We are glad you found us on the Internet. We are a small company,
and we cannot write a personal reply to each of the many letters
we get each week. Hopefully the following will cover most of
the common inquiries we receive.
as a part-time venture in 1962. Our first kit was a wood and
metal HO craftsman kit of the General American Airslide covered
hopper. We released this kit in ready-to-assemble plastic form
in 1992. Today we offer one of the most extensive line for N
scalers in the USA. We are continuing to expand our HO line
as well. We have locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and
tractor-trailers, as well as track, plastic structure kits and
accessories in both HO and N scales. Thank you for your support
over the past 50 years.
We now have our
manufacturing plant and warehouse in Tucson, Arizona. Our Illinois
plant and warehouse was closed in 1999 and now everything in
in Sunny Arizona, where I should also note the price of gas
is 50-60 cents a gallon cheaper than in Illinois at this point
in time. Our products are run in batches, with re-runs based
on back-orders received. With hundreds and hundreds of products
offered, we cannot keep every item in stock all the time. We
advertise regularly in both Model Railroader and Railroad Model
Craftsman, and over 50,000 modelers on average view our web site each month. When you see a new item advertised, we urge you to
place an order with your local hobby shop.
If you do not have
a hobby shop near you that stock's our line, or will not special order our products for you, you may order directly from us.
As many as 1,000 modelers order directly from us each month.
8101 E. Research
Tucson, Arizona 85710
Phone (520) 721-8939
Fax (520) 721-8940
Con-Cor accepts checks, money orders,MasterCard / VISA
/ Discover Card/ and American Express for payment.
Please allow a
total of up to 3 weeks to receive your order if you order directly
from us. Once received here, most orders only take 2-3 days
to be processed, but if we do not have an item from your order
on the shelf, but have the all componets for it in our warehouse
your order is then "side tracked" to the assembly area where
the missing items can be made up and added to your order, but
this make take another 5-6 working days in our factory before
the order in shipped.
Finally, once an
order leaves here it can take up to 5-6 days to reach you if
you live across the country from Arizona. So while most orders
only take about 7-8 days to reach most customers, some orders
may take up to 3 weeks to reach the customer. Click Here to learn more about our Order processing and manufacturing process.
We Decide What To Make
We base our production
runs on orders received, plus a small overage. Because of the
small market and the small number of new modelers entering the
hobby, we find that we sell about 50% of total sales of an item
during its first year on the market. The other 50% is spread out
over the next 10-15 years. Because of this, manufacturers are
constantly adding new items, as these new items usually account
for 75% of yearly sales.
the list of kits and accessories gets quite long, as items are
rarely discontinued. Since sales are low on items that have
been on the market for 3 or more years, perhaps only one small
run is made each year to fill back-orders. On low demand items,
a run may be scheduled only every other year. A small manufacturer
cannot afford to carry a large inventory of each item....he
does not have the warehouse space or money to do so. Is there
any solution? No, not really.
We want to thank
you for buying our products. We thought the following information
might be helpful to you. Model railroading as a hobby is one
of the smaller ones. There are about 200,000 members in this
fine hobby. That number is divided into about 150,000 HO modelers,
27,000 N scalers, and the rest split among G, O, S and Z scales.
2008 retail sales of model railroad items is estimated at $230,000,000.
This sounds like a lot of money, but all the model train manufacturers
put together would not make the bottom rung of the Fortune 500
list of companies.
Every model railroad
manufacturer has problems similar to large manufacturers of
automobiles, appliances, or whatever. But they have far less
staff, time and money to solve these problems. All but the top
10-15 model railroad manufacturers are part-time companies.
Either the owner has another full-time job, or model railroading
is only a part-time fill-in for the company they run, and takes
a back seat to the other business when that business is good.
Because of their
small size, many model manufacturers have trouble getting small
quantities of the goods and parts they need. It is no longer
easy to get only 100 lbs of plastic, or 500 pieces of an electronic
part. (One small maker of tunnel portals had a terrible time
getting plaster -- his supplier wanted to sell it to him in
40 ft trailer loads -- a 10-year supply, even if he had a nice
dry place to store it).
Many model railroad
items are imported, so the manufacturer must be pretty good
with the crystal ball to figure out how many items he will need
until the next shipment arrives.
Some customers tell
the manufacturers they should stop coming out with new items,
and make more of the older items that have been out of stock
for awhile. But, as noted above, the sales of the older items
will not support the volume of business needed for a small manufacturer
to stay in business. It if did, common sense would dictate that
the manufacturer would concentrate on older items. The fact
that we all work on new items proves the point made above.
Don't You Make....?'
One of the frequent
questions we get is, "Why don't you make a ......?" We always
have new products in the design stage. But tooling costs to
build the steel molds from which our models are made are very
high -- tens of thousands of dollars for each mold. We must
choose each model with broad sales appeal to help amortize our
tooling costs. Our choices are based on many factors, including
customer suggestions, input from railroad historical societies,
model railroad clubs, etc.
ABC Railroad Never Had....'
we often receive is, "the ABC railroad never had a car like
the one that you offer". Rolling stock comes in hundreds of
styles and variations. We cannot possibly offer them all. So,
if the ABC railroad ran 60 ft gondolas, and we offer a 54 ft
ABC gondola, we are not trying to rewrite history. Rather, we
are offering a model that might not otherwise be available.
We feel this is a reasonable compromise.
Most model manufacturers
do not have a formal warranty program. But most companies do
have a customer satisfaction policy, in that they will try to
resolve a customer problem. Sometimes a customer expects more
than a small manufacturer can supply. Many modelers expect a
manufacturer to carry all the parts needed and be able to fix
"as new" a train that was made 10, 15, or even 20 years ago.
This is unrealistic in the real world. Model trains wear out
the same as any other product. The customer should realize this,
and be prepared to replace an older item once it has worn out.
The same is true
of parts. Each manufacturer tries to keep the parts on hand
that his "crystal ball" tells him he will need. But it is only
a guess, and if he guesses wrong, then he has to wait until
the next time that model is run, to over-run the parts he needs.
Sometimes the best source for parts are local model train shows
or swap meets, where you can often find a "deal" on older items,
and use them as a source for the spare parts that you need.
Prototype Paint Schemes
The one item
we get more mail on than anything else are the colors we use
on our models. We often get mail from modelers who claim that
the color we used was wrong, but they do not send color chips
or other reference material to back up their claim. We do the
best we can.
We have railroad
photos that show two or three of the same cars or locomotives
coupled together, and each one is a slightly different color.
In time, paint chips can fade, or they may have been taken from
a car or locomotive that has been out in the weather for some
In addition, the
government has placed strict limits on what is allowed in the
manufacture of paints -- no lead, no cadmium, etc. This makes
it almost impossible to match some of the older colors that
used lead or cadmium in their pigments. We also find that paint
manufacturers may change a shade slightly from one batch to
the next. Sometimes it is human error; sometimes it is because
the government has changed the rules on what compounds they
can use. Ever try to go back to the paint store and match exactly
the color you painted the bedroom several years ago?
One of these
days, we hope to produce a videotape that will show all the
steps involved in making model trains at our Tucson, Arizona
factory. This will help to explain a lot more of the "how and
why" we do things. If you happen to be visiting Tucson, you
are welcome to stop by for a tour of the plant. The tour takes
about 25 minutes. Tours are generally available Monday thru
Friday from 9 to 11 am and again from 1 to 3 pm. We would appreciate
a call ahead to let us know that you are coming so we can make an
appointment for you, as some days we are in meetings almost all day.
Our phone number is (520) 721-8939.
your local hobby shop. (You can find a list of Hobby Shops at
the Trains.com web site.) He may not be perfect, but he is trying
to do his best for you. As noted above, if you have no local
dealer, who will take care of your needs, you can order directly
from Con-Cor Trains. Click Here to see Details on how to order from Con-Cor Trains.
Some Company Highlights:
Celebrating our 50th year in Business in March 2012
Jim Conway Awarded NMRA "Industry Pioneer Award" in 2008
Jim Conway inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in 2010
None of the would have been possible without the support
and patience of Jim's parents Millward and Lucille Conway, and his Uncle Russel who was a partner in the original company with Jim.