Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Rapido B36-7: Looking Great

Just a few days ago, a nice box arrived in my mail with three beautiful Rapido boxes inside.  A fourth is coming soon:  the arrival of the long-awaited, much anticipated B36-7, a staple on any Conrail route with intermodal trains in the 1980's and 1990's, and one of the critical models for operations on the Onondaga Cutoff.

Before traveling for a few days, I had time to unbox one of them, Conrail #5054, one of the neat engines that remained in original paint until the end of the 1990's.  Here we go:


This is an absolutely incredible model to see firsthand.  The color is perfect to my eye.  The overall look captures that husky-yet-soft appearance, and the dimensions I could verify check out.  The Conrail-specific stuff is amazing - cab signal box, marker lights, ditch light placement, battery box doors, horn placement, all perfect.

The model was reported by Rapido to come with too many snubbers from the factory, and indeed that was the case with this one.   A gentle but firm twist with a hobby knife for a few seconds and they popped off.  Rapido on one of their recent videos also said they would offer replacements if you aren't satisfied.  The photo above is after their removal.


I programmed the address to 5054, and started to test the lights.  Ditch lights are installed on this one, and they and the headlight look great.  Nice and bright, LED but 'day glo' or whatever these are called these days.


Next, we turn on the marker lights, which glow beautifully red just like the prototype.  Conrail did not use marker lights like other railroads by this date, and so elected to use lights that could be off or lit red only.  Rapido captured the look perfectly!

Sounds are the best I've heard from the factory, crisp and chuggy like the real GE's.  Amazing.  Operation is smooth and steady.  

My only complaint besides the obvious issue of the extra snubbers would be the programming of the decoder; the lights should all be controlled independently of direction.  Instead, the markers are lit on the trailing end only, and the head and ditch lights on the leading end only.  But, I can change these with the right CV's and will do so once I hear back from Locsound.

More to come as the others get unboxed and weathered up; what a great step forward for Conrail modelers!

Finally for tonight - my best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  I believe we have a lot to be thankful for here and am looking forward to the future!

~RGDave

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