HO Prime Movers by Rapido Dash 8-40CM

HO ‘Prime Movers’ Dash 8-40CM


 Click here to see the paint schemes and road numbers
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:

Wife-Approved Pricing!™

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.

Photo courtesy Patrick DeLarue

Dash 8-40CM class unit #2400. All 30 of the first batch were delivered with stripes. The final 25 CN units were painted CN North America from new. Photo courtesy Patrick DeLarue

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).

Dash8-40CM All Liveries

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 famed “Draper Taper”. The Rapido Dash 8-40CM accurately replicates the differences between the CN and BCR locomotives in this area.

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.

  Click here to see the paint schemes and road numbers

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.

Union Pacific #8666 & #4814 lead Dash 8-40CM CN 2421 through St Paul, Minnesota in September 2011.

Union Pacific #8666 & #4814 lead Dash 8-40CM CN 2421 through St Paul, Minnesota in September 2011.

Click here for a shot of a Dash 8 leading a UP stack train at Cajon Pass, and click here for a shot of a Dash 8 leading a CSX train in New York, and click here for a shot of Dash 8 trailing on a NS freight in Pennsylvania. (Coincidentally all three photos are of BCR units.) This kind of stuff isn’t so rare – so now you have no excuse! All you modern American freight guys can finally order some Rapido products!

Model Features

As you can see in the photo below, there is an access door on the bottom of the fuel tank. On DC models, there is a dummy plug above the access door. To add a silent DCC decoder, just pop open the door, remove the dummy plug, and add the decoder.


The model is also available with a four-function sound decoder with GE Dash 8 sounds (decoder brand TBA) installed at the factory.

PLUS: You’ve spoken, and we’ve listened. We are retooling our Dash 8 model to feature OPERATING DITCH LIGHTS in DC and DCC. To that end, we have re-opened the order desk until the new tooling is complete. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the final order deadline, or better yet – reserve yours now!

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


The Prime Movers by Rapido Dash 8-40CM MSRP is:

Canada: $174.95 (DC), $264.95 (DC/DCC/Sound)
USA: $159.95 (DC), $249.95 (DC/DCC/Sound)

As usual, these engines will be made to order.

The order deadline has now closed. Please contact your dealer.
Delivery is expected in fall 2017.

  Click here to see the paint schemes and road numbers

Pictured at Vaughan, Ontario, in November 2015.

CN 2421 wears the latest CN.CA scheme. Pictured at Vaughan, Ontario, in November 2015.


Where Can I Purchase Your Products?
Rapido Trains Inc. products can be ordered from any hobby retailer or directly from us. All prices shown are MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price). Dealer may sell for less.

With the exception of some accessory items, all Rapido Trains Inc. products are produced strictly to reservations placed before the appropriate order deadlines. Avoid missing out by reserving in advance with your dealer. To make sure that you do not miss a deadline sign up for our newsletters.

What About Previous Releases?
Our web site lists currently available or upcoming products only. Rapido Trains Inc. has produced many other cars in the past that may still be on dealers shelves. For a complete Excel listing of all products, past and present, right-click here and "Save as..." to a location on your computer.

rapidotrains.com download