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Pendolino proximity…

The Pendolinos are getting close… these are the latest shots we have been sent by Rapido showing progress on painting, lettering and assembling the Revolution Trains/Rapido Class 390 Pendolino models.

As the colours and lettering go on the models really come to life, though of course this driving car still needs cantrail stripe, number window glazing, lights and wipers adding!


The interiors are not being forgotten of course, the image below shows those for Coach C, the shop car.


To make it easier for customers to couple up their models correctly each car will be clearly labelled on the underside.


Of all the images sent, perhaps this gives the best sense of the sheer scale of this project.  This tray contains around 350 bogies, and in all the factory has to make, paint and assemble bogies for 11,000 vehicles-  which equates to another 61 trayfuls like this!!  Incredible!!

Rapido’s attention to detail is stunning.  Even the pantograph bases are being separately painted, correctly, in Virgin red.

And as well as the numerous warning labels on each end, the pipework is being painted too.

The Revolution order book has closed for the Pendolinos now, however the models can still be pre-ordered from our partner retailers C&M Models, Collett’s Models and Kernow.



It’s summer holiday season, and we are taking a short break, so if you have emailed Revolution in the last few days please allow two weeks for a reply.  We aren’t ignoring you – just taking a breather!



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Class 321 complete CAD set plus other news

Rapido have sent through revised CADs showing all four vehicles that comprise the Class 321 unit.

The 4-car 321s are formed of DTCO-PMSO-TSOL-DTS.  The Scottish 3-car units are comprised of DTS-PMSO-DTS.

Driving Trailer Composite Open


Pantograph Motor Open Standard


Trailer Standard Open Lavatory


Driving Trailer Standard Open


The new CADs incorporate improvements to the windscreen area, front air dam and also feature interiors.

There are a few further refinmenents required.  Once the CADs are approved we will be ready to move to tooling.  At this time we would encourage anyone interested in this model who has not already pre-ordered to sign up.


Rapido are making more progress on the Class 390 Pendolino models which are now in production and still scheduled for delivery toward the end of the summer.

This image from a couple of weeks ago shows power cars awaiting their final black and white passes and then tampo printing and assembly.



Project Railway Honour class 66 pre-production sample

The Dapol model of Class 66 66418 “Patriot” which is raising money for ABF the Soldiers’ charity through Project Railway Honour has proved remarkably popular.  As well as providing web hosting and an ordering interface, Revolution Trains stepped in to send out these models when Gareth, the man behind the project, was deployed overseas.

Unfortunaely, the recent arrival of the Class 92 sample and Class 321 CAD drawings, along with our attendance at the DEMU Showcase last weekend, has meant that there have been delays in sending out orders lodged in the last few weeks.

These will be sent out as soon as possible and we would ask supporters of Project Railway Honour to bear with us.

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Pendolino Production Progress

Rapdio have sent some pictures to give an idea of the work involved so far in manufacturing the Revolution/Rapido N-gauge Pendolino models.

Perhaps surprisingly, of the 9-car and 11-car complete trains on offer, the 11-car proved the most popular, meaning that the full production will comprise well over 10,000 separate vehicles.

Chassis units aside, each of these comprises a bodyshell, interior, glazing units, bogies, underframe detail, coupler assembly at each end, roof parts including etched fan covers and other small detail parts.

So the first job was simply to mould, etch or fabricate all these components.

Once moulding was completed, each bodyshell was inspected for flaws and those that passed then sorted into types.

Each standard Pendolino train set requires six different bodyshells:  Driving car standard, Driving Car first, Trailer with disabled toilet, Trailer with standard toilet, Pantograph first and Pantograph Shop.

The Pantograph vehicles require additional work as all the insulator pots, mounting brackets and power conduits are separate parts too.

10,000 vehicles require 20,000 bogies, all of which again need to be inspected and then racked up ready for painting.

Here glazing parts are being removed from the sprues.  The tinting on these parts can be seen clearly.  Each sprue has two side glazing bars, four door window glazing units and six table lamp mouldings, though these are only needed in the first class cars.  Even allowing just two seconds per part, and no breaks, it will have taken this worker ten solid eight-hour days to do all them all!

These are boxes and boxes of interior mouldings.  There are different interiors for first and second class trailers with standard or disabled toilets, and for the shop car.  Each of these bundles contains, according to the labels, 56 items, so what you can see in the images is probably enough interiors for around 1000 cars – so the full production run will comprise more than eight times this number (the driving cars do not feature interiors as they have the chassis) and, like the glazing and bogies, all will need to be removed from the sprues, checked for quality, trimmed of any slight flashing and then, where appropriate, racking up for painting.

It is amazing to think that all this has been achieved thanks to the support of everyone who decided to back this project and put their money in so, once again, we extend a huge thank-you to everyone who stepped up and made it happen.

Barring some unforseen problems, and based on the progress so far, we anticipate the finished models should be ready for shipping to the UK in another couple of months.

Then, having last year delivered the UK’s first ever successfully crowdfunded RTR model, we will be ready to deliver the UK’s first ever crowdfunded complete RTR model train!

(All photos courtesy of Rapido Trains)

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A Revolution Review of 2016

2016 has been a landmark year for Revolution, and as it draws to a close it seemed appropriate to look back and thank everyone who has suppported us.

Quarter 1

In February, at Model Rail Scotland, we unveiled the first working sample of our Class 390 in N. The model had been handpainted – partly for marketing purposes, but mainly to confirm that the laser-scanned body-shape was correct as all the colours “sit” correctly.

However we did find that in their efforts to make them as unobtrusive as possible Rapido’s engineers had made the inter-car couplers too flimsy, and we asked for a redesign.

In March, to assist with our proposed Class 321 EMU, we were invited by Eversholt and Wabtec to their workshops at Doncaster where the prototypes are being rebuilt under Project Renatus.

This enabled us to compile a detailed collection of photographs and measurements of the many underframe components; though in turn this has created quite a headache for Rapido as it means the drawings of this model have proved to be significantly more complex than originally expected – and Rapido are renowned sticklers for underframe detailing!


Quarter 2

At Easter at the York Model Railway Show we announced plans for a KFA container flat in N. This wagon represents one of the “missing links” in N, and with a good quality model already available in OO from Hornby there seemed little prospect of it appearing from Farish or Dapol.

Like the well-received TEA tankers our model is being produced by Rapido and will feature a plastic deck with metal longitudinals to maximise weight and ensure good running, even when unloaded.

Going one further than the 4mm model, we are offering both build types – with the VNH-1 bogies and Gloucester GPS types. These wagons will be useful for anyone depicting the late 80s to the present day.

With months the CAD designs were approved, the model sent for tooling and we have just been sent images of the first moulded shots – see news item immediately preceding this one.


In June we heard from Rapido that the TEA tanker was going into production. However, the models took significantly longer to actually produce than expected – because the many markings on the tanker barrel could not be tampo printed in a single pass, due to the its curved shape.

In the end, and depending on the livery, each barrel took at least three passes per colour per side – for some model that made a total of more than a dozen separate applications. Add to that the many different detail parts – up to 70, for some configurations – and it is not surprising that the factory later informed us that these models were among the most intricate they had ever been tasked to produce.

Quarter 3

By the DEMU Showcase exhibition in July we had received a second Pendolino sample with modified couplers. This was immediately tested and while the robustness of the new couplers was immediately apparent, there were still some issues with the performance on tight “train set” curves. After a couple of weeks of ongoing testing to establish where corrections were needed, the another redesign began.

The first sample of the OO TEA – announced after many requests from 4mm modellers – were also on show for the first time.  These models are now being rest run and we are expecting production in the New Year.

Revolution 00 TEA tankers under test on Guy Molyneux’s “Whatley” layout

At TINGS in September we unveiled plans for another 1960s era model – the Class B tanker.  We had tried to offer a model previously to enthusiasts favouring this era but the Class 21/29 did not earn adequate support to proceed.  Following a well argued campaign from enthusiasts on the web we decided to offer the Class B tanker.

These distinctive wagons were seen across the network from the late 1950s to the 1990s in both block trains and cut into mixed freights in smaller numbers.  Many modellers will remember them with nostalgia as the subject of the popular Airfix 4mm kit.

We have already had CAD drawings produced in an effort to encourage interest, however so far the response has been disappointing.  We will give this model until February 2017 to gather enough support, otherwise it will be cancelled.

We also announced 40’hi-cube containers – the world’s most numerous type – in N in conjunction with C-Rail and first samples were unveiled before Christmas.  Six liveries will be available – Maersk, MSC, Hamburg Sud, Hanjin, Evergreen, and UASC.

Quarter 4

Shortly after TINGS – in October – we received word from Rapido that the production TEA tankers had landed, and so it was that we spent three weekend packing and dispatching Britain’s first ever crowdfunded RTR models – to universal acclaim.

One magazine wrote that the models were a “benchmark for quality, fidelity and value” while another reviewer felt that they were “exquisite, in terms of prototype fidelity, decoration and performance.”

Photo: Andy York

Included with the TEA tankers were a flyer announcing our next powered model in N – the Class 92 electric.

These much-requested locomotives fit in well with our West Coast theme, and we have secured the full co-operation of Brush Traction, enabling a research visit to be arranged shortly after.

The response to this model has been excellent, and with the assistance of Brush engineers and others progress has been rapid, with CADs now complete with tooling expected to begin in January.

Our last major date in 2016 was the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC in late November, where once again we were able to meet many of our supporters – and others – and announce another new model:  the HOA hopper.

Original EWS Construction is one of five liveries on offer

Response to this model has been exceptionally good and already the design work has begun, with 3D CADs expected early in 2017.

So as 2016 draws to a close we look back on a year in which we have delivered our first model, tooled two more, completed or continued design work on three more and announced a fourth and fifth.

Next year – with the continued help of all our supporters – we look forward to delivering more models and offering more choices.

To sum up, we would like to thank everyone who has ordered from us, the model railway press, RM Web and the N Gauge Forum and exhibition organisers for enabling us to communicate with and meet our supporters, and our Rapido Trains colleagues in Canada and China who have delivered such fabulous models.

Or, in the words of one respected magazine assessing our TEA tankers:  “Revolution has definitely delivered a quality product and there is much more to come…”

See you in 2017!


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Revolution at The International N Gauge Show

Revolution Trains had a busy weekend on stand 34 at The International N Gauge Show at Leamington.

Rail Revolutionaries: L to R Paul Churchill, Mike Hale, Gareth Atkinson (Project Railway Honour)

TINGS, as it’s known, is arguably the most important show of the year for the N Gauge community, and it’s the place to meet our supporters and and update them on progress.

As well as announcing our two new models (see news items below) we had the latest sample of our upcoming Pendolino on show.

In full 11-car mode we were able to play with the DCC Sound functions and demonstrate the approved couplers with working electrical connections and the customer-fit light bars.

The coupler problem has taken three iterations, each taking several weeks of redesign, head scratching and testing.

We are now finalising some of the chassis performance issues around the interface between the DCC Sound chip and the motor performance, and then it’ll be time for final painted samples and production.

The most common question all weekend was “when will the model be here?”

The honest answer is we don’t know exactly how long it will take the factory to manufacture 10,000 separate vehicles. Our best guess is that customers will start receiving models in Q1 next year, meaning that from when we first laser scanned the train to delivery will be a fraction under two years.

Compared to others, and not withstanding some of the development issues, we feel Rapido have done a pretty amazing job to get this far so quickly, and we are very happy with the quality they have achieved.

The models are still available to order (that was the second most popular question asked all weekend!) but the order book will probably be closing in the next 6 weeks or so.

The Dalston tanks by Revolution – pulled reliably all weekend by a Graham Farish Colas Class 60

Production versions of all our TEA tankers – plucked from the production line and air-freighted in from China for the show – were also on display as the main batch was preparing to leave the factory for the journey to Britain – and then on to the layouts of our supporters.

Indeed, on Sunday Rapido emailed us an image showing the entire production leaving the factory ready for the journey west:


It feels like we didn’t stop talking all weekend (and by Sunday evening we all had sore throats) but it was great to meet so many existing customers – and hopefully draw in a few new ones.

Our next show will be the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC on Saturday November 26th and Sunday November 27th.

Come and see us when we will be offering at least two new items including our next powered model.

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See us on stand 34 at The International N Gauge Show (TINGS) 2016

Please come along to our stand 34 at the International N Gauge Show (TINGS) this weekend (10 and 11 September) to see and hear about our latest product developments (production samples of the TEA tank wagons and the final development sample of the Pendolino) along with a couple of new announcements.

We’ve focussed our energy recently on finishing development and production for our earlier projects so our announcements are not perhaps the major announcement that we have been holding back on until we had started to deliver products to our customers.  Nevertheless we continue to work on new ideas so that we have a rolling development cycle and we think that our two new announcements will have widespread appeal to modellers (and we will have an exciting announcement at Warley)!

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Pendolino performing…

Rapido have been testing the third iteration of the Pendolino couplers, and have sent this video of a full 11-car train in operation.  The couplers have passed all the tests, and the sample is being sent to us for examination, checking and approval.

The couplers have been designed to transfer power along the train, they feature close-coupling pivots and are simple to clip together as no one wants to be coupling up an 11-car train on its side then trying to rotate it onto the track.

The first versions worked but were too flimsy; the next iteration was robust enough but had a tendency to rotate to the side on corners; this did not cause derailments or uncouplings but was a flaw.  This version appears to have solved all these issues.

This test was carried out on Kato first and second radius Unitrack with #4 turnouts.

The coaches have been fitted with our after-market lighting units; this is to check for “flicker” and ensure that the power is running throughout the train, as it should.  On the production samples the table lamps in first work, but the standard class cabins are unlit.

Once we have tested and approved the mechanical operation of the model we will check painted samples and then we anticipate moving quickly to production in Rapido’s new factory.

How to order

You can still order a Pendolino for a very limited period of time (we will close the order book as soon as we have approved the sample for production ie in the next few weeks) from our online shop.

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Pendolino set name/number choices v2!

There are three four potential groups you might fall into – the process will differ slightly depending on which applies to you:

– Paid in full (and not selected your set)
– Paid in full and selected your set (or picked the 5-car or Poppy set) – no further action required
– Paid deposit before 1 February 2015 (our Kickstarter/Earlybird period)
– Paid deposit after 1 February 2015

Please check carefully which group applies to you as if you pick the wrong one you will cause yourself more work (and us!) and it may delay your order. We know the process might appear complicated, but it is much simpler than it looks.

Paid in full but not selected a set
Please login to your account on our website – check your order and make a note of your order number.
If you have already placed an order and paid in full then you can make your set selection here.

We would be grateful if you could pick your set(s) as soon as possible (but no later than 8 July 2016). Does not apply to 5-car sets of the Poppy Pendolino.

Paid a deposit (in the EU)
Please login to your account on our website then:
1. check your order and make a note of your order number.
2. This is where it starts to get a little complicated – make a note of what you ordered (and paid).
3. Check whether you paid any Postage & Packing – if you did not P&P with your deposit then you will need to add it when you pay your balance (P&P is a separate part in the shop links below).
4. The next step depends on when you paid your deposit:
a.If you paid your deposit before 1 February 2015 then you were eligible for our Kickstarter/Earlybird price – please go to our webshop here and pick the right balance(s) to match your deposit.
b.If you paid your deposit after 1 February 2015 – please go to our webshop here and pick the right balance(s) to match your deposit.
The item and amount should be the same as your original order for your deposit.
5. When you select the correct balance to pay then you will be asked to select your name/number choice(s). This is not applicable if you ordered a 5-car set or the Poppy Pendolino.
6. Please include the order number for your deposit in the notes of your balance order so that we can match the two orders together.
7. If you want to place any upgrades (for lightbars, DCC sound, or to upgrade from 9 to 11 cars) or to add shipping you can do so at the same time.
8. Relax and have a cold drink!


(NB it may be possible for us to extend this deadline slightly but we will not know until we receive the final sample for approval – we do not want to have to delay production!).
(NB 2 if you are outside the EU but still in Europe we will be in touch if you need to pay a balance. If you are outside Europe then Rapido will be in touch!)

PS we know this is far from an ideal system (it isn’t for us either) but please remember that we do this in our very limited spare time, that this was our first project and that we have improved our systems.

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Deansmoor DEMU delight…

There are just over 24 hours until the Pendolino order deadline of  midnight on June 7th 2016.

We would urge any remaining customers to avoid leaving it until the very last minute.

With the TEA tanker deadline we did have reports of some people struggling to get their order in, especially if using mobile devices.

At the DEMU showcase exhibition at Burton at the weekend we lent the hand painted sample to Neal, Callum and Jon who were there with the superb Deansmoor layout.  Thanks for sending us these photos gentlemen – we feel the Pendolino really looks at home!




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Pendolino almost there…

While exhibiting at the DEMU Showcase this weekend we received our second Pendolino sample. It should have arrived on Friday but there was a slight mix-up with depots leading to FedEx agreeing to courier it to the Midlands!


The tooling has now been given its finishing polish, with many of the tolerances tightened up, and this shows in a much neater fit of some parts, crystal clear glazing for the cab and body sides and a far better finish to the light clusters.


The model has also had its fine etched windscreen wipers and pantograph heads fitted, to show us how they will look.


The couplers are now more robust and snap together with a nice positive click, but we did find a couple of issues on the very tight radius curves on our display (Kato Unitrack) so a little more work is needed on these. We want to make sure we get them right, but do not foresee any huge problems now.

We are now very close to the order deadline, which is midnight on Tuesday June 7th 2016.  If you haven’t ordered yet, and would like one, please ensure you don’t miss out.


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Pendolino name/number choices

For people who have paid in full only – you can select your set name/number(s) here (it isn’t pretty!):

Please only use this form if you paid in full and please only select a 9-car name if you purchased a 9-car set or an 11-car name if you purchased an 11-car set. If you don’t then it causes you and me more admin and it may delay your order.

If you ordered a Poppy Pendolino you don’t have to do anything further as there is no choice of name/number!

If you paid a deposit then once we have set up the mechanism to pay off your balance you will be able to select your set name/number(s) as part of that process!

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Pendolino Deadline Day – June 7th 2016


The order book for the N Gauge Pendolino model will close on June 7th.  Only orders received by then will be produced.

The factory have modified the inter-car coupler design based on feedback from thorough testing on the initial working sample that arrived in late February.

A revised sample is due imminently, and once this has been checked and thoroughly tested we will be giving the go-ahead for full production and closing the order book on June 7th.

So just under 18 months after our first, abortive trip to laser scan the Pendolino at a snowy Crewe, full production will begin on models that are only happening because so many people showed faith and came together.

Thanks again to all our supporters – the wait is nearly over!

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Pendolino Progress

The modifications that we have suggested in the light of our experience operating the first sample model are now being made by the factory, and we will in due course receive a second sample to test.

The model was recently photographed for Model Rail magazine on Horseley Fields, which represents the outskirts of Wolverhampton and is operated by members of the Northants and Cambs Area Group of the N Gauge Society.FullSizeRender (3)

Once the second, updated sample has been thoroughly tested and approved we can move to production.

Only then will we set the cut off date for the model.  At the moment it is anticipated that this will probably be sometime after Easter, but once decided we will advertise the cut off date here.

Anyone who has registered with us (without obligation) for our free newsletters and updates will receive reminders by email so as not to miss out.

FullSizeRender (4)


While the complete train was out on Horseley Fields we were also able to measure it.   For those interested these are the lengths:

5-car train:  830mm

9-car train:  1475mm

11-car train:  1810mm


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Reflections on Glasgow…


It’s been a long and fairly tiring but very enjoyable weekend at the SECC in Glasgow, test running the first running sample of the Pendolino.


A huge thank-you to those at the show who asked to see the Pendolino.  The response was very encouraging.


And particular thanks to (left to right) Helen, Duncan and John, as well as Arran, Tom, Gus, Frank and the rest of our friends on the East Neuk MRC’s Law Junction layout who were kind enough to give the sample a thorough run out in exhibition conditions all weekend.


The model was right at home on Law Junction, as the prototypes speed through the real location on a daily basis.

IMG_2353 IMG_2352

The consensus seemed to be that the model looks right from all directions.  This was a handpainted sample, to check that the main colour boundaries fall in the correct position, and does not feature the cantrail stripes, numbers, class markings and other fine details that the factory painted models will incorporate.  The glazing will also be tinted.

Further intensive running over the weekend revealed no significant issues to the motors or bogies and the couplers performed well, though one part will be strengthened to make it more robust for production.

We are now preparing a detailed feedback and suggestion report to send back to Rapido.  Once we have seen and tested a second sample, with the refinements and improvements incorporated, we will be ready to authorise production.

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Powered Pendolino debuts at Model Rail Scotland


The first working sample of our N Gauge Pendolino model has arrived and made its debut working on Arran Aird’s well known Law Junction layout at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.


Law Junction depicts the well known location where the Wishaw branch joins the West Coast Mainline south of Glasgow and is therefore a fitting place for the Pendolino to undergo line testing.

As this video shows, the complete 9-car train is performing well, however we have identified some small issues with the couplers we would like to improve.


This test unit has been handpainted to check that the major colour borders and livery elements fall correctly on the model; it is missing small details such as cantrail markings and numbers.  The factory finished models will, of course, feature all of these.

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Latest Pendolino sample shows improved glazing

We have been sent images of the latest samples of the forthcoming Pendolino by Rapido.


The glazing has now been improved to remove the “prismatic” effect on the first samples.

This image shows the PTSRMB (shop) car.

The pantograph is a plastic moulding that is unsprung so it can be posed at any height to suit layouts with or without catenary wires or masts.  The pantographs on the finished models will also feature etched heads.

This close-up shows the pantograph head with its stabiliser fins and the pantograph well, with various insulator pots and other details.  The crooked pot is an assembly error, which will be corrected on the finished models.


These are the interiors of the five different coaches.  From top:  Shop, Standard, First, First with disabled toilet and standard with disabled toilets.


Next we are expecting to receive working power cars so we can begin debugging the chassis, couplers and detailing.

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Pendolino Progress

With the deadline now approaching for ordering our TEA tankers, Rapido have sent us some images from the factory in China showing ongoing work as they prepare running samples of our upcoming Pendolino.


The tooled bodyshells have to be checked against the corresponding CAD images, and the factory will need to be careful to ensure they assemble the right combination of roof details, skirts and interiors for each of the various cars.


Here various unpainted bodyshells and interior power car weight blocks are waiting to be test assembled.


First, Shop and Standard interiors can be seen in this shot, along with floors, coupler pockets and on the left two of the cab car bodyshells.

We are expecting a complete running sample fairly soon, and we will give it a thorough de-bugging before approving for production.




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Pendolino – First EP samples

During the week we received the first EP samples of two of the Pendolino vehicles – the DMSO and a TS – airfreighted in from China for the Warley National Model Railway Show at the NEC.

Pendo sample

Considering they are the first shots from the mould, and were assembled in a hurry to reach us in time for the show, we are very happy with them, and reaction over the weekend has been very positive.

During the exhibition the samples were examined by a customer who is also a Pendolino driver – and given full approval.

There are clearly some areas where we are expecting to slightly improve the fit – such as the lower front air dam – but in general terms the samples are very fine.

Portal 1 Portal 2

Although this model contained a chassis block there is no motor – though on the underside the traction motors and various other details are present!

The next step will be a fully working sample for testing, and once we have approved this, and painted samples, we will be moving to production.

Alongside the DMSO at Warley we had one of the TS vehicles.  This one is actually Coach U, one of the two added to the nine-car sets to strengthen them to 11 cars and that was supplied with a Pantograph well but with no pantograph present.  This is one of the two coaches that will be available in the twin pack, as well as supplied of course as part of the full 11-car train packs.

Pendo Warley

We are now expecting to close the order book at the end of March.  At that time we will only produce those models ordered by then.


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Pendolino Tooling Progress

Rapido have sent us some images showing progress on the tooling for the Pendolino.

This is one of the copper electrodes used to spark erode the DMRF bodyshell:


Here is a moulded glazing sprue for the DMSO.  The glazing strip has five windows on this vehicle.  Also visible are the cab windscreen and side windows, the light cluster covers and the moulded guides for the working lights at each end.


Customers will be able to see more tooling images on the Pendolino Development page.