Rapido Trains UK launches
Rapido Trains has officially launched its UK division - Rapido Trains UK - with a series of newly tooled British-outline models including three 'OO' gauge projects, one 'N' gauge locomotive and more 1:76 scale double-decker buses.
Leading the charge for 'OO' gauge is a Hawksworth designed '15XX' 0-6-0PT, with six different models planned. Whilst designed during the latter days of the Great Western Railway (GWR), the ten locomotives were built under British Railways' control at Swindon Works in 1949. Most were based at Old Oak Common depot in West London primarily for empty coaching stock moves to and from London Paddington and their short wheelbase offered a distinct advantage when negotiating tight track configurations. Their working careers were quite short, with the first withdrawal occurring in 1959. Three were subsequently acquired by the National Coal Board for further use into the late 1960s, while one example is currently preserved at the Severn Valley Railway.
Rapido Trains UK's new highly detailed 'OO' gauge model will feature die-cast metal construction, high quality motor, Next18 Digital Command Control (DCC) socket, sprung buffers and small tension lock couplings in NEM pockets. Factory-fitted digital sound options are also planned.
Six different identities are expected initially as 1506 in BR plain black without crests (Cat. No 904001), 1500 in BR plain black with early crests (904002), 1505 in BR lined black with early crests (904003), 1504 in BR plain black with late crests (904004), 1501 in BR lined black with early crests (as preserved) (904005) and 1509 in National Coal Board (NCB) maroon (904006). Currently in the early stages of design, a price for the new '15XX' 0-6-0PT has yet to be confirmed. Delivery is anticipated during 2022.
With the popularity of industrial locomotives on the rise, the company's second 'OO' gauge locomotive project is the Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST. Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds offered various 'standard' 0-6-0STs for industrial use including examples with 12in, 14in, 15in and 16in diameter cylinders. They were economical, easy to maintain and reliable. More than 40 16in 0-6-0STs were built by the company between 1923 and 1958 for use at various industrial concerns including collieries, mines and quarries.
Seven 'OO' gauge models are planned in a selection of liveries including 3716/1952 Alex in Oxfordshire Ironstone lined red (903001), 3782/1953 Arthur in Markham Main Colliery lined green (903002), 2705/1945 Beatrice in NCB lined red (903003), 3783/1953 Holly Bank No. 3 in NCB lined blue (903004), 1953/1939 Jacks Green in Naylor, Benzon and Co. lined green (903005), 3715/1952 Primrose No. 2 in NCB lined black (903006) and 3714/1951 Thorne No. 1 in plain green (903007).
The specification follows a similar pattern to the '15XX' with die-cast metal construction, high quality mechanism, Next18 DCC decoder socket, sprung buffers and small tension lock couplings in NEM pockets. Plans also include factory-fitted digital sound models - a first for an industrial steam locomotive in 'OO'. Currently at the CAD drawing stage, prices have yet to be confirmed, although delivery is expected during late 2021.
Rapido Trains UK's third 'OO' gauge model sees the resumption of the previously-announced (2017) Gunpowder Van project. A standardised GPV design was produced by the Railway Clearing House (RCH) in the 1930s, which was adopted by the GWR, LMS, LNER and Royal Ordnance factories, albeit with minor detail differences. These distinctive low-height metal vans were wood-lined to safeguard the potentially explosive cargo while being transported to military and industrial sites by rail.
Ten different 'OO' gauge GPV vans are planned covering RCH designs, GWR and BR diagrams as Dia. 1/260 B887021 in BR bauxite (902001), Dia. 1/260 M701508 in BR bauxite (902002), Dia. 1/260 B887001 in BR grey (902003), Dia. Z4 105777 in GWR livery (902004), Dia. Z4 105708 in GWR livery (902005), RCH pattern 701016 in LMS livery (902006), RCH pattern 299031 in LMS livery (902007), RCH pattern N260936 in LNER livery (902008), RCH pattern 147511 in LNER livery (902009) and RCH pattern 11 in Royal Ordnance factory livery (902010). Key detail differences will be incorporated such as bufferbeams, doors, 'W' irons and brake gear.
Rapido Trains UK's new 'OO' Gunpowder Van is at the design stage with a 3D test print of the wagon having been developed, ahead of progressing to the next stage of the process. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but delivery is currently slated for late 2021.
For 'N' gauge modellers, the manufacturer has unveiled plans to produce the Metropolitan Vickers Type 2 Co-Bo diesel. 20 of these characteristic locomotives were built at the company's Stockton-on-Tees factory in the late 1950s. Famed for their use on the 'Condor' Anglo-Scottish container services, sadly the design was not as successful as anticipated, with troublesome mechanical issues and reduced route availability due to their unique axle configuration. Despite undergoing a rebuild in 1961, most had been withdrawn by the end of the decade. One was retained in departmental use until the mid 1980s.
Rapido Trains UK's new 'N' gauge model will be offered in six different identities in post-1961 condition with flat windscreens. Models planned include D5709 in BR green (905001), D5711 in BR green with yellow warning panels (905002), D5713 in BR green with yellow warning panels (905003), D5707 in BR green with yellow ends (905004), D5705 in BR green with yellow warning panels (905005) and D5701 in BR blue with yellow ends (905006).
The specification includes separately fitted parts, high quality motor and mechanism, Next18 DCC decoder socket, directional lighting, NEM coupler pockets and digital sound options too. Design work is currently underway, with delivery anticipated during 2022. Prices have yet to be confirmed.
Finally, Rapido Trains UK is planning to expand its range of 1:76 scale buses with the addition of an all-new Leyland Fleetline double-decker in West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive guise.
Originally designed by Daimler, the Leyland name was adopted for the Fleetline in the 1970s when part of British Leyland. A choice of 20 different registration numbers and destinations will be offered with the company's new 1:76 scale model and detail differences to reflect both original and rebuilt front headlamp and indicator arrangements will also be incorporated within the tooling suite.
Currently at the first Engineering Prototype (EP) stage, the new Leyland Fleetline will feature injection-moulded plastic and metal parts, accurate screwhead and rivet detail, body weld lines, etched-metal interior grab poles, rubber tyres, steerable front wheels, flush glazing, working headlamps, interior illumination and more.
In addition, the manufacturer is also planning a new production run of its 1:76 scale 'New Look' Guy Arab Birmingham double-deck buses. 11 new versions are planned with different registration numbers and destinations.
Prices are set at £54.95 per model, with delivery of both vehicle types anticipated during Spring/Summer 2021.