Skip to main content

Lion Chief Christmas Thomas Remote DOA

I live in Japan and I purchased a Lionel Christmas Thomas set from MB Klein to set up at my brother’s in Pittsburgh for the holidays. At 5:30 on Christmas morning, I put the new Thomas on the track only to find the remote dead. Fortunately I had a new Lion Chief+ RS 3 from CT McCormick and three engines dating back to ’47 that were working perfectly, so Thomas being stuck in Sodor was a disappointment but not that big of a problem. My daughter didn't notice as I put the new Thomas set away before she woke up.

The holidays were a blur and I have only had a chance to contact MB Klein now that I am back in Japan. They were very nice and offered me a refund or credit if I return the set. However now I am back in Japan and I am not one to return stuff anyway ( I usually just fix it which happens about 50% of the time I buy Lionel stuff,) it will cost more to ship it back than the set is worth, so I’d just like to get it working. I am confident it is just a dead remote. When I put the engine on the track it responds properly but the remote is dead. When the remote is switched on, nothing happens. The light does not come on. Yes, the batteries are fresh and installed properly. I checked this over and over with different sets of new batteries.

MB Klein told me to contact Lionel customer service and I did. After being on hold for 40 minutes, the woman I spoke with told me the only option was for me to return the set because they no longer manufacture this set and none are in stock. She was rather short, unpleasant and unhelpful, something I did not expect from Lionel customer service. When I asked about using the new Lion Chief universal remote due in June, she said it would not work. I did not get the impression the person assisting me deeply understood what she was talking about nor did she really seem to care.

Sadly, this experience leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, my motivation to buy the new Legacy PA set is strongly diminished and I will probably not purchase any more Lion Chief stuff even though my new Lion Chief+ RS 3 is great and a really good value. The irony of not being able to get a part for a brand new Lionel engine, versus getting three old engines that have not seen the light of day for 40 years running perfectly in a matter of hours stings.

I seriously doubt the remote is repairable, but if anyone has had a similar experience please chime in. Also, if you have any advice about what I could do short of returning the set, please let me know.

Happy New Year!


Original Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653