Tipping the Scales on Train Pricing?

More about pricing!
More about pricing!

Yesterday I was listening to an episode of Lionel Strang’s podcast, “A Modeler’s Life” (iTunes / Stitcher / web siteFacebook) while waiting for a train to roll south on the CP Emerson subdivision. I listen to podcasts a lot, and I have been searching for good model train podcasts. You may know Lionel from his writings in Model Railroader and others, and he’s been doing a podcast with Jim Rindt and Bruce the Mail Boy for a while now.

Anyway, after my rant about prices, I was glad to hear about a new line of lower priced model railroad equipment. Lionel was talking with Shane Wilson, the president of the new company Scale Trains, about how the company was formed and what they plan to do.

Shane comes from Athearn, famous for its inexpensive “blue box” locomotives and freight cars. Scale Trains has big plans – they intend to have four levels of quality in their lines.

  1. Kit Classics
  2. Operator
  3. Rivet Counter
  4. Museum Quality

The intent is for the “Kit Classics” to be inexpensive, and it sounds very much like the old Athearn “shake the box” kits. Their first in that quality level is an Evans 5100 boxcar kit, listed for $13.99 (US), which is quite inexpensive compared to, say, this $50 newsprint boxcar. The quality is not the same, of course, but if you want to get into the hobby without remortgaging your house, this is the way to do it.

I should point out that Accurail has been making relatively low cost kits for a long time and have a great selection.

So, kudos to Scale Trains and Accurail for also providing models at reasonable prices, and let’s hope others follow suit. Not all of us need museum pieces to run on our layouts.

PS – go listen to Lionel’s podcast – it’s good!

PPS – this may sound like a sponsored post, but I am writing about Scale Trains because I believe in their approach. I don’t know anyone involved with them and I’m not getting paid to write about them. 🙂