• Walthers Amtrak Amfleet Is "Retired"

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

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  by mlrr
 
Hello All (Amtrak Modelers; especially!),

The sad news was brought to my attention yesterday and I checked for myself. Apparently Walthers has listed their Amfleet I line as retired(all phases and paint schemes).

Even though the Bachmann model still exists, the quality of their paint jobs is nowhere near that of Walthers'. The interiors and lighting are all nice but I prefer that being an add-on (like Walthers drop-in lighting kits for their passenger cars) rather than being something I have to gut out.

I always found Walthers' Amfleets to be more appealing (even without the interiors). The paint and lettering has always been more believable and accurate compared to what Bachmann has produced in the same regard.

Although this is sad news, there does leave room for an opportunity. Walthers can decide to upgrade the tooling of their amfleets to be more accurate. No siginificant re-tooling has been done since their initial release (as far as the shell/body goes). I have already written to Walthers expressing my sincere hopes that they consider re-tooling the model to be more accurate. I would encourage others to do the same. Who knows; perhaps they'll do the same thing they did with their Superliners (which were/are very successful).

Please contact Walthers and ask for their consideration of a newly tooled Amfleet I passenger car now that the old cars are retired. My source says that no re-tooling is planned at this time. If we can have model railroaders express interest perhaps this will get the ball rolling for its consideration!
  by Ken S.
 
They redo the A-Is with the metal plating and interiors watch the price go up to about $100 per car. Perhaps Bachmann should be lobbied to redo the paint schemes on their A-Is and offer an A-II as well.
  by Amtrak207
 
Don't fret, "retired" is usually Walthers code for Will re-tool series. This has been seen in their Superliner fleet, as well as some freight car runs. The metal plated finish with interiors are a big hit, and Walthers knows this. Walthers also knows that there is demand for a re-tooled Amfleet I and II model with an accurate body, interior, Phase IVb scheme, etc.

Wait a while... don't worry.

It is STILL advisable to send your requests to Walthers regarding these cars.

-Tom
  by dedm30junk
 
If they retool I hope they do a Cab-Car that I what is missing from the walthers fleet.
  by cnj1524
 
Walthers dropped it because there molds of the amfleets were not correct,they were from the american GK molds from 1979
for them to retool is to costly,and walthers did break mold for the E60CP in 2000,2001 I think
  by ajp31
 
I have a sizable fleet of these cars in Phase III and IV (NortheastDirect) that I'm looking to downsize. If anybody is interested, send me a PM for details.
  by Jers2709
 
I contacted Walthers, there is no plans in the foreseeable future on releasing Amfleet I's, rereleased or retooled. I was just about to place an order for Amfleet I's for my Northeast Corridor-NJ Division layout when I found them retired.
  by Ken S.
 
Seems the Bachmann will be the only Amfleet I on the market. Maybe we can get them to fix the paint jobs on them and offer NED and Phase I schemes at least. Walthers is doing modern Amtrak modelers in the East a disservice by discontinuing both the Amfleet and Horizon cars.

I believe Atlas may have copies of the diagrams and measurements for the Horizons. maybe we can get them to do an HO version of the Horizon to compliment their wonderful B32-8WHs as well as the Amtrak GP40, NJT GP40, and MNCR B23-7 they have made over the years. Maybe they could even restart AEM7 production as well.
  by mlrr
 
Jers2709 wrote:I contacted Walthers, there is no plans in the foreseeable future on releasing Amfleet I's, rereleased or retooled. I was just about to place an order for Amfleet I's for my Northeast Corridor-NJ Division layout when I found them retired.
All the more reason to send in requests so that it does become a plan in the foreseeable future. I'm inclined to believe Amtrak207's assessment. Usually when Walthers does not plan to produce any more of a product they list it as "Discontinued". The Amfleets were a regular/big seller for Walthers for many years. I'm sure they'll find it worth the investment to re-tool. For whatever reason they probably want to keep any of these plans "secret" for now.

In any event, in an effort to shore up their confidence in the Amfleet I's ability to sell, keep sending in your requests for a re-tooled Amfleet I.

I have over 20 Amfleet I's (many of which I painted in phase IVb) and the Bachmann versions are just not good enough for me to replace ore even supplement my current fleet. If there was a more accurate "Spectrum" version, I'd give them a second look.
  by Amtrak207
 
While I cannot speak for Walthers directly (wish I could lol!), I have started to believe that Walthers has a cryptic "hinting" and message system, that can only be unlocked with the Indiana Jones Grail Diary lol. Over the past ten years, I have noticed things (being a police officer helps in situations like this!) For instance:

When the Amfleet II's were announced, one of the early pre-production drawings showed an Amfleet II coach coupled up to part of a Heritage car (that faded to the end of the page.) That had me thinking "hmmm, will they do Heritage cars too???) Sure enough, they produced the Budd cars.

When the first run of Superliner I and II's were HEAVILY discounted, I wrote Walthers asking if they were going to do another run, their response: "We have no plans to produce another run of Superliner models, yada yada yada". A few months later... NEW AND RE-TOOLED SUPERLINER CARS WITH METAL PLATED FINISH, INTERIORS, etc.

Walthers made a big deal displaying their new PRR E-8's, complete with a big PRR Keystone logo on the ad, full page ads in Model Railroader, etc. Had me thinking, "hmm, something tells me this year, the Broadway Limited will be announced." Sure enough...

I wrote them, asking about factory installed grab irons for passenger cars, their response "We have no plans..." Then bingo.... NEW UP CITIES CARS NOW WITH FACTORY INSTALLED GRAB IRONS!

A few years back, someone on the Atlas forum wrote them asking about another run of P42DC's in Phase Vb, their response "We have no plans..." Then bingo.... #7 and #47 came out.

More recently, it was "hinted" that two years ago, Walthers would be producing the 20th Century Limited name train. I wrote Walthers asking if this would be the 1938 or 1948 Century; their response: We currently have no plans to produce the New York Central 20th Century Limited train. Two months later.... =D

I believe that Walthers does hint to us what will come out, or is on the drawing board. When I saw this post, I was actually happy, because if the past proves true, I have a good feeling you will see not just a re-run of Amfleets, but:

a) a totally re-tooled Amfleet I and II model, with an accurate carbody and cross section.
b) better situated diaphrams
c) metal plated finish
d) interiors
e) a MUCH BETTER improved inside roller bearing truck
f) opening doors, brake dust smell when flying by at 120 mph (okay, so I exaggerated on the last one!)

From a business prospective, let's consider the following:

The Amfleet (I and II) model has been the backbone of Amtrak's passenger car fleet since the mid 70's, with Amfleet I's coming on the scene in 1975-78, and the II model following in 1981-83. These cars still continue to soldier on with pride for many regional, corridor and intercity trains.

They have carried every phase possible: I, II, III, IIIa (Northeast Direct) IV, IVa (Northeast Direct), Acela Regional (Capstone), IVb.

Walthers put out a survey some years back regarding a re-tooled Amfleet design.

Walthers also knows, as I have stated before, these cars are in HIGH demand, and not just for their previous model. They know today's modelers demand a highly-accurate model, not just something to run around a Christmas tree. Their passenger line has improved greatly over the past few years, just take a look at their yearly name trains.

Demand for highly detailed models as stated above is something companies have noticed and responded to. Just take a look at BLMA freight cars or Rapido's passenger cars. True "work of art" models... and... THEY SELL OUT!

Besides being model railroaders, Walthers is still... a business. Businesses want to make money, that's rule #1. If there is a demand for a product, they will deliver, we all love profits.

Kato's announcement of Amfleet II's, Viewliners in N scale, had many HO modelers buzzing. The people at Walthers are a smart group of people, they check these boards too, especially the Yahoo group "AmtrakModeler". Believe me, they know about this, as new Amtrak models for N but not HO has hit many boards online. The Amfleet thread is something that has been popping up continuously on this board, Atlas, Trainorders, Model Railroader and many other forums. I am SURE they are aware of this.

Their first run of metal plated Superliner cars sold VERY well, believe me, they took notice.

Walthers also is aware of how high in demand the Phase IVb scheme is, sell-outs of P42DC's in this scheme have proven this time and time again. (Yes, expect more)

Current Amfleet I and II models are either listed as "retired" or at an amazing discount. Why perhaps? To deplete this stock before new versions come out. This is not sneaky or a scam, this is a smart business tactic to sell what you have to turn profit in any way, shape, or form, before you produce a better, more accurate model. This is a smart move from a business prospective.

It is my belief that Walthers has a re-tooled Amfleet model in the works, or at least on the drawing board, or in some kind of "plan" form. The demand is WITHOUT A DOUBT there.

But, BUT, no matter what they have up their sleeve, continue to send in these requests, it only adds fuel to their fire, no matter what their response is to the consumer such as "we have no plans, etc."

To delve into that for a second, the "we have no plans..." statement. Walthers is smart. If you were coming out with a brand new product, would you want it blabbed or noticably hinted to the model railroad world? So that perhaps other companies can jump on it and beat you to it with your own idea and product? Absolutely not. Another smart business tactic by Walthers.

Please keep sending those requests in! I just want to thank Walthers for their commitment to the Model Railroading industry, especially with their yearly name trains and dedication to Amtrak equipment. We may sometimes forget that they are constantly bombarded by requests from us for all types of models, and they take the time to answer us, and announce fantastic pieces of equipment. Let's not forget that, Walthers, besides other companies, have come a LONG way in the past ten years; so perhaps in one of your request e-mails, thank them for that model that you were requesting that they did produce. A "pat on the back" is always appreciated.

-Tom
  by ApproachMedium
 
If these cars are in such high demand then why am I having so much trouble making the ones I have dissapear!

I would really like to see these cars totally redone, the inboard bearing trucks can be improved as Athearn has made them that roll very well....

Also if they redo the cars and think they are going to sell them at $60-100 they are nuts! Athearn sells the bi level commuter cars with all the detail parts, light castings, good rolling trucks, metal wheels and installed grab irons AND interiors! for $25-30 a car. I dont see why walthers cant do this either. Maybe with the stainless metal plating they can sell them for $30-40 the most... Thats about all I would pay for them.

Id really like to see them redo the Horizon cars as well. They are LONG overdue for revamping.
  by mlrr
 
Very well writtend Amtrak207! I've noticed a similar pattern.
ApproachMedium wrote:If these cars are in such high demand then why am I having so much trouble making the ones I have dissapear!

I would really like to see these cars totally redone, the inboard bearing trucks can be improved as Athearn has made them that roll very well....

Also if they redo the cars and think they are going to sell them at $60-100 they are nuts! Athearn sells the bi level commuter cars with all the detail parts, light castings, good rolling trucks, metal wheels and installed grab irons AND interiors! for $25-30 a car. I dont see why walthers cant do this either. Maybe with the stainless metal plating they can sell them for $30-40 the most... Thats about all I would pay for them.

Id really like to see them redo the Horizon cars as well. They are LONG overdue for revamping.
I'd look at the going price for their individual Superchief passenger cars as a ballpark figure for what to expect the asking price. In the grand scheme of things it's pretty reasonable if they are re-tooling with more accurate dimensions, adding interiors, metal plating, interior lighting (most likely as an add-on)etc. I don't expect them to cost any more than the Superliners. They'll likely cost a little less (i.e. single level passenger car as opposed to a bi-level passenger car). I hope this is a somewhat accurate speculation.
  by ApproachMedium
 
I could care less about interiors and lighting. If they have working selectable markers, cool but thats about it. I really would like to see overall these cars to have draft gear that doesnt suck/sag, bolsters that dont sink into themselves and trucks that actually roll and sorta better represent what the actuall cars have. Walthers, go look at what Athearn did with the bi level commuter cars. Take some notes!!!!
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