York report on S items and products

Talked briefly with Ryan at York. Bunk/cabin car mentioned in 2018 calendar was delayed due to supplier problems. Says new offerings on the way but nothing specific. Asked if the new aquarium car will ever have some fish and he said yes. The new baldwin was running and has separately applied metal handrails running along the hood. Also separate metal rails at what appears to be in the coupler bar position, front and back. I commented that it looked possible to apply a front handrail/fence with the addition of a few holes and got a nod.

 

Rich

I talked with Andy Edleman at York, he was cordial and I think answered my questions honestly. S Gauge is not dead at MTH, as suggested on a related thread. The status has not changed much since Roundhouse Bill did the interview last year. They are still working on F7s and Switchers, some more rolling stock re releases. The catalog will come when they are closer to having items available, so as not to have the multi year gap between catalog and availability. S gauge is a niche market for them, does not sound like new tooling type things are in the immediate future. They are pleased with how the F3s did, with a near sell out of that production. They had S track on the show layout, although it had a short and was not running. The S display in the booth was in a more prominent spot than it has been in the past. So the SHS tooling is safe, product development somewhere in the queue.

The Lionel booth was busy as usual, talked with Dave O. and Ryan K., they are also fun to chat with. An unpainted Baldwin was running on their layout. As expected, Ryan just said wait for the next catalog when I asked what was coming new from Lionel for S.

Lots of Gilbert American Flyer in all the halls, my impression is that people are buying less of this these days, but the seller's prices don't reflect the diminished demand. Still lots of fun to see all the stuff and talk with the people. Newer S gauge is scarce in the member halls, but the dealer halls had a decent but somewhat pricey selection. I think American Models would sell a lot of product if they had a booth here. The S helper booth was always a highlight.

The North Penn club S Gauge layout in the White hall was beautiful, and I heard a lot of comments from on lookers saying, what gauge is this, it's just the right size.

Finally, the weather was brutal on Thursday: 42 with rain and wind. Better on Friday and Saturday!

Bill, hope you can make it next time.

Mike

Hi All,

Had great conversations with Dave and Ryan and they assure me that the future of S Guage at Lionel is firm.  They hinted at new releases for the second catalog and a new tooling engine for next year.  I have no speculation on what that may be.

Ryan made a point of showing me the new Reading Hopper which was very nice.  And as Mike said, an unpainted Baldwin was running.  Dave said with two motors it was a good puller.

Norm (another NPS member and I toured silver and blue halls, as I waited to get a pouch for my badge, left mine home, and saw tons of S gauge.  Ninety percent of it was way overpriced.  Scratched, rusted items had A1 pricing  and marked "rare".  Folks, O gauge like that goes for $5 to $15, there is no way to justify $50 plus dollars for it.  It's the same thing on table after table.

Vendors, just a word of advice, you can buy Flyonel, American Models, S Helper or MTH for less, they are way more detailed, accurate and roll much better.  I've said this before, show after show you see the vendors with the same stuff.  Perhaps if you dropped the price, more people would buy, (probably new entries into S) and you would make money.  Understand, that's why I stopped buying old stuff to fix up, I have to buy new trucks, sometimes repaint, decal and add detailing - it makes the new stuff cheap.

One last thing, I found a model of the 1964 Plymouth Barracuda (my first car).  That alone made my day.

 

 

VERY happy to learn about the new S gauge Flyer aquarium car from Ryan.  He said orders for the two cataloged versions were strong & to look for more S aquarium cars to come.  He showed me the interior workings of this car on his cell phone.  They sure manage to pack a lot in there!  He confirmed that the cars shown in the catalog were done on Lionel aquarium car chassis, and that the Flyer versions will be based on the Flyer "mint car" shell... and thus, no "Circle L" as some people were confused over.  And I was VERY happy when he said the car will have LED lighting.  Now, if Lionel would only do that for their poorly-lit O gauge aquarium cars!  

I see nothing much has changed with vintage AF S. I look for junkers to fix up as I am going into retirement. But it is frustrating when actual junk is priced at Mint prices. 300 Atlantic's with rusted tenders, deplorable condition and asking $99. Seriously? If its junk, sell it as junk.

Tin

RadioRon posted:

VERY happy to learn about the new S gauge Flyer aquarium car from Ryan.  He said that orders for the two cataloged versions were strong & to look for more S aquarium cars to come.  He showed me the interior workings of this car on his cell phone.  They sure manage to pack a lot in there!  And I was VERY happy when he said the car will have LED lighting.  Now, if Lionel would only do that for their poorly-lit O gauge aquarium cars!  

A bonafied aquarium car similar to the O-Gauge model is something I'm oddly looking forward to.

Rusty (the scale guy)

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I had short, friendly chats with Ryan and Dave about upcoming items of personal interest. They are doing a new tool for the boiler casting for the Legacy Berkshire. There are parting line and roughness issues which they are to address shortly. Lionel is definitely upping their detail game on the 'new' Berk. They are still talking delivery by the end of the year (We'll see). 

Dave gave me an opportunity to inspect the pre-production sample of the new Baldwin. Fans of the Gilbert-style Baldwin will be happy in that this will be the most substantial one ever. With good weight for traction and twin motors, this version should be better than what they did with the FlyerChief GP-7s. Dave mentioned that they considered additional and more prototypical handrails, but the costs to do so killed this.

I also discussed with Dave the continuing saga of properly operating AF knuckle couplers. The latest AF electrocouplers work beautifully with the newer knuckle couplers fitted to the cylindrical hoppers but (still) not at all well with those fitted to the traditional Gilbert-style rolling stock. The newer design coupler also functions well with traditional Gilbert uncouplers and couples dependably. I've noticed that the two designs are just enough different from each other to cause the operational difference. Dave promised to address the issue and to look into the adoption of the newer design across the board.

York was great, as usual, although the coldest one in memory.

Bob 

Bob Bubeck posted:

They are doing a new tool for the boiler casting for the Legacy Berkshire. There are parting line and roughness issues which they are to address shortly. Lionel is definitely upping their detail game on the 'new' Berk.

Good, I kinda suspected that. 

I noticed some differences between the existing FlyerChief boiler and the CAD drawings for the Legacy boiler.  And I figured it would be a substantial amount of rework on the FlyerChief tool.

Rusty

They are doing a new tool for the boiler casting for the Legacy Berkshire. There are parting line and roughness issues which they are to address shortly. Lionel is definitely upping their detail game on the 'new' Berk. They are still talking delivery by the end of the year

Bob, did either Ryan or Dave mention if they were pleased with the reaction to the announcement of the Legacy Berkshire in terms of pre-orders? Dave's information posted on the O Gauge Forum convinced me that this new locomotive was going to be well worth the investment, and I noticed that a lot of Flyer Chief Berkshires began to show up on internet auction sites, perhaps in anticipation of the Legacy version.  I wondered if a lot of customers, like me, could resist the Flyer Chief Berkshire but not the highly detailed Legacy model at a very attractive price.

TOKELLY posted:

...and I noticed that a lot of Flyer Chief Berkshires began to show up on internet auction sites, perhaps in anticipation of the Legacy version.  I wondered if a lot of customers, like me, could resist the Flyer Chief Berkshire but not the highly detailed Legacy model at a very attractive price.

I would also certainly bet the Legacy version has siphoned away a lot of 2nd run F/C Berk orders.

It certainly made me glad my first run F/C Berk order got dropped even though from what I've seen, it's a pretty nice chooch.

Rusty

If the new version promised a Kadee replaceable front coupler in addition to the separately applied boiler handrails (which were also promised on the original Flyer Chief Berkshire), I might consider upgrading at least one of my two FC Berkshires, but I like the FlyerChief control system and have no desire to ever buy into the Legacy system, especially after their recent announcement concerning the closing of ERR.

Bill in FtL

I agree with the comments above on the over priced Gilbert Flyer items. I asked the price on an all orange pike master, Hooker tank car. The guy selling it said it was a $50.00 car.  LOL I walk away! I however did pick up at $15.00 each some Flyonel cars slightly used, one was a Hooker three dome tank car. I also saw a lot of Atlantics going for nearly $100 most were well used. I am certain most went home with the member.

TOKELLY posted:

They are doing a new tool for the boiler casting for the Legacy Berkshire. There are parting line and roughness issues which they are to address shortly. Lionel is definitely upping their detail game on the 'new' Berk. They are still talking delivery by the end of the year

Bob, did either Ryan or Dave mention if they were pleased with the reaction to the announcement of the Legacy Berkshire in terms of pre-orders? Dave's information posted on the O Gauge Forum convinced me that this new locomotive was going to be well worth the investment, and I noticed that a lot of Flyer Chief Berkshires began to show up on internet auction sites, perhaps in anticipation of the Legacy version.  I wondered if a lot of customers, like me, could resist the Flyer Chief Berkshire but not the highly detailed Legacy model at a very attractive price.

Lionel will seldom share production or sales figures, but they are enthusiastically going ahead with production. Before we had even gotten beyond handshakes, the first question that Ryan asked of me was had I placed my preorder. Answer: Yup! Draw your own conclusions. 

Bob

Major posted:

I agree with the comments above on the over priced Gilbert Flyer items. I asked the price on an all orange pike master, Hooker tank car. The guy selling it said it was a $50.00 car.  LOL I walk away! I however did pick up at $15.00 each some Flyonel cars slightly used, one was a Hooker three dome tank car. I also saw a lot of Atlantics going for nearly $100 most were well used. I am certain most went home with the member.

And, there were also many tables with reasonably priced vintage Gilbert. York is big. You have to take the time to touch the bases and choose your moment.

Bob

LionelTin posted:

I see nothing much has changed with vintage AF S. I look for junkers to fix up as I am going into retirement. But it is frustrating when actual junk is priced at Mint prices. 300 Atlantic's with rusted tenders, deplorable condition and asking $99. Seriously? If its junk, sell it as junk.

Tin

Tables upon tables of Gilbert Flyer steamers with prices that make sure they will return with the table's owner.  I too look for things to bring back to life or kitbash.  I found 8 "American Flyer" car shells, some with serious flaws for $5 apiece.  They'll eventually be cut up and become 4 or 5 full length cars.  I also picked up a green 650 car in decent shape that will become part of a classic consist, and won't be cut up.  It cost only $20, so the bargains are there.  I bought a 663 observation car for $20 that needs a lot of TLC, but it's all there, and for the price, a bit of work it to be expected.  A 1998 issue of the 982 BAR car went home with me for $10.  No box, but you can't run a box on your track.  It looks good, was clean and no scratches. So the good prices were there, and as Bob Bubeck said, you just had to take your time.  The most expensive thing I bought was a NIB repro tipple car set for $50 simply because originals are way too expensive for my retirement budget, and I've always wanted one.  I too, passed by MANY tables of overpriced items.  Sometimes I had to stifle a laugh just seeing the owners' bored looks on their face.  But all in all, a good meet, albeit probably my last.

 

 

I just wish the dealers would realize that if they had pricing that was realistic, they would actually sell product.  Maybe that means the vendors would have to search for replacements to sell, maybe add American Models, S Helper and Flyonel to the tables but that's the game.

At that point more new entries would be encouraged to get into S and it would be better for everyone; manufacturers, vendors and buyers.  I pray common sense will enter into the game soon.

For those who think the old Flyer isn't over-priced; Say you purchase a Flyer Pacific for $150, then many will upgrade to a DC motor ($40), and either DCC or ERR system (roughly $175 with accessories), which is a total of $365.  If you purchase a new Flyer Chief Berk, it is about $340, take it out of the box and run it on AC, DC or DCC.  Hello!

Norm was looking for an old heavyweight passenger car to kitbash.  There was nothing below $60, that we found and on most of those the condition was abysmal.  Hey Nick Smith has them for $30 in the store.

 

I always enjoyed seeing vendors running their "Museums" at train shows. Some would even buy more product at the show, double their purchase price and then haul it all home again at day's end. Not a great business model.

I and a friend used to occasionally set up tables at train shows to "thin the herd" so to speak. We both knew that the amounts we had paid for the items on the tables could never be charged so we priced all of the items to sell quickly.

My favorite method to make customers open their wallets went like this...Customer picks up a $45.00 (retail) car priced at $30.00 and asks "Would you take $25.00 for this?" I quickly replied "No, but I'll take $24.00". 

Most days my friend and I sold out our entire tables.

Mark

Francine posted:

Mark, Why do I never see you at shows?!  I'd have only asked you to come down to $27.

Hah! Well the reason is I've "thinned the herd" to a manageable size. Of course, in  the future I'll probably look at a car I "couldn't live without" and wonder why I bought it. If I amass enough of those I'll do another train show someday. Maybe if the stars align and you're at that show I'll take your $27.00 then!

Mark

I went to York on Thursday.  York is a box of chocolates, you know the rest, but one thing I have to say is look and look again even if it means going through and circling back (although what you saw earlier might be gone).  That's what also makes York a paradox -- buy what you see at a price you think is reasonable when you see it not later, versus, don't buy the first one you're tempted by b/c a better deal might be just an aisle or hall away.  I've had both approaches delight and disappoint me, especially during my former heavy hunting years.  We all have our "great find" and "one that got away" York stories.  I wasn't there this time to buy more engines, just parts and sources of parts (i.e. "Parts Queens") for repairs, but my general impression was that prices on meat and potatoes postwar motive power continue to fall -- 303, 293, 312, 370/371, Comets, that sort of thing with some in the low $1XX's to less than $100 -- untested, but let's say ~$25 or so less than just a few years ago.  Transformers too.  But you have to look, and look again.  For example, I saw 18B's for $60-80, but also found them for $40 -- again, untested but similar at least in appearance and condition.  Some modern pieces were also attractively priced like FC Berks for $275.  Others, not so much.  Look, and look again.  The parts queen pickings were thin (not as much under the table selection as hoped), but I came home with what I had hoped to find at prices I had in mind or better.  In any case, after 21 years of going to the show, one thing remains true, any day at York is better than a day at work -- what a difference just one letter can make.   Simply glad once again too that I got to take one off to take it all in.  Go if you haven't.  There's simply nothing like it.  

Sgaugian

S happens

I don't see York as being any different than the S Fests, you can find some bargains and some realistically priced items and you always see the guys who have tables full of "new in the box" with a "do not touch sign". I obey those signs, as a matter of fact I won't even take a chance of damaging those boxes by glancing at them in the case. I just walk away and if looking for something in particular with decent pricing find John Heck.

Ray

Joe Hohmann posted:

In my opinion, a 4-piece Atlantic in good condition is worth more than many dealers are asking, and most other Atlantics are worth squat. 

.

Geez, Joe.  Tell us what you REALLY think!  Just kidding .  The 4-piece Atlantics are some of the nicest things Gilbert ever made. 

I tend to agree that York is about the same as a Spree for S, but York has other scales, which are interesting to see.  A friend brought a VERY rare Ives crane car to the Ives Society's meeting and it was a big hit.  Seeing all the very old trains is not only entertaining, but educational.  My friend, who's a 3-rail O guy, was blown away at the things that Gilbert made.

Speaking of the upcoming Spree, sadly I won't be attending.  It's the same weekend as Thomas at Greenfield Village, and I'm scheduled to drive the 1931 Village Model AA bus both days.  Seeing the thousands of happy little faces is worth it.

 

 

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