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I wish I had better news to report on these. All hope is not lost, but as of the past catalog showings we are not near enough preorders to confidently pull the trigger on these.  We haven't cancelled the project however. We will be running these, along with the matching passenger cars, again in 2021 C1. If we can get enough orders, then I'd love to see these get made.  Dave put a lot of time into redesigning these to make them better (similar to the way the Baldwin Switcher and GP7 have been improved over the originals.) And Ed even jumped in to lend a hand and a loco so we could make this all possible. I have high hopes for these Jets. But there is some significant tooling money needed to make this happen, and unlike GP7s, road name options for frequent reruns of these aren't really that common. So we need to know that there will be sufficient demand to cover all costs.

If we can't get the orders, I'm afraid this will probably be another in the list of Flyer projects that could have been. At least for the time being. I wanted to post an update for those who have preordered and those who may be on the fence; I think you all deserve to know the status. Please don't turn this thread into a rehash of the BTO/Preorder/see it first/etc battles we've had before. Next year marks 75 years of American Flyer S Gauge - and I think there are some good things in store for the year to come.  I'd love for these to be one of them! Thank you all for your years of continuous support and enthusiasm.

Ryan,

being curious, what are the areas that need significant costs for retooling. Are you looking to use the same body shell as used by ACG and Lionel or will it be revamped with greater detail? Or are the costs in the drive train and electronics?

Are you also able to indicate how short the pre orders are as a percentage which might tip others to commit and see this get into production?

@Ukaflyer posted:

Ryan,

being curious, what are the areas that need significant costs for retooling. Are you looking to use the same body shell as used by ACG and Lionel or will it be revamped with greater detail? Or are the costs in the drive train and electronics?

Are you also able to indicate how short the pre orders are as a percentage which might tip others to commit and see this get into production?

Indeed, if the EP5's were going to be upgraded (other than FlyerChief electronics) it would have perhaps been wise to note the improvements in the catalog.  Unless it was decided to upgrade after pre-orders trickled in...

Or maybe just the costs of FlyerChief conversion have risen.

The EP5 was always one of the best proportioned Flyer locomotives even though there's not a lot to work with.  After all, it's a slab-sided locomotive with two cabs.

The only physical upgrades I can determine in keeping with a FlyerChief locomotive would be adding the side vents per the prototype, a Hancock air whistle and swinging pilots.

Granted, there's little you can do roadname-wise.  The EP5 only existed in New Haven and Penn Central paint, (you  also can toss in the yellow/black/white McGinnis job that never left the factory and the originally proposed pre-McGinnis Hunter green and gold,) but based on previous releases in both S and O it generally wears fantasy paint jobs well.

Rusty

Possibly, part of the problem is that there are a lot of previously issued EP-5s by Gilbert and Lionel (two reissues) available on the secondary market at very reasonable prices. From a personal perspective, I own cherry examples of the 3 and 5 digit Gilberts and a sample of the last Lionel AF reissue with two motors and the updated 6-wheel power truck, which is a nice engine. Gilbert originals have come down in price. There are those of us ( I am one) who are not keen on FlyerChief but rather prefer Legacy control and sound quality in a new engine. And, so forth.

Time and capital would be better spent on issuing an all-new SD-40 with Legacy. Orders would pour in for those in several road names. How about that locomotive for the 75th anniversary?

For those who have preordered the FlyerChief EP-5s, I hope that they are built and delivered.

Respectfully,

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck

Just noting that on the Charles Ro Website, if you search for American Flyer Locomotives, you have the choice of either Steam or Diesel, there is NO listing for Electric Locomotives.

The locos ARE on the website to be ordered BUT you have to search for them by using other criteria.  This might be contributing to the lack of orders (or not), but it can't be helping.

LittleTommy

I am not sure the missing Legacy SD40-2 is a mystery. Two motors, a speaker, all the Legacy boards and a smoke unit likely will not fit in the space inside the SD40-2 shell. When the FlyerChief GP7 came out without a smoke unit Lionel said it was because none of the available Lionel units would fit, and that is with one motor and the smaller FlyerChief boards. My opinion is the economics do not support a redesign to shrink the Legacy boards that would only be needed for smaller S gauge products. If Lionel keeps making S gauge models of larger prototypes the existing Legacy parts and deigns work as is. I keep hoping I am wrong and will be pleasantly surprised.

@AmFlyer posted:

I am not sure the missing Legacy SD40-2 is a mystery. Two motors, a speaker, all the Legacy boards and a smoke unit likely will not fit in the space inside the SD40-2 shell.

I dunnno, but it fits in the U33C with the fuel tank drive.  A Flyer SD40-2 would likely also need a fuel tank drive.

Granted I don't have access to my information right now, so I can't compare a U33C to an SD40-2.  I realize the SD40-2's hood might be shorter than the U33C.  So something else internally would probably have to go.

However, if it meant giving up something like a smoke unit to get an SS40-2 produced, I would say go for it.

Rusty

Rusty, I have a U33 sitting behind me on the credenza, also a GP7, an AM GP9 and an AM Trainmaster. The U33 is way bigger than the scale GP9 and the FlyerChief GP7. It is identical in size to the Trainmaster. I looked up the prototype dimensions, the SD40-2 enclosed length is only about a foot shorter than the U33. I must have gotten the dimensions messed up the last time I looked at it. The shape as you know is different but looking at the actual models it might be possible to make it work using a small speaker with a custom enclosure. A Lionel Legacy Trainmaster would be really easy but no one seems to be asking for them.

@Brendan posted:

We have been singing that tune for a while now.  One of life's little mysteries.

Brendan

Which is why I applied the prod. Hint, hint. A pretty nice SD40-2 could be done and would sell.

Some of us have been looking at Gilbert or Gilbert derived EP-5s for 65 years and own several. How about something new in addition to another reissue?

Respectfully,

Bob

@AmFlyer posted:

Likely true. I imagine the AM Trainmasters work great with DCC. I have two with TMCC but I would still buy them with Legacy. Like a few others I have no interest in FlyerChief engines. If the EP-5 was made with Legacy, powered pantographs and sparking effects I would buy at least one.

A Legacy EP5 would be the great, but I don't think the EP5 has the same enthusiastic following that allowed for the F/C Berk to enjoy a Legacy upgrade.

Rusty

@Conrail6358 posted:

I wish I had better news to report on these. All hope is not lost, but as of the past catalog showings we are not near enough preorders to confidently pull the trigger on these.  We haven't cancelled the project however. We will be running these, along with the matching passenger cars, again in 2021 C1. If we can get enough orders, then I'd love to see these get made.  Dave put a lot of time into redesigning these to make them better (similar to the way the Baldwin Switcher and GP7 have been improved over the originals.) And Ed even jumped in to lend a hand and a loco so we could make this all possible. I have high hopes for these Jets. But there is some significant tooling money needed to make this happen, and unlike GP7s, road name options for frequent reruns of these aren't really that common. So we need to know that there will be sufficient demand to cover all costs.

If we can't get the orders, I'm afraid this will probably be another in the list of Flyer projects that could have been. At least for the time being. I wanted to post an update for those who have preordered and those who may be on the fence; I think you all deserve to know the status. Please don't turn this thread into a rehash of the BTO/Preorder/see it first/etc battles we've had before. Next year marks 75 years of American Flyer S Gauge - and I think there are some good things in store for the year to come.  I'd love for these to be one of them! Thank you all for your years of continuous support and enthusiasm.

Thanks for the update Dave. I can't help wondering how many more orders would have been placed if these would have been totally retooled to be more scale (I.E. remove the awful gapped pilot) and had kadee and scale wheel options like the diesels? Just seeing the success of the Legacy Berks makes me wonder. I would have ordered both EP5 and the passenger cars if they were less traditional AF and more scale models. Even if the passenger cars were upgraded to detailed interiors with Kadee option would have been good enough for me. As they sit I have no interest unfortunately.

I just wonder as the market shrinks if the more scale detailed Legacy models aren't going to be more successful?  Personally, that's all that interests me. I love my 2 Berks so much that I'm going back to buy the rest of the road names. Same with the updated cylindrical hoppers.

Keep the scale stuff coming I say!

A Legacy EP5 would be the great, but I don't think the EP5 has the same enthusiastic following that allowed for the F/C Berk to enjoy a Legacy upgrade.

Rusty

I am not an electric or EP5 fan, but if this was a Legacy GN EP5 that was a scale model rather than an updated AF model I would have purchased 2 if they offered 2 road numbers. Hopefully Lionel sees this.

@jonnyspeed posted:

I am not an electric or EP5 fan, but if this was a Legacy GN EP5 that was a scale model rather than an updated AF model I would have purchased 2 if they offered 2 road numbers. Hopefully Lionel sees this.

We are used to some level of improvement over the former when we buy items in most aspects of our lives.  Imagine opening a phone catalogue and seeing rotary phones.  I realize the toy train market isn't quite the same as other consumer goods, but that expectation is hard to ignore.

Brendan

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