Intermodel prices?

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Smoke

Southern Railway lives on
Why are intermodel cars so friggin' expensive? They are all like $20 a car. Can't we have something like a regular Athearn RTR boxcar for $13?? Why is intermodal so expensive??? Can it be that hard to manufacture intermodal as oppesed to normal boxcars?

Please give me some insight.

-Smoke
P.S. The rockies just won!!!:D :D :D There up 2-0 and coming home!!!:D :D :D :D
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I think its the thin cross section of the sides of the wells that makes them that way.
 

ThoroughBreed

Dcc~detail~diesel freak
Probably has something to do with the tooling and the current demand for them. Wait till Athearn releases their new set, $100 or more for the 5 car set.:eek:
I personally believe the A-lines are better detailed.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
The more detailed a car is, the more difficult (and therefore expensive) it is to construct the tooling. There can also be a higher loss during production for that type of car because of the fragile details. Plus intermodal equipment is becoming more and more popular...manufacturers and retailers are going to up the price on the items that are selling faster, especially with all the limited production runs today's companies seem to favor...supply and demand.
 

Grande Guy

grande guy
I beg to differ on the Athearn intermodal cars being less detailed than the A-line cars. The new Maxi 1 cars from Athearn are incredibly well detailed with train lines, etched walkways,grab irons ect. ect. I have built a few A-line cars and they are nice but if you want etched walkways grab irons and train lines you add them yourself. Factor in price for etched walkways and other detail parts and I can see why the kits are pricier. Just my humble opinion.;)
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I was just going to mention that. The A-line's a re sweet, but that Maxi-I is gonna be the best on the market when it finally comes out.
 

UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
I wonder what the percentage is that model stack trains compared to those of use who model general freight eras? I suspect the ratio is very small, leading to higher prices for well cars and the like. I'll bet most model companies sell general freight cars at something like a 100 to 1 ratio over intermodal cars. The tooling and development costs for something like a 40 foot boxcar were probably paid off years, even decades, ago. The newer stuff will take a while to amortize all those costs so the retail price is going to be higher for a while and this doesn't count the increased level of detail modelers demand today.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Jim, from what I understand the Modern era modelers are climbing, soon to out number contemporary/transition modelers. All of my LHS's have a LARGE number of modern equipment, and it seems to sell out fast. But then I really do not look at the older stuff so I have no clue as to how fast it sells.

You've got to remember, a large part of our younger generation (myself included) grew up w/o steam, and intermodal being a big thing. That has allot to do with your modeling choices (not that there's no oddballs in the bunch).
 
As far as tooling for a new highly detailed model, it can START at $10,000.00 and often well exceeds $50,000.00 for even a fairly simple, yet highly detailed model.

I myself model the 1955 although was born 34 years later....I just like the industrial design of that period in time. I do also maintain a fleet of Modern HO rolling stock and SD45T-2, SD40T-3* and GP15-1's to pull them around.

*the T-3 is a kitbashing project that yeilded a one-of-a-kind result.
 

UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
Jim, from what I understand the Modern era modelers are climbing, soon to out number contemporary/transition modelers. All of my LHS's have a LARGE number of modern equipment, and it seems to sell out fast. But then I really do not look at the older stuff so I have no clue as to how fast it sells.

You've got to remember, a large part of our younger generation (myself included) grew up w/o steam, and intermodal being a big thing. That has allot to do with your modeling choices (not that there's no oddballs in the bunch).
Josh,
I have no idea what the numbers are between modern and older period modelers but I suspect the absolute number of strictly modern period models is much smaller than either older periods or those who freelance with a couple of well cars and an ice reefer in the same train. :) I can look at train sets, for example, and I've yet to see one that has an intermodal theme. I would think younger dads would be looking for those to buy their kids if the the intermodal period was way more popular than older periods.

At some point, as we old farts die off, modern period modelers will begin to dominate...assuming that they continue to move forward to the "modern" era of 2027. I don't know what trains will look like 20 or 30 years from now but I imagine they will look as different as the transitional period looks to modelers of intermodal equipment of today. Then you will become part of the "old farts" of the hobby while the younger modelers want more of whatever they see running in that future period. This has happened several times since I've been in the hobby. At one time, no one ran anything but steam and you were considered the oddball if you liked diesels. Once the hobby transition started to diesels, F and E units were OK but those new GP units were just plain ugly and who would want one of those? And the wheel keeps turning until time now. I won't be around but I think you'll see the same kind of thing when you reach your 60's. Just my two cents.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I dunno what the ratio is, but the magazines seem to be reporting in the past few years that modern modeler numbers are climbing.

Very true, as it stands I'm staying allways modern, for now...
 

slopes09

Member
Also, the fact that everything is made RTR nowadays doesn't help much. All I have to say is that it is a good thing that I found the blue box versions of the Maxi-III's (or was it Maxi-II's), otherwise my dream of assembling an intermodal train would have been completely shut down. If you're not too concerned with absolute detail on your well cars and you're short on money, try and track down the old blue box kits. They run decently well (except on my club's layout due to a clearance issue) and you can get 10 units for the price of 5 RTR units.
 

CP9302

Member
The thing about intermodal is most people don't have the space needed to model it. Intermodal is also not very interesting to operate. There are no set outs and pick ups along the way, it goes from point A to point B as fast as possible.

As for train sets, I don't think you'll ever see an intermodal train set. It would be one car! The typical train set is engine - boxcar - gon - tank - flat - caboose. And intermodal set would be engine - Maxi III, done. Maybe a fake EOT if you're lucky.

I don't really see intermodal cars as being more expensive. Usually they seem more expensive, but you are getting 3 or 5 wells to a car, the same as buying 3 or 5 boxcars. And if the car comes with containers, your paying for them as well. The same as buying a flat car with a load.
 

Frank Rizzo

RAIL BARON
I have been slowly working on getting a stack train in operation. I have some power (ATSF GP60M + GP60B Athearn RTR) and some containers but I have been waiting for better well cars for the containers. The old Athearns have no weight as described earlier and I never could find a good answer on the other makes. But, Athearn and Atlas both have new stuff in the pipeline that sounds very interesting. The other issue I have is on some of the high prices for containers, why not sell 12 packs of containers at a volume based discount?


... Intermodal is also not very interesting to operate. There are no set outs and pick ups along the way, it goes from point A to point B as fast as possible.

As for train sets, I don't think you'll ever see an intermodal train set. It would be one car! ...
Generally, A to B ASAP, but my train watching around Chicago and the Midwest points to lots of operational variability with containers that could keep things interesting. I have seen "Super Stackers" on the Santa Fe with 4 engines up front and 2 DPU's on the rear running major stack trains, but on the other hand I have also watched CP in Bensenville run a single SOO GP38-2, one well car with two containers, and a SOO caboose. Sounds almost like a train set, but you would probably want to add several more well cars. Seen them run semi trailers in well cars. K-Line stack train on the UP in all (almost) dark red containers. And don't forget the younger railfans can easily play with the containers and trucks: be your own container crane!

Iowa Interstate (IAIS) now runs a little bit of everything on their daily runs each way between Council Bluffs, Iowa (Omaha) and Blue Island (Chicago), including stacks along with hoppers, tank cars, and whatever they have going. I noticed an IAIS "intermodal facility" east of Iowa City that was real basic, I don't remember if it was just dirt and gravel roadway. But it was small, off a single track mainline, with a relatively small amount of containers and a crane. My favorite was the ex-Chicago Central (IC) "intermodal yard" in Rockford. They just had it in a gravel lot across from the old IC Freight House, one truck was there the day I drove by, again real basic. And of course there are the mega container yards around Chicago and elsewhere.

Kids today will see lots pigs and stacks, so I would expect that to be an option in the model train world. I agree that the pricing of $100 for five car unit trains is alot, but I don't plan to buy list, can't afford too.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
The thing about intermodal is most people don't have the space needed to model it. Intermodal is also not very interesting to operate. There are no set outs and pick ups along the way, it goes from point A to point B as fast as possible.
Retract that, little, set outs & pick ups. There was that article about the hay loading in the Yuma AZ area, along side the UP line, where they set out ~4-5 cars.
 




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