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16TH JUNE, 2016 – 2300/2400 CLASS UPDATE
Firstly, my apologies for not being able to put this blog out last week as had previously been indicated. Preparing for the Epping Exhibition in Sydney and attending to some family matters impacted on the timing of this blog.
THE 2300/2400 PROJECT HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED
BUT HAS BEEN MOVED TO OUR ‘L’ CLASS FACTORY
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW
2300/2400 CLASS UPDATE
We have seriously been unhappy and embarrassed with the constant delay to this project which we commenced back in 2012, especially considering that in that time we have had two production runs of the Vlocity and have produced the fabulous’ L’ class in a 12-month time frame, delivering in November 2015.
Some time ago, the Directors made the decision to move all our rolling stock tooling from this factory to the ‘L’ class factory and advised the factory of this decision during our visit to the factory in November 2015.
In the hope of pushing the 2300 class project forward and trying to remain on good terms with the factory we delayed the removal at that time thinking the timing would be better when the 2300 was in production which we expected after CNY 2016.
During that visit to the factory last November, benchmarks we outlined to bring the 2300 project to fruition with a mid-December deadline. As has been the story with this factory, the deadline was ignored. We were however delighted to receive 8 decorated samples in January 2016 which we referred to in our blog of 8th January.
These consisted of the 4 variations to the 2300 class model and covered the 8 different liveries/ logos used. In short, they were fantastic and only minor changes were required in this area.
We also noted that that we thought there were some minor tooling changes required, a new PCB was to come and that we would start testing the running quality of the model. Unfortunately, as we continued to review the model our excitement became disappointment. 23 pages of our correction report referred to the design & running qualities.
The major concerns for us were the inadequate PCB; the gearing which was totally wrong and made the loco run like a hairy goat; the motor tower, speaker box and gearing assembly which were all handmade items. Other items were the wheel flanges, incorrect wiring & not to NMRA standards, poorly designed pick up and so on.
On the design side we required some tooling changes to the windows, The ALY style coupler box, handrail placement, working ditch lights and bodies that actually sat squarely on the chassis, correctly fitting clear windows & bogies that would not make contact with the body.
In our view none of these items were overwhelming in themselves and we expected to have final samples in February with a view to commencing production almost immediately and our advertising reflected this.
Perhaps the factory had a different point of view but regrettably, we will never know because apart from some e-mails regarding the packaging, all our other emails regarding the corrections & new samples were ignored for 4 months.
The Directors of Southern Rail considered the position with the factory was untenable. Samples and drawings were provided to another factory for evaluation with the view to taking over the project using the existing tooling.
Their report of 4th May was not encouraging. The difficulty was in determining a cost to correct the design and then correct the existing tooling and make the missing tooling for the gearing, speaker box & engine mount. The correction requirements were more than we expected and there was a real possibility that the cost to correct could be more than the cost of starting again.
The factory was advised that I would be visiting them on the 25th May to supervise the removal of our tooling and to discuss the 2300 class.
The 2300 project was discussed at length. However, as all the team at Southern Rail had lost faith & trust in this factory we advised we that we wanted to remove the 2300 tooling in conjunction with that of the rolling stock.
Agreement on a cost to move the 2300 moulds was made twice and broken twice by the factory and in light of this the Directors made the decision to write off the existing tooling, walk away from this factory and start the project again with our ‘L’ class factory.
The new factory has agreed to fast track the entire 2300/2400 project and both models will now be delivered together in early 2017.
Whilst this is an unexpected position to be in, the Directors feel the best decision has been made to give our customers the best model possible and it will be to the very high standard of our ‘L’ class. It will be worth the long wait and there will be no price increase.
In making this announcement, the Directors wish to acknowledge the faithfulness & support of all our customers over the past couple of years and during this transition period. On behalf of the Directors & shareholders, thank you.
2ND RUN VAK COAL & VGK WHEAT HOPPERS
INTERAIL & QR NATIONAL QHAF & QHBF COAL HOPPERS
QLD – OLO/OVO 45’ RAIL TANK WAGONS
NSW – NTAF 45’ RAIL TANK CARS
With the release of all our tooling from the previous factory and now safely in the hands of our No1 factory, it is full speed ahead with these projects. Order forms are now available on line at https://www.southernrailmodels.com.au/products.html
There is a compatibility issue between the 1st run Vlocity & the 2nd run Vlocity if you are wishing to interchange one of the new single cars into a 1st run set.
Although the couplers show 8 pins, only 6 were used in the first run whilst all 8 are used in the second run. We have spare coupler sets available at no charge if required but one of our engineers is preparing a ‘how to change coupler information sheet’. We will post this as soon as available. Email us on email@example.com
With the 2300 moving to our No1 factory along with other tooling, we are hopeful of having all of our outstanding projects completed by years’ end. We are certainly working with great energy to achieve this goal. With many new unannounced projects in the pipeline, including our next locomotive project, the remainder of 2016 & 2017 look very bright for our valued customers and particularly for members of the Southern Spirit Club Car. Keep watching this space.
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