Southern Rail Models L Class

 
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA

The standard blue and orange (with white stripes) scheme was on locos used by VR in the 1980s. These units got white oval "radio equipped" stickers not used in WA while in Victoria. These would be best supplied as decals so that the model could represent both WA and Victorian versions.

M636C
M636C

I'm not sure about that.  The ex-hire Ls retained their Victorian markings (which also included high level numbers painted on at least the hood end) for at least a short while after they returned to WA.  Here's a photo of L252 at Forrestfield on 20 April 1986:

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  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Again, the selection of photos on the new Southern Rail Models page suggests that they are being relatively poorly advised.

No less than four of the liveries shown were one-off liveries on one unit.

Two of them were on two units only.

And there appears to be no commitment to produce any of them, just suggesting they are possible options.

The Orange scheme with Westrail lettering shows a smaller size of lettering than was applied on most units so painted and may thus be a fifth one off livery.

M636C
M636C

The photos are most definitely not of all the possible variations of L class livery. My research has indicated that there are no less than 44 different colour schemes that have been worn by the class (depending on how you count them)! More if you include the large white on black numbers stuck on the cab front and long hood end towards the end of the Westrail era, which were in some cases applied with the scheme but I think retrospectively on others.
The comment on the latest blog update does clearly say 'these are some of them', and then asks for people to email their top six. So this is to me a great way of getting votes for a likely second run. SRM want to hear what people want and I've no doubt their decision on a second run and the schemes offered will reflect this.

The scheme of Westrail orange with smaller drop shadow lettering was applied to no's 258, 259, 261, 262, 264-266 and 271. Eight in total, making it in fact one of the most common schemes carried by the class.
I'm yet to confirm how many had the larger lettering, but at the moment I've got nine on my list. There were two different types of chevron for the larger lettering, only one for the smaller lettering (as far as I can tell at the moment).

DQ2004

Some aspects of that Southern Rail post you've linked to seem a bit strange to me.

For example, SR's owner says that WA represents just 5% of the market (and I'm presuming he means for Australian outline plastic r-t-r).

As there are, at present, no plastic r-t-r models of any WA locos available for immediate delivery in any scale apart from iron ore line locos and his DFZ (which is really just a Qld loco in drag).

And if he's right about the "spectacular" response to the forthcoming L class, then presumably once you add the L class models to the mix that would increase the WA market share to, say, 10%, with just one real WA non iron ore loco available for sale.


So there must be some untapped demand for WA r-t-r somewhere.  Unfortunately the r-t-r makers just can't see it at the moment.

Secondly, he says that "it is out of the question to produce a plastic RTR WA loco in Sn3½. There just isn’t the volume to support the cost."  So, folks, what he's also saying is that you're wasting your time buying any of his DFZ locos, because that's all you're ever going to get in WA narrow gauge plastic rtr.

Why is that?  Well, anyone who's familiar with the WA market will know that the market here for anything narrow gauge unique to WA in HO or HOn31/2 (as opposed to a Qld model in drag) would be a great deal smaller than the market for the same product in Sn31/2 that he says is unviable for plastic RTR.  After all, there are lots of Sn31/2 modellers and layouts over here, but no HOn31/2 or HO "narrow gauge outline on standard gauge track" modellers or layouts.

I simply can't agree that "a plastic RTR WA loco in Sn3½" is not a viable proposition.  If Ixion can make a plastic RTR model of the unique Pichi Richi "coffee pot" railcar in an even less mainstream scale and sell it out, then, at least, a WAGR W class in Sn31/2 would seem to be a no brainer (and yes, Pichi Richi runs several W class locos, too).

On the other hand, I'm pleased at the "spectacular" response to the L class model.  I'm already looking forward to buying some of the additional liveries in the second run.  And I'm also hoping there's a K class in the pipeline.

Well since you mention me I will reply, but I feel like I'm going around in circles, as you have added no new information.
But I will try to answer those questions.

Where he says 5% he also says 'all gauges'. In other words I take this to mean this includes the Sn3.5 guys and the N scale and the O scale guys everywhere.  The Australian market in totality.  And I would argue that O scale is more mainstream than S scale in this country. I've certainly noticed O scale models out and about much more than I have S scale models. Plus as you point out we now have had two models made in plastic RTR for On30 scale.

Its a bit of a leap to suggest the L class on its own will increase WA's market share to 10%. Remember such an increase would require more than doubling the size of the current WA market! (its a percentage, therefore it's relative to everyone else, so that means that some people need to stop buying NSW, VR, QR, SA and start buying WA models).  After all there are plenty of 'interstate' L's in this first run. In fact a second run is likely to have less interstate L's given that most (I think) of them are already being offered.

You say what is available, however the DFZ has not yet been released.  Hopefully later this year.  Other WA HO scale models are Auscision's upcoming AC and ACA class locos and their recently released WVX/WBAX vans. So that will be four WA specific locos and one wagon.
So if you think the manufacturers don't realise there's untapped demand, what is this? Of course these are only being done because of the interstate correlations. I'll bet you anything there won't be that many made of any of these WA locos. But because of the chassis commonality they are being done. The rest is up to those who want WA models. What he's saying with DFZ is this is what we can do, because there aren't enough Sn3.5 people (nowhere near). If it goes well (and the WA interest in the L is high) then perhaps more may follow. I don't think anyone's expecting the S scalers to suddenly buy DFZ's (they're modelling a different era anyway).

You may certainly disagree about viability, however it is not me you have to convince! Either way you still do not provide any numbers to back it up! The S scale magazine is less than 200 circulation. That is not lots! How many times do I have to say this before you will realise? In all of Australia and New Zealand. That is not a viable RTR market. People are not going to switch scales just because a model suddenly becomes available. S scale is a kit and scratch builders scale and I see zero evidence that this will change in the short term. RTR does not suddenly enable someone to become a kit builder. It enables someone to buy RTR and then plonk it on the layout. S scale accessories, buildings, appropriate track, all are harder to get (S scale may run on 16.5mm track but it looks crap if you do). For people to change scales, they want it to be easy. The skilled modellers may be disdainful of plonkers but they are massively outnumbered by them.

Again, in order for an RTR model to be viable you need to sell over a thousand, I would regard 1500 as a bare minimum. You have less than 200 potential purchasers! How can you possibly believe this is going to work? You are kidding only yourself.  In fact I would be surprised if there are more than a hundred S scale modellers in WA. If you put them all in a room it would seem like a lot. But thats not enough. You say 'anyone who knows the WA market' but you are making a lot of presumptions there.

Ixion may have made the Coffee Pot but this does not mean that a WA S scale loco is a viable proposition.  It was a different scale! Perhaps you should ask them how many they made?  Also, they haven't continued to produce models to match it, which is no vote of confidence for that era and outline.

What I'm saying is that your untapped market is in HO scale. HO scale is the most popular and thats hardly likely to change in the short term.  Especially given the ever increasing numbers of models available for the Eastern states. Someone is much less likely to buy an Sn3.5 scale RTR model if they also like SAR and VR. I agree that the total market could grow - in terms of population WA should have a greater share. But just because people are currently modelling in S scale does not mean that every newcomer will want to model S scale. In fact I would say that anyone wanting to model WA in the diesel era will prefer HO scale, and would be happy to have narrow gauge diesels running on 16.5mm gauge track to avoid the necessity of dual gauge track. There are after all people buying the new range of QR models for 16.5mm gauge even though they doubtless know it is incorrect. But for convenience this means they can run these models with whatever else they may have from other states or overseas.

What you seem to be struggling with is if you aren't aware of HO scale (or HOn3.5) modellers of WA railways then you think they don't exist, therefore the only option is S scale as there are kits available.  You are discounting people who have purchased IP sets, NR's, AN's, anything that ran or runs into WA. These are the people that will consider buying a DFZ, obviously an L and the Auscision C44aci's and GT46C-ACe's.  This is the market that has room to grow.

Kind regards

Toby

PS. I have been watching the Australian outline market for over 10 years. I have still got copies of most of the newsletters released by the main RTR producers over this period of time. I read and pay attention to what these guys have said in their newsletters and over time they have told us a lot of information. They have given us a good idea of what it costs and the numbers they need. They have told us about all sorts of pressures and difficulties. Note that the Austrains Z20 was cancelled recently. This because of ever rising costs and this is for what should be the biggest market in Australian outline of all, the NSW steam/diesel era 50's-60's! So what hope have you of a WA steam loco in S scale?!?? Any producer reading this will think you are crazy.  They would probably use that old line; 'Tell him he's dreamin'.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
An update,  I went to the hallway where the  photo is on the wall and read the caption.


L273, taken  6 may 1969

Regards,
David Head
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
The illustration of the Grey and Blue unit in Victoria appears to have no number on the headstock (which is non standard) and seems to have non standard red lettering on the cab side.

M636C
M636C

Every photo I've seen of both the original grey & blue and the two-tone blue the cabside number plates are all red. So that was standard as far as I can see. As you say the lack of numbers on the headstock is non-standard.
This photo they've used does not mean the models will reflect that.

Kind regards,

Toby
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
DQ2004

You make some interesting points in your latest response to my posts, but I don't agree with most of them.

For a start, you're getting your scales, gauges and eras mixed up.

With the exception of the DFZ, all of the WA outline HO locomotives, coaches and wagons you have mentioned are models of standard gauge vehicles. The ACs, ACAs, NRs, ANs, Ls, C44acis, GT46C-ACes, IPs, and WVX/WBAXs are all standard gauge. So too are the GMs, CLs, BLs, DLs, BHPIO locos, and anything else I've forgotten to mention. As you say, people are not going to switch scales just because a model suddenly becomes available. So the DFZ is not going to convince any of the existing Sn31/2 modellers to switch to HO (or HOn31/2 for that matter).

Secondly, if I were a Western Australian wanting to model 21st century operations in WA, I would want to model passenger trains, intermodal, ore trains, grain trains and general freight, preferably with several operators using the track. So I would model the standard gauge main line between Northam and Kalgoorlie in HO. I wouldn’t even think about modelling narrow gauge in any scale. With the possible exception of the Picton/Collie/Wagerup area, the narrow gauge present day operations are simply not interesting enough to model, especially by comparison with the standard gauge operations (past and present) or the 1950s/1960s narrow gauge operations.

Would I want to run a DFZ on this layout? No, I wouldn't. The DFZs are narrow gauge locos. There's only ever been a handful of them in WA (and in fact I've never seen one in the metal). No WA outline narrow gauge wagons are available to run with them (kit or r-t-r) , nor any WA outline narrow gauge locos available to operate with them in multiple. So I wouldn't be buying any DFZ models. It would be more sensible to buy another NR or AC instead.

Thirdly, if I wanted to model WA narrow gauge in the 1950s or 1960s, and were prepared to build kits, I'd model Sn31/2. I could buy loco kits (although they're not built in big numbers), coach kits, wagon kits, wheelsets and detailing items, transfers, etc, lineside building kits, other building kits (some of them made in the USA, where S scale is a substantial scale with r-t-r manufacturers), model road vehicles (including Holdens), model people, etc, etc, in the correct scale, and run the rail vehicles on r-t-r 16.5 mm track that I could buy from just about any model train shop. I certainly wouldn't model HO, because there are no WAGR-era narrow gauge rail vehicles available in that scale for that era, r-t-r or kit, and manufacturing them would be unviable.

Fourthly, I think the economics of manufacturing r-t-r models are far more complex than just a matter of how many models you can sell in the first run. For a start, the number of moulds you need for any particular model is a major issue. Also important is the prospect of subsequent runs. Lima introduced its IP coaches in the 1970s and is still building them. Some of the r-t-r models of prominent diesel classes, eg the NRs, have been in production or in stock for many years. The costs of building the moulds of all those models have probably long since been amortised.

Fifthly, the Z20 was cancelled not just because of "increasing price rises in China", but also "a lack of interest by potential buyers". I don't think the cancellation of the Z20, which by the 1950s was a fairly obscure shunting loco, says anything much about the economics of making an r-t-r model of, say, a WAGR W class or X class in any scale. These two classes are the WAGR narrow gauge equivalents of the L class, the GM class or the NR class. Like all three of those classes, the W class is still in service in more than one state (63 years after its entry into service), and like the NR class, it still hauls passenger trains in more than one state. There have been r-t-r models of the GM and NR class available off the shelf for many years, and the L class's manufacturer has already said, less than a month after it was announced, that orders for it have been "spectacular". So why wouldn't there be a favourable response to an r-t-r W class?

Sixthly, you're making very gloomy assumptions about possible sales that don't seem right to me. Let's assume there are only 100 existing modellers of the WAGR in Sn31/2. It's clear from this thread alone that L class enthusiasts are likely to order more than one L class model. One poster has said he may order up to six from the first run alone. What makes you think it would be any worse for a W class? If you have 100 modellers ordering six each, then you've sold 600 of the 1,000 you say is the minimum. Even if they order only three each, that's nearly a third of the minimum. Again, this is not a Z20 equivalent you're talking about. It would also be the first WA r-t-r steam loco ever. Do you really think that the many WA based modellers who model in HO or OO scale are not going to buy any of them at all? And what about people who go for a ride behind a W on the Hotham Valley or the Pichi Richi or people who see one at Bassendean, Esperance, Collie, etc?
  kingfisher Chief Train Controller



Fifthly, the Z20 was cancelled not just because of "increasing price rises in China", but also "a lack of interest by potential buyers". I don't think the cancellation of the Z20, which by the 1950s was a fairly obscure shunting loco, says anything much about the economics of making an r-t-r model of, say, a WAGR W class or X class in any scale. These two classes are the WAGR narrow gauge equivalents of the L class, the GM class or the NR class. Like all three of those classes, the W class is still in service in more than one state (63 years after its entry into service), and like the NR class, it still hauls passenger trains in more than one state. There have been r-t-r models of the GM and NR class available off the shelf for many years, and the L class's manufacturer has already said, less than a month after it was announced, that orders for it have been "spectacular". So why wouldn't there be a favourable response to an r-t-r W class?

Sixthly, you're making very gloomy assumptions about possible sales that don't seem right to me. Let's assume there are only 100 existing modellers of the WAGR in Sn31/2. It's clear from this thread alone that L class enthusiasts are likely to order more than one L class model. One poster has said he may order up to six from the first run alone. What makes you think it would be any worse for a W class? If you have 100 modellers ordering six each, then you've sold 600 of the 1,000 you say is the minimum. Even if they order only three each, that's nearly a third of the minimum. Again, this is not a Z20 equivalent you're talking about. It would also be the first WA r-t-r steam loco ever. Do you really think that the many WA based modellers who model in HO or OO scale are not going to buy any of them at all? And what about people who go for a ride behind a W on the Hotham Valley or the Pichi Richi or people who see one at Bassendean, Esperance, Collie, etc?
Bahnfrend

If you are so sure of the response to a r-t-r W class then I suggest a visit to your bank manager who I am sure will help you fund a production run of say a 1000 models to test your theory.
  GT46C-ACe Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gold Coast QLD
So people would be so keen in Sn3.5 to spend $400 a pop to get atleast 6 of these wonderous locomotives that'd kick off the miniscule S scale market into RTR? Sounds rather bogus and completely theoretical to me.
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
If you are so sure of the response to a r-t-r W class then I suggest a visit to your bank manager who I am sure will help you fund a production run of say a 1000 models to test your theory.
kingfisher

Sorry to disappoint you, but I have neither the time nor the technical modelling skills to become a model railway manufacturer myself.  If I did, I would have done it long ago.
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
The sloping cab front meant that the firebox stays could be inspected without removing the cab from the boiler and this design was introduced in the USA in the late 1920s. It could have made the cab cooler as well.
M636C

According to Adrian Gunzburg's History of WAGR Steam Locomotives, pages 134 and 136: "The cab front followed the slope of the boiler back plate, to ensure that the minimum amount of boiler projected into the cab, thus keeping it as cool as possible.  Cushioned seats ... plus double cab roof with air space in between, were provided for maximum crew comfort."
  M636C Minister for Railways

Every photo I've seen of both the original grey & blue and the two-tone blue the cabside number plates are all red. So that was standard as far as I can see. As you say the lack of numbers on the headstock is non-standard.
This photo they've used does not mean the models will reflect that.

Kind regards,

Toby
DQ2004

I wasn't talking about the number plate.
On the panel below the the letter "L" there are markings that look like red lettering (at least in the smaller enlargement). The marks could also be red dust on louvres, except that L class don't have louvres there and the loco (assuming it is L 273) shouldn't have been near any red dust since it is listed as being delivered on 23 April 1969 and the photo is dated 6 May 1969.

We can assume that the locomotive is being tested by VR during its delivery via Melbourne.

But anyone who can explain the marks, feel free...

M636C
  M636C Minister for Railways


The scheme of Westrail orange with smaller drop shadow lettering was applied to no's 258, 259, 261, 262, 264-266 and 271. Eight in total, making it in fact one of the most common schemes carried by the class.
I'm yet to confirm how many had the larger lettering, but at the moment I've got nine on my list. There were two different types of chevron for the larger lettering, only one for the smaller lettering (as far as I can tell at the moment).
DQ2004


I thought I should check some photos from Easter 1994 and indeed I found a photo with three L class locomotives together in Kalgoorlie Loco Depot all with the smaller size lettering. I haven't managed to check all the numbers but there may be five locomotives with the smaller Westrail lettering in that and other shots at Kalgoorlie.

However 261 definitely DID NOT have either of the Westrail lettered schemes. I have an excellent clear shot of it at Kalgoorlie Loco at that time in fairly fresh orange with white edged blue stripes. Since the smaller lettering had been replaced by the larger lettering by 1994, we can be confident that 261 never carried the smaller lettering scheme, giving a total of seven in that scheme by your numbers. I have a shot of 261 in August 2004 still in the 1975 blue stripe scheme, so it wasn't repainted at all in those ten years.

The other thing I checked was the use of "Australia Northern" logos in NSW on 3101 to 3104. The first shot of these I have is 3103 at Clyde Loco on Christmas Day 2003. Since the Darwin Line opened in early 2004, those locos would have been tied up on that work for most of 2003. Not only did it have ARG decals rather than "Australia Northern" but they weren't new, suggesting that the change occurred during Darwin line construction. Shots of the other three up to March 2004 all show weathered ARG decals. The only loco that seemed to have a new ARG decal was 2202 on new years day 2004.

So this throws into doubt producing any models with "Australia Northern" lettering, since there is no evidence that they ever worked in NSW with this lettering. I doubt that there will be a big demand for the locos in the condition they first worked on the Darwin Line construction.

This last information confirms the point I made in my first post in this subject, that no 3100 ever operated in regular service in NSW with "Australia Northern" lettering.

M636C
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
I have no idea re the Australia Northern badge logo but I'm sure you're correct. It may be worth an email to Rocket to suggest a change.

Re L261, I'd gotten part of that list (and hadn't checked all of them) from a list in Motive Power magazine (issue 15), so obviously that list is not entirely correct.
Here she is in 2001 (kroy2437 has an absolute wealth of photos on his Flickr page), confirming that she never was painted in the later Westrail orange schemes;


Later L261 had an orange patch on the nose and long hood end along with larger (but different to other L's) white-on-black numbers, a unique 'scheme' (if you can call it that), before being rebuilt as Lz3109 and repainted into the plain orange ARG-QR scheme.

Thanks,
Toby
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Indeed, thanks to kroy2437's Flickr photos, I've been able to confirm that L268 went from it's magnificent blue, orange and white scheme into this travesty of justice:
"

She looked a lot better here;



Kind regards,

Toby
  M636C Minister for Railways

I have no idea re the Australia Northern badge logo but I'm sure you're correct. It may be worth an email to Rocket to suggest a change.
DQ2004


Right now I'm being run off my feet...

But I do intend to send the Christmas 2003 photo to them, with comments.

I'm also concerned that they appear to be only offering ATN locos in the rebuilt form with modified air conditioners. Maybe some shots from Easter 2000 showing triple unmodified L class in clean ATN maroon at Appleton dock should go there too.

M636C
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
Right now I'm being run off my feet...

But I do intend to send the Christmas 2003 photo to them, with comments.

I'm also concerned that they appear to be only offering ATN locos in the rebuilt form with modified air conditioners. Maybe some shots from Easter 2000 showing triple unmodified L class in clean ATN maroon at Appleton dock should go there too.

M636C
M636C

I have no idea which versions they are offering out of the ATN locos, admittedly the photos show the modified air conditioners post installation of Qtrac wheelslip control, which suggests that it will be those versions as you say.
However, I would have thought that is the better version to do?
Weren't they modified in 2001 to that form, approximately 18 months or less (I'm really not sure on this one) after commencing operations for ATN?  So they were in service in modified form for longer.  I would have thought that made sense.

I would also prefer the names that they were given (Thunderbird 1, Red Dwarf etc) to be on the models - they weren't named until the wheelslip control was fitted.

Kind regards,

Toby
  M636C Minister for Railways

I have no idea which versions they are offering out of the ATN locos, admittedly the photos show the modified air conditioners post installation of Qtrac wheelslip control, which suggests that it will be those versions as you say.
However, I would have thought that is the better version to do?
Weren't they modified in 2001 to that form, approximately 18 months or less (I'm really not sure on this one) after commencing operations for ATN? So they were in service in modified form for longer. I would have thought that made sense.

I would also prefer the names that they were given (Thunderbird 1, Red Dwarf etc) to be on the models - they weren't named until the wheelslip control was fitted.

Kind regards,

Toby
DQ2004

The first photos I have are of all four units at Appleton Dock on Easter Saturday 2000.

The whole train looked just great.

The first photo I have as modified is in 2004, (251 and 254) and I photographed the names on the two units.

I have a later photo of 270 where the name has gone, leaving just a white patch on the cab side.

I have photos of the train between 2000 and 2004 and I don't recall seeing the names.

M636C
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
The first photos I have are of all four units at Appleton Dock on Easter Saturday 2000.

The whole train looked just great.

The first photo I have as modified is in 2004, (251 and 254) and I photographed the names on the two units.

I have a later photo of 270 where the name has gone, leaving just a white patch on the cab side.

I have photos of the train between 2000 and 2004 and I don't recall seeing the names.

M636C
M636C

I'm 99% certain that the names were put on shortly after the airconditioning units were modified (& traction control added) in 2001.
ATN ceased to exist in Feb 2004 so I would be pretty surprised if the names were added post PN take-over.
Am looking for photos to check this. Unfortunately being quite small its often hard to tell if the names are present.

Cheers

Toby
  EFB5800 Chief Train Controller

Location: On my office roof.
Regarding the Ls used in Victoria during delivery in 1969, L271, 272 and 273 were all hired by the VR to cover the shortage of power on the SG due to the loss of S314 and 316. L271 went off hire on 14/3/69, not sure when it's hire began. L272 was hired from 26/3/69 to 15/4/69. L273 was hired soon after. Simply, each was borrowed during delivery until the next arrived.

L271 also had no number on the pilot, and L273 had that same interesting lettering on both sides. It looks a bit like Alltrans Express.

L251 was hired by VR for a trial during it's delivery too.

The wagon in the Harry Williams photo behind the L is also interesting. That was part of a brief operation of piggy back trailers between Melbourne and Sydney that didn't come to much. I think it was for one customer who used them to carry steel or something.

Cheers, Matt.
  EFB5800 Chief Train Controller

Location: On my office roof.
Regarding the picture of ATN L251 on the order form, it has a Wisconsin Central logo on the front. No units were actually fitted with these as such. There were at least 2 of these logos that were stickers applied to magnetic backing. One was slightly darker in colour and I think it was smaller than the other. They were moved around to the lead and trailing unit as needed. The better looking lighter coloured one was 615mm wide by 623mm high. These would have been placed in slightly different positions each time they were moved.
Also for sound equipped ATN models, I wonder if 254 will have the natural sound that it and 265 had, and will 251 and 270 have modified exhaust noise that they had?
Just kidding Laughing

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