I attended this years Fall S Fest in Orland park, IL yesterday. Unfortunately I'm unable to return today.
So here goes: All in all, a pretty good Fest. As usual, Gilbert Flyer predominated, but there was a respectable amount on post-Gilbert Flyer present. I'd say the mix was 60/40.
The surprise was DesPlaines Hobbies showing up. They haven't attended a Fest for some years now. Ron and Sue had a good selection of S Scale America, Pacific Rail Shops, New/old stock of SHS and some preowned goodies, all at 40% off (Sorry, no new SSA gondolas.)
American Models was also there, unveiling the return of the Pacific, this time with Vanderbilt tender:
The tender will be available with either coal load or oil tank.
The cab also appears to be retooled. It's more USRA and less Mantua copy:
Due February-ish. Roadnames to be determined. Prices: AC Hirail w/whistle, bell, smoke, choo-choo - $599.95; AC Hirail w/smoke, choo-choo - $544.95; DC Scale w/smoke, choo-choo - $499.95. I expect we'll see ads just before or after New Years.
As for myself, I picked up a set of 7 scale AM UP Budd cars (the UP 4-car sets are sold out at AM) and placed an order with AM for the UP E8's. Also in my usual Fest-Quest for a custom or unusual car, I picked up this custom painted SHS PS-2 covered hopper lettered for Spokane International:
Both the hopper and AM UP Budds were bought from Gil Hullin, who came all the way from Oregon via Amtrak and rental car to attend.
Finally the Fest cars. They could be preordered with your registration as with either scale or Hi-Rail wheels and couplers, two numbers each.
CASG offered an Illinois Central Dairy Dispatch plug door boxcar:
The car is a "stand in" for the reefers IC had, much like the Burlington cars State Line offered last year.
Other than an S-Fest sticker on the boxes there are no Fest markings on the cars, and the plug door cars even have end numbers, a nice touch:
Also available was an IC covered gondola:
I only picked up one of the two gondolas. Surprisingly, the scale wheel version sold out.
That's about it.