In October 2015, Canadian Model Railroad manufacturer Rapido Trains chartered coaches (including a Dome) with VIA Rail for a trip from Toronto to Montreal and Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum for a product launch. The launch was an announcement of a new line of steam locomotives, potentially ten in total over a multi-year span if the products were successful.
Jason Shron, president and founder of Rapido Trains announcing the “Icons of Canadian Steam” line at Exporail in 2015.
The first entry in the product line was the Canadian Pacific Railway “Royal Hudson” 4-6-4 locomotives. These locomotives are amongst the most famous in Canadian Railway history, coming to notoriaty in the 1939 Royal Tour, when the reigning monarch King George VI became the first King or Queen to visit Canada. The tour was a PR event to build support on the eve of World War 2 that would start that fall, but a single CPR Hudson, Number 2850 hauled the entire trip westward for the Royal Family without fault or deputation. Upon request of the CPR, the Royal Family allowed the locomotives to be called Royal and to maintain the cast crowns on their running boards which had been installed for the royal tour.
The outer slip case packaging for the Royal Hudson
A semi-streamlined passenger express locomotive clearly has no place on a switching layout like Liberty Village, but a model Royal Hudson was something I’d wanted since I was a kid, same as with a model of the Canadian. Now I have both. And because this is a display case special, I went for the 1939 Royal Train version, which was prepared in a special scheme of stainless steel cladding with deep two tone royal blue and the royal crests on the smokebox door and tender. If its going to be a display piece, might as well really be a display piece!!
More art on the main box inside the slip case, then the instruction manual and exploded diagram, and finally, beneath the foam, a steam locomotive!
This is the second accurate plastic Canadian steam locomotive in my collection, the first, the much maligned True Line Trains Canadian National Railways 4-8-4 Northern. I won’t go into its many woes real or imagined, but the Rapido Hudson blows it away in terms of detail, running qualities, everything. The Hudson is heavy, one of the key differencees to other plastic locomotives I own (mostly british) is that large parts of it are diecast, so it has weight and heft to pull. It features the expected crazy level of details, and sounds recorded from a real CPR Hudson, Number 2816 which is still owned by Canadian Pacific, and was used until the past few years for employee and charity specials.
First photos of the Royal Hudson, with the working front coupler switched out for the much better looking fake one, and the etched stainless steel “Canadian Pacific” name board added to the runnig board. I haven’t added the raised brass numbers to the walkway yet, I may not as it looks fine without them.
Video of my test of the Hudson on my test track via my ESU LokProgrammer is below:
I need to do a proper photo shoot with the Hudson. I think I’ve figured out where and how as well, just need to get sorted out to do it and I’ll post another more photo heavy page on it. All in all, my first impressions are excellent, and It will look great in my display cabinet, and who knows, maybe someday down the road I’ll have a layout to run it on. I’ll probably at some point take it to others HO Scale layouts just to let it stretch its legs and work in the motor and gears.