Special Request Cars (May 2018)
I'm going to touch on a few things that's been coming up through the last month or so. We are constantly receiving requests for us to produce certain paint schemes on our freight cars. The request usually comes with an attached photo of a car with the paint scheme in question. We look at the photo closely only to find out that the car with the paint scheme is not the type of car we produce. Many modelers understand that our desire is to keep our paint schemes as accurate as possible to the prototype. Unfortunately, there are modelers that think all 40 and 50 foot box cars are the same and you can apply any paint scheme on them that you want. Certainly there have been plenty of model manufacturers that had no regard for prototypical accuracy that helped push this along.
After discovering that the photo sent to us is not a car we make, I have to explain that there are differences in each make of car and we do not arbitrarily put just any paint scheme on our cars. We presently make Pullman Standard 40 and 50 foot PS-1 box cars, 2003 cu ft PS-2 covered hoppers, a certain version of an AAR "Standard" 50 ton two bay open hopper, and an A.C.F. 11,000 gal. insulated tank car. We use factory builders and in service photos for each car we produce and except for factory new cars we will not produce a car without an actual photo of that particular car. When a factory new car is sent out into revenue service then brought into a shop for whatever reason and serviced and reweighed it then becomes an individual car unlike any other car out of that same series. This is because of the many different things that car may go through while being serviced. The minimum would be the service reweigh data, dates, and the particular shop would be stenciled on the car. This is why we need a good photo of the particular car after it's factory data has been altered or new info added while being shopped.
So if you're wondering why we have not done a particular paint scheme it's either because the paint scheme was never used on the type of cars we make, or we do not have a good photo of the scheme being applied to one of our car types. Or we have good info but we just haven't got around to doing that scheme yet, or it's a very complicated scheme that we simply can not reproduce with the current methods of painting and printing that we use. Also, it could be on a car that has certain details or modifications that does not match the cars we produce and the car could be painted some weird odd color that requires a custom color made just for one or very few cars. On a different subject, we receive inquiries from retail customers asking if we offer quantity discounts and the answer is "no" for a number of reasons. We do not like to undercut our retail dealers because they are the backbone of our business. Also, there is no actual cost difference per item in producing 1 or 10,000, each item goes through the same production process. As a retail customer, if your looking for bargains or quantity discounts check with your local dealer as their profit margins are entirely up to them.
As kind of a reminder or helpful hint we have optional coupler combinations to duplicate our 30 series couplers. Many modelers find it challenging to assemble our 30 series couplers, which is certainly understandable. Since we introduced our whisker couplers we've been adapting them to replace many of our older designs or difficult to assemble couplers. By using our #252 draft gear box and a whisker coupler we can duplicate any 30 series couplers. Note the last digit in each series depicts the same configuration, such as #28, #38, and #148 are all medium length center set couplers. By using the #252 box and a #148 coupler you'll have the same coupler as the #38 and it will be so much easier to assemble.
We also use a #148 whisker coupler in place of the old #4 coupler in our trucks with coupler attached like the #502 and #503 trucks which makes the coupler assembly much easier.