Prototypes for the Rapido Trains HO Scale Comet Commuter Cars were introduced by Pullman-Standard during the early 1970s as a replacement for aging commuter cars. Soon nicknamed Comet cars were first built between 1970 and 1973 for the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad's services out of New Jersey. Given their success with the EL and successor New Jersey Transit, the Comet cars quickly spread to other commuter agencies. Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority MBTA received their first cars in 1978, Metro-North and Connecticut DOT (or ConnDOT) in 1983, Philadelphia's Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority SEPTA in 1987 and Montreal's AMT (Agence metropolitaine de transport) in 1989. As early cars were replaced, some have found work on other lines. In 2008, SEPTA and Utah Transit Authority's Front Runner received original EL-NJT Comet cars to bolster their fleets. Additionally, Los Angeles Metrolink leased the Front Runner cars from 2008 to 2010 due to a fleet shortage.
The original Comet cars built for the EL were designed strictly for low platforms, but evolution of the car design by Pullman and later Bombardier (which purchased the designs) evolved the Comet design to support both high- and low-platform boarding, on-board washrooms, accessible seating and, after 1990, a wide center door for high-level platform boarding. The Comet Cab Coach is based on a standard coach with a train control cab in one. The cab cars eliminate the need to turn or run-around consists at the end of their run. Long-distance, intercity variations of the basic design were also constructed for Amtrak as its Horizon Fleet.
The Rapido HO Scale cars feature the same attention to detail of their other passenger cars including free-rolling wheels, detailed underbodies, interior lighting and more. Comet Commuter cars are available in two-coach and cab car sets with printed car numbers and additional unnumbered coaches are available to match.
- Controllable interior and cab car lighting
- Full underbody and interior detail
- Correct inside-bearing trucks with metal wheelsets
- Accurate painting and lettering
- Tinted windows
- Constant interior lighting in DC and DCC
- Metal side grab irons