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Dealings with Fast Tracks

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  • Member since
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Dealings with Fast Tracks
Posted by woodman on Friday, February 11, 2011 5:30 AM

Has anyone had any dealing with Fast Tracks. I placed an order with them 19 days ago and I am still waiting for the order. Contacting them, I am repeatedly told the order is ' Processing". Is this typical for them? I am starting to think I have made a mistake in picking them for my manual turnout machines, ( Bullfrog Units)

Received an e-mail a few hours ago, my order has shipped, also received an email from UPS, I will receive the order on the 15th. Maybe they read these forums. Thanks for all the replies, well at least most of them  LOL

 I like to add, maybe I should have worded my initial question differently.I have had no problems in communicating with Fast Tracks, they have been great in answering any and all of my inquiries about their products in relation to my layout. I was just concerned about the amount of time the delivery was taking of what I ordered, should I be worried or not. This was the first time I had ever dealt with them. It turns out I had nothing to be worried about. My order is on the way. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

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Posted by LNEFAN on Friday, February 11, 2011 8:25 AM

I had the same experience. I placed an order on Dec. 4 and never received anything until early Jan. And that was after an email inquiry on my part. I was very dissatisfied with their service and decided not to use any more of their products. 

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Posted by pike-62 on Friday, February 11, 2011 8:41 AM

 I can't speak to the issue of how they run their business but seeing that they are a business in a foreign (to the U.S.) country it may take time to get things thru customs. since I do ship things to Canada I once inquired as to how the system works when dealing with USPS Mail (Dont know if they ship thru the Canadian mail system or not) The host country gets the postage only. Once it hits customs and clears it is routed to the postal system for that country where it is essentialy treated as a dead animal. If there is room to send it it goes, if not, it sits untill there is room. The agreement is you handle ours and we will handle yours so, essentialy they deliver it for free which is why it may take time.

Now, it may also be that they do not stock most of the items they sell but, instead, they manufacture them as orders are placed. If this is a busy time for them it may take some time to clear the pipeline. Understand this is purly conjecture on my part.

I will agree though that they should have a better answer than "processing"

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Posted by simon1966 on Friday, February 11, 2011 8:45 AM

This is a shame to hear.   A small company, probably a one-man-band, certainly not much bigger than that.  Tim, the owner, always stuck me as a reputable type and certainly had built a good reputation.  I hope this is not a sign of trouble of some kind?

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by LNEFAN on Friday, February 11, 2011 9:06 AM

In my case it was not a mail problem. When I contacted them the week of Christmas-almost a month after the initial order - their reply indicated that the order was just then being shipped. It was as if it had been ignored or lost up until that point. 

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Posted by HOn21/2 on Friday, February 11, 2011 10:18 AM

I also ordered from Fast Tracks and it took over a month to receive the items. I e-mailed them and they were very responsive. Some of the items they use are in short supply and I was told it takes time for them to receive their backorders from suppliers. Also. they like to ship a complete order so all it takes is one item to be out of stock and that slows down the entire order. It also takes a week or two after the order is mailed before it reaches the US. Be patient, the quality is worth the wait.

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Posted by papasmurf on Friday, February 11, 2011 10:19 AM

Am confused!  Congress pushed NAFTA through fast; told the American public it would take down  trade barriers with Canada/ Mexico. It seems there are STILL barriers, if Canadian mrr companies can't get stuff to us in a reasonable amount of time. Makes you wonder.......papasmurf 

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Posted by selector on Friday, February 11, 2011 10:26 AM

If I had to guess, I would say it is still a small company, two guys.  They have built a good reputation and are getting swamped with orders.  They have to get aluminum blanks from a supplier and then have them CNC'd to their specs.  They may take a couple of weeks just to produce types X and Y jigs, fill orders, and then move on to what is waiting.

Shipment to US destinations from most of Canada typically takes about 8-10 days. Same the other way around.  Canadian Border Services can take up to three days to process parcels, occasionally longer, when they come the other way.

When a two or four person opertion has a family emergency, things can get bogged down really fast.  Each of those persons has a family, likely, and the probability that any one family has an issue of some sort is reasonably high. 

Crandell

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Posted by howmus on Friday, February 11, 2011 10:28 AM

I have ordered from Tim at Fast Tracks several times in the last year.  I felt I recieved very good service from him.  The products are excellent.  Tim is a reputable person as well.  He may have been out at several shows during the last few months cutting into the time he has to fill orders.....  The whole company is just a couple of people.

Many items from Fast Tracks are made to order...  Therefore it may take a bit of time for them to be made for you.  It states that right on their website.  And yes even with NAFTA, it still may take a bit more time to get something shipped stateside from Ontario Canada.

Be patient!

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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Posted by simon1966 on Friday, February 11, 2011 10:34 AM

I sent a link to Fast Tracks and we can expect a response from Tim later, perhaps over the weekend as he is running a clinic today.  Ron responded and basically they are swamped with orders, frustrated with backlogs on items that they are awaiting. This is a small company, and I expect that they are suffering some pains right now due to their success.  I have never read a bad word about their product, so it should be worth the wait. 

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by NittanyLion on Friday, February 11, 2011 11:03 AM

papasmurf

Am confused!  Congress pushed NAFTA through fast; told the American public it would take down  trade barriers with Canada/ Mexico. It seems there are STILL barriers, if Canadian mrr companies can't get stuff to us in a reasonable amount of time. Makes you wonder.......papasmurf 

It shouldn't make you wonder anything.  Trade barriers and the mail aren't even close to the same concept.  All it means is you won't place tariffs or import quotas on transnational sales.  It doesn't mean that the USPS and CPC are seamlessly integrated or that customs has been eliminated.

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Posted by Motley on Friday, February 11, 2011 11:25 AM

If they are swamped with orders, and having great success, then why don't they hire a couple of more people? They're gonna hurt their reputation if they don't start getting orders filled more quickly.

Michael


CEO-
Mile-HI-Railroad
Prototype: D&RGW Moffat Line 1989

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Posted by Odie on Friday, February 11, 2011 11:26 AM

I just bought some proto:87 switches and was shocked to get them in 3 days from the other coast! Kudos to them!

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Posted by JSperan on Friday, February 11, 2011 12:04 PM

I buy all of my rail, ties, and track laying tools from Fast Tracks.  Like nearly ALL model railroad related businesses they are a smaller operation so sometimes orders do take time.

The quality one receives from Fast Tracks is well worth waiting for.  I am able to understand that they don't always have stock sitting waiting to ship and that orders can pile up.  I try to anticipate my needs so that I am not held up waiting for n order to arrive that is overdue because the customs agent decided to play with my stuff for a couple of days before taping the box up and processing it. Wink

If you are ordering from the US, don't start thinking your order is overdue for a month or so.  Living in Canada and ordering most of my hobby stuff from the US I know that 8-10 days is OPTIMUM shipping time.  More realistically it's 10 days to 3 weeks, depending on the level of service the customer purchases.  Customs have been known to "lose" packages, causing even more delay.  Free trade has nothing to do with this.  Every package still has to clear customs.

I've had very similar experiences from time to time with a number of hobby vendors.  It's really easy for us as customers, to criticize and second guess their operations, saying they should hire more people, etc.  Since we know all the answers, lets start a model railroad business and show them all how it is done.  If any of us make it 6 months in a niche market and these tough economic times, it would be a miracle, IMO.

Cut Tim and Ron some slack.  They aren't sitting on their laurels watching orders pile up.  If they say they are swamped, they are.  Also, as someone else mentioned, Tim takes Fast Tracks to many of the big shows on both sides of the border, so at a time when there are lots of shows, product demand increases at the same time that manpower is stretched thin.

If you gave up on Fast Tracks because of a shipping delay you're the one who's missing out, IMO.  I'll stick with Fast Tracks.

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Posted by Graffen on Friday, February 11, 2011 12:05 PM

If this is the way people are going to treat small manufacturers, I´m not surprised when they finally quit!

You CAN NOT demand next day service from small suppliers, you may get it, but don´t consider it the norm!

As mentioned above; it is a small company and have a lot of things going on right now as it seems. But they couldn´t start hiring due to a small order backlog! That is a good way to get OUT of business!

I have ordered from a lot of small mfg´s, and if it takes a month or two, so be it. I wouldn´t need customers calling each and every day, if I had a small supply company!

I guess it´s a case of "modern society thinking":

"I want it yesterday or not at all.........."

Swedish Custom painter and model maker. My Website:

My Railroad

My Youtube:

Graff´s channel

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Posted by Curt Webb on Friday, February 11, 2011 12:32 PM

I purchased some track laying alignment tools from a guy in Turkey thru Ebay. I really like the design of these tools. He was up front that shipping would take 2-3  weeks. He shipped within 2 days of the order. Today is 3 weeks without recieving them. I also read somewhere in the last week that because of increased security screening in the US that it may add  2 or more weeks until delivery. I accepted the risks when I ordered from overseas. I will find something else to work on until they show up. There is always something else that can be done.   

Curt Webb

The Late Great Pennsylvania Railroad

http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/j372/curtwbb/

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, February 11, 2011 12:51 PM

Motley

If they are swamped with orders, and having great success, then why don't they hire a couple of more people? They're gonna hurt their reputation if they don't start getting orders filled more quickly.

Without going into too long a lesson on how business works, it is easily possible for businesses to grow too fast and get in a cash flow jam. Not saying that is the problem here, but it speaks to the idea that they should "just hire some more people". It's just not that easy for a small two or three man operation to hire people and bring them in and train them, etc. And while they might be doing very well, the extra cost of more employees may not be managable just yet.

To me, four weeks for a small specialty company to deliver the kind of stuff they sell seems quite reasonable.

[comments edited out]

Sheldon

    

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Posted by woodman on Friday, February 11, 2011 1:10 PM

Sorry Motley, to have bothered you with my question. Too bad the Pony Express is not around for individuals like yourself.

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Posted by Scarpia on Friday, February 11, 2011 1:22 PM

"If you gave up on Fast Tracks because of a shipping delay you're the one who's missing out, IMO.  I'll stick with Fast Tracks."

 

Seconded.

I'm trying to model 1956, not live in it.

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Posted by JSperan on Friday, February 11, 2011 2:57 PM

Sorry to wander off topic but David reminded me of the whole NAFTA nightmare from the past....

davidmbedard

 

NAFTA?  You are joking, right?  NAFTA is a joke!

David B

Exactly! The leader of Canada's Govt. at the time was named Mulroney.  After he hornswoggled the country into the so called "Free Trade Agreement" Canadians came up with the saying;

Free Canada, Trade Mulroney!

Anyway, as most (including me) have said.  Fast Tracks is a great company to deal with.

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Posted by rambo1 on Friday, February 11, 2011 3:27 PM

What do they sell fastracks? I have never heard of them before and they are going to be a credit valley railway I hear on sat. rambo1..

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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Friday, February 11, 2011 3:32 PM

I've ordered from them twice. They are slow, but dependable. And I like their products.

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Posted by stilson4283 on Friday, February 11, 2011 3:35 PM

@ Rambo1:  They are a great company that sell track, turnout and crossing jigs as well as related equipment.  Check out their website here:

http://www.handlaidtrack.com/

They are a great company and I LOVE their product, I currently own the #6 standard, #6 crurved turnout and a 19 deg crossing in HO.

V/R

Chris

Warner Robins, GA

Check out my railroad at: Buffalo and Southwestern

Photos at:Flicker account

YouTube:StellarMRR YouTube account

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Posted by Geared Steam on Friday, February 11, 2011 4:25 PM

Fasttracks is an small, but outstanding company, nothing to worry about, IMHO. I can easily see them been swamped with sudden success, they have started advertising in some periodicals and have been mentioned many times recently on most of the main podcasts, and also have been interviewed, plus it is show season. They have the best product on the market, and it seems it is now paying off. Good for Fasttracks, I wish them much success!!!

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

http://gearedsteam.blogspot.com/

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, February 11, 2011 4:31 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

To me, four weeks for a small specialty company to deliver the kind of stuff they sell seems quite reasonable.

Sheldon

+1

FastTracks makes a QUALITY product that is NRMA compliant.  You will NOT get that with ANY mass produced track including Atlas, Microengineering, Walthers, Peco, etc.  All of the brands listed are out of NMRA spec one way or the other.

Their prices are reasonable too.  Give them time!  It is worth the wait.  Most MRR layouts take months to years to build any way!  What's a few extra weeks?

I'm glad they are doing well.  And I hope they keep selling.

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by jwhitten on Friday, February 11, 2011 5:55 PM

Curt Webb

I purchased some track laying alignment tools from a guy in Turkey thru Ebay. I really like the design of these tools. He was up front that shipping would take 2-3  weeks. He shipped within 2 days of the order. Today is 3 weeks without recieving them. I also read somewhere in the last week that because of increased security screening in the US that it may add  2 or more weeks until delivery. I accepted the risks when I ordered from overseas. I will find something else to work on until they show up. There is always something else that can be done.   

 

I've ordered stuff from that guy in Turkey before-- don't worry, he's reputable. There was even an order that got sent back to him for some unknown reason-- he sent me a photo of the returned package and asked if anything was amiss in the addressing-- it wasn't-- so he sent it again and that time I got it just fine. I think I've done three or four orders with that guy with good results. And the shipping was slow every time-- to the point of it even slipping my mind until it finally arrived :-)

 

john

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 11, 2011 6:31 PM

 I made 2 orders, never had a problem. Check to see the status of the item you are orderign before placing the order. Many things they produce as needed, there is not a lot they stock. The lead times are mentioned for every item on their site. If you ordered something customized the lead time is even longer, but they DO tell you that up front. Since they make jigs and fixtures for just about any brand of rail and in any size, not to mention any scale, it's not even remotely possible for them to keep a complete inventory. This is not like ordering from a large company with a big warehouse stocked full of train stuff, these are custom built items and it takes time to accurately machine things - even more so when this is just a small family enterprise without a barn full of milling machines cranking out multiple parts at the same time. In fact there is a complete video essay of the building and fitting of their shop shown on one of Tim's blogs, so you can see just what their operation consists of.

 I did give up and just use Atlas turnouts on my layout, but it's not due to a lack of quality of their product, I just couldn't get the trick of making good enough (to me) points and frogs. I think I was being too picky since the couple I made handled even extremely deliberate attempts to skew it to one side or the other without picking. Maybe next layout.

 Dunno about Canada, but that increased scrutiny stuff is causing issues. My last batch of servos ordered from China were postmarked in China at the beginning of December. It was nearly the end of January when I got them. I was beginning to suspect the company even though I made 2 previous orders with no problems, and then eventually they did show up, and not hastily re-shipped after I complained, but actually shipped back when they said they did, it just took that long.

                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by da_kraut on Friday, February 11, 2011 7:09 PM

Hi,

Crandell I think you nailed it.

Tim used to have his layout on this tour until two years ago http://www.trainweb.org/doubleheaders/dhsite.htm .  At that time they had their CNC machines in the garage.  If memory is correct the second person lives in Alberta who might be a brother, and they work this business together.  Two years ago they felt a need to expand and moved into the country where there was a shed in which they set up their operation.

Tim always has circle layout at the above mentioned show and it is amazing how he done the track work.  Both him and his wife are very down to earth and easy to talk to people.

Frank

"If you need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm."
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Posted by navyman636 on Saturday, February 12, 2011 3:18 AM

Before I made my recent purchase, which was a coupla hundred bucks, which is a big chunk of change for me, I spent a great deal of time doing two things.  First, because I really want my new layout to be as much fun to operate as it is to build, I want everything of very good quality.  bSo before picking manufacturers I have comparison-shopped like crazy.  Out of that, I chose Fast Tracks for all the same reasons others have stated here.  Their stuff looks great to work with.

Then, also because it was all so interesting, I spent hours poring over their website.  Two things became quite clear.  One, they're very up-front about explaining the most likely time-frame for shipments, which, if memory serves, they say will not be until about 18 days after the order.  Second, they are up-front about the fact that since they're a small outfit making SO many precision products, much is manufactured on an as-ordered or small quantity basis.

So, even as I'm dying to get my hands on the things I ordered, I understood that quality takes time and as I await receipt I'm looking forward like crazy to having the same experience that so many others have written about with these products.  I have every reason to expect my patience will be rewarded as anticipated.

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Posted by mike1981 on Saturday, February 12, 2011 8:17 AM

I have ordered from fast tracks many time and have never had a problem.

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