Lowell Smith Signature Series https://lowellsmith.net from concept to reality Wed, 23 May 2018 19:03:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RailSmith Plans Revealed https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-plans-revealed/ https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-plans-revealed/#comments Tue, 15 May 2018 13:00:08 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6092 My plan and hope is to create some very famous ‘name trains’ that have, in some cases, never been done in N scale. Production is expected to be releases of 8 paint schemes at a time, with two road names (or numbers) per scheme. Releases like this will continue about five months apart. Naturally, future…

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My plan and hope is to create some very famous ‘name trains’ that have, in some cases, never been done in N scale.

Production is expected to be releases of 8 paint schemes at a time, with two road names (or numbers) per scheme. Releases like this will continue about five months apart. Naturally, future scheme runs will be based on the success of previous runs.

Great attention will be given to the paint, lettering, colors, and scale, to match historical societies and actual production records.

Prototype versus Classic

The RailSmith 10/6 Sleeper is based on the common Pullman Plan 4140. In some cases, a prototype may have had the roomettes on the vestibule end (a different floor plan of a 10/6 sleeper). In the case of a variation such as that, I will label these small variations as “CLASSIC” on the insert packaging.

A ‘Classic’ car is very, very close to the actual car but not 100%. Otherwise, a model that is 100% prototype will show “PROTO” on the insert label. In a coach example, the RailSmith coach is a Pullman 64-seat coach. I plan to produce, under the “CLASSIC” label, a 52-seat coach. As long as it was still built by Pullman and has the rectangular-shaped windows, it is my belief that a correctly decorated railcar with window arrangement close to prototype will be well accepted and appreciated by the modeling community. Especially since no other car like it may ever be done in that scheme. Most all other passenger car producers do this but don’t indicate when a car is ‘close’.

A Couple Questions Answered

Q: Will you produce ‘ complete’ trains?
A: My completing the American Freedom Train is an example of my commitment to do that. However, in this case, I can say that I will produce accurate cars for a particular train as long as the inventory moves. There are many body styles that have never been done, and I will hope to add them to the RailSmith line-up.

Q: What new body styles are you considering first?
A: *Plan 7510 -56 seat coach, *Plan 4119 -Duplex Sleeper, *Plan 7540 -Fluted diner, and *Plan 7536 -Fluted RPO. When this formally begins, I will make that announcement.

In just a few weeks I will share what ’TRAINS’ I will be working on first. In the mean time, here are some logos to give hints of the first year.

 

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Who Knew? – A Pennsylvania ‘Fleet’ Executive Line Update https://lowellsmith.net/who-knew-pennsylvania-fleet-update/ https://lowellsmith.net/who-knew-pennsylvania-fleet-update/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 17:29:56 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6089 Who Knew? Just a few weeks ago I announced the next in my Executive Line Series trains, the Pennsylvania Railroad.  I figured that since the Penn Central took the existing car #120 named ‘Pennsylvania’ and put their logo and name on it, it would be an easy thing to offer that option and thus more variety…

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Who Knew?

Just a few weeks ago I announced the next in my Executive Line Series trains, the Pennsylvania Railroad.  I figured that since the Penn Central took the existing car #120 named ‘Pennsylvania’ and put their logo and name on it, it would be an easy thing to offer that option and thus more variety to the Executive Line Series.

What was I thinking!?  Who knew that only TWO people model the Penn Central?!

There must still be lots of animosity, and I get it. ‘They’ took two classic railroads, the Pennsylvania and the New York Central, and merged them and then bankrupted them in just a few short years.  And, it was a bankruptcy that shook the nation to its core at the time.

Okay, I hear you.  The Burlington Northern merger, although taking away our great northwest railroads, was not the same, as it did not end up in bankruptcy.  The ache of the ill-fated Penn Central merger must continue to ripple in our hearts and minds.

With pre-orders telling this tale, I decided to add the third car to the Pennsylvania ‘Fleet’ set.  You will see now that the Pennsylvania car #120 is also offered in that much-loved railroad name, ‘Pennsylvania’.

I sure hope it isn’t confusing to have a car name that is the same as the railroad name.  But, I did not ‘make this up’, folks.  All you Pennsy fans know the car actually existed.  Seems odd to the rest of us, but hey, what do we know?

And, again, who knew only two people modeled Penn Central?

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Zephyr Stop in Glenwood Springs: Journey from the Past https://lowellsmith.net/zephyr-stop-in-glenwood-springs/ https://lowellsmith.net/zephyr-stop-in-glenwood-springs/#respond Tue, 10 Apr 2018 22:03:27 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6082 Zephyr Stop in Glenwood Springs – Mike Danneman’s Journey from the Past… Our train charter this past February was a great journey back in time. Riding the classic railcars of the California Zephyr really is traveling in style. My friend Mike Danneman, who is an amazing rail photographer, artist and model railroader, came along for part…

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Zephyr Stop in Glenwood Springs – Mike Danneman’s Journey from the Past…

Our train charter this past February was a great journey back in time. Riding the classic railcars of the California Zephyr really is traveling in style. My friend Mike Danneman, who is an amazing rail photographer, artist and model railroader, came along for part of the westbound ride. Upon our return, he sent me these images that he took from different eras.

Here is the story from my friend Mike:

Before the inaugural run in 1949, Rio Grande took its California Zephyr train set west to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to show off the shiny new passenger train to Western Slope residents. In a black-and-white Rio Grande publicity photo, the Silver Sky is ready for visitors on March 14, 1949.

In one of my photos taken nearly 70 years later, the Silver Solarium strikes a similar pose at the station stop at Glenwood Springs on our journey west. Fun trip!

I enjoyed visiting with many of you on my trip to Grand Junction!

– Mike

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Will you see all the trains you want in your lifetime? https://lowellsmith.net/trains-you-want-in-your-lifetime/ https://lowellsmith.net/trains-you-want-in-your-lifetime/#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 17:13:01 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5907 Will you see all the trains you want in your lifetime? Creating an exact model of a passenger train comes one-car-at-a-time. Only Kato has given us complete train sets. But, hold that thought… As a consumer we want it all and are pretty fickle about criticism of those manufacturers when they decorate a car that…

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Will you see all the trains you want in your lifetime?

Creating an exact model of a passenger train comes one-car-at-a-time. Only Kato has given us complete train sets. But, hold that thought… As a consumer we want it all and are pretty fickle about criticism of those manufacturers when they decorate a car that is not, although nicely decorated, accurate to that particular body style. What do you care about? If we learn about what passenger cars made up that ’name train’, that knowledge can work against us as criticism when it is wrong and some will ask, ‘why can’t they get it right?’.

Now I’m on the other side-of-the-tracks and personally deciding what my vision is of how to move forward with the acquisition of the Walther’s N Scale passenger cars. Cases in point that you will understand: Kato produced very nice models, and nicely decorated, and we like their models for those reasons. Did we care that the models were of Union Pacific cars that are now painted GN, Via, SP, etc…? We bought them because they were nicely done and because there were few, if any, other choices.

Walthers passenger cars, nicely done, never carried a road number or a road name, and the cars were sold with a decal set for the consumer to decide and ‘finish’. I want to produce a finished car. That decision means that choices need to be made about producing a ‘prototypically’ accurate car. And when it is not, what would you suggest? And, how many of you really know the difference and do care? I know the answer to that question and will show you. We buy a boxcar because we ‘like it’ and like the decoration or road name. Knowledge can be good and bad. We have heard folks say their railroad never had that car, so they won’t buy it. And while I can appreciate the desire for accuracy, it comes down to time. I want it in my lifetime! The process of manufacturing, and the cost of tooling, is limiting the end solution of perfection of a train!

I think that less than 20 percent of model railroaders know that a car is right or not. When a producer boasts they are making a boxcar with XYZ accurate brake wheel, roof detail, etc., I did not realize the ones produced in that paint scheme in the past, were not prototypically accurate. Did I care? Did you care? The fact is that less than 20 percent do. You may know YOUR railroad, but in this day-and-age of model railroading, can we expect that all will come our way and we will get 100 percent prototype trains? In recent years Kato is doing a pretty good job of this. But time works against us all and we still are not there. It is a numbers issue. The cost of tooling-up new models is very high.

I am committed to produce high-quality and accurately-decorated passenger train models for the RailSmith line.

I believe that most will support my plan to continue, as I do with Lowell Smith Signature Series, to produce smaller quantities in my production of RailSmith Models. So whether or not somebody likes it, if it is decorated correctly, I’d like to believe ‘ideally’ the quantity produced will not be sitting on a shelf six months later, thus allowing more trains to be produced.

What is your opinion? Please share in the comments below…

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City of Prineville Railway: A new chapter https://lowellsmith.net/city-of-prineville-railway/ https://lowellsmith.net/city-of-prineville-railway/#comments Sat, 10 Mar 2018 18:21:41 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5847 On January 14th Barb and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. On that day, we moved the last truck of household goods from our home of 27 years in Portland, to the Central Oregon town of Prineville. You may have heard of the ‘City of Prineville Railway’.   You may have been wondering ‘what happened to…

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On January 14th Barb and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. On that day, we moved the last truck of household goods from our home of 27 years in Portland, to the Central Oregon town of Prineville. You may have heard of the ‘City of Prineville Railway’.

 

You may have been wondering ‘what happened to Lowell’ as you have not heard from me for a while. This is the first time we have ever moved any distance like this and if you have ever done it, you know the epic undertaking it is. Especially after you have been on the same house for many years.
 
Why Prineville you ask? Barb and I have always loved Central Oregon and vacation here every year. This house, on a few acres, became available. Barb and I looked at each other and said, ‘we are not getting any younger if we are ever going to do this’.  And Boom!  Well actually I wish it was as fast a ‘boom’.  I will tell you for sure, I never want to move again, and never plan to.

Population here is around 4000. Sitting in the Crooked River Valley (where there is great fly fishing) and at the base of the Ochoco Mountains, Prineville is a quiet little town. The fact that the City of Prineville Railway still operates trains connecting the the BNSF on the Oregon Trunk Rwy, (catch the connection of my model railroad), is just a huge plus.  To have the quietness of the area (we are not in town) broken by the wonderful sound of a train horn echoing off the canyon walls is like heaven. And on special occasions, the steam whistle of the Mt. Emily Shay!!
 
Oh and by the way, there was also a family connection here that made the decision easier.  I thought it was great timing that Atlas released N scale CoP boxcars the same month we were moving. A good sign.
 
Now getting things back in order, the future looks like a green light ahead!

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King of the Cowboys https://lowellsmith.net/king-of-the-cowboys/ https://lowellsmith.net/king-of-the-cowboys/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:23:13 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5749 Years ago when Barb and I met Roy Rogers Jr. “Dusty” as he is known, it was a very special moment.  Being able to include this name in our Great American Circus and Wild West Show is just a treat! It is a shame most kids today do not know of Roy Rogers. Time moves…

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Years ago when Barb and I met Roy Rogers Jr. “Dusty” as he is known, it was a very special moment.  Being able to include this name in our Great American Circus and Wild West Show is just a treat! It is a shame most kids today do not know of Roy Rogers. Time moves on and names like Roy Rogers are part of our history in ‘growing up’. I watched Roy, his horse Trigger, and his gang all-the-time. It was the early days of television. Do you remember?
This trailer is the second release and is the Atlas 40-foot #102. The under frame and detail is Micro-Trains, with the wheels and tractor from Trainworx. Speaking of ‘King’, I think Pat at Trainworx is ‘King of the Trucks’! I am sure you will agree that he has redefined what a quality highway truck is in N Scale! My Great American Circus release #29 “How the West Was Won’ was so successful that I just had to ask Pat for another release. And, what a beauty it is!  GAC truck #7 pulls trailer #102 on Micro-Trains flat car #25 (image shown is #24). The Micro-Trains flat car is the only piece needed before this releases. I have all the other parts!

>> Get your King of the Cowboys car on reserve here! <<

I just love this circus series and by your response, you do as well!

Current release ‘The Pie Car’ is available. Don’t forget to feed your clowns!

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Union Pacific’s Pony Cars https://lowellsmith.net/union-pacifics-pony-cars/ https://lowellsmith.net/union-pacifics-pony-cars/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:37:48 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5742 We have just returned from our private-car charter with this time being from LA to Denver in the winter. We called it the ‘Polar Smith Express’ and there was no disappointment, because it was blue skies or snowing and was such a delight. You can see some of the photos trickling in by checking out…

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We have just returned from our private-car charter with this time being from LA to Denver in the winter. We called it the ‘Polar Smith Express’ and there was no disappointment, because it was blue skies or snowing and was such a delight. You can see some of the photos trickling in by checking out the Tours link here.

These trips are so special and one thing that makes them so is the staff provided by California Zephyr Railcharters. The chief steward, William Hall, is just a delight and has been on every trip with us. He is from the ‘old school’ of railroad passenger service and was hired on with the Southern Pacific serving in the private car service and then moved to the Union Pacific with that merger. Over-the-years he continues to be in demand on the UP’s passenger ’Specials’, and we are blessed that he rings the dinner bell on our trips.

On a recent excursion, I was talking with William about his work with the UP executives on their beautiful yellow train.  He began talking about the experiences on what he called ’The Pony Cars’.  I stopped him by asking what the pony cars were and he told me it’s what we call UP’s private business car train.  I asked him why they are called that and he said it is because the ponies follow ’the big horse’. (I just love learning a new railroad slang term, and one I have never heard used before.)

My second release of UP’s ‘Pony Cars’ is on the riveted-side business car body. ‘Office Cars’, as these are also known, are all unique. The current release using this different body version will help bring that eclectic feel to what is commonly called Union Pacific’s most beautiful train. The first two cars sold out quickly and these appear to be just as popular. The colors are carefully matched to the UP Historical Society’s color specifications, retail for $68 each, and are expected in the next two weeks!

Check out the whole Executive Line here!

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Press Release: Lowell Smith Purchases Tooling From Wm. K. Walthers https://lowellsmith.net/press-release-tooling-purchase/ https://lowellsmith.net/press-release-tooling-purchase/#comments Sat, 02 Dec 2017 02:33:25 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5397 Lowell Smith is very pleased to announce the recent ‘purchase of tooling’ of the Walthers line of N Scale passenger cars. The line includes the sleeper, coach and baggage cars in both fluted and smooth-side versions. The line will be released under the new name of RailSmith Models. RailSmith also plans to expand this line…

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Lowell Smith is very pleased to announce the recent ‘purchase of tooling’ of the Walthers line of N Scale passenger cars. The line includes the sleeper, coach and baggage cars in both fluted and smooth-side versions.

The line will be released under the new name of RailSmith Models. RailSmith also plans to expand this line of well-done N Scale passenger cars.

Watch for the first RailSmith Models release the second quarter of 2018!

With these models I can continue my Office Car Special (OCS) series of Norfolk Southern cars, as well as several other current series, but more importantly is the ability to expand the line. What would you like to see? My planned target-price-point on the RailSmith line will be $49. I hope you are excited like I am!

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Going, Going… GONE! https://lowellsmith.net/going-going-gone/ https://lowellsmith.net/going-going-gone/#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 20:15:47 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5394 This past year we saw the remaining stock of American Fruit Packers reefers find happy homes. There were just a few of each of the past 5-6 years left for what seemed to be a long time. Now you will find only a couple of cars available. I pulled the final three to create a…

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This past year we saw the remaining stock of American Fruit Packers reefers find happy homes. There were just a few of each of the past 5-6 years left for what seemed to be a long time. Now you will find only a couple of cars available. I pulled the final three to create a sort of ‘starter’ pack for those that may just now be starting. And yes, there are folks like that! This long running, and very popular series, releases only one time each year, and I try to do that around the fall harvest time. This year’s car ‘Olympic’ label has seen very strong reservations so be sure to get yours if you have waited. They will be here next month.

In the last Newsletter, I told about the reservations for the Spokane Portland and Seattle C-636’s going very quickly. Well, there are no more DCC ‘Gold’ unless you would like the No Number version. And if you missed my urgent comments about this and still want a Gold version with sound and DCC, then you’ll need to email me to be on a waiting list. There are only a few Gold No Number versions available so hurry please. These are now planned for delivery just after the new year, and they will be worth the wait!

The Walt Disney Family Museum Logo

The Walt Disney Family Museum holiday cars are fewer then ten each remaining for any that are showing ‘in stock’. This year’s car is being released December 2nd at the museum in San Francisco. There is always a push for the final cars during that event and this is your ‘heads up’ to jump on board if you have not. A locomotive and caboose are planned down the track sometime.

Northern Pacific ‘Mainstreeter’ coaches – there are only three left! Diners are here now and everybody needs to eat!

Lastly on this topic, the National Park Series 2016 locomotive from Fox Valley was a huge success and there are less then 10 left. And just as important, less than 8 Centennial Tour Gift Boxed train sets remaining! So don’t say I did not warn you.

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Executive Line Illinois Central Cars Are Rolling https://lowellsmith.net/illinois-central-cars-are-rolling/ https://lowellsmith.net/illinois-central-cars-are-rolling/#comments Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:00:35 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=5178 ‘Ridin on the City of New Orleans!’ is one of my favorite train songs, and I can’t help but hear it when I see these cars. (listen and watch the music video below, if you haven’t heard it) I received an email from John who was ‘just hoping’ that I would do the Illinois Central cars…

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‘Ridin on the City of New Orleans!’ is one of my favorite train songs, and I can’t help but hear it when I see these cars. (listen and watch the music video below, if you haven’t heard it)

I received an email from John who was ‘just hoping’ that I would do the Illinois Central cars for my Executive Line. I was planning to do that, and it turns out that John’s grandfather was assigned car IC 6 and that body was really close to the body style I was intending to use. So, there you go John! And thanks for all of the IC technical drawings if their Office Cars.

The Illinois Central is one of those lines that often saw cars interchanged on many other lines. But who needs an excuse to buy a beautiful car like this? Micro-Trains did a great job with getting the colors and lettering just right!

Next to ship is the Chicago and North Western car #400. This car does not have the black stripe under the windows, but does have a roof and end details added. You may know that the last three C&NW business cars I released sold very quickly, so better not delay on this sweetheart. They will be shipping end of October!

See and reserve your Executive Line cars here!

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