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Quality Issues at TrainWorld?

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Posted by the old train man on Friday, November 20, 2020 12:11 PM

Alyth,What if your town doesnt have a hobby shop?

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, November 20, 2020 2:19 PM

We have four. But only two of them are real train stores. The other two just dabble. 

My remarks are mainly aimed at those who order online and then complain the product isn't shipped correctly. Expecting the online distributor to open and then repackage the product is not only pointless but counterproductive. What is needed is to properly repackage the factory box without opening it in order to protect the now single package. 

When the containers are loaded for ocean and rail or truck freight those boxes are tight packed, believe me they have to be or they'd never survive. The factory packaging of each unit also has to be completely tight.  The UPS Neanderthals blamed for damaging stuff literally cannot inflict more damage than a several thousand mile ocean transit inside a container might if the packaging were not up to the job.

Shipping single factory packed packages requires careful packing around the factory box. Some may be better than others at that. For that the outside packaging needs to be both tightly packed around the fsctory package AND capable of  absorbing impacts which the container load did not need to be able to do. 

If you have a LHS you'd be wiser to use them as they have buying power you don't. Of course this may not be an option if you have none.

 Alyth Yard isn't my home, not a hobo and it's way too noisy anyway. It is a famous historical and very current railroad yard which still defines my City and my country of residence. Some very interesting stuff goes on there including a very recent run of CPR Hudson 2816 (not one of the Royals but an H1b converted to oil) under her own steam. 

 https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2020/11/canadian-pacific-no-2816-to-steam-again-for-holiday-train-video  

 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 20, 2020 2:55 PM

 How much worse could Cape Coral be than Key West? Are there a lot of model railroaders on Key West? If so, I missed an opportunity when I was on a cruise that stopped there. That's a heck of a drive if you live in that area to drive down to Key West just to buy some model trains. On a similar note - I am disappointed that the Wikipedia entry does not sya how Lehigh Acres came to be called that. There seems to be no connection to my area, maybe one of those nice Chicgo 'businessmen" who founded it happened to see the name on a milk crate or something.

 There really is no LHS by me. Closest one is almost an hour away, and while it is chocl full - of all the latest products from 20 years ago - crammed in, aisles made smaller by moving the shelving, and now dim because the aisles no longer line up witht he light fixtures - oh and no breaks given even though the same kits are old and dusty and have lingeered on the shelves forever. Unfortunately, the most desirable stuff has long been picked out, but if there's some obscure and not popular old Walthers kit you want, you'll probably find it there. They're more interested in selling RC cars and planes.

                                --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 PRR8259 on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:29 PM

At some dealers, the retail customers can be ham-handed, and do open and inspect models and then damage them in the process.  Those models can and do end up going out mail order.  It happens.

So far as "not having a good train store near you"...and/or "the closest train store is an hour away".  I respectfully submit that the cost of driving a couple hours to maybe some OTHER train store, that might be BETTER, is less than the cost of returning defective items can add up to be (at least in those instances when the buyer is required to eat return postage).

I live in South Central Pennsylvania.  There are actually a lot of things we do that require some driving.  Heck, after the county sent his absentee ballot to us instead of to him, I drove two hours each way just to have my son fill out his vote so we could get it in on time before the deadline.  He was busy doing a paper, so I showed up, visited 15 minutes, and left.

To me, a 2 or even 2.5 hour drive, one way, to do something that I need to do, is virtually nothing--no big deal.  It's only a little gasoline and maybe an EZ Pass toll.  Within 2 hours of me or 2.5 hours of me there are MANY fine train shops where I can go inspect the product in person before I actually plunk down my cash.  My friends and I now get together and make those trips as an event--a break from our life routine--a day out with the guys and maybe even a steak dinner.

Places like Tommy Gilbert's and Mainline Hobby even have Sunday hours which is wonderfully convenient for some of us like my friend who works 6 days a week.  Sure there might be some older inventory there, but I can easily spend a good amount of cash on something.

I realize there actually are some areas where shops might be prohibitively far apart, but if you are really committed to a hobby, driving a couple hours once in awhile (not for a bottle of paint) really isn't or shouldn't be that big of a deal (assuming you are in reasonable health and can stay awake on the road).

Respectfully--

John Mock

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:52 PM

Getting back to Trainworld I recieved my Christmas presents Wednesday with no issues in just one day with standard shipping.

Ony once did I receive a boxcar from them with a broken truck and after a phone call with them they replaced it no questions asked.

Living in Staten Island TW is my LHS as well as my go to internet source and I have had no issues with their customer service at al.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:54 PM

PRR8259
At some dealers, the retail customers can be ham-handed, and do open and inspect models and then damage them in the process.  Those models can and do end up going out mail order.  It happens.

And what I am seeing is evidence that the items I'm getting have been previously handled.  Maybe at the factory, they get a little rough with the packaging and it makes it out to the container anyway.  And somehow, a greater percentage go on to TW rather than others.

And that's not an accusation.  Maybe simply nobody notices.

PRR8259
Within 2 hours of me or 2.5 hours of me there are MANY fine train shops where I can go inspect the product in person before I actually plunk down my cash. 

Well, if a LHS also has a mail order business, the policy of letting somebody inspect the item without purchasing it explains the above.

I had two LHSs near me in previous locales that never let anybody open the box, and neither the owner nor employees were allowed to open the boxes for fear of damaging something out of the tight factory packaging.  Not all LHSs allow customers or employees to fiddle with the products. 

 

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, November 20, 2020 4:29 PM

PRR8259

At some dealers, the retail customers can be ham-handed, and do open and inspect models and then damage them in the process.  Those models can and do end up going out mail order.  It happens.

So far as "not having a good train store near you"...and/or "the closest train store is an hour away".  I respectfully submit that the cost of driving a couple hours to maybe some OTHER train store, that might be BETTER, is less than the cost of returning defective items can add up to be (at least in those instances when the buyer is required to eat return postage).

I live in South Central Pennsylvania.  There are actually a lot of things we do that require some driving.  Heck, after the county sent his absentee ballot to us instead of to him, I drove two hours each way just to have my son fill out his vote so we could get it in on time before the deadline.  He was busy doing a paper, so I showed up, visited 15 minutes, and left.

To me, a 2 or even 2.5 hour drive, one way, to do something that I need to do, is virtually nothing--no big deal.  It's only a little gasoline and maybe an EZ Pass toll.  Within 2 hours of me or 2.5 hours of me there are MANY fine train shops where I can go inspect the product in person before I actually plunk down my cash.  My friends and I now get together and make those trips as an event--a break from our life routine--a day out with the guys and maybe even a steak dinner.

Places like Tommy Gilbert's and Mainline Hobby even have Sunday hours which is wonderfully convenient for some of us like my friend who works 6 days a week.  Sure there might be some older inventory there, but I can easily spend a good amount of cash on something.

I realize there actually are some areas where shops might be prohibitively far apart, but if you are really committed to a hobby, driving a couple hours once in awhile (not for a bottle of paint) really isn't or shouldn't be that big of a deal (assuming you are in reasonable health and can stay awake on the road).

Respectfully--

John Mock

 

Well John, I enjoy trips to both of the shops you mentioned, and likely to several others you are refering to since I'm not really that far from you.

And to make larger purchases, sure, or to make a day of it just for fun now and then sure, I do that.

But I go in shops all the time and don't find any of things on my want list........

And, on the other hand, I have not had all this bad experiance with damaged shipments either?

I'm curently more interested in a list of NOS Proto2000 stuff on Ebay, every piece less than $100, than in anything recently released...........

And remember, whatever I buy, I will own for the rest of my life.........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, November 20, 2020 6:05 PM

The tread seems to have veered to local train stores, which is what threads do.

I recently moved to the Shenandoah Valley.  My builder linked me to one of his clients, also a model railroader.  He informed me that the train store in Staunton (pronounced Stanton) wasn't much and he was going to check out Roanoke.  The Staunton store has since closed.

Haven't heard back, but the internet reviews are "overpriced and a surly owner."  I was OK with a 2 hour round trip to Gilbert's or Mainline Hobbies, but a 4 hour round trip

I watch a youtube channel for a guy that I like, but it is nothing special.  For some reason, I just find the guy honest and likeable.  He is a regular guy (Not MRVP's regular guy) 

He routinely does box openings and finds broken parts.  He gets support from a hobby shop, but I don't blame the shop or the manufacturer.  Parts and detail have gotten so fragile, they don't survive transportation. 

Is it USPS or UPS's fault? Well maybe, but UPS has a new option, where you can track the progress of you package.  It's not quite real time, maybe it updates every 15 or 20 minutes, I'm not sure, but you can watch the UPS truck go back and forth a couple miles from you home, for most of the day.

Do they not get ticked off by traffic, just plain tired, hungry, need to use the bathroom?  I told the last UPS driver I was tracking her all day and asked how many stops did she make?  She said easily 200.  You don't deliver 200 packages everyday, 5 days a week and treat every box like it contains a newborn baby.  I couldn't do it, none of us could do it.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Autonerd on Saturday, November 21, 2020 1:30 PM
I've had pretty good success with orders from TW. (The one return I had was my fault -- I ordered the wrong thing -- and they happily exchanged it for the difference in price.) I did get one Athearn RTR SD40 with an air tank that fell off in the box. I never did get it reattached, it's still there in the box... It's obvious from their stock they deal with a lot of older items. The stock is bound to get moved around a bit over the years. I think it all comes down to manufacturer packaging. When I wanted to buy a Bowser C636, it took me a couple of tries to get one that wasn't broken. First was poor packaging by Walthers (big box with one inflatable plastic bubble). I contact them with pics and they were very concerned and helpful. Bottom line, I think we need to count on the manufacturer to produce sufficient packaging. Many model train items will remain in the box for years, decades even, and they should be packaged accordingly. I've purchased several LL Proto 2000 engines in blue and even tan boxes, and never had one that was damaged (except for cracked axles) -- maybe the occasional squashed lift ring from handling. OTOH I think the plastic package Athearn uses for RTR engines is a joke. As for my LHS... would love to use them and do when they are price competetive. Sadly I'm a budget model railroader and either buy older stock or newer stuff when the price is good. I troll the sale pages at TW and Big W and that's where I make the majority of my purchases. My LHS will always honor crazy sale prices from Walthers, but they make no money on the deal and taking advantage just isn't right. Aaron
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Posted by selector on Saturday, November 21, 2020 3:24 PM

Last order from trainworld is indeed my last.  I specificed USPS so that I wouldn't be charged that bogus "customs brokerage" fee by the couriers. This isn't a forgettable $10, it's about $35. They sent it by courier.  I complained, they shrugged and pretty much told me to get over it.  I didn't.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 21, 2020 4:52 PM

selector

Last order from trainworld is indeed my last.  I specificed USPS so that I wouldn't be charged that bogus "customs brokerage" fee by the couriers. This isn't a forgettable $10, it's about $35. They sent it by courier.  I complained, they shrugged and pretty much told me to get over it.  I didn't.

 

Shipping to/from your country to/from this country does seem full of costs and problems that seem unnecessary.

I am four hours from Trainworld. If I place an order by mid day, it is usually here the next day, no damage, no drama.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 6:05 PM

Sheldon--

To be clear: my intention with buying these items IS to own them for the rest of my life.

However, most of the items I'm buying were actually made in China, and are of inconsistent quality.  One internet/mail-ordered engine may look absolutely fantastic, and another one of the same model and production run, even the same roadname and paint scheme, may look terrible to my eyes.

Yes, absolutely, I'm looking at Ebay for vintage Proto 2000, Genesis, Bowser, Atlas Classic or Master Series Silver units that not only are less costly but also meet my QA/QC inspection.  Also it is true that as the price increases, my inspection is more stringent.  I just expect more of a $225 plain dc diesel than I do of a $100 unit.

Shopping for the vintage stuff is definitely worthwhile.  Guess I'm going to have to do it more, or else maybe stick with the steam offerings.  Believe it or not, the latest steam offerings have been more consistently assembled and are looking very good to me.  Just saw new BLI brass hybrid SP&S 4-8-4 today.  Gorgeous.  Straight running boards.  Well done indeed.

Back to topic:  I have in the past seen items that TW dragged to shows to the point that boxes were dog-eared, and they shipped me defective merchandise.  The last straw was an Athearn Genesis SP unstreamlined 4-8-2.  They threw the Genesis box into a larger box with NO cushioning at all.  It arrived badly damaged.  Because the model was hard to find and I really wanted one, I tried to repair it the best I could which included gluing, sanding, and repainting the badly broken cab roof.

There were other issues that I experienced with TW.  I no longer order.

John

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Posted by TheFlyingScotsman on Saturday, November 21, 2020 6:11 PM

I have used them twice for locomotives and I have had no issues with the product which is just as well because I am in the UK, however, the last one I had - an MTH SP GS-4 - arrived with the bottom of the box completely open. Had it not been for the fact that the MTH box was so long it was jammed on the ends of the packaging it would have fallen out goodness knows where. Now 2 things here. Not long ago if the box was like that the FedEx I think it was would have taped it up. Secondly this was a TW issue because the brown tape they use was not wet or whatever and it simply had no adhesion to the cardboard whatsoever. I took a picture of course just on the off chance there was a problem but the locomotive was flawless so I moved on.

Would I buy from them again? Yes I would. Their shipping charges across the pond are great, something like $55 for a big heavy package and thats FedEx so it is in my hand within the week. Some places now to ship overseas are nuts. Like $75 for a $45 passenger car.

I dare say I am lucky. I have been getting stuff direct from the US to the UK and Middle East since the late '90s and I have never had anything that was in "kit" format when the box was opened, the worst being a detail here and there loose.

I shouldn't have said that should I? Big Smile

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:20 PM

TheFlyingScotsman
Would I buy from them again? Yes I would. Their shipping charges across the pond are great, something like $55 for a big heavy package and thats FedEx so it is in my hand within the week. Some places now to ship overseas are nuts. Like $75 for a $45 passenger car.

Since the exchange rate is so favorable right now, I have been looking at making purchases from UK based companies (Fenris Games, Essex Miniatures, etc) that I have bought from before. The shipping charges are so high that it is not worth it.

I know what you mean.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 21, 2020 10:14 PM

PRR8259

Sheldon--

To be clear: my intention with buying these items IS to own them for the rest of my life.

However, most of the items I'm buying were actually made in China, and are of inconsistent quality.  One internet/mail-ordered engine may look absolutely fantastic, and another one of the same model and production run, even the same roadname and paint scheme, may look terrible to my eyes.

Yes, absolutely, I'm looking at Ebay for vintage Proto 2000, Genesis, Bowser, Atlas Classic or Master Series Silver units that not only are less costly but also meet my QA/QC inspection.  Also it is true that as the price increases, my inspection is more stringent.  I just expect more of a $225 plain dc diesel than I do of a $100 unit.

 

John

 

Well John,

In my 53 years in the hobby, I have sold some where between 6-12 model train items on Ebay, not counting things like DCC decoders removed from Bachmann locos, extra Kadee wheel sets after I replaced them with Intermountain wheel sets, or excess Athearn rigid plastic trucks after I replaced them with sprung trucks.....

I don't settle for broken or defective products. But I suspect my "standards" of detail and appearance area little more pragmatic than yours......

Also, as a kit builder and freelancer, the final appearance of many of my models is very much up to me.......

Is the quality of these products "variable"? Sure it is. Have prices moved upwards in the last few years? They have.

That is why I count myself lucky and smart to have purchased what I wanted when it was available and less expensive. The key being that I knew what I wanted, and I have not changed my mind. 

Over the last few days I have been reviewing my roster, and my needs list for the new layout, since it is a sure thing my wife will insist I treat myself to something for the holiday.

I scanned the new offerings, and scanned Ebay for treasures, I have reviewed the operational plan for the new layout. And I can barely come up with a short list of locos or rolling stock not already on hand.

When asked what I wanted for Christmas, my first response was "more time to play with the toys I already have".

At one time when I was younger, I became pretty obsessed with building the "perfect" model train layout. Every car would be perfectly detailed, everything would be exactly correct......then I realized I was having no fun.........

Now, six blue box freight cars can be coupled to six beautifully detailed cars from Spring Mills Depot, or Intermountain, and I am happy as can be, as those 40 cars trains roll gracefully around those 38" radius curves, pulled by those Bachmann Spectrum and original Proto2000 locos........thru those cheap Atlas turnouts.....

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by PRR8259 on Sunday, November 22, 2020 12:04 AM

I'm not even looking for "perfection" but I don't want engine models that would fail a basic prototype safety inspection (horrible handrails, etc) to go out on the road, either.

I just traded with a local friend to get an Atlas 2003 vintage PC C-425.  No LED lights, but it runs and looks great for what I want.  Handrails are great--not too fragile, soft, flexible, if accidently pinched will return to their permanent set.

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Posted by nycmodel on Sunday, November 22, 2020 9:35 AM

In defense of Trainworld let me say that I have never had an issue with items I received via the Internet and shipped to me. I will add that I am about 45 minutes from Trainworld so shipments go from Brooklyn to Uniondale (UPS hub) and then to me. Usually within 48 hours. The one time recently that I purchased an engine in person at the Lynbrook store, they took the engine out of the box and inspected it and tested it. I don't expect them to do that with online orders. Isn't that the thing you give up when shopping for anything online? Hope the picture is accurate and that it arrives in one piece. I have had plenty of non-train items delivered in pieces.

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, November 30, 2020 1:08 PM

As an update to my recent experience of getting two locos in the mail from TW, both with broken or missing detail parts.

My request for a return and in-store credit was denied.  LOL.

I mentioned in another thread a while ago that TW offers returns on a case by case basis, referring to the possibility that requests may be denied based upon "too many returns".

I wondered when I would hit their red flag.  I have returned several items over the year, all for broken parts.  I have also fixed two other items.

I understand that customers may somehow take advantage of liberal returns, but all of my requests have been legit.

As I said bfore, one of the locos was purchased with in store credit that was given because of a previous return of another loco with broken parts.

Oh well.  I guess I'll have to look to other vendors if I can't return a mail order loco at TW.

 

- Douglas

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