Impromptu Review of Rapido Parlor Car

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Impromptu Review of Rapido Parlor Car

michael78651
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Joined: May 7th, 2004, 8:03 am

March 2nd, 2018, 4:10 pm #1

I received my parlor car today, so I thought I would post a review of my thoughts of the model.

The model was well packaged as all Rapido items are. The box and packing was crisp and clean. Opening the box and removing the car was quick and easy. The protective plastic sleeve that protects the car during shipping got caught on one of the roof vents when I removed it, but no damaged was done. The sleeve could have been a little bit looser without compromising safety.

Inside the box, besides the car, one finds the instruction/information sheet, and a decal sheet (I got a pre-lettered car, but it's always nice to get some decals - also can someone tell me when the blue number boards were used?). The surprise inside the box, and this should have been done all along (but at least it's being done now) is a membership form to the NHRHTA. It will be interesting to see a count of how many new members this generates. Thanks to Rapido for helping us out this way. I don't need my form, but I will take it to a train show in mid-April and give it away to the New Haven collectors (quite a few in Texas by the way). If someone would like to send me a dozen or so of these forms, I will hand them out at my table during the two day show. I will also be at another two-day show a couple of weeks after that. Send those forms!

Now for the real important stuff.

Checking the details of the car, everything looked on target. Again, there are no surprises to the Rapido modeling quality. From past experiences, I have learned that it is necessary to check the trucks prior to putting anything Rapido on the tracks. True to form, one truck was found to have been screwed on too tight. I loosened the screw about a half turn, and that took care of the problem. I did not remove the truck, so I can't say if the bolster pin was cracked as was common on the Bradley cars. However, given how the half-turn resolved the tightness of the truck, I doubt that it was cracked.

A problem with the previous stainless coaches was the tightness of the wheels preventing much free rolling. I put the parlor car on the track, and gave it a push. It rolled like a champ! It rolled up a grade, stopped, and then rolled back. I'd say this car passed the "free-rolling" test. The car also coupled up nicely with other cars from other manufacturers. If you have sharper curves on your layout and need more swing space, Rapido provides a pair of couplers with a longer shaft to replace the factory-installed ones.

The last thing I did was to turn on the power to check the interior lighting. It is a very bright white light, but it doesn't flicker like with some of my stainless coaches. Next to a stainless coach, I think the parlor car light is much brighter. Maybe it's my eyes. The interior is very nicely detailed. If I can figure out how to open the roof, I'll add some passengers to the car. After all, I have to generate some revenue to pay for the car.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very nice addition to the New Haven passenger fleet by Rapido. My car, the New Rochelle, will be used on weekend service to Pittsfield, which from pictures I have seen this car did make that run.

Thanks, Rapido. (Now, I need two combine cars, black with orange sill, the type that ran on The Berkshire Line! That will complete my passenger fleet needs. Hint...Hint...)

(If you want to use this review in the Speedwitch, please feel free to do so, and to use your own pictures to supplement the article - Michael Generali. Please contact me if you need anything else from me.)
Last edited by michael78651 on March 2nd, 2018, 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: June 13th, 2003, 4:27 pm

March 2nd, 2018, 6:14 pm #2

Thank you, Michael. A very thorough review. Helpful indeed. 

Derek Thompson
Toronto, Ontario

# 0668
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TomCurtin
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Joined: July 13th, 2017, 10:13 am

March 3rd, 2018, 8:48 am #3

michael78651 wrote:

In conclusion, I think that this is a very nice addition to the New Haven passenger fleet by Rapido. My car, the New Rochelle, will be used on weekend service to Pittsfield, which from pictures I have seen this car did make that run.
Indeed it did run to Pittsfield, almost exclusively in the mid-to-late 1960's  Two RT's per week --- although one of the RTs was a deadhead Pittsfield-Danbury on Saturday morning, back up north Sunday morning
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michael78651
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Joined: May 7th, 2004, 8:03 am

March 3rd, 2018, 1:33 pm #4

Tom, the years you stated are the years I operate.

Here is how I plan to run the parlor car, but I have some questions regarding the Saturday deadhead movement.

Friday Train 144 GCT to Pittsfield

Saturday Train 141 Pittsfield to GCT

Questions: Trains 144 and 141 carried diners too? Does Train 141 bring the parlor and drop it off in Danbury, or (somehow I'm remembering this instead) was deadheading the parlor to Danbury done by RS3? If so, was the RS3 from Pittsfield or Danbury? I'm thinking it would have to be an RS3 from Danbury. What time in the day was this movement made? If the RS3 was from Danbury, did it run light to Pittsfield? Was the parlor stored in Danbury on Saturday until Sunday? If not, which train  (141 or 143 or 145 - I don't see how it could be 145) would pick up the parlor in Danbury and take it to GCT? Is this because of lack of steam lines at Pittsfield to prevent holding the parlor overnight in Pittsfield?

Sunday Train 138 GCT to Danbury - picks up parlor in Danbury (if parlor is stored in Danbury) - proceeds to Pittsfield

Sunday Train 147 Pittsfield to GCT - this train picks up the coaches that were dropped off by Train 144 on Friday in Danbury - continues to GCT

Thanks!
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

March 3rd, 2018, 5:52 pm #5

From the October 28, 1963 Passenger Train Consists book:

Friday Evening, Train 144, Berkshire
1 36-Chair Parlor, GCT - Pittsfield ("Pittsfield")
1 Diner, GCT - Pittsfield ("Narrows Light")
4 SLrL Coaches, GCT - Pittsfield
2 SL Coaches, GCT - Danbury

Saturday Morning, Train 141, Berkshire
2 SLrL Coaches, Pittsfield - GCT
2 Coaches, Pittsfield - GCT (type unidentified)

Sunday Morning, Train 138
3 SLrl Coaches, GCT - Pittsfield
1 Combine, GCT - Pittsfield

Sunday Evening, Train 147
1 Combine, Pittsfield - GCT
1 36-Chair Parlor, Pittsfield - GCT
2 SLrL Coaches, Pittsfield - GCT
4 SL Coaches, Danbury - GCT

Clearly an imbalance exists if one goes by the train consists listed.
* The parlor is shown in the specific car assignments as for Nos. 144 & 147.  In theory, the car could have remained in Pittsfield all day Saturday (did they still have yard steam?).  If not, it would have deadheaded back to GCT to avoid having to be handled/serviced at Danbury.  It would then be deadheaded from GCT to Pittsfield on Sunday morning's train.
* The diner is shown in the specific car assignments as for Nos. 141 & 144.  It's not listed on the train consist for No. 141; it was deadheaded back to GCT for its next use, train 144 on the following Friday.
* Friday evening's train brought 4 SLrL coaches up to Pittsfield, but Saturday morning's train brought back down 2 SLrL coaches plus two other unidentified type coaches.  Huh?
* Sunday morning's train brought 3 SLrL coaches up to Pittsfield, but Sunday evening's train back only 2 SLrL coaches.  The third coach is not listed in the train consist, so it may have been deadheaded back, or it was indeed used and the consist book is slightly wrong.

I seem to remember the combine being shut down for the return trip at Danbury, but this could have been circa 1965 or so.

Bottom line - The consist books give a picture of what was being used, but the picture was indeed somewhat out-of-focus at times.
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

March 3rd, 2018, 5:59 pm #6

The April 25,1965 book shows the 26-chair, 14-lounge parlor "New Milford" in service, and the "dining car" is grill car 959.
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michael78651
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Joined: May 7th, 2004, 8:03 am

March 3rd, 2018, 6:16 pm #7

"If not, it would have deadheaded back to GCT to avoid having to be handled/serviced at Danbury."

How would they have gotten the car back to GCT? There were no other trains to Pittsfield after 144. An FL9 would have to be used as well, right? I suppose an RS3 could take it to South Norwalk and then another train take the care to GCT? I think the RS3 would have to come from Danbury as Pittsfield only had one, and that would have been needed for freight work on Saturday morning.

You are right about the consist books. That is where my beyond normal confusion comes in. Thanks for the insight.

I knew I should have taken rocket science in college!
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

March 3rd, 2018, 6:59 pm #8

Parlor deadheaded back with the diner on 141 Saturday morning.  Parlor then deadheaded back to Pittsfield on 138 Sunday morning for use on 147.  If you're going to move deadhead cars, move them on an existing train.
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michael78651
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Joined: May 7th, 2004, 8:03 am

March 3rd, 2018, 8:27 pm #9

I knew about Grill Car 959. I forgot to mention that I needed that one too in addition to the combines (hint - Rapido!)

Great. That makes much more sense to me. Thank you very much!
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

March 3rd, 2018, 10:50 pm #10

I believe at the time there were only two such combines on the entire roster.  Technically, they were AAR Class CA, baggage/smokers.

Modeling the combine might be possible with some kitbashing, which may or may not have been previously discussed either here or in the Speedwitch.
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