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Well, I finally went to a local train show.  I think it’s the first one I’ve been to since covid.  I usually don’t bother going because the best you can do is score another ACG green gondola…  yahoo.  But much to my surprise, Scale Trains was there, in Maine!  I don’t hear well enough to have much of a conversation, but I did get there are 3 more freight cars coming – can’t say if they are definite or not but, at least there are thinking about it.  Sales aren’t what they need them to be, they started off well with the hoppers, but it’s been downhill since then.  All he said was it’s a hard business and I don’t think there was much optimism there.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

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Tom, thanks for letting us know. It is apparent Scale Trains still does not have an adequate understanding of the S gauge buyers. I have posted about this earlier. Scale Trains has placed the Showcase Line in their Rivet Counter product group. They so far have only released cars that SHS and MTH already made, just different road numbers. Looking specifically at the EV caboose, only a few railroads used them. If they were willing to make that caboose in liveries not prototypical that S gauge buyers want, such as PRR, NYC, UP and NPR they could easily double their sales. I would have purchased at least one of each of those four railroads. I know many S gauge high rail operators are like me, they neither know nor care if the caboose was actually used by that railroad.

What is really puzzling to me is why Scale Trains does not use the newly created sub category they call Hypotypical to do this. The Hypotypical category was created within Rivet Counter to allow  these types of products in HO and N scale.

@AmFlyer posted:

It is apparent Scale Trains still does not have an adequate understanding of the S gauge buyers.

What is really puzzling to me is why Scale Trains does not use the newly created sub category they call Hypotypical to do this. The Hypotypical category was created within Rivet Counter to allow  these types of products in HO and N scale.

I'm not so sure they don't know the market... now.  Maybe if they did know when they both into S, they wouldn't have entered.  It's the cost of developing a 'new' car.  I think he said the cost of the tooling would be like $75,000 and up.  With the size of the S market (again, I think) he said they would have to sell the cars at $180 each.  In reality, there isn't much of a S market, besides with the production of AM & SHS starting in the '90s, most of us have way more than we can use or want.   People on the S-scale.io list are starting to get sell off their trains, so the market is getting smaller as we get older.

And truth be told, S scale is not where the market is.  Hi-rail is our biggest market.  This push by the NASG to promote S scale turnouts is just not good thinking... wishful dreaming by the minority, maybe, but not realistic.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Tom, I agree with your statements although I was not aware NASG is promoting scale turnouts. I thought there were plenty available already in code 100 and smaller.

I have been fortunate to visit several layouts with a design concept similar to mine. They are high rail using SHS/MTH or American Models track, scale detailed, with AC track power and a Legacy control system. Engines are Lionel Legacy and American Models with TMCC/Railsounds.  Hardly a Gilbert item in sight. What I see suggests this concept is growing faster than traditional scale layouts that use code 100 track.

I have far more trains than I can use but not as many as I want. I still purchase selectively so I can rotate items on and off the layout. I purchase nothing as purely a collectable.

@AmFlyer posted:

I was not aware NASG is promoting scale turnouts. I thought there were plenty available already in code 100 and smaller.



The current Dispatch (May/June 2024) mentions it in "Minutes of the BOT Meeting, 1/16/2024, Section 4 Item C, which is also on page 4.  "Track Project Committee -- The committee is still progressing with the switch project."

Page 4 of the March/April 2024 Dispatch really spells it out: The NASG is seeking proposals for the initial product:  a code 100 #6 turnout.

In the September/October 2023 Dispatch is a lengthy description of the 'S Scale Track Component Project'.  The NASG wants to underwrite a portion of the manufacturer's start-up costs.

I am truly surprised more people either don't know or care about this project.  I also thought there were more people making scale turnouts that the market demands.  But the NASG doesn't think those products are RTR so they don't have mass appeal.  I agree with you, the vast market in S is Hi-rail.  So why are they doing this?

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Why don't people buy their "new" products?  Because they are the same old products with very few new roads.  What happened when Lionel put out the Berkshires?  They sold out first run, then they added Flyer Chief in Northerns, GP-7s and Baldwins.

For outsiders to join S, they need to manufacture engines that haven't been done in S.  The catch is they are afraid that they won't make one that sells enough to recoup costs.  It's a dog chasing it's tail.

I think we got lucky with the Berkshire. There are some other engines requiring all new tooling Lionel could make that would sell in a reasonable quantity if the price was reasonable in the eyes of the S gauge purchaser. I suspect the number of purchasers would be far too small at the price needed to cover the project's cost.

My guess is ScaleTrains had to buy MTH S gauge in order to lay claim to their HO line.  They'll make an exploratory effort with S, evaluate its potential performance, and chart a course from there.   They're a great company with business savvy model RR enthusiast leadership.  They just announced their first x-MTH HO steamer with matching cars - N&W J - and will no doubt see how that goes.  

Me, too.  Although they wanted my CC info again.  So I'm getting a caboose that's out of my time frame to support S manufactures, but apparently it's not enough to really make a difference.

@AmFlyer posted:

Is there even a demand for scale RTR?

I don't think so, but what do I know?  I do know that all other options in S out number scale by about 5 to 1.  These might be older numbers now, but I thought scale was lucky to be 20% of the S market.  So is there a market for RTR scale turnouts? -- you tell me.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

The only “error” we found is the man in the coupola is in the seat facing the rear of the train rather than facing forward. The SHS cabooses have the man in the correct seat as shown in the picture of the silver roof GN caboose. The Scale Trains GN caboose has a black roof.

Some of us have carefully removed the coupola and repositioned the figure to the forward facing seat.





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