The Arnold rapido track was distinctive.  The rails were chemically etched to make them a more realistic brown color.  The cross ties were also a more realistic shade of brown.  In addition, the rail profile was more rounded; some would  say that this was not realistic, but Arnold promoted this design as being less likely to get dirty, and dirty track causes operational problems.  The track is also distinctive in that the rail ends at each end of a track piece are staggered rather than flush; with the  joiners attached; each track end is flush.

In the earlier days of the Arnold rapido product line, the track switches had their operating mechanisms attached; starting in 1967, these switches were redesigned to be removable.  They would later return to a permanent attachment arrangement of the machines.  In most cases, rapido switches were current routing, although Arnold later offered a version that did not have this feature. In the earlier days, Arnold also offered both an electrically operated and a manual uncoupler, later dropping the manual version.

At the first, only one radius of curved track was offered (R1). By 1963, there was a second radius (R2) offered so the enthusiast could operate double track main lines.  Later, in 1966, additional track radii were offered (R3, R4). These were added at the same time that the passenger cars were made longer to achieve more realism

The original sharp curves of the rapido line were to later cause problems.  The addition of curves R3 and R4 would solve this issue.


Radius (mm)

Radius (in)






7 1/2



8 3/4







Inch dimensions are approximate.

In addition to the ordinary pieces of curved and straight track, the Arnold rapido line included track switches, a  crossing, an uncoupler and various circuit tracks to enhance the automatic operation that German model train enthusiasts favored.

The Circuit Breaker Tracks had a gap in each rail, and were used in situations were complete isolation of the track was required, such as in reversing loops or between sectors controlled by a different transformer.


The Gap Section tracks were used to control trains in conjunction with the current routing track switches or with the Universal Switch, or with the Relay and Track Contact Activators.

The 0112 Telescoping Track Section (above) was adjustable. Later versions of this track, numbered 1121 are more realistic in appearance, but those planning on using this section should examine it closely to make sure that your trains will operate on it properly.  The 0112 is comprised of three segments, one central piece and two end pieces which slide in and out to adjust to the necessary length.  The 1121 has only two segments and requires cutting cross ties if you want to shorten the track section. Also note that some locomotives and cars may not operate properly over the 1121 because of the design of the adjustment sections.

The 0126 Uncoupler included a push button for operation and a plastic replica of a German yard signal.

The 0172 15° crossing was later enhanced, making it into the 0173, 0174, 0175 and 0176 double slip switches, which could either be a crossing or a track switch, depending upon the position of the track points. These double slips were available in either “Left Hand” or “Right Hand” versions. The 0173 and 0174 manual double slips were later discontinued and could have been made into remotely operated double slips with the addition of the 0179 switch machine.

In the mid-1970’s, Arnold changed their model number protocols.  Track items that had been “0***” were moved into the “1***” series. For example, the Radius 1 90° curved segment that had been “0131” was now numbered “1310”.  In general the track pieces remained the same as they had been previously.

Electrical items generally moved into the “7***” series, structures, bridges and vehicles moved into the “6***” series.

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