepers were regarded as among the most comfortable sleepers that Pullman ever produced and proved very popular with overnight passengers wherever they operated. They were a vast improvement over the pre-war 6-6-4 sleepers because the bedrooms had been moved to the center of the car for the most comfortable ride. Click here for more information about the car.

You’ve been asking for more prototypical paint schemes on our cars, and we’re listening to you. That’s why Bill, Dan and I decided to bring forward the four prototypical paint schemes we had planned for the second run.

The model is based on the CN car, which is almost identical to the L&N car and “pretty darn close” to the Wabash car. Models feature the usual incredible detail inside and out and battery-powered “Easy-Peasy” lighting.

I’m always amused that people get so excited on the online forums when one of the other manufacturers includes “grab irons installed at the factory!” or some other detail standard on our cars. Our grabs have come installed from day one, and not only that – our cars also feature EVERYunderbody pipe as a separate part, etched end gates, marker lights, seats molded on all four sides, interior lighting, etc. One day the competition might catch up. Or not…

MSRP is $69.95. Because we’re doing these four paint schemes with our first run, your order deadline is really tight. Final orders must be in by October 1st 2010. Any orders received after that date won’t be filled. These are ready for production NOW and we’re really eager to get started.

Click here for product numbers and car names.

CNR Green Sleeper

Canadian National – 1954

“Green” series sleepers used throughout Canada 1954-1970.
They were among the last lightweights to be painted in the noodle scheme.
Six different car names

CNR Pullman Sleeper

Canadian National – 1954 USA Service

“Green” series used on B&M, CN, CV, GTW, NH and PRR, on Montreal-
New York/Washington and Montreal/Toronto-Chicago trains, 1954-1966.
Eight different car names (chosen from Pullman records so that each train
is represented by one or more cars that actually ran on it).

L&N Towering Pine Sleeper

Louisville & Nashville

“Pine” series sleepers used on the Humming Bird,
Georgian, and Pan American, 1953-1971.
Six different car names

Wabash Sleeper


“National” series sleepers used on the City of St. Louis
between St. Louis and the West Coast, 1955-1968.
Three different car names

Yonge Mills Photo

May they rest in peace, the poor dears!

Super Continental Line RIP – what didn’t make it

With heavy hearts and sadness of spirit we regretfully inform your good selves that Messrs. Chicago & North Western and Amtrak have risen up to the great coach yard in the sky. Our forthcoming HO scale passenger cars in these two schemes have been scrapped.

Affected product numbers:
111010-111017, 113026-113035

Our thoughts will be with them always, our dear forlorn paint schemes in the sky.

So Excited

I’m so excited.

Firm order deadlines coming up – if you snooze, you lose!

To put it bluntly, “it’s about time we got around to making this stuff!” So here are some firm order deadlines, the first of which are just a month away. Please ensure your final orders are in to your dealers by the dates shown below. Dealers, you will not be able to order or reorder after the dates below, unless your distributor plans to carry inventory. I would check with them.

As always, product numbers and car numbers can be found on our web site. All of the items below are HO scale.

MILW 1950 scheme

“Oh, So Steamy! Steam Generator Car

August 15, 2010

Click here for product numbers.

CP Engineering Services

Modern Wide-Vision Caboose (photo courtesy Brian Schuff)

August 15, 2010

Click here for product numbers.


Super Continental Line: Club Deluxe

August 15, 2010

VIA, CN (1954), UNDEC
Click here for product numbers.

GTW Grill Parlor

Super Continental Line: Grill-Parlor

October 1, 2010

Please note price goes up to $69.95 on August 16th.
Old prices honoured until that time. Order now!

Click here for product numbers.

Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis

Super Continental Line: 6-4-6 Sleeper

October 1, 2010

Please note prices for previously-announced schemes go up to $69.95
on August 16th. Old prices honoured until that time. Order now!

Click here for product numbers.

Freight Car Teaser

Right – who can figure this one out?

New freight car?

You may recall some months ago I gave you guys a teaser about a new freight car. The tooling is still not finished, so we’re going to hold off on that announcement. Hopefully we’ll have samples at Springfield…

That being said, there is a HUGE freight-related Rapido announcement at this year’s National Train Show, but we’re not the ones announcing it. That’s all I can say at the moment…


New Haven Delivery Scheme Lettering Issue

Our year-long problem-free streak had to end eventually! I discovered a very small problem when the New Haven Hunter Green full-skirted Osgood Bradley cars arrived, but I wanted to keep you all in the loop. The font for the car numbers was supposed to be in a Sans Serif font, but it printed in a Serif font. (Serif fonts have the little feet. Sans serif fonts don’t.)

Nobody noticed this until the cars arrived. We didn’t notice it on the samples we got, even though the problem was there. These numbers are really small! Unfortunately, we can’t afford to send all of the cars back for such a minor issue.

For those of you (like me) who would be bothered by this, have no fear! Our resident New Haven expert, John Pryke, has experimented with his cars this week and found he could easily use Floquil ELO to remove the numbers without ruining the paint. We will print decals with the revised car numbers and the entire “NEW HAVEN” logo above it just in case you accidentally take some of that off as well. These will be available completely free of charge to anyone who wants them. We will not even ask to see proof of purchase. I really mean anyone can have them. So if you have been meaning to add lettering to your old ECW or Bennington kits, now would be the time…

Even though it is a small one, I am very sorry about this screw up. To get your decals, all you need to do is contact us. But please wait until you get your cars first, as the decals won’t be ready for a few weeks.

Rapido Trains Inc. Catalog

The cover of our latest catalogue

New catalog/catalogue now online!

Every few months I send out a sales packs to my dealers and distributors. These have always been available on our web site in the Dealer Info section.

At the same time, we regularly get requests for a catalogue, and we tell our customers that we don’t have one. Well it just occurred to me that we do! The dealers’ sales packs are, essentially, a catalogue that you can print out and keep handy when at the hobby shop. And we’ve just uploaded a new one. A lot of the material is the same as in this newsletter, but there are some other goodies as well.

You can visit the new Catalogs page of our web site by clicking here. Bill maintains the web site, so the name of our favourite all-colour catalogue page uses American spelling. We’re a multinational company separated by a common language!

When you visit the page and view our old catalogues, I’m sure you will enjoy seeing our planned delivery dates. They are very entertaining. Apart from the Wide-Vision Caboose, I was consistently utterly completely wrong…

CP Caboose

Erig Gagnon’s CP Caboose – Photo by Eric Gagnon.

Neat stuff to look at

Eric Gagnon tells a very entertaining story about the arrival of his CP Caboose on Vancouver Wharves HO layout. You can read his Trackside Treasure blog entry by clicking here.

Bill and I had the honour and pleasure of being interviewed for the Scotty Mason Show. You can hear our interview by clicking here and following the link to the May 2010 edition.

If you ever have interesting Rapido-related content on your web site, please give me a shout and I’ll try and include it in a future newsletter.

Kids on Train

The Shron kids on board The Canadian, August 2009

Comment: Get off your butt and get on a train!

This is an edited (and slightly updated) excerpt from a recent article I wrote for Railfan Canadamagazine. This is a wonderful publication filled with gorgeous photos and thought-provoking comment. Click here for more info.

The guy was in his late twenties, standing by the Toronto Railway Historical Association table at Toronto’s Union Station in October 2006. After a few minutes it was clear that he was quite the hardcore railfan. He knew his stuff. I had my son with me (who was 15 months old at the time), and I mentioned that we would soon be heading by train to Ottawa. I mentioned some of our previous train journeys: Washago, Niagara Falls, Kingston, London, Montreal.

“Whoa! he’s been on more trains than I have!” the guy said. “I’ve been to Oakville once.” (Oakville is a Toronto suburb.) I’d hate to have to tell that guy how many trains my son has been on since – he just turned five. We recently took the Chaleur to eastern Quebec for the second time in two years (it’s a fun but quick overnight trip from Toronto), and he’s been on most Corridor routes as well as overnight on The Canadian twice (with a third trip booked for next month, in Drawing Room A of the Park Car, no less!). This kid knows his Chateau Sleeper from his Manor Sleeper not because he reads about them on the internet but because he’s slept in both. My three-year-old daughter loves F40 locomotives.

Dude on Train

Some guy I photographed on The Canadian, February 1996

Why is it that so many railfans never take the train? I’m not talking about a tourist line, great as they may be, but really taking a VIA or Amtrak train from A to B. I don’t buy the argument that there is no point riding trains today because they are “not like the old days.” If you haven’t been on a train in 30 years, how would you know?

Many of my friends who have forgotten more than I will ever know about timetables, routings and other ephemera of railway history haven’t been on a VIA or Amtrak train in years, if ever. But that doesn’t stop them from commenting on the service! Yes, there are some people who can’t afford to take the train, but these guys are in the minority. Most railfans and modellers can afford to buy a train ticket but choose not to.

To me, railfanning is knowing which seats are the most comfortable based not on what people say on the internet but on personal experiences.

Railfanning is knowing what the passenger cars of your favourite road smelled like. The old VIA coaches all smelled the same – a peculiar mix of rust, grease, coffee, sweat, smoke and brake pads. I loved it. Most people hated it. But those of us who rode those trains all the time will remember that smell to our graves.

Railfanning is reclining your coach seat (or relaxing in your roomette), a cup of tea or a glass of beer in your hand, staring out the window at nothing in particular.

Teddy Bear in Roomette

A lone roomette traveller aboard VIA sleeper Edmundston

There is something unique and magical about riding the train. If I turn off my cell phone, nobody can reach me. If I want to be productive, I pull out my laptop and I get more work done in five hours than in 12 hours at the office. I feel the bumps under my seat and tickles under my feet as the wheels of our car traverse the variances in the track. I watch the countryside change outside my window, from rocks to marsh to farmland to town.

Most of all, to ride the train is to experience train travel. I understand the camaraderie that comes with railfanning in the traditional sense: standing with a bunch of like-minded folks in the scorching sun or freezing sleet on a bridge can be a lot of fun (really!). But if the trains themselves are what’s important, then there is simply no comparison between watching a train speed past you for 25 seconds and riding one for five hours.

Kid in sleeping car

It is well past her bedtime, but somebody
is refusing to go to sleep on board The Canadian

We all make choices in our lives. My television is an old tube model from the early 1990s. I have basic cable. I don’t buy brand-name clothes. But I have taken the train so often that many of the on-board crews in southern Ontario and Quebec greet me by name (or at least they say “hey, train guy!”). The train is how I choose to spend my money. If I haven’t been on a VIA train in a month, I go somewhere – anywhere – for the day just so I can ride the train. I bring my laptop and my cell phone and the train becomes my mobile office.

Just this morning while setting up at the show, two people thought that the CN coach seats I was hauling to our booth were airline seats. Airline seats. At a train show. Riiiiight. Maybe these guys should try taking a train some day instead of just modelling them.

If you have not taken a train in more than a couple of years, then it is time you gave it a try. You may find that riding the train is a bit more enriching than standing out in the cold waiting for one to pass or counting the rivets on a 1/87th scale model.

So that’s it. The mammoth update. Sorry I haven’t been in touch more frequently. At least you can’t say Rapido fills your inbox with a million newsletters… More like, Rapido would love to fill your inbox with a million newsletters but until the three of us are cloned that ain’t gonna happen.

For the two of you still reading, thanks for sticking with me. (Hi Mom and Dad!)

(Who am I kidding? They never read these newsletters to the end.)

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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Rapido Telegraph

The Irregular and Irreverent Bulletin from Rapido Trains Inc.  •  Volume 26