What is the price of a new railway coal car?

My grandparents in west-central Illinois (usa) have train tracks about 200 yards from their front porch, so they see their share of trains, especially looooooooong sets of coal cars. This weekend, a bunch of us were on the porch when a set of Burlington-Northern engines came by pulling about 80 brand-new looking coal cars. We got to speculating about the cost of a coal car, with guesses running from $60,000 to $180,000.

Naturally, I sat there pining for a wireless connection and access to the SDMB, as I informed my bemused extended family that I could prolly get the answer within ten minutes. This quickly devolved into an explanation not only about the SDMB, but other odd terms I was using, such as “wifi,” “laptop,” and “internet” (grandparents, great-grandparents and similar folk making up a great deal of the contingent).

So I ask you, SDMB Nation - how much does a brand-new, fresh off the showroom floor coal car go for?

Well, a little searching found that you can get a brand-new one for about $40.99.

Oh.** Not** Lionel you say…

Let me get back to you then.

Well, you could give these people a call. I just did, but the receptionist couldn’t answer my question and the person she put me through to wasn’t there.

I should have mentioned that my Google efforts landed tons of information regarding model trains but decidedly little about actual choo-choo’s.

“With an average car cost of approximately $30,000 and the number of purchased cars varying between 40,000 and 80,000 for the past
3 years, buying new cars costs $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion annually (4.3 to 8.6 percent of the operating expenses for
all Class I railroads).”


Guess I win.

Well, if you buy lots of Lionel cars, you can take advantage of economies of scale.

[sub]I’m such a kidder[/sub]

Association of American Railroads – Policy & Economics Department

New Aluminum coal gon (Bottom drop, standard capacity) about $85k
If steel, cost to build probably 65-70k (accounting for higher steel pricing)
As steel coal gons are not being built right now, you likely saw Aluminum ones.

One of our sister companies is Union Tank Car, often seen as UTLX on train cars. Their bread and butter is leasing. They are incredibly profitable, even through recession because the bulk of all users are leasors.

Sorry I can’t talk costs, because I have to inquire as you would, but it’s a very profitable business.

Fifteen minutes. Sorry we let you down…