Rapido Newsletter Vol. 183

©2024 Rapido Trains Inc.

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Dear Rapido Customer,

Can you believe we're turning the big 2-0? Let's kick off our anniversary the right way with lots of order deadlines and a couple of awesome new announcements!

In this 183rd issue...

  • Rapido Turns 20!
  • New! Super Continental Line Passenger Cars
  • New! 20th Anniversary Special Cars
  • The Great Rapido Bus Tour Updates
  • March 15th, 2024 Order Deadlines
  • April 15th, 2024 Order Deadlines
  • New! Even More New Product Announcements!
  • In-Progress Project Updates

Also other announcements...

  • Upcoming Shows
  • Product Updates

If you are using a web-based email service such as Gmail, be sure to click on the link near the bottom of the email that says something like "[Message clipped] View entire message". That will ensure you don't miss any of this newsletter.

Please note that all renders and artwork are subject to change before the final product release.

Rapido Turns 20 in 2024!


Click here or on the image above to watch our anniversary announcement video!

Rapido started as a way for Jason to procrastinate from his (third) university degree that he really didn't want. Now Rapido has a North American division, a British division, and far too many vintage buses. (Two.) There is also the fleet of vintage rail cars that we have since donated to the VIA Historical Association so they are no longer Janet's problem and for that she is eternally grateful.

Gala Barrett prepares our booth at the 2004 iHobbyExpo in Chicago.

Today Rapido has employees in one Canadian province (wow!), eight states, and an island in the North Sea. Despite our growth, we are still very much a family business. 

JASON: With Sidura and me as the parents, and you all as our gifted but "special" children!

BOBBY: Ummm... well the history I was planning to write has just been derailed. I'll just move along to the passenger car announcement. We're twenty, hurrah, yadda, yadda, yadda.

RE-RUN! HO Scale Super Continental Passenger Cars


To celebrate our 20th year in the industry, we are delighted to announce a new run of the first ready-to-run models we ever made, the HO Scale Super Continental Line Passenger Cars! These include the: Lightweight Coach, 8-4-4 Duplex Sleeper (4-8-4 for the Canadians) and the 10-5 Sleeper.

When they were first released, these cars broke the mold for HO scale passenger car detail. We believe the level of detail we announced two decades ago has not been matched since, except by us! Rapido is still the global leader in HO scale passenger car detail.

Amazing interior detail - including roomette curtains in the sleepers!

There is always room for refinements and this run is no exception. Here is a list of those upgrades for the Super Continental Cars:


  • Track-powered interior lighting with capacitor controlled by our (often imitated, never duplicated) Rapido Lighter
  • Improved design and assembly to prevent warping
  • Tighter connections between the body and the roof
  • New couplers designed for more reliable operation when pulled or pushed
  • Redesigned, free-rolling trucks

All of this is in addition to the incredible underbody detail, multi-color interior, skirts or stairs (as appropriate) and extremely fine painting and decoration, down to the end door car names and numbers!

The Super Continental Line Passenger Cars provide a first class experience for your HO scale passengers. They will be treated in comfort, elegance and style just as they deserve to be. Reserve your coaches and sleepers by the order deadline and ensure your passengers don’t miss the train. 

             Open the Catalog              
Order the Super Continental Cars

But wait...there's more!

Celebrate Rapido’s 20th Anniversary in Style!


We delivered our first ready-to-run passenger cars almost 20 years ago with a retail price of $49.95 (US) and $59.95 (Canadian). The costs of materials and labor overseas have gone up so much since then that our passenger cars retail for more than double those prices today.


To celebrate Rapido’s 20th Anniversary, we are producing a special run of HO scale anniversary passenger cars at the original prices. We have two anniversary sleeping cars to choose from! If you haven't watched the video yet, here it is again!

Edmundston Duplex Sleeper

We purchased this ex-VIA Rail Canada sleeping car in 2015 and have since donated it to the VIA Historical Association. It is currently being restored to be a part of the VIA Rail Canada 50th Anniversary heritage train in 2028.

Rapido Trains “Lark” 10-5 Sleeper

We are offering our anniversary 10-5 Sleeper decorated in a paint scheme inspired by Southern Pacific’s famous passenger train, The Lark.


These anniversary sleepers will brighten your model railroad and can be added to any passenger train as first class private varnish. They are available for the unbelievable prices of $49.95 (US) or $59.95 (Canadian). These are only available direct from Rapido – they cannot be ordered through your local retailer.

           Open the Catalog            
Order the 20th Anniversary Cars

Rapido's Big American Bus Trip - Tour Map Update

Hello all! We have made a few trip adjustments to our tour schedule. We unfortunately will not be making our stop in Tulsa. But, we now will be making an appearance at Midwest Model Railroad in Independence, Missouri! Look out Kansas City, here we come!

Keep up to date on all our doings and future events by clicking here.

The tour starts on March 17th... See you in a week or two!

Click on the video links, catalog links and web page links for more information about all our products that close this Friday, March 15th. Please reserve with your favorite hobby shop or directly with us by the deadline. These E8s are looking particularly snazzy!

HO Scale HEP and OCS E-units

This is a new video showcasing some of the features of our Head End Powered E8 and E9 locomotives. This release also includes Illinois Central, Conrail and CN executive locomotives. The factory is ready to start production for delivery later this year. Have a look!

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the E-units With HEP

HO Scale PA and PB and ATSF Repowered Locomotives

This is also a brand-new video as we haven't actually done one on these gorgeous models before. We realized that we had been pushing the ATSF rebuild locomotives so much that we sort of forgot to tell you about these other beautiful beasties. Please watch the video and order yours today!

                         Click Here to Open Catalog                         
Order the PA-1, PB-1 and ATSF Repowered Locomotives

HO Scale H21 Hopper Car

ANOTHER NEW VIDEO! Yes, we have been busy. We don't sleep!

The H21 has only been available in the past with molded-on everything. With 39,000 of the real cars criss-crossing the United States for over 60 years, we really think you need some for your layout.

Despite the riff on the old Oldsmobile ads, Jordan has pointed out that these aren't only your grandfather's coal hoppers... These are also your great-great grandfather's coal hoppers!

Please order yours today!

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the PRR H21 Hopper

N Scale Budd RDC

March 15th is your last chance to get a 5% early bird discount on these beautiful N scale RDCs. As for these being conditional models... THEY AREN'T! We've already received enough orders to inform you that we will definitely be making them. They go into tooling in the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who preordered and everyone else please remember - if you want that discount, you need to order by Friday!

Click Here to Open Catalog
     Order the Budd RDC      

Here comes the April 15th order deadline for Toronto's First Subway And we're super excited to have a video by Reece over at RMTransit on YouTube to help promote these cars! Have a watch by clicking here or the above.

Rapido Toronto Subway

Don't forget that our Toronto's First Subway project is stillconditional announcement. Unlike the N scale RDC, we have not yet received enough orders to start the tooling.

Order by April 15th, 2024 through your preferred hobby shop or our website to help make this project a reality! In addition, all orders placed by this date will include a 5% early bird discount

    Click Here to Open Catalog    
Order the Toronto Subway Trains
Rapido New Announcements

NEW! HO Scale Canadian National Hawker Siddeley Van

As the 1960s began, the Canadian National Railway found itself with a large fleet of wood end cupola vans (caboose for everywhere outside of Canada) which were in need of replacement. After testing their initial prototype steel van in 1964, CN placed an order for 150 copies from Hawker Siddeley. These cars were specifically designed for CN. The body shells were constructed in Trenton, Nova Scotia, while the final assembly was completed at Hawker Siddeley’s Fort William, Ontario plant.

JASON: These were made in Scotland? Awesome!

BOBBY: Thunder Bay used to be called Fort William. Am I allowed to call you a NingNong?

JASON: Not if you want to keep your job.

BOBBY: You are a great boss. Continuing...

CN 79305 carries the markers on a CN freight in Ingersoll in 1981.

Photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller Collection.

The Hawker Siddeley Vans were numbered 79200 to 79349 and delivered in 1967. They were favourites amongst crews on the CN. They featured creature comforts such as: Waugh full-cushion underframes, electric lighting and power via an axle-driven generator, roller bearing trucks, a pair of oil stoves, a refrigerator, hot plate and much more.

Their design would set the standard for future Van orders. Few changes were made to these cars over their 30-year service lives with CN. The most notable changes were the paint schemes and almost two were modified for international service which features like FRA compliant window glass with orange side sills and end striping to denote that service.

The CN Hawker Siddeley Van features:

  • Super-detailed underbody including all separate air and brake piping 
  • Operating marker lights, track and step lights, cabin lights and separately controlled cupola light
  • Non-nuclear, full interior lighting
  • Super-detailed Barber-Bettendorf caboose trucks with all-wheel pickup
  • Full detailed multi-coloured interior 
  • Interior handrails in the cupola 
  • See-through, etched metal end platforms and steps 
  • Full end detail, including uncoupling levers 
  • Separate grab irons installed at the factory 
  • Metal semiscale Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at correct height

Below are the schemes for the vans.

These are in tooling now, so the order deadline is TBA. We will announce a deadline once we receive functioning samples. Please order yours today!

           Open the Catalogue          
Order the Hawker Siddeley Vans

Hand-painted pre-production samples

NEW! HO Scale PFE R-40-27 and -28 Reefer

We're excited to announce the all-new, HO Scale Pacific Fruit Express R-40-27 and -28 Reefer, which is the first time that these cars have ever been offered as plastic models!

The reefers were built from January through August 1957, with a total of 1700 cars built in class R-40-27. They were placed into the PFE 10001-11700 numbering series and featured a 4-foot-wide Youngstown sliding plug-door, sliding toward the left, combined with a 2-foot-wide hinged door to the right of it. This created a 6-foot-wide opening when both were opened, or just a 2-foot-wide opening if the car needed to be inspected before unloading in order to retain the cool interior temperature.

Soon the R-40-27 car’s plans were modified with a six-foot sliding plug-door, along with the established 2-foot-wide swinging door, creating the new class R-40-28 cars, of which there were 100 (PFE 11701-11800) constructed by July 1957. 

Both the R-40-27 and R-40-28 class cars were cooled with ice, and included overhead electric fans to circulate the cool air en route. As it would turn out these would be the last ice-cooled refrigerator cars built by PFE. After these classes, all PFE reefers utilized mechanical cooling.

Our HO Scale R-40-27 and -28s feature:

  • Accurately scaled from prototype blueprints and field measurements
  • Separate wire grab irons
  • Correct running boards and brake wheels
  • Correct cooling fan housings per road number
  • Positionable roof hatches
  • Rapido Lincoln-Washington semi-scale metal couplers
  • Free-rolling trucks with turned metal wheels
  • Accurate paint and decoration
  • Multiple accurate road numbers available for each paint scheme

Below are the schemes being offered. Note, they show both sides of the cars for the different variations.

These are tooled and ready to roll! The order deadline is July 15th: that's right - the heat of summer when you REALLY NEED these reefers!

Please order from your local peddler or direct from us before the deadline. You snooze, you lose!

    Open the Catalog    
Order the PFE Reefers

NEW! HO Scale New Look Transit "Fishbowl" Bus

We are delighted to introduce EVEN MORE New Look Buses in HO scale, this time with new and returning versions of our TRANSIT model. With transit-style seats and either a single or dual-stream rear door, these vehicles could be found across Canada and the United States, from major cities to the smallest suburbs and towns.

While today's passengers are carried along in mostly low floor accessible vehicles, these pioneers of transportation had long been the pinnacle of road transit vehicles. This model represents the second through fourth generations of the New Look Bus, spanning from the mid–1960s right up until the 1980s, and comes with agency-specific details from advertising panels to roof hatches.

A Chicago CTA bus traversing the streets. Photo courtesy of David Onodera.

JASON: I have to step in to discuss my pet transit bus for this project. Those of you who have met me know that I like to wear bellbottom trousers. The 1970s often call me to say they want their clothes back.

Needless to say, my style was greatly influenced by one of my favourite TV shows, Welcome Back, Kotter. Though I was actually a big nerd at school, I always wanted to be a Sweathog.

To celebrate this amazing TV show (made almost 50 years ago!), we're making a model of New York MTA's fishbowl #8854 as seen in Brooklyn in the closing credits of Kotter. On top of that, we're installing period advertisements on the front and on the batwings!

We've got a good view of the Green Point Savings Bank ad from the front of the bus, but we've gone with typical period ads on the batwings. If you have photos of the actual batwing or rear ads on 8854 in 1975, let us know and we will update our artwork, provided the ads aren't for booze!

Back to you, Bobby.

BOBBY: Give me a minute. I'm on the phone with the 1970s. They are really, really ticked off that you did not give them their clothes back.

Let's go to Los Angeles in December of 1984. Here's a SCRT bus rocking those 80s style color patterns. Photo courtesy of David Onodera.

All of our HO scale New Look Bus models include:

  • Correct tubular profile traced from a 3D-scan of a real New Look Bus.
  • Era-correct rear engine door available in early (2nd generation) or late (4th generation) styles.*
  • Optional left-side emergency exit door and either single- or dual-stream rear doors*
  • Etched-metal interior stanchions, stamped-metal handrails and separate farebox
  • Full interior including separate bench seats and grooved flooring.
  • Steerable front wheels and REAL rubber tires.
  • Three types of bumpers − steel, water and rubber.*
  • A wide variety of optional detail parts included.*
  • Separate advertisement frames included with each model.
  • Pre-installed route destination signs for added realism.
  • Working interior lights, headlights and tail lights.**

* Installed as appropriate

** A 9-12 volt DC power supply (not included) is required to power the lighting features.

Below are the schemes offered on this run. Visit our website to learn which routes we are doing.

You can order any of these New Look Buses in an unnumbered, no route version, as long as you order in batches of six. A deposit will be required at the order deadline. Please email us for details.

Remember, the order deadline for the Transit and Suburban Buses is June 17th, 2024. Please order yours today!

            Open the Catalog            
Order the New Look Transit Bus

UPDATE! HO Scale FL9 Locomotive - CDOT 2011

We were so excited to announce the HO Scale FL9 Locomotives that we forgot to add a road number for CDOT! Thanks to some alert customers, we have added CDOT 2011. It was also noted that the small grille by the MU outlets should not be on the body. This was accidently left on the drawing by the factory, which has since been removed.

Don't forget the order deadline is on May 15th, plenty of time to roll those orders in.

Click Here to Open Catalog
Order the FL9 Locomotives

VIA train 73 in January 2016 shows just a sampling of the many, many window variations on HEP2 passenger cars. Photo courtesy Brendan Frisina.

Project Update - HO Scale Budd Passenger Cars

JASON: Hello again! I'm giving a quick update on the Budd VIA coaches we announced a couple of years ago that still have not been produced. The HEP2 cars are a minefield with several different body styles, and we've decided to tool two HEP2 body styles rather than one, giving us a more accurate club car, a more accurate coach, and then some less-accurate coaches... Our first design was only correct for one style of coach.

Since we launched these cars we've had a lot of requests for more US paint schemes on our Budd coach. So we plan to relaunch the Budd coach project in the spring, changing some of the VIA HEP2 car numbers and adding some American paint schemes, including Conrail's OCS colors. Please stay tuned for that announcement, and I'm sorry about the delay on this project.

Rapido N Caboose

Project Update - N Scale Wide Vision Caboose

Our Rapido Wide Vision Cabooses/Angus Vans do not include the batteries. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. Please see the instructions below for how to assemble with LR41 or equivalent batteries into your Angus Van. Batteries can be found at any major retailer including Amazon.

Please see the attached instructions for how to safely add the batteries into your model. Click here to open the instructional PDF.

New Videos!

In addition to all the new videos above, check out two more -- we have the N Scale Turboliner and the HO Scale BC and P&W M420s!

Tooling, Shipping and Arrival Updates

LOTS of new items are arriving soon!

Check out the newest shots of the 44-Tonner in production!

And we can't forget the Alco FA-1.

Well cars? Yes, please!

The classic CP red 53' Container.

Canadian Piggyback Flats!

N Scale Procor 5820 hoppers!

We hope you've enjoyed this monster-length newsletter. Thank you to everyone who has been with us since the beginning. We value your loyalty and support tremendously!

We hope to see a lot of you on our Big American Bus Trip this month. Please click here for the timetable and drop in to say hi!

All the best,


Bobby Allard

Rapido Trains Inc.

USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441

Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5

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