The previous RACE thread is here: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1268591.htm#1268591
And, lets face it, in the last four months or so lots has happened.
…actually, no it hasn’t.
Not very much at all, in fact, has happened.
BUT some things have happened SINCE The RACE was last revised, so we do need to talk about that.
Not only that, we actually do have at least two real RACES on the go in the model railway world of Australia. Two of our model producers (since almost all models are actually made in China, The RACE regards these importers as producers, rather than manufacturers) are competing to produce a model of the NSWGR 48 class, and another combination of two producers are racing to produce new or revised models of the Clyde/GM 81/BL/G class locomotives. Who will actually win these races and get their model out first, is as yet unknown...
Now, this edition of the RACE has actually been in preparation for some time, and there have been a number of revisions, so that may explain the general rambling nonsense at the start.
The Australian Model Railway market & the Problems
According an Austrains newsletter in late 2009, most of the engineers at one of the factories in China have been either fired or quit, resulting in huge delays and problems for producers here in Oz. Whilst according to the newsletter this has now been largely resolved, and things are proceeding back on course, it does raise a few interesting points and food for thought.
Firstly, whilst things may have been sorted now, it doesn’t mean that this sort of thing won’t happen again.
Secondly, it explains some of the big delays particularly at the other customers of the same factory as Austrains, in particular Eureka and TrainOrama, who have noticeably failed to come up with much stuff in the last two years, despite expectations.
Given how many products have recently been appearing from Auscision, plus how many more are shortly to arrive, it seems very clear that their factory hasn’t had the same sorts of problems.
Another question that has occurred to me is the longevity of our existing producers. Reading through an older Austrains newsletter I was reminded of the fact that some of these company’s principals are not quite as young as they once were. Whilst there’s probably no reason to panic just now, there’s no doubt that not all of the producers around at the moment will be around for ever, and possibly not even in ten years time.
How this change will come about is obviously unclear, but could take the form of one producer purchasing the tooling of another, as happened when Tom Fisher died and Austrains’ tooling was split between what is now TrainOrama & Austrains.
Now I’m not suggesting that such a dramatic end is likely, I certainly hope not, but inevitably there will come a point when some of our current company principals will decide that they’ve enough.
When that happens the Australian market will change yet again. It is going to be fascinating to watch.
In other news, it has recently been revealed that the long rumoured 73 class is now close to happening, only it is not coming from TrainOrama, as had been strongly rumoured, nor Austrains, as had been vehemently claimed by some (despite Austrains’ own denial), but Auscision!
We honestly don’t know what happened to the supposed announcement from TrainOrama on another forum, but certainly there was never any such announcement in their official newsletters (which is the only thing The RACE Officials ever rely upon).
Eureka NSW CPH/CTH railmotors (non-sound)
Auscision Vic A class
Eureka NSWGR class C38
Powerline VR T class (re-release)
Powerline VR H class
Austrains NR class (upgraded re-release)
Austrains 80 class (re-release)
TrainOrama VR S class
Auscision Vic B class
Arrivals so far:
Minimodels Clyde Standard suburban cars
TrainOrama NSWGR 42 class
Auscision V/Line N class –first painted samples seen, due next month if no further delays advised
Austrains NR class (re-release)
Austrains C class (re-release)
TrainOrama 44 class (re-release) –this is a total guess
TrainOrama 49 class (re-release) –so is this
Eureka NSWGR C38 class (re-release)
Eureka NSW 40 class –first painted samples seen, model not far away
Eureka NSWGR AD60 class (short-bunker) –pilot model seen but factory painted samples not seen
Austrains CL/CLP/CLF class (re-release)
TrainOrama NSWGR 48 class –pilot models seen no painted samples
TrainOrama SAR 830 class –pilot models seen no painted samples
Railmotor SCT class -full pilot model not yet seen
Minimodels Bradfield suburban cars
Austrains X class (re-release)
Powerline NSW 48 class –first pilot models seen
TrainOrama CR GM class –first pilot models seen but still incomplete
Eureka NSW 620/720 class (re-release)
Auscision NSWGR 422 class –pilot models due soon
Austrains 442 class (upgraded re-release)
Auscision NSW 73 class –pilot models due soon
Austrains NSW 81 class –pilot models due at end of year
Austrains Vic G class –ditto
Austrains BL class –ditto
Auscision AN class –pilot models due hopefully by end of year
Auscision NSW 46 class –pilot models due hopefully by end of year
Eureka Vic R class –pilot models well overdue, who knows
Eureka NSW D59 class –pilot models still some way away, arrival in 2012 doubtful
Austrains Vic T class (flat-top) –tooling not begun, arrival in 2012 very doubtful
Austrains Vic P class –as above
Eureka NSW DEB set –tooling set to begin soon?
TrainOrama NSW 45 class –no news is bad news
TrainOrama SA 600 class –as above
Auscision NSW 86 class –delayed due to difficulties in obtaining good drawings (they had to go out & measure one themselves!)
Eureka NSW 43 class –no news
Eureka Vic K class –tooling underway soon
Austrains NSW Z19 class –waiting to hear if it will proceed. If you want one, email Austrains NOW.
Austrains NSW Z20 class –as above
2014 and BEYOND
Auscision CFCLA GL class –no news
TrainOrama NSW 82 class –no news whatsoever
TrainOrama WA L class –still no news
TrainOrama NSW D50 class –not a mention
TrainOrama NSW D53 class –not even a peep
Eureka NSW C30 class –design drawing underway
Eureka NSW D57 class –no news
Eureka NSW D58 class –and again, no news
Eureka NSW Silver City Comet –nope. I got nothing.
After a record year of a multitude of arrivals in 2008, 2009 was a lot quieter with some notable non-achievements.
TrainOrama, for one, managed to sneak in one part of its Bulldog project, which unsurprisingly shattered into the three separate classes that were part of the project. However a large number of wagon projects have still not appeared (even though the RACE officials aren’t officially tracking this), nor have a number of projected re-runs. Of the remaining parts of the Bulldog project, the 42’s have just arrived, and the GM’s are now due next year, if we’re lucky.
The 48 class was looking good for this year –but not anymore. The previously announced 45, 600, 82 and L classes now look even further away than Betelgeuse. The rumoured 73 has turned out to be completely incorrect, as Auscision are doing that, and the other rumour the 90, well, given all the delays with the Bulldogs whether TrainOrama are doing the 90 or not they obviously felt there was little point in talking about a release that is still a number of years away.
Austrains got two re-releases (the 80’s & the NRs) out, and have also managed to keep us in the dark about whether they really are going to do a Z19 & Z20 for more than twelve months now. The suspense is killing the Officials…
Powerline also managed only to get out a re-run of the T class, and now appears only just behind TrainOrama in getting their 48 class out. Who will win this race, is now open for bets. Currently the Officials private prediction is that TrainOrama will win by just a few months, which is not a huge margin.
Eureka finally managed to get hold of their C38s, but then took an appalling six months to get them all distributed. Work needs to be done here, think the Officials. Its possible that they can be accused of bias in this matter, however.
Auscision became the pacesetter last year, delivering the Victorian A & B class project, along with a number of wagons. According to their blog all Auscision announcements will now be made with relatively minimal notice, once tooling has commenced. Even so, this will mean at least two years before projects arrive, in all likelihood. For example, for the very recently announced 73, samples are due in May/June. History shows that it will be at least 18 months AFTER that when the model actually arrives. Therefore, early 2012 is the most likely prognosis, even if we are optimistic.
Due to this, anything that has NOT had pre-production samples arrive simply cannot possibly get to your mailbox within two years time, therefore the RACE officials have had to be even more ruthless with the schedule. If you go back to previous editions of the RACE you will see that we have previously been unbe-smegging-lievably optimistic. We will try to do better...
As another example, the Austrains 81/BL/G class project (a sizeable one without question) has recently had many delays, according to Austrains newsletters. However, in the latest newsletter, it claims that the project is now due for a ‘late 2010 release’. This is almost certainly a typo, and we believe that it actually should read 2011, with test shots expected late 2010. Such a schedule is still overoptimistic, according to our calculations, which is why the RACE has allocated their arrival to 2012. This could easily blow out, and also could easily become split into almost separate projects with quite different arrival times, as has already happened with TrainOrama & Auscision's bulldogs.
2009 was also quite sharply divided into two parts –the first half of the year, which had stuff not arriving, whereas in the second half of the year, all the stuff did arrive. The only exception to this was the Eureka CPH/CTH railmotors, albeit without sound. Those who did order sound, are still waiting, bizarrely enough.
2010 promises a little more excitement but only a little, with the most notable new release being the N class from Auscision, but with a few re-runs happening. Some of these, especially those from Eureka, could easily be further delayed, and its very likely that 2011 will go down as the Year of the Re-run. Only in 2012 can we really be confident that exciting hitherto unavailable locos will be arriving en-masse. Maybe.
To illustrate how things have been going, in 2008 there were EIGHT new projects released. In 2009 only five new projects were released and two of them used the same chassis (Auscision’s A & B classes).
In 2010 there will be only four, and two of them have already arrived.
In 2011 we are projecting six. If we are lucky, 2012 will be a lot more exciting.
The Boys at The RACE