I spent the weekend at the Carillon Railfest in Dayton, Ohio this weekend. Overall, the Railfest was a fun time, but for one really annoying thing. What, you may ask was that?
I'd acquired several of American Flyer's 'new' cylindrical hopper cars. The ones with "Canada" and "Alberta" emblazoned on the sides. Beautiful cars. Nice details, well painted with good high rail couplers...
...and scale wheelsets.
I attempted to run these cars on the clubs modular layout today. Now the track work on a modular layout can be challenging, but the code .148 track is supposedly capable off handling scale wheels. But no. I could not get those cars to make one circuit of the layout without derailing. It's very frustrating to spend nearly $70 on a car and not be able to operate it.
Why in the world would you ship scale wheels with Flyer style couplers? I mean, hi-railers occasionally run high-rail wheels with kadee 802's that look more scale, but who exactly is the market segment that runs scale wheels and flyer couplers?
Lionel acknowledges they've gone down the wrong path. At the recent York show (Spring 2014) they indicated that future cylindrical hoppers would ship with high-rail wheels and that high-rail wheels would be available foir purchase...at $25.00 a set. So those $70 cars are going to be more like $95 by the time I get functional wheels on them. I am not a happy camper regarding Lionel/American Flyer right now.
It's a shame, as the cars look great. But a car you can't run is not much of a car from a customer standpoint.