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Rapido Trains HO scale P-S New Haven diner

Read this review from the July 2020 issue of Model Railroader
Rapido Trains HO scale P-S New Haven diner

Rapido Trains has added a 1949 Pullman-Standard streamlined dining car to its ever-growing line of New York, New Haven & Hartford HO scale passenger equipment. The injection-molded plastic and metal car features more than 200 parts and is detailed inside and out.

The prototype. In December 1945, the New Haven ordered 10 36/48 seat dining cars, as part of an order for more than 140 cars of various types to upgrade its name trains, such as The Merchant’s Limited and The Yankee Clipper.

The cars were built to a similar design as the New Haven’s 1930s Osgood-Bradley streamlined cars, but with assorted upgrades including fluted ­stainless-steel sides. The class of 10 cars carried names of some of the historic signers of the Mayflower Compact, and although all were laid out identically, there were at least four interior decoration schemes. The cars were delivered to the railroad in July 1949 and served the New Haven until its merger into the Penn Central system in 1969.

Rapido Trains HO scale New Haven diner
The car features a fully detailed underframe.
Rapido Trains HO scale New Haven diner
Rapido’s attention to detail includes a full kitchen painted to simulate the prototype’s stainless steel fittings and a dining area with place settings.
Rapido Trains HO scale New Haven diner
The accurate dining compartment matches prototype diagrams.
Rapido Trains HO scale New Haven diner
The tables feature separate place settings.

Attention to detail. The Rapido cars are some of the finest-detailed ready-to-run passenger cars I’ve seen. The car matched the major dimensions of the drawings found in The Official Pullman-Standard Library vol. 10 (Railway Production Classics, 1991), except over the coupler faces as a result of the manufacturer using couplers with longer shanks that allow for operation on smaller radius curves.

The car features a full prototypical interior, including chairs, tablecloths, china, and silverware. An extra sprue with modeler-installed water pitchers is also included. All can be clearly seen thanks to the car’s interior lighting system, which works on both direct-current and Digital Command Control layouts.

The diner’s full kitchen includes details like the sink, steamer, range, and coffee urn. There isn’t a window in that area to see any of it, but it’s there.

Our sample came decorated in the McGinnis warm orange paint scheme with the car name William Brewster.

The paint and lettering on the model includes silver window trim and black gasket detail. The model’s markings match a 1969 prototype photo of the William Brewster. Our sample portrays the car after its skirting was removed, so the extensive detail is easy to see.

All six metal wheels in each detailed 61-NO General Steel Castings truck collect track power for the interior lighting. Our sample model also rolled freely.

The diner will negotiate 22" or greater curves when coupled to other cars. (I tested it with a couple of Rapido’s 8600-series coaches.) I also ran the diner through an 18" curve. The trucks swivel enough to make it without binding, but according to the manufacturer’s directions, for use on this radius one or both couplers should be replaced with the long-shank couplers provided in the box.

The diner comes with medium-shank Macdonald-Cartier couplers pre-painted in a rust-brown color. When coupled with other Rapido New Haven cars, the medium-shank couplers put a lot of distance between the diaphragms. If you have broader curves on your layout (say 32" or greater) and larger number turnouts (no. 8 or better), you could achieve a more realistic spacing by installing short-shank couplers.

Any way you look at it, Rapido’s Pullman-Standard New Haven diner is a stunning model. I, for one, believe it has set a new standard for HO scale dining car excellence. I can’t wait to see it behind the long-anticipated EP-5 electric passenger locomotive coming soon from Rapido Trains.

Facts and features
Price: $139.95
Rapido Trains Inc.
500 Alden Rd., Unit 21
Markham, Ontario L3R 5H5
Era: 1957 to 1971 (as decorated)
Road names: New Haven as delivered (1949-1957 Hunter Green with skirts), New Haven McGinnis scheme (1957 to early 1960s with skirts), New Haven McGinnis scheme (1957 to 1971 no skirts); five car names per scheme.
• Body-mounted, rust-brown-colored, Macdonald-Cartier metal knuckle couplers at correct height
• Fully-detailed interior
• Metal wheelsets on plastic axles, correctly gauged
• Sprung diaphragms
• Separate, factory-applied metal grab irons
• Track-powered, constant light-emitting diode interior illumination
• Weight: 7.4 ounces (.65 ounces too heavy per NMRA Recommended Practice 20.1)

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