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From: Alex Binkley <alex Modern proto newsletter
 This is to update you all on what has been happening. I'm sure Kelvin will
finish his list of modern freight cars.
 Earlier, there was a suggestion for a wish list which prompted Denis
Fortier's suggestion for a modern centerbeam car. Denis, I will talk to you
sometime about scratchbuilding one of those cars. I want to try a modern
flatcar myself.
 Also on the wish list was Chuck Smith's suggestion for an EOT. That
prompted this reply from Don Richards.
 ``Accurate Lighting already makes an EOT device for HO scale but it's
really too big for HO, ... perfect for S scale. It comes mounted on a Kadee
number 5 coupler. I removed mine from the number 5 and put it on a Kadee
802. It now runs on the end of an American Models 50' MP/UP boxcar, ... the
NMRA car without the NMRA placards installed. Additionally, I removed the
flasher IC from the battery holder, built a 1 1/2 volt regulator circuit for
it and added pickup wheels so it now runs off track power instead of
 You can see pictures of both the amber and red EOT devices at:''

 Great information, Don. One more for my project list.
 Next comes some ideas and a proposal for Skip Mersereau who
Wants to see the following locos added to any wish
a-MP15AC switcher
b-GP15-1 (Still in active Conrail use)
c-GP40W (MARC commuter trains)
d-M420 (Canadian - and now shortline use)
e-FP45    (NYS&W)
 What about some Budd cars - active in commuter use here in the MARC train
 I replied that the Budd car has been done in brass and I believe a plastic
version is in the works. Don't know if there were enough FP45s to hope for
them in S. But there's an active lobby for SD45s
 Now to Skip's proposal which we should think about. Having suggested it,
I'm sure Skip wqould be glad to be the pointman on this so if you have any
ideas etc send them to Skip and let the rest of us

 From Skip: ``How about a Proto (64) Active Rail Team? (P.A.R.T.)
> Okay, take me a part. I don't really care about names but how else do
> you get attention? I don't have any of the details worked out so don't
> nail me. Let me simply try out a proposal:
> I believe there is considerable interest beyond just limited numbers of
> folks here in a broader range of modern prototype locomotives and
> rolling stock. Well, it's not an overwhelming group, but it is large
> enough to consider some activities. Having just acquired 3 Dash 8
> frames, shells and trucks, I am rather impressed with Tom Hodgson's
> work. There are some limitations to the process, but in a field with few
> products - you gotta start somewhere.
> Recently I talked with Tom Hodgson of Instrument Designs / American
> Hi-Rail. A first rate guy. I believe there is an opening to do projects
> which might be of interest to this group. However, doing so would
> require a agreement to inventory Tom's total production run. Even at $40
> and a typical 50 shell run, this is not an insurmountable amount of
> money. Less than 2 brass engines. I don't know about tooling costs and
> set-up. Believe if a project were to seriously get off the ground, even
> in small numbers, there would certainly be some costs here. Tom might do
> it out of the thrill of the challenge...but I don't think so. Nor would
> I necessarily want him to. Tom doesn't control his schedule, but he can
> do something about the priorities of his free time as he alots it to
> projects of this nature. He conveyed his impression that O scale folks
> sure seem to feel a little less of the penny pinching - and a preference
> for working with them over the S scalers. He does seem to get a thrill
> out of the Oooh!'s and Aaah!'s and the electricity created with a
> surprise new shell. A commitment to assisting with tooling costs he
> might otherwise pay for himself might go a ways toward stimulating his
> interest.
> Tom is not into trains that much otherwise. I think he really enjoys the
> production. Can't think of a better person to address S scale needs. His
> process is excellent at scale-up from HO or scale down from O. Just need
> a sample model.
> I would propose that the members of this list consider how to organize
> themselves into something similar to the "Gang of 100". Someone could
> come up with a suitable name suggestive of the era  - consolidations
> being what they are we wouldn't expect the same numbers. Don't need
> those numbers for this - only 50 production units (assuming for the
> moment that Tom doesn't want higher numbers). Assume that the few
> members of this list were to double, then if each member agrees to order
> 2 units - made in the shade! More people into the loop...fewer units per
> person required to participate.
> Locomotives should be capable of utilizing existing power trucks from AM
> or another source together with available side frames. Freight cars
> should be sufficiently different from those available currently to
> create interest - e.g. forget PS covered hoppers, but consider
> cylindrical hoppers, or how about some Trailer Train flats? How about
> some Budd fluted passenger cars as commonly in commuter rail service and
> similar to the old AMTRAK AM Fleet?
> Enough of my own preferences. Also, would be nice to begin the process I
> guess with a high quality model rather than a cruder example - not that
> there are as many of these as once were common - just a preference. I
> guess it would make sense if there were any interest in a project of
> this nature to get a more complete list of Tom's requirements - but I
> don't think this is really a problem. Coordination with detail
> suppliers: BTS, Detail Associates, Sunrise would be a good idea as well.
> Selection of models would go according to voting process. I think a
> better alternative structure than that followed by the Gang of 100 would
> be something more like a cooperative venture as below:
>         1) Gather list of freight cars desired
>         2) Gather list of locomotives desired
>         3) Vote to determine popular favorites
>         4) Confirm popular favorites with: # roads operated, # models
> produced - maybe
>                 more difficult to come by in freight cars.
>         5) Confirm that a prototype model already exists in HO or O
> scale
>         6) Confirm that Hi-Rail's production capability for the model
>         7) Propose List of 5 to 10 top favorite models for production
> Production could proceed on the basis that each member would commit to
> purchase the sale of 4 of the 5 models produced - or something of this
> nature. Would build this into the pricing. Yes, there would be over-head
> = shipping and packaging costs. Yes this is not driven purely by
> economics but by commitment. If you want certain models, sometimes you
> have to consent to a premium - but with brass pricing....and currently
> the limited number of S modernists - I think this may be the best
> alternative.
> I would recommend targetting 2 engine projects and 3 cars, or the
> reverse. Keep them simple. The idea should be to get them produced with
> the minimum of fuss, and get them out where they can be seen, admired,
> run, and generate more interest. I would recommend that if there were 5
> projects selected, a simple 20% premium would allow "drop out" from one
> that someone just really offended by the thought of XYZ car
> on their layout can rest comfortably and still participate.
> Importantly in the cost-sensitive S scale community, I think it worth
> pointing out that if the project were put together at cost, this premium
> at Tom's $35 charges is, hey, not gonna push the price over $42. Tom
> didn't mention tooling costs, and assume they aren't covered in the $42,
> but run another $10. I have no clue how reasonable or not this is. But
> $50 for a model not available - and now poof it's here is pretty amazing
> unless you can already do this routinely with Evergreen plastic. Stan
> Stockrocki (spellng?) asside, few of us likely fit in this category, or
> have the time or inclination to do so along with the million or more
> other projects involved in layout building.
> There has got to an easier way. Model railroading has an incredibily
> small number of participants relative to the US demographic profile -
> not because it is easy, but because it is hard. If as JFK said, we do
> things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, and it is
> easy to do nothing, than we should be able to organize something that
> would work here.
> If you have read this far, I look forward to sharing your thoughts. We
> all know there are lots of caveats to a process of this nature. But it
> might also work easier than we think. The ground has been a lot better
> plowed than it was some years ago. Your ideas, enthusiasm, and
> involvement could make it happen.
 I found this all very interesting. I also asked for more about the Dash 8s
and got this reply from Skip: ``Tom Hodgson runs American Hi-Rail. He did
the shells for the GE Dash 8 in S scale. These are available directly from
him @$30. Frame (plastic) is available for $30, and sideframes for $5. He
has the Dash 8 available in regular or wide cab. Detail is pretty good and
in some places absolutely excellent.''
 I replied to Skip as follows:
 ``I think your proposal sounds very interesting and I would like to share
> > > it with the others on modern list. I'm not sure who Tom Hodgson is. or
* > > it in your note and I missed it.''
*  He replied ``The unit has a plastic frame which is designed to accomodate
American Models power trucks. These are removed from and AM locomotive, and
hooked up again on the new frame (further apart wheel centers) with
connections. Hodgson has replacement sideframes to match the GE units as
well. If you throw in an AM unit sourced @ $140, and $65 for the GE unit
each, then total cost is $205. In my case, I have a bunch of old AM units I
don't otherwise know what to do with, so the source cost is more than half
sunk already. And $65 simply saves me from a trade.

I spent two years casually aware and looking for these before I found the
source. I guess if you make the S shows it's not a problem, but I don't have
that luxury. Detail is pretty good - in fact I would say better than most AM

 Any more info I get from Skip will be posted directly to the list.
 OK anyone got some ideas for Skip - Canadian style cylindrical hoppers
sound good to me.

 Anything else for the wish list?

Alex Binkley
Hammond, Ontario