Track discussion

Track discussion

Postby ConnRiver » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:10 pm

Richard-B wrote:
dwyaneward wrote:Any plans for TT track.
Plans = Yes...
Several products from a couple of sources; Some are on the market now... some in development.
Kuehn is one of the obvious possibilities.

Richard - http://www.tt-west.com


Excellent. If you're going to stock track, I'll dump any thoughts I have about developing a line of U.S.-type flex and turnout track. I got a ton of other things to try to do. My only concern is the cost of Euro track. In my preliminary calculations, I thought I might be able to offer molded flex for $3 a strip (30"-36").
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Track discussion

Postby ctxmf74 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:28 pm

"In my preliminary calculations, I thought I might be able to offer molded flex for $3 a strip (30"-36")."

I think it would cost more than that, MB Klein sells Atlas code 55 for $3.60 per piece( buying by the 100 pieces)and bare code 55 rail for $0.40 per foot or $2.40 for enough rail to make 3 feet of track. You have to get discounts on the bare rail and find a cheap way to make the tie strips to keep your material cost under $3 , not even allowing for production costs and profits.
I do think a readily available track supply is the key to getting more folks into TT scale. Newbies don't know how to make their own track so an off the shelf system is a big draw for them ,and many experienced modelers prefer flextrack over hand laid. I don't know if anyone has approached Micro Engineering about them making TT scale flextrack but that's how Proto 48 got flextrack made....DaveB
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Track discussion

Postby areibel » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:10 pm

ctxmf74 wrote:. I don't know if anyone has approached Micro Engineering about them making TT scale flextrack but that's how Proto 48 got flextrack made....DaveB


Well, Yes, and no!
They were contacted a couple years ago, and at that time were looking for a new mold maker to replace theirs- we were told they weren't able to cut any new molds until they hired someone. And if they could they would only do it as a contract, where someone else paid for the mold (around $10,000) and they would run it in batches to sell to a supplier but weren't interested in adding it to their product line.
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Track discussion

Postby ConnRiver » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:39 pm

ctxmf74 wrote:"In my preliminary calculations, I thought I might be able to offer molded flex for $3 a strip (30"-36")."

I think it would cost more than that, MB Klein sells Atlas code 55 for $3.60 per piece( buying by the 100 pieces)and bare code 55 rail for $0.40 per foot or $2.40 for enough rail to make 3 feet of track. You have to get discounts on the bare rail and find a cheap way to make the tie strips. . . .

I do think a readily available track supply is the key to getting more folks into TT scale. . . . I don't know if anyone has approached Micro Engineering about them making TT scale flextrack but that's how Proto 48 got flextrack made....DaveB


Yes, wholesale prices would be critical to create "affordable" track. I've done my homework on a possible production process (a plastic hot-stamping that is not proven until attempted), so the key cost is rail. And, it is possible to form it from nickel-silver bar/rod. I'm not shooting from the hip alone.

I'm not overly keen about becoming a track producer, but, I believe a non-European-priced track line is a key if TT is to one day thrive in some way.

An ME TT-scale track product would be terrific. Proto 48, though, considering the number of O scale modelers out there, I imagine has a much greater sales potential than TT track. Right?

-Brian C.
Cedar Rapids, IA
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Track discussion

Postby ctxmf74 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:54 pm

"Proto 48, though, considering the number of O scale modelers out there, I imagine has a much greater sales potential than TT track. Right?"

Well there's more O scalers but I think TT scale has a better size for the average modeler's space. I modeled in O scale and P-48 for years and found I didn't want to devote that much room to a layout. TT to me is the ideal small size, it's just enough bigger than N scale to make it easier to work with and enough smaller than HO scale to allow a better proportioned layout in the average spare room. I think the main thing holding TT back in the USA is the long term lack of product,both rolling stock and track, TT seems to be doing much better in Europe where they have more product. It would be nice if MTB could package their switcher with some cars and track and make a beginner's set for the USA market....DaveB
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Re: Track discussion

Postby Richard-B » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:27 am

Code 82... Code 70... Code 55... Code 40... So many choices... so little time!

We have to think of the addressable market: i.e. WHO (exactly) is buying TT track?
  • Newbie parent for themselves and/or kids? Hoping for... 40% of market?
    Tillig has the Kato-license bedding track... as well as Code 83 flex and sectional.
    Buyer would not know Euro/American track from Martian... (or care)
  • Modeler moving over from another scale? Say... 50% of market?
    Tillig Code 83... Keuhn Code 70... etc.
    Is having NA-style track worth double the price? ...or NOT?
  • TT-fine Modeler 10% of market?
    5% want Code 55... the last 5% splits between Code 70 and Code 40.. or several
Exactly where does anyone see the market that would fund an ROI on $10,000 to $50,000 in new tooling for a full set of track, turnouts and crossings.

One approach that might work for micrometer eyeball afflicted is Central Valley tie-strips: http://www.cvmw.com/cvt.htm

Just my 2¢
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Re: Track discussion

Postby ctxmf74 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:31 am

"Modeler moving over from another scale? Say... 50% of market?
Tillig Code 83... Keuhn Code 70... etc."

Since there's so little TT modeling in the US almost any experienced modeler will be moving from another scale so I put that number much higher than 50%. Code 70 in TT is pretty close to code 100 in HO so I'd think many of the experienced modelers would be fine with something like Keuhn code 70 track if it was in stock and available in this country. Code 55 in TT would be about code 75 in HO so might be more desirable for the finer scale modelers among us but who makes code 55 TT track and how long would prospective buyers have to wait for some? I think availability is more important than the specific rail size or tie details, one needs to start somewhere. For any newbies interested in TT scale a Kato Unitrak like TT track would be ideal, but again it needs to be in stock so they can buy it before they lose interest. I'd like to see some more options in track since it would lead to more choices of rolling stock and other items It's not a deal breaker for since I can hand lay my own but I imagine lots of possible TT scale converts never get beyond the looking stage due to lack of track? What do the people who buy the MTB locos use for track in Europe? If manufacturers want to market TT equipment to the USA they need to send track over here too......DaveB
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Re: Track discussion

Postby CSD » Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:12 am

TT scale modellers don't need track because TT scale modellers don't build layouts.

If you want to show that there is a potential market here; build something. What does it say if the people who are supposedly active in the scale can't be bothered? C'mon, this is a decades old discussion. Time to roll up those sleeves and make something. There is more available to us now than there ever has been. Including track and track making supplies. That is the only thing that will move things forward. There is no magic product.

Although, my position on this is that one would do some modelling for the sheer joy of it rather than trying to prove some kind of viability. So really, it's win/win.
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Re: Track discussion

Postby Bernd » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:41 am

One approach that might work for micrometer eyeball afflicted is Central Valley tie-strips: http://www.cvmw.com/cvt.htm


Mmmmmmmmmmm..............

Image

Image

Image

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Looks familiar doesn't it?

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Re: Track discussion

Postby ctxmf74 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:33 pm

"TT scale modellers don't need track because TT scale modellers don't build layouts."

and modelers in other scales do build layouts because they can easily get track and all the other stuff needed. TT is a great size but for the average guy the other scales offer more so they go for the path of least resistance. If it was on equal footing selection wise there would be as many TT scale layouts as there are HO or N scale layouts. I'm not just a TT scale guy I'm a model railroader who works in all scales, I know the benefits of the various sizes when working on them and when trying to fit them into given spaces so my assessment of TT's advantages is based on physics not status quo or emotional attachment ...DaveB
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