Rapido Trains Inc. is pleased to reveal its first modern diesel locomotive, the General Electric Dash 8-40M. Powered by a GE V16 FDL 4000-horsepower prime mover, the main features of this distinctive design are the four-window North American cab, the cowl-style body and the famous ‘Draper Taper’ cutout behind the cabs. These great-looking locomotives always turn railfan heads in trains!
This release also marks the launch of a new range of models, which we’ve called “Prime Movers by Rapido”. We’re proud of our growing catalogue of museum-quality model trains that replicate the prototypes as closely as possible, but that insane detail level comes with a price, and we want to see Rapido products on layouts of all budgets.
This not just a re-release of existing models with some of the bits left off; it is an all-new line of model trains featuring all-new tooling and new prototypes. Most importantly, Prime Movers by Rapido features:
Many of the extra details are included in the box. If you want to super detail your model, you can go to town and the little bag of bits included with the model will give you a head start. If you want to take it out of the box and just let it run, all the power to you!
We will continue to make museum-quality models. But we’re making these too.
The Dash 8-40CM (also known as the C40-8M or just the “CN Dash 8”) was delivered to Canadian National, British Columbia Railway and Quebec North Shore & Labrador between 1990 and 1994. CN received 30 units (2400-2429) in 1990, classified EF-640a (General Electric, Freight, 6 Axles, 4000 HP, batch a). This was followed by a further 25 units (2430-2454) in 1992, classified EF-640b.
BC Rail received 22 units (4601-4622) in 1990, followed by four more (4623-26) in 1993. These were transferred to CN following the de facto purchase of BCR in 2004. The final units were for QNSL, which purchased three (401-403). These arrived in March 1994 and were later sold to The Andersons (renumbered AEX 100017-19).
We were fascinated to find out that the Dash 8s were the first new GE diesels delivered to a main line railroad in Canada since CN 44-tonner #5 entered service in 1956!
Amazingly, all 81 Dash 8s are still in service. Most are still in their original paint schemes but several have been repainted into the newer CN.CA livery. The Dash 8 locomotives can be seen all over North America.
The Dash 8 was the last locomotive delivered with CN’s famous “Draper Taper.” CN’s Assistant Chief of Motive Power, William L. Draper, designed the notch behind the cab to allow for better reverse visibility on full-width cowl units.
Draper Tapers were introduced with the Bombardier HR-616 in 1982 and were used on the SD50F, SD60F and the Dash 8. They were also used on CP’s “Red Barn” SD40-2F. Unlike American cowl units (such as the F45), CN chose a cowl design for mechanical and operational rather than cosmetic reasons.
Draper retired after delivery of the Dash 8s. Following his retirement, CN returned to more “off the shelf” locomotive designs, starting with the first Dash 9 order in 1994.
The Dash 8-40CM units made regular visits to Chicago via CN’s Grand Trunk Western route through Michigan and Indiana in the mid-1990s and sometimes further afield as run-through power. However, it was CN’s purchase of the Illinois Central in 1998 that really expanded their range of use and it became common to see “Draper Tapers” as far south as the Gulf Coast and all points inbetween, on and off CN/IC track. CN’s units were joined on their foreign adventures by BCR’s units from 2004.
The Prime Movers by Rapido Dash 8-40CM incorporates the following features:
- Available in DC (silent) or DC/DCC/Sound
- ESU decoder (DCC) or 21-pin dummy plug (DC) accessible from the bottom of the fuel tank
- Several road numbers per paint scheme
- Door and walkway handrails installed
- Factory installed grab irons and windshield wipers
- Drill starter holes included for most grab irons
- Working front headlights, rear headlights and number boards
- Operating CN “stalk” ditch lights
- Scaled from original blueprints – it’s the correct length!
- Sunshades included in polybag
- Accurate Dofasco trucks
- With or without battery boxes and bells, according to prototype
- Same smooth motor and drive system as our regular models
- Several road numbers and unnumbered with decals
- Metal Macdonald-Cartier couplers at the correct height
- 18″ minimum radius