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Pendolino set name/number choices v2!

There are three four potential groups you might fall into – the process will differ slightly depending on which applies to you:

– Paid in full (and not selected your set)
– Paid in full and selected your set (or picked the 5-car or Poppy set) – no further action required
– Paid deposit before 1 February 2015 (our Kickstarter/Earlybird period)
– Paid deposit after 1 February 2015

Please check carefully which group applies to you as if you pick the wrong one you will cause yourself more work (and us!) and it may delay your order. We know the process might appear complicated, but it is much simpler than it looks.

Paid in full but not selected a set
Please login to your account on our website – check your order and make a note of your order number.
If you have already placed an order and paid in full then you can make your set selection here.

We would be grateful if you could pick your set(s) as soon as possible (but no later than 8 July 2016). Does not apply to 5-car sets of the Poppy Pendolino.

Paid a deposit (in the EU)
Please login to your account on our website then:
1. check your order and make a note of your order number.
2. This is where it starts to get a little complicated – make a note of what you ordered (and paid).
3. Check whether you paid any Postage & Packing – if you did not P&P with your deposit then you will need to add it when you pay your balance (P&P is a separate part in the shop links below).
4. The next step depends on when you paid your deposit:
a.If you paid your deposit before 1 February 2015 then you were eligible for our Kickstarter/Earlybird price – please go to our webshop here and pick the right balance(s) to match your deposit.
b.If you paid your deposit after 1 February 2015 – please go to our webshop here and pick the right balance(s) to match your deposit.
The item and amount should be the same as your original order for your deposit.
5. When you select the correct balance to pay then you will be asked to select your name/number choice(s). This is not applicable if you ordered a 5-car set or the Poppy Pendolino.
6. Please include the order number for your deposit in the notes of your balance order so that we can match the two orders together.
7. If you want to place any upgrades (for lightbars, DCC sound, or to upgrade from 9 to 11 cars) or to add shipping you can do so at the same time.
8. Relax and have a cold drink!


(NB it may be possible for us to extend this deadline slightly but we will not know until we receive the final sample for approval – we do not want to have to delay production!).
(NB 2 if you are outside the EU but still in Europe we will be in touch if you need to pay a balance. If you are outside Europe then Rapido will be in touch!)

PS we know this is far from an ideal system (it isn’t for us either) but please remember that we do this in our very limited spare time, that this was our first project and that we have improved our systems.

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Deansmoor DEMU delight…

There are just over 24 hours until the Pendolino order deadline of  midnight on June 7th 2016.

We would urge any remaining customers to avoid leaving it until the very last minute.

With the TEA tanker deadline we did have reports of some people struggling to get their order in, especially if using mobile devices.

At the DEMU showcase exhibition at Burton at the weekend we lent the hand painted sample to Neal, Callum and Jon who were there with the superb Deansmoor layout.  Thanks for sending us these photos gentlemen – we feel the Pendolino really looks at home!




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Pendolino almost there…

While exhibiting at the DEMU Showcase this weekend we received our second Pendolino sample. It should have arrived on Friday but there was a slight mix-up with depots leading to FedEx agreeing to courier it to the Midlands!


The tooling has now been given its finishing polish, with many of the tolerances tightened up, and this shows in a much neater fit of some parts, crystal clear glazing for the cab and body sides and a far better finish to the light clusters.


The model has also had its fine etched windscreen wipers and pantograph heads fitted, to show us how they will look.


The couplers are now more robust and snap together with a nice positive click, but we did find a couple of issues on the very tight radius curves on our display (Kato Unitrack) so a little more work is needed on these. We want to make sure we get them right, but do not foresee any huge problems now.

We are now very close to the order deadline, which is midnight on Tuesday June 7th 2016.  If you haven’t ordered yet, and would like one, please ensure you don’t miss out.


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Pendolino name/number choices

For people who have paid in full only – you can select your set name/number(s) here (it isn’t pretty!):

Please only use this form if you paid in full and please only select a 9-car name if you purchased a 9-car set or an 11-car name if you purchased an 11-car set. If you don’t then it causes you and me more admin and it may delay your order.

If you ordered a Poppy Pendolino you don’t have to do anything further as there is no choice of name/number!

If you paid a deposit then once we have set up the mechanism to pay off your balance you will be able to select your set name/number(s) as part of that process!

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Pendolino Deadline Day – June 7th 2016


The order book for the N Gauge Pendolino model will close on June 7th.  Only orders received by then will be produced.

The factory have modified the inter-car coupler design based on feedback from thorough testing on the initial working sample that arrived in late February.

A revised sample is due imminently, and once this has been checked and thoroughly tested we will be giving the go-ahead for full production and closing the order book on June 7th.

So just under 18 months after our first, abortive trip to laser scan the Pendolino at a snowy Crewe, full production will begin on models that are only happening because so many people showed faith and came together.

Thanks again to all our supporters – the wait is nearly over!

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Pendolino Progress

The modifications that we have suggested in the light of our experience operating the first sample model are now being made by the factory, and we will in due course receive a second sample to test.

The model was recently photographed for Model Rail magazine on Horseley Fields, which represents the outskirts of Wolverhampton and is operated by members of the Northants and Cambs Area Group of the N Gauge Society.FullSizeRender (3)

Once the second, updated sample has been thoroughly tested and approved we can move to production.

Only then will we set the cut off date for the model.  At the moment it is anticipated that this will probably be sometime after Easter, but once decided we will advertise the cut off date here.

Anyone who has registered with us (without obligation) for our free newsletters and updates will receive reminders by email so as not to miss out.

FullSizeRender (4)


While the complete train was out on Horseley Fields we were also able to measure it.   For those interested these are the lengths:

5-car train:  830mm

9-car train:  1475mm

11-car train:  1810mm


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Reflections on Glasgow…


It’s been a long and fairly tiring but very enjoyable weekend at the SECC in Glasgow, test running the first running sample of the Pendolino.


A huge thank-you to those at the show who asked to see the Pendolino.  The response was very encouraging.


And particular thanks to (left to right) Helen, Duncan and John, as well as Arran, Tom, Gus, Frank and the rest of our friends on the East Neuk MRC’s Law Junction layout who were kind enough to give the sample a thorough run out in exhibition conditions all weekend.


The model was right at home on Law Junction, as the prototypes speed through the real location on a daily basis.

IMG_2353 IMG_2352

The consensus seemed to be that the model looks right from all directions.  This was a handpainted sample, to check that the main colour boundaries fall in the correct position, and does not feature the cantrail stripes, numbers, class markings and other fine details that the factory painted models will incorporate.  The glazing will also be tinted.

Further intensive running over the weekend revealed no significant issues to the motors or bogies and the couplers performed well, though one part will be strengthened to make it more robust for production.

We are now preparing a detailed feedback and suggestion report to send back to Rapido.  Once we have seen and tested a second sample, with the refinements and improvements incorporated, we will be ready to authorise production.

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Powered Pendolino debuts at Model Rail Scotland


The first working sample of our N Gauge Pendolino model has arrived and made its debut working on Arran Aird’s well known Law Junction layout at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.


Law Junction depicts the well known location where the Wishaw branch joins the West Coast Mainline south of Glasgow and is therefore a fitting place for the Pendolino to undergo line testing.

As this video shows, the complete 9-car train is performing well, however we have identified some small issues with the couplers we would like to improve.


This test unit has been handpainted to check that the major colour borders and livery elements fall correctly on the model; it is missing small details such as cantrail markings and numbers.  The factory finished models will, of course, feature all of these.

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Latest Pendolino sample shows improved glazing

We have been sent images of the latest samples of the forthcoming Pendolino by Rapido.


The glazing has now been improved to remove the “prismatic” effect on the first samples.

This image shows the PTSRMB (shop) car.

The pantograph is a plastic moulding that is unsprung so it can be posed at any height to suit layouts with or without catenary wires or masts.  The pantographs on the finished models will also feature etched heads.

This close-up shows the pantograph head with its stabiliser fins and the pantograph well, with various insulator pots and other details.  The crooked pot is an assembly error, which will be corrected on the finished models.


These are the interiors of the five different coaches.  From top:  Shop, Standard, First, First with disabled toilet and standard with disabled toilets.


Next we are expecting to receive working power cars so we can begin debugging the chassis, couplers and detailing.

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Pendolino Progress

With the deadline now approaching for ordering our TEA tankers, Rapido have sent us some images from the factory in China showing ongoing work as they prepare running samples of our upcoming Pendolino.


The tooled bodyshells have to be checked against the corresponding CAD images, and the factory will need to be careful to ensure they assemble the right combination of roof details, skirts and interiors for each of the various cars.


Here various unpainted bodyshells and interior power car weight blocks are waiting to be test assembled.


First, Shop and Standard interiors can be seen in this shot, along with floors, coupler pockets and on the left two of the cab car bodyshells.

We are expecting a complete running sample fairly soon, and we will give it a thorough de-bugging before approving for production.




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Pendolino – First EP samples

During the week we received the first EP samples of two of the Pendolino vehicles – the DMSO and a TS – airfreighted in from China for the Warley National Model Railway Show at the NEC.

Pendo sample

Considering they are the first shots from the mould, and were assembled in a hurry to reach us in time for the show, we are very happy with them, and reaction over the weekend has been very positive.

During the exhibition the samples were examined by a customer who is also a Pendolino driver – and given full approval.

There are clearly some areas where we are expecting to slightly improve the fit – such as the lower front air dam – but in general terms the samples are very fine.

Portal 1 Portal 2

Although this model contained a chassis block there is no motor – though on the underside the traction motors and various other details are present!

The next step will be a fully working sample for testing, and once we have approved this, and painted samples, we will be moving to production.

Alongside the DMSO at Warley we had one of the TS vehicles.  This one is actually Coach U, one of the two added to the nine-car sets to strengthen them to 11 cars and that was supplied with a Pantograph well but with no pantograph present.  This is one of the two coaches that will be available in the twin pack, as well as supplied of course as part of the full 11-car train packs.

Pendo Warley

We are now expecting to close the order book at the end of March.  At that time we will only produce those models ordered by then.


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Pendolino Tooling Progress

Rapido have sent us some images showing progress on the tooling for the Pendolino.

This is one of the copper electrodes used to spark erode the DMRF bodyshell:


Here is a moulded glazing sprue for the DMSO.  The glazing strip has five windows on this vehicle.  Also visible are the cab windscreen and side windows, the light cluster covers and the moulded guides for the working lights at each end.


Customers will be able to see more tooling images on the Pendolino Development page.

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Inter car couplers

A lot of work has gone into the design of the inter-vehicle couplers.

Our aims with this component were to find a solution that was simple to use, unobtrusive and robust, but that also provided close-coupling while at the same time transferring power between vehicles.

We considered a magnetic solution but had some concerns about the effect of current on magnetised parts over time.  We also wanted to avoid any large electrical power connectors, and anything that is too fiddly or awkward to easily couple up on the track.  Some products require the model to be placed on its side, then rotated into place, and while this might be OK for a 4-car of 5-car train, for an 11-car Pendolino we felt it would be asking for trouble!

The solution the designer came up with looks, in CAD form, to be simple and elegant.  However, a CAD design is one thing; an actual working model is something else, and once we receive samples we will test and re-test the couplers in all conditions to ensure they are suitably robust and functional.

697XX MS coupler B

One car has a pin, the other a socket.697XX MS coupler A

Both the couplers are on self-centering expanding CAM mountings.

One other advantage of this system is that it ensures the cars can only be put together the right way round, and the vehicles will also be labelled to ensure assembling the train prototypically is a snap.

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Pendolino livery elements

On a model railway forum we were asked whether we had checked the livery will look “right” on our Pendolino.

The answer is that we have compared photographs to the CADs and we believe all is good.

In this head on image we traced the curves of the livery in green; then duplicated them onto the CAD scaled to be the same size.

CAD livery check DMRF front

We feel they match almost perfectly!

The Pendolino is now in tooling and we should have moulded samples to show soon.  Once this happens we will be close to the deadline for ordering – and remember, only customers who pre-order will receive models.

We give at least a fortnight’s notice on the order deadline here, and send an email reminder to all who’ve registered to receive newsletters, so even if you’re not ready to order we suggest you register to be sure you don’t miss out!




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Couplers and Lights

Hello all,

At the N Gauge International Show recently a few supporters were asking about the Pendolino front lights and couplers.

We have always intended to make the front coupler accessible, so that our model can be prototypically “dragged” either away from the wires or in the event of a failure.  For a while Pendolinos were routinely towed by Virgin Class 57 locomotives along the Cambrian coast to Holyhead, while failed Pendolinos are now usually seen in the company of DRS Class 57s.

This view shows how the front cover simply pops out.  On the real thing it automatically folds up inside the nose; this proved impossible in this small scale.  Our top tip is make sure you don’t lose it!

691XX DMRF nose door

This clip taken during our trip to Longsight depot in Manchester shows it in action.  The coupler deploying in the dark reminded me, for some reason, of the Alien films!

Coupler deploys

In this exploded diagram I have pulled the lighting components down from their position behind the nose.  The red tail lights are illluminated in direction of travel, as are the main headlight (far side) and on the nearside the smaller marker light – coloured green on the CAD.   As the image below shows, this is prototypical.  The top headlight above the windscreen is also illuminated.

691XX DMRF exploded 3

Thanks to Martyn Read for this image showing the lights on:

390002_RugeleyTrentValley END

Finally, this exploded drawing shows the arrangement of the power car.  Items such as the PCB board, motor and soundspeaker that are common components are shown simply as indicative shapes; it is not necessary to draw them out in detail.

691XX DMRF exploded 1

This image also shows the separate windscreen wipers, roof detail parts and underfloor skirts.

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Time to wait… with a little zen-gauge

The checking is done; the CADs are approved.  Now we just have to wait for the tooling to take place and the first Pendolino test shots to arrive.

If, like us, you’re struggling to contain your excitement then here are some calming images to help you relax.  We like to think of them as a little zen-gauge…

Zen 5

Zen 4

Zen 2

And for those that asked on Saturday and Sunday, checking against the 3 sample cars we estimate that when coupled up on the track the 9-car trains will be 1492mm in length, and the 11-car trains 1820mm.

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Pendolino approved for tooling

The Class 390 Pendolino CADs for the intermediate cars have now been approved for tooling.

The cab cars have also been improved on condition of one very minor correction.

This is the arrangement for light clusters on the driving car:

691XX DMRF lights

This image shows working the table lamps in first class vehicles:

PTF 695xx 01

At the International N Gauge Show at Leamington Spa this weekend we displayed stereolithographs produced for us by the Jewellery Department at Birmingham City University.  These enabled us – and the many visitors to the show who admired them – to visually check that the models looked “right” in terms of detail and presence, and that they are the correct scale dimensions.


Once Rapido have sent us sampled produced from the toolings we will be sure to post images.

The production cycle will now see us approve mouldings, test and debug a working train and check livery samples.

Once that is done Rapido will ask us to specify the number of models we wish to produce.  At this point we will close the order book and that will be the number produced.

There will be no additional models available post production, so please make sure you keep an eye on this site to ensure you don’t miss the deadline!



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Pendolino sound recording at Longsight Depot

The Revolution Trains – Rapido Class 390 Pendolino in N will be the first RTR mass-market model to be provided with a DCC Sound option.

This has proved popular with customers, and last night we were invited to Alstom’s Longsight traincare depot in Manchester – the home of Virgin’s Pendolino fleet – to record the sounds of the real thing.



Longsight handles 15 Pendolinos each night.  From 2208 the units begin to arrive in the depot and are first sent through the carriage washer and a laser scanner that can register anything from the thickness of the brake pads to the state of the pantograph’s carbon contact heads to check whether they need changing.  From there they are sent into one of 15 reception sidings for overnight work to begin.  An initial one hour exam is followed by a thorough clean.  On-train diagnostics will have communicated ahead with the depot control room and fitters will already know what, if any, specific repair work is required.


Inside the workshops longer term maintenance is underway – at the moment the fleet is undergoing a programme of 800,000 mile “H4” examinations which involve full bogie changes and replacement of the emergency couplers – so the entire nose assembly has to come off!

One of those undergoing its H4 exam was 390103 – the Poppy pendolino and one of the ten models we are offering.  With the trains in this conditions we were able to record some sounds not otherwise possible, though we had to be careful not to get in the way as the work is very tightly rostered.


Most of the recording was done outside; this is generally preferred by our sound recordist Legomanbiffo as there is no chance of any unwanted echoes, or the clang of a dropped spanner, that can mar the recording.  He tends to take at least 3-4 captures of any given sound to be sure of a good “take.”


Strict depot rules meant that the sounds of the horn had to be recorded before 2300 to avoid incurring the wrath of local residents.  Alstom likes to be a good neighbour!


Even though this was Manchester we got lucky with the weather – the only precipitation was from the water washers – just one of over 20 separate sounds we recorded.  Who knew a Pendolino made so many different sounds?


Huge thanks to Dave Jones and everyone at Alstom Longsight depot for helping us to ensure our N Gauge Pendolino with DCC Sound will have the best quality and most accurate sounds possible.


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Pendolino – more details added.

Just a quick update to show that the front hatch has now been rendered removable, to allow our Pendolino model to be “dragged” prototypically by a diesel locomotive across non-electrified lines.  For clearance reasons a coupler cannot be permanently fitted; removing the hatch will expose a pivoting NEM socket to which the modeller can fit a standard coupler or another of their choice.  Also a couple of smaller details around the nose and end have been incorporated.

DMSO 692xx 12-08-15 4

The prominent seams adjacent to the cab side windows – that mark the join between the aerodynamic nose and the standard profile of the body – are also present now.  In the image below I have highlighted the construction lines in black to make them easier to see.

DMSO 692xx 12-08-15 3

We are close to approving these drawings now – just a couple of very small issues to sort out..