Ordered way back in 2018, Rapido Trains' RS18's were finally constructed in China and shipped in the first full 40-foot container-load of product shipped across the Pacific. RS18's, Tempos and tumblers, oh my! One of these RS18's would eventually find its way to my basement. Way back in 1976, the prototype CN 3120 trailed CN 6533-6863 on a westbound passenger train at Kingston (top photo). My CN 3120 will be used mainly in local freight service:
Due to the number-specific choices on the Rapido webpage, there were no 3700's available. While some of the other number ranges in CN's 225-strong fleet, i.e. 3600's and 3800's spent time in the Maritimes, it was 3700's that trod the Kingston Sub. These are the units I would see operating between Toronto and Montreal, and between and around Belleville and Kingston. My notes contain sightings of 3706, 3708, 3742 and more. Not available. Next best choice was a 3100. Since these units were seen on CN and VIA passenger trains and CN local and road freights, they would fit my Hanley Spur roster just right. In fact, this unit would be the nucleus of my CN Hanley Spur roster!
Modelling the pre-freight-stripes era, a black wet-noodle unit would be the scheme of choice. When the long wait finally came to an end on September 24, and the well-packaged Rapido package arrived, the van-borne postal worker exclaimed that for once, a package was for me, not my wife! Now that's rare mileage! In these first three photos, the new unit is unboxed and working the Outer Station yard.
Reading the accompanying owner's manual, there were many LOL moments. Several pages on DCC stuff was not relevant to this DC operator. This is no 'traditional' unboxing video, but there is a video of the unit on its break-in run. As noted therein, conversion to X2F couplers was relatively easy! Just remove a coupler pocket screw, take out the pocket, open it and remove that troublesome Kadee-type coupler and replace it with a shiny, beautiful black X2F, pocket back in place and ready to couple!
Road-tripping! Letting 3120 traverse the layout! Emerging from under the River Street bridge.
Up-close and personal. The train is moving away from us, so the directional headlights and number boards are unlit in this photo (below). I will do some light weathering, but even my daughter was horrified that I would besmirch its black beauty with ruffinous road grime!
Down by the freight house.
At this point, I got to thinking there was NO bad photo angle for this unit, and NO way that even I could take a bad photo of it!
Leaving the freight shed and heading back to the Outer Station (below). Rapido Trains is to be congratulated (and has been!) for producing these ubiquitous units, these roadswitcher representatives, these MLW marvels!
Graphics guru and faithful Trackside Treasure reader Randy O'Brien sent two creative graphic greetings to commemmorate the first run. Thanks, Randy!
Rapido loves Canada and Canada loves Rapido. Except when they don't! If you have even a passing knowledge of Canadian character, in the arts, politics and even model railroading, it always includes 'eating our young' and having to 'go elsewhere to make it big'.
There are Rapido boosters (and I don't mean B-units!) and Rapido detractors. And they often espouse polar opposite opinions about a topic in which the truth lies somewhere in-between. Hence this meme.
The pro- and anti-Rapido forces get exactly nowhere. So why do they keep doing it? Because they love doing it! And it's their right to do so.
Whether it be cost, production, ordering, quality, quantity, timeliness, delays, off-shore production, responsiveness, too much humour, etc. there are lots of points to argue. But why argue when none of us owns Rapido, very few of us work there, and many of us have already bought their products?
I enjoy slagging Rapido as much as I enjoy praising them. So I am in my own personal stalemate! I am not a 'Shronian' who maddeningly defends Rapido at all costs, as many do on social media. But I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
And nobody, NOBODY, but Rapido got an RS-18 on my front step for me.