Friday, 30 June 2017

A Beer, a Barbecue, and a Bus Ride......Uh, Sorry But the Bus Ride is a No Go:

Jason points out the new offerings coming soon.

The Second Annual Dealer Open House at Rapido Trains.

By Peter Mumby with photos by George and Peter

The original weather forecast for Monday June 26 was for a mix of sun and cloud with a possibility of late afternoon rain, especially in the Toronto area.  By the time the actual day dawned, the prognostication had been upgraded to a probability of heavy rain in the afternoon.  Skies were still bright when we departed London at 08:30, but clouds were obviously building to the east.  Our original plan had been to make several railfan stops en route, but we decided to alter our plans to take advantage of the sunny conditions close to home.  As such, we ended up spending a couple of hours in the Ingersoll/Woodstock area.  We watched a pair of Ontario Southland SW1200RS units switching at the Cami plant, and chatted with the crew of the OSR Woodstock turn.  Shortly afterward we followed the turn (OSR FP9 1400/GP9 1620) to Woodstock, with photo stops at Ingersoll, Beachville, and Carew.  From there, it was a straight run to our lunch stop in the Campbellville/Guelph Junction area.

I think I got the whole scene covered at Ingersoll.
Following a quick stop to check out the old Milton station, we were off to make a hobby shop detour to Credit Valley.  Last year we had found some really good deals there, but this year we left without too much wear and tear on the credit cards.  It seems that the hobby has become the exclusive domain of the $50 freight car and the $350 locomotive.

Shortly after we got on to the 407, the deluge started, slowing traffic to a crawl.  We were glad to finally leave the highway at our exit, and pulled into the parking lot at George's Trains.  Disappointment number one - as it turned out, the store is closed on Mondays.  Oh well, by then it was 4:00, and we could head across the street towards the Rapido parking lot and look for the Rapido bus.  This was the ex-TTC GMC Fishbowl bus that became the prototype for the soon-to-be released HO scale model.  Disappointment number two - the bus was a no-show, MIA due to a wonky turn signal.  Guess we'd have to limit ourselves to the indoor activities.

The Rapido staff was out in force for the day's festivities.  As usual, they were friendly, helpful, and informative.  George cornered Dan Darnell and got a lot of helpful information about using the new Rapido paints.  In addition to speaking to the Rapido staff about available and upcoming products and deals, we were able to visit with the local ESU LokSound representative Bob Fallowfield. Also present was the designer of the Rapido Rail Crew switch machine.  He was telling us about a new layout project being designed for the museum in Southampton. 

We had a great look at two finished SW1200RS and an undercoated version operating on a loop.
On display were pre-production examples of many upcoming  models, including the CN Dash 8 and the cylindrical hoppers which hopefully will hit dealer shelves by this fall.  Also nicely displayed were many of Rapido's smaller detail parts, along with their full "swag" line of hats, t-shirts, and mugs.

Scheduled for this open house was the Big Announcement of three new upcoming projects, two in N scale, and one in HO.  Jason began with with the N scale items, namely a New Haven passenger car and the Turbo Train.  The big surprise for us was the announcement of an HO scale model of the SW1200RS, the iconic Canadian small road switcher of the late 1950s produced by General Motors Diesel.  Under development now for almost two years, word is that Rapido may have these available by early 2018.  Apparently, Rapido researchers have made numerous visits to the Salford/Ingersoll area, crawling over those very units that we had watched working the Cami yard earlier in the day.  At any rate, this was an announcement that will likely be welcomed by many CN and CP modellers.  Ironically, production of this same model was announced some time ago by True Line Trains,  so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

As with last year's event, both of us enjoyed both the Rapido experience and the other components of the day.  We're already making plans to attend next year's open house - after all, we still want to go for that bus ride!

I discussed with Randy of Railcrew the new historical display being built in Southampton of the railway leading into town. This will be on display at the historical museum in his hometown of Southampton, Ont. Randy is showing me the trackplan of the display while Peter snapped a shot.

An overall view of products on the way.

There was a lot to see this time around. I was checking out the small details that are available if the complete model is not needed.

Peter and I had a beer in stubby bottles...something I have not had in a long while. Here Peter is with Dan Darnell after we cornered him to ask about Proto Paints. Dan does a lot of the painting for Rapido.
Some of the neat looking mugs offered.

Rapido is now in the display case business.
And as last year Rapido finished off the open house with a cake. Not a lot of the guys got into it but Peter and I got our share...we stayed behind for seconds. I am sure the Rapido staff did not design this cake ...or I hope they were not involved. Note the track gauge begins as narrow gauge and by the time the train heads off the cake it is broad gauge...I am thinking the engine is standing on the only piece that is standard gauge.

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