I happened to travel Tuesday to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento to do some research on a couple of topics. (I may return to one or two of them in future posts.) But this post is about something that was encountered along the way.
Normally from my home in Berkeley, the simplest and by far the most pleasant way to go to Sacramento is by train, the CalTrans “Capitol Corridor” service. It is about an hour and 20 or 30 minutes by car, an hour and 45 minutes by train, and you are not driving bumper-to-bumper the whole way at 75 mph on Interstate 80 — if, that is, there are no accidents or other traffic tie-ups.
This is today a very convenient train service. There are 15 trains each way daily (11 daily on weekends or holidays), It isn’t quite hourly, but from the station at which I usually board, Emeryville, you can get eastward trains from 5:30 AM to 9:25 PM. The westward schedule is comparable. These are trainsets owned by the California Dept. of Transportation (CalTrans) and operated by Amtrak. Accordingly, crews and most paperwork is Amtrak.
What, you may be wondering, does all this have to do with Rapido Trains, a Canadian manufacturer of HO scale model train equipment? Here is the ticket jacket I was issued on departure, outer surfaces carrying ads as usual, and I was genuinely surprised by the front cover. Here it is, and you can click to enlarge:
Note the small lettering in white at the bottom of the photo: the locomotives pictured are Rapido models! Excellent graphical rendition, and an impressive idea on Rapido’s part.
I had not realized Rapido was advertising on Amtrak ticket folders — perhaps they do so throughout the U.S. — but kudos to them for doing so, bringing our hobby to the attention of the train-riding public as well as keeping their name in front of the miniscule percentage of ticket-buyers who are also model railroaders.
And if they advertise only in California or other selected markets, I still have to say congratulations, and well done. This is reaching a great many people, and who knows how many germs of hobby ideas will be planted by a passenger reading his or her ticket jacket.