Will They, or Won’t They?

We all have our favorite railroads that we would like to see in our favorite train game (I’m a Southern/L&N man myself). Every once in a while, I will see a post from someone asking why a particular railroad livery isn’t available for the game. Truth is, it’s the actual railroad companies that govern what you can get in a train game, or even what is on the shelves at your local hobby shop. If you are creating a freeware model, most of the time the big corporations won’t pay much attention to you using their trademark, as long as you aren’t using it in a derogatory way. When you create payware though, those same companies tend to be a little more attentive to what you are doing.

When it comes to the railroads here in the U.S., the methods, permissions, and costs for trademark licensing varies widely. Want to know why BNSF is present in every train game available today? It’s because they are very easy to work with when it comes to licensing procedures. However, another railroad, whom for now shall remain unnamed, has expressed the desire to have it’s likeness displayed for the free advertising, but won’t allow a penny to be made from it. When asked why, as this particular railroad has it’s models in every railroad game and simulation out there today, the reply was “we’ve licensed one or two projects some time ago, but we don’t do that now”. Needless to say, they won’t be a part of this package.

Now I have also seen posts with people giving sage advice like “why bother asking permission, as you are to small a producer for these companies to notice?” That may be true, and the reward may be greater than the risk. But it’s never wrong to do the right thing and ask for permission. A little caution now might save a million in lawyer fees later.

So will CSX and it’s predecessors finally make it into Railworks as an officially licensed product? Only time will tell…