In recent years, model railway manufacturing has become a world-wide exercise. It's way more complex than merely getting the models made in China. The latest Model Rail exclusive project, the LNER 'J70' 0-6-0T, is being researched in the UK, particularly at the National Railway Museum, designed in Toronto, Canada, by Rapido Trains Inc, and it will be made at Rapido's factory in China.
Despite all the modern technology which enables us all to communicate electronically, it is still vital to meet face-to-face and so Richard and I were delighted to host Jason Shron on a recent visit to Peterborough. Jason describes himself as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at Rapido Trains, but he's also the driving force behind the company and its big push into the UK ready-to-run market, which started with the 'OO' APT-E model for Locomotion.
It took a great deal of ingenuity to make the articulated APT-E vehicles negotiate second radius curves whilst also tilting and transmitting electric power through the couplings and being capable of being uncoupled, too. Now, Rapido's Bill Schneider, whose expertise lies in steam-outline models, has to design a 'J70' with full outside Walschaerts valve gear and space to fit the tramway side-skirts which hide it all!
We had a very constructive working lunch in Peterborough city centre before Jason wanted a closer look at the cathedral. (He needs a leaded light replacement for one of his windows at home but we managed to persuade him that they were all too big!)
So the 'J70' starts to move on to the preliminary design stage and we have two further projects pencilled in, which should keep us busy for the next several years. We spent the afternoon in Dave Lowery's garden while Jason eagerly watched HSTs and Class 91s. British freight trains proved to be of little interest, presumably because they aren't a mile and a half long, with four locomotives on the front. He seemed equally unable to grasp why I showed no interest in passenger trains dressed up in red and white like cola cans. (CJL)