Lowell Smith Signature Series https://lowellsmith.net from concept to reality Mon, 12 Nov 2018 18:02:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RailSmith Samples Arrive! https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-samples-arrive/ https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-samples-arrive/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 17:48:56 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6617 What an amazing delight to get an email in the morning from the factory that RailSmith samples will arrive on that same day! I am delighted, and I know you will be as well, with these beauties! Delivery appears to be on time and planned for a December arrival. I will post here on the…

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What an amazing delight to get an email in the morning from the factory that RailSmith samples will arrive on that same day! I am delighted, and I know you will be as well, with these beauties! Delivery appears to be on time and planned for a December arrival. I will post here on the website, as well as my Facebook page, when they have shipped. I hope that by Trainfest, the second batch of samples will arrive. This will include the ACL, GN, NS (OCS) and Texas Special cars.

>> CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOURS NOW <<

Speaking of the Texas Special, your enthusiasm, response and support for these trains has been overwhelming! I will confidently say that the third RailSmith release will include coaches of the Texas Special and I expect to announce the rest of release number three sometime in January. You Texas Special fans will be thrilled when you hear what is after that!

This is a good example of how I expect to respond to such positive feedback and support for any particular name train or railroad. Photos of the new cars are posting now over the next week. This will be coming soon for your railroad so don’t be left out of this first production run!

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Which San Francisco Train? https://lowellsmith.net/which-san-francisco-train/ https://lowellsmith.net/which-san-francisco-train/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 04:10:42 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6614 While at the National Train Show, I saw my friend Fred Hill.  He produces amazing HO models under the brand of ’The Coach Yard’.  If you know him, you know he is very knowledgeable about most all things Southern Pacific (ESPEE).  As I described the ‘City’ train, I was building and announcing to release, he pointed out several…

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While at the National Train Show, I saw my friend Fred Hill.  He produces amazing HO models under the brand of ’The Coach Yard’.  If you know him, you know he is very knowledgeable about most all things Southern Pacific (ESPEE).  As I described the ‘City’ train, I was building and announcing to release, he pointed out several errors in some of the books that I was relying on.

It seems that the UP was quite strict about keeping their city trains in their yellow and gray scheme and although it happened, that it was an exception for other paint schemes, specifically the silver and red ESPEE cars to be seen in the train I announced to build as The City of San Francisco.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE & RESERVE THESE CARS <<

Specifically, my plan to run the silver and red ESPEE cars, along with NYC Two-Tone Gray, Daylight red and orange, Wabash blue and maybe Pennsy’s tuscan, Pennsy yellow & gray, all along with the UP yellow and gray was not the COSF as I had understood, but rather the San Francisco Overland.

Fred produced actual ESPEE consist reports from several different years showing the cars that were assigned to that train and sure enough, he was right.  He also has the resources of the SPHTS and is generally known to be an authority on such things.  His encouragement has led me to confess that my train plans are actually for the eclectic train, the San Francisco Overland.  But for you COSF fans, do not despair, there are many ESPEE yellow cars that we plan to produce and so, I suppose, we will have both of these famous overland trains of the Southern Pacific Lines!

Here is a short clip with some of the very first RailSmith cars rolling in a quickly put together San Francisco Overland while I was at the RPM Chicagoland event. The Consist line up here shows four of the cars to be KATO’s cars. On the RailSmith description of this train, explaining that KATO’s cars will help build these Southern Pacific classics!

Thank you to my friends of the N Scale Modutrak group for letting me run this train on their spectacular layout.

Consist- ‘SF Overland’
BLI – PA & PB
Walthers ESPEE Baggage
Walthers ESPEE Baggage
Kato ESPEE Coach
Kato ESPEE Sleeper
Kato ESPEE (Daylight) Lounge
Kato UP Diner
RailSmith Sleeper UP Promontory Summit
RailSmith Sleeper NYC Salmon River
RailSmith ESPEE Sleeper 9030
RailSmith ESPEE Sleeper 9031
Lowell Smith Sig. Series ESPEE Obs. ‘Sacramento’

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE & RESERVE THESE CARS <<

 

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2018 National Train Show Experience https://lowellsmith.net/2018-national-train-show-experience/ https://lowellsmith.net/2018-national-train-show-experience/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 01:25:19 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6609 This year’s big show was held in Kansas City.  With Kansas City being the geographical ‘center’ of the U.S., I thought this would be a great show and would draw from all parts of the country, and I was right because folks from every corner of the nation attended.  This annual event is the biggest ’traveling’ train show, as it…

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This year’s big show was held in Kansas City.  With Kansas City being the geographical ‘center’ of the U.S., I thought this would be a great show and would draw from all parts of the country, and I was right because folks from every corner of the nation attended.  This annual event is the biggest ’traveling’ train show, as it is held in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association’s annual convention.  Next year it will be held in Salt Lake City with a nod to the sesquicentennial of the Golden Spike.

There was a lot of interest in our display of previously produced Walthers passenger cars, as I told of our future plans for RailSmith Models. I was overwhelmed with ‘ideas and input’ as many dropped their suggestions in my survey box.  If you have not taken time to put in your two-cents worth, I am very interested in what passenger cars or decorations, that you would like to see produced.  There is genuine excitement about the future of RailSmith!

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Breaking News: China Factory Closes https://lowellsmith.net/breaking-news-china-factory-closes/ https://lowellsmith.net/breaking-news-china-factory-closes/#respond Wed, 01 Aug 2018 15:10:54 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6418 By now, many of you have heard about a major model train manufacturer suddenly shutting down in China. This news is only days old, so the situation remains pretty fluid.  Many companies here in the US used this factory.  The RailSmith product will not be effected.  Our trains made here in the US at Micro-Trians…

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By now, many of you have heard about a major model train manufacturer suddenly shutting down in China. This news is only days old, so the situation remains pretty fluid.  Many companies here in the US used this factory. 

The RailSmith product will not be effected.  Our trains made here in the US at Micro-Trians will not be effected.
 
The product we have reservations with at InterMountain Railway Company, are the only releases for us that are effected.  We are determining the best course-of-action with those items. It will take a little time, and if you have OCS Dome or F units, or NP F units reserved, I will be reaching out to you directly by email or snail mail. Thank you for your understanding since this was completely unexpected.
 
There are representatives going to China to resource new factories and move production. It will take time. There is good news, in that some product is actually made in Colorado at IMRC, so all is not lost for them.
This will be more then a ‘bump in the road’ for the N Scale supply chain, but we may be better down-the-road after the dust settles. Many lives (and companies) are effected by this and the hardship is real. But we are family. And families encourage one another in the tough times.
 
As information comes available we will update the website. Thank you for your continued support of us and all of the N Scale manufactures that are affected.
 
Best Regards,
Lowell 

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RailSmith Plans: Chapter 2 https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-plans-chapter-two/ https://lowellsmith.net/railsmith-plans-chapter-two/#comments Wed, 25 Jul 2018 23:32:06 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=6339 RailSmith Models – ‘More of the Story’ Since the National N Scale Convention in Salt Lake City, we have had many people complete the short (updated) survey on the web site, and we have had lots of encouragement and suggestions. With your opinions shared, we realize that we need to tell more about the plans for…

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RailSmith Models – ‘More of the Story’

Since the National N Scale Convention in Salt Lake City, we have had many people complete the short (updated) survey on the web site, and we have had lots of encouragement and suggestions. With your opinions shared, we realize that we need to tell more about the plans for this exciting new line of passenger trains.

Even though you have very specific ‘likes’ for trains you want, so does everybody else and that should be the obvious reason we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket to focus on one train at a time. To be able to produce new cars never-before-done body styles, we first need to recoup our initial investment costs. Several manufacturers today, use the strategy of  ‘direct sales’. Doing that allows us to reinvest faster, in order to create these new body styles, and new body styles are what we need to ‘build-a-train’.

Run Quantity

It is very important for our customers to understand that these RailSmith cars are of limited production, or ‘limited quantity’. This is not done to create scarcity, but rather to sell through the runs quickly so we can reinvest in more. That ‘more’ is what gets us to producing new cars that we all really want and look forward to. You can see about the new body styles in prior blog or website posts/descriptions.

Run quantities for RailSmith Models are planned to be similar to what I am doing with Lowell Smith Signature Series. That should be your true call to action.

Pricing

Folks in todays market may expect to receive a discount, or to get a better ‘value’.  That said, we have decided to show a MSRP price and ‘your price’. This is the same way that companies like ’Scale Trains’ has successfully done.  New decorations (never before done) cost more as there are first time costs incurred just as there will be more costs with newly-tooled models, so pricing will fluctuate accordingly.

Second Shipment

As soon as samples arrive we will show then off. The second release is already underway. Planned for January delivery will be some great cars for The Texas Special, The Florida Special and more.

Fans of Norfolk Southern’s Office Car Special will be delighted to see coaches on that web link as well.

We plan to post another survey so please watch for that on the RailSmith page. We appreciate you taking time to share your ideas.

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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.

 

 

RELATED: Visit my RailSmith page here!

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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/#comments 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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