American Program

In at least one early catalog year (in the 1960’s), an additional catalog insert was added for the North American market. This insert detailed special sets for the American market, presumably at the direction of Charles Merzbach.  Merzbach was the North American market importer at that time, and much of the American elements of the Arnold rapido product line for that era reflected his recommendations.

American Train Sets

This catalog insert illustrated both the American train sets of that era, along with some additional train sets which approximated American trains.

  • 041 - The Beaver; 0203 Industrial locomotive, (0415) EJ&E box car (in yellow), 0416 SR gondola, 0493 caboose.
  • 050 - The Yard Bird; 0261 New Haven Baldwin switcher, 0416 SR gondola, 0414 AT&SF box car, 0493 caboose.
  • 051 - The Yard Bird; 0262 Union Pacific Baldwin switcher, 0416 SR gondola, 0414 AT&SF box car, 0493 caboose.
  • 052 - The Shuttlebug; 0225 0-6-0T steam switcher,  (0415) EJ&E box car (in yellow), 0416 SR gondola, 0493 caboose.
  • 054 - The Transcontinental; 0264, 0265 Santa Fe F-7A powered & unpowered, 0417 PRR gondola, 0406 Shell tank car, 0493 caboose.
  • 055 - The Transcontinental; 0264, 0265 Baltimore & Ohio F-7A powered & unpowered, 0417 PRR gondola, 0406 Shell tank car, 0493 caboose.
  • 056 - The Super Chief; 0265 Santa Fe F-7A powered & unpowered, 0351 coach, 0353 dome. 0355 observation.
  • 057 - The Royal Blue; 0264, 0265 Baltimore & Ohio F-7A powered & unpowered, 0352 coach, 0354 dome. 0356 observation.

Note: The “Shuttlebug” freight set had included either the 0222 Prussian tank locomotive or the more modern 0225 Class 80 locomotive.

Steam Locomotives

The American catalog insert also detailed two steam locomotives which had been adapted for the American market.

  • 0223S - This locomotive was an adaptation of the 0223, which represented a DB Class 23 steam locomotive.  The drivers were painted black, to reflect American practice, and the tender bore the lettering “PENNSYLVANIA”.  Likewise, the Class 23’s smoke lifters had been removed in an effort to make the locomotive more American looking.
  • 0225S - This locomotive was an adaptation of 0225 Class 80, bearing a large “255” on the side.

Passenger Cars

Although not detailed in the catalog insert, Arnold also manufactured a passenger sleeping car:

This car uses the 0347 Wagon Lits Sleeper as its basis, but is painted in Pennsylvania Railroad maroon red, with the car name “Times Square”.  The real “Times Square” was a Pennsy 3-Drawing Room, 6-Compartment heavyweight car. Copies of this car periodically show up on eBay in varying conditions.

The American Program

Like many other European model train manufacturers, Arnold was interested in the American market, but was concerned about expending tooling costs creating a product line that might or might not sell.  Arnold, like the other European model train manufacturers, understood the domestic German market because they spoke directly with them on a regular basis.  The American market was more distant and thus a cause for caution on their part.

So, like other European model train manufacturers, they came up with a halfway program that might meet the needs of the American market yet not cost them too much money.  Like the other European model train manufacturers, Arnold was product-driven rather than market-driven.  The American market, however, expected that there would be a higher level of scale realism.

Arnold would respond, in a year or two, with its relationship with Revell.  But for a new product line such as rapido, the early Arnold American program was briefly acceptable until better things came along.

1972

By 1972, the Arnold rapido American program had grown:

The American train sets were available in two versions, without transformer or with transformer and accessories (such as bridges, trees and vehicles). The sets, in order of appearance on the page, from the top: 

  • 090 - Keystone Express; 0275 Pennsylvania GG-1 locomotive, 3 Pennsylvania coaches.
  • 090A - Senator Express; 2751 Amtrak GG-1, 3 “different” Amtrak cars.
  • 089 - King of the Road; 0228B Baltimore & Ohio 4-6-2, four different freight cars.
  • 089U - King of the Road; 0228F Union Pacific 4-6-2, four different freight cars.
  • 089S - King of the Road; 0229S Southern Railway 4-6-2, four different freight cars.
  • 075W - Belle of the Eighties; 0226 Western & Atlantic 0-6-0, combine and 2 coaches.
  • 075U - Belle of the Eighties; 0226U Union Pacific 0-6-0, combine and 2 coaches.
  • 071S - Overland Express; 0274W Santa Fe FA-2, coach, Vista-dome, observation
  • 071A - Overland Express; 2741 Amtrak FA-2, coach, Vista-dome, observation.
  • 071P - Overland Express; 0274B Penn Central FA-2, coach, Vista-dome, observation.
  • 069P - The Merchandiser; 0274B Penn Central FA-2, three freight cars.
  • 069S - The Merchandiser; 0274W Santa Fe FA-2, three freight cars.
  • 079S - El Capitan; 0215 Santa Fe FP-9, 0216 Santa Fe FP-9 dummy, RPO, coach, Vista-dome, observation.
  • 079B - Royal Blue; Baltimore & Ohio FP-9, Baltimore & Ohio FP-9 dummy, RPO, coach, Vista-dome, observation.
  • 079N - North Coast Limited; Northern Pacific FP-9, Northern Pacific FP-9 dummy, RPO, coach, Vista-dome, observation.
  • 074C - Loop Special; 2111 Chicago & Northwestern FP-9, three gallery commuter cars.
  • 072U - Modernaire; 0273U Union Pacific GP-30, 2 86’ freight cars. 3 40’ freight cars.  *(see note)
  • 073S - Bay Area Special; three gallery commuter cars.
  • 076 - Old Time Work Train; 0226U Union Pacific 0-6-0, old time coach, crane car, derrick car, work caboose.

* - The 072U was listed as additionally being available in Penn Central, Erie-Lackawanna, Soo Line and Santa Fe liveries.

The sets with transformer added a “T” to the set number.

The source for this information comes from an English language Arnold rapido catalog which included a separate printed price list.  The inside front cover of the catalog had this description:

United States Agency - Charles C. Merzbach Co., Inc., along with the street address of 200 Fifth Avenue, New York.

The price list shows:

Charles C. Merzbach Co., Inc. as being at 1107 Broadway, New York.

The 1972 catalog illustration and the 1972 price list raises more than a few questions. The catalog itself was printed at one point for English speaking markets, while the cover must have had different printings, with a special one for Merzbach.

The sets, themselves have a few inconsistencies. For example, the photograph for 074C properly shows a Chicago & Northwestern style commuter train (which was push-pull), but the motive power is clearly an E-8, which Arnold never catalogued. Atlas/Rivarossi did manufacture an E-8.  The 073S properly shows three Southern Pacific commuter cars, which were drawn conventionally by a diesel locomotive.

Another example of the descriptive anomalies is with the 079 twin diesel passenger trains.  The cars themselves were produced by Arnold in all three liveries (AT&SF, B&O and NP).  So, too, the diesels were produced in these liveries.  Yet, the price list insert does not show the Baltimore & Ohio nor the Northern Pacific locomotives as being available separately.  This may have been at the end of production of these locomotives; there may have been enough for the sets, but not enough for individual sale.

Also not clear at this writing is which GG-1 was included with 090 Keystone Express; Arnold manufactured the GG-1 in Brunswick green (0275G), Pennsy Tuscan red (0275M) and in Penn Central black (0275P).

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