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They're prices have gone up significantly over the last 2 years, but I think we all have to remember that without a big competitor like MTH, Lionel's prices will continue to escalate.  They have a total domination on the market now.  The shame of it is I always thought for the last ten years that Lionel's steamers have pulled away from MTH in that their sound quality was better and the whistle steam came equipped on almost all of their engines.  But, MTH's steamers from the last  year have caught up in a huge way with authentic sound and whistle steam coming standard.  Not only that, but MTH's engines are about 350-400 dollars less than Lionels at this point.  I was just telling my LHS today that if MTH was still in business today I truly believe Lionel would be in trouble.  

Not sure what catalog you're looking at, but the one I'm looking at says just the engine is $1499.99.  I have the Legacy K4 Pacific from the 2011 Catalog, it listed at $899.99.  The addition of BT isn't enough to make me want to pay close to double for a similar engine.

John,

I, too, am looking at the catalog listed above in this thread.   The price you see is for the set.....

pacific set

leg eng



Sorry they're kind of blurry.  Best I could grab from the video.

The locos by themselves are NOT $1500

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@A.J. posted:

They're prices have gone up significantly over the last 2 years, but I think we all have to remember that without a big competitor like MTH, Lionel's prices will continue to escalate.  They have a total domination on the market now.  The shame of it is I always thought for the last ten years that Lionel's steamers have pulled away from MTH in that their sound quality was better and the whistle steam came equipped on almost all of their engines.  But, MTH's steamers from the last  year have caught up in a huge way with authentic sound and whistle steam coming standard.  Not only that, but MTH's engines are about 350-400 dollars less than Lionels at this point.  I was just telling my LHS today that if MTH was still in business today I truly believe Lionel would be in trouble.  

Wrong forum.  MTH has not been much competition to Lionel American Flyer.  2 catalogues in 7 years and the products from the second catalogue are only just now being delivered. Also, there are no MTH steamers in S.

@Chuck K posted:

Wrong forum.  MTH has not been much competition to Lionel American Flyer.  2 catalogues in 7 years and the products from the second catalogue are only just now being delivered. Also, there are no MTH steamers in S.

It is the fault of the subject line that O Gauge comments show up here.

There is no indication that it is about S Scale/Gauge.  I tend to search out S related posts first and passed over this tread initially because of that.

"2021 Lionel Catalog Steam" can cover everything from HO to the el-cheapo G gauge sets in the 2021 catalog.

This part of the forum lies deep withing the realm of the O gauge community.  We must make the "S" distinction in the subject line if we don't want comments relating to O Gauge.  I mentioned earlier that the subject line be amended to add either "Flyer" or "S Gauge."  Obviously, that did not happen.

This is the responsibility of the OP of any S discussion to indicate somehow in the subject line, particularly with a generic topic like steam locomotives.

Back to our regularly scheduled discussion...

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
I find it interesting that any idea with new tooling is "too expensive." I can remember when ANY new large locomotive in S was considered "too expensive" and then there was the Big Boy done mostly with existing tooling as a "toe in the water" test--and it sold out! All of a sudden S was worth doing other large engines, some really nice ones too!! But now, once again, "too expensive." "Wouldn't sell." Its kind of a self induced conclusion that the scale is dying.
@traindavid posted:
I find it interesting that any idea with new tooling is "too expensive." I can remember when ANY new large locomotive in S was considered "too expensive" and then there was the Big Boy done mostly with existing tooling as a "toe in the water" test--and it sold out! All of a sudden S was worth doing other large engines, some really nice ones too!! But now, once again, "too expensive." "Wouldn't sell." Its kind of a self induced conclusion that the scale is dying.

The Big Boy has one thing going for it: Mystique.  It's a big honkin' engine that most everybody is in love with.  Had the K-Line tooling not be available, I doubt there would've been one.  I will still carp about it being oversized and mis-proportioned for S, but it did open the door for the Challenger.

However, for some reason it appears the Challenger didn't do so well because they were offered in five new roadnames (four of them fantasy) the following year.  I would hazard to guess they were available because orders for the first run didn't meet expectations. I don't think Lionel fired up the assembly line to make more for 2011.

The Y3 (arguably the best Flyer locomotive made post-Gilbert, IMHO) appears to have sold well.  Even some Scalers ponied up the extra 500 bucks to have them converted to scale.  Although had the conversions not been offered by a third party, those sales wouldn't have happened.

So, now we get a platoon of 6 separate sale Pacific's.  One prototype (B&O,) one quasi-prototype (USRA.  Should have the purchasing railroad on the sided of the coal bunker, but I won't really ding the lack of one.  An intrepid modeller could add that with decals.) and four tastefully done fantasy roads (AT&SF, D&RGW, GN and NYC.)

Then there's the two set locomotives: One fantasy (Anniversary) and one prototype (Reading & Northern.)

The Anniversary Pacific is in eye of the beholder territory.  The R&N will depend on color accuracy, but both may fall victim to the set prices.

So, what can we expect in the future?  Don't know.  But if Lionel still has the Mikado drive tooling, we may see those in the near future.

Rusty

So, what can we expect in the future?  Don't know.  But if Lionel still has the Mikado drive tooling, we may see those in the near future.

Rusty

The Mikado is a great engine, however I would balk at buying another ‘new’ one because of the unwanted electronics I am forced to buy.  I run DC and see no need for all the fancy stuff that has to be included just to get it to run on 10 different systems.  I believe I have one of the first Y-3s reprogramed to run on DC and I am very disappointed with its ‘work around’ performance.  You sort of never know what it’s going to do.  That is why with any Flyonel engine I have the first thing is to take the boards out.  So $700.00 for a $450.00 engine with the difference being unless electronics?   Easy – no thanks.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

The Mikado is a great engine, however I would balk at buying another ‘new’ one because of the unwanted electronics I am forced to buy.  I run DC and see no need for all the fancy stuff that has to be included just to get it to run on 10 different systems.  I believe I have one of the first Y-3s reprogramed to run on DC and I am very disappointed with its ‘work around’ performance.  You sort of never know what it’s going to do.  That is why with any Flyonel engine I have the first thing is to take the boards out.  So $700.00 for a $450.00 engine with the difference being unless electronics?   Easy – no thanks.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I remember that adventure. When I did testing I discovered that reliable DC operation on the Y3 depended solely on the power pack.

But I don't see anyone else with the potential to produce USRA Mikado's right now.  AM's having trouble bringing out the Vandebuilt tender Pacific and apparently has no interest in making a Mikado chassis to place under the Pacific's boiler (which would make a fairly nice, bare-bones USRA Heavy Mikado.)

Rusty

So, now we get a platoon of 6 separate sale Pacific's.  One prototype (B&O,) one quasi-prototype (USRA.  Should have the purchasing railroad on the sided of the coal bunker, but I won't really ding the lack of one.  An intrepid modeller could add that with decals.) and four tastefully done fantasy roads (AT&SF, D&RGW, GN and NYC.)

I did my research on prototypical light pacifics yesterday after seeing comments in this thread about the fantasy schemes in the catalogue.  I was delighted to find some great photos of several of L&N's. It looks like the catalogued 'USRA' version will be a great candidate for conversion to L&N or one of the very few other prototype roads like ACL or GTW with a little bit of paint work and some new decals. To my knowledge there has never been an RTR L&N steamer made in S (and believe me I scoured the NASG page looking when came into S), so I will get at least one and perhaps two of these USRA's and will soon have my first L&N steamer or two with just a wee bit of modification. I just wanted to point this out in case there are any L&N, ACL or GTW fans starving for an S scale steamer.

@Chuck K posted:

I did my research on prototypical light pacifics yesterday after seeing comments in this thread about the fantasy schemes in the catalogue.  I was delighted to find some great photos of several of L&N's. It looks like the catalogued 'USRA' version will be a great candidate for conversion to L&N or one of the very few other prototype roads like ACL or GTW with a little bit of paint work and some new decals. To my knowledge there has never been an RTR L&N steamer made in S (and believe me I scoured the NASG page looking when came into S), so I will get at least one and perhaps two of these USRA's and will soon have my first L&N steamer or two with just a wee bit of modification. I just wanted to point this out in case there are any L&N, ACL or GTW fans starving for an S scale steamer.

Lionel did make a Flyer ACL Pacific back in 2008.

Rusty

Rusty, what were the four fantasy schemes for American Flyer Challenger? On the NASG website I looked up the models offered by Lionel (Clinchfield, Denver and Rio Grande Western, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Spokane/Portland & Seattle) and checked the history of the Challenger 4-6-6-4 class, and it appears that all of these railroads did own Challengers. Many did not like them and traded them off to other railroads as soon as they could, but they did run them. Or did Lionel take some liberties with the sizes of driving wheels and graphics from real life? I'm curious because I thought Lionel did a good job with these after recovering from the Big Boy.

Terry

@richabr posted:

Just stopped by my LHS and took a quick look, as I didn't have much time, at the new catalog.

A suggestion.  Rename the thread to say 2021 Lionel Catalog S-Scale Steam.

That will clearly identify which end of the catalog this thread pertains to and stop dummies like me from posting about the O-scale stuff.

As the thread starter, you can edit the Subject.

@TOKELLY posted:

Rusty, what were the four fantasy schemes for American Flyer Challenger? On the NASG website I looked up the models offered by Lionel (Clinchfield, Denver and Rio Grande Western, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Spokane/Portland & Seattle) and checked the history of the Challenger 4-6-6-4 class, and it appears that all of these railroads did own Challengers. Many did not like them and traded them off to other railroads as soon as they could, but they did run them. Or did Lionel take some liberties with the sizes of driving wheels and graphics from real life? I'm curious because I thought Lionel did a good job with these after recovering from the Big Boy.

Terry

They did own Challengers, just not the same design as the UP and Rio Grande (which the D&RGW got by way of the War Production Board, then the Rio Grande later sold them to the Clinchfield.)

That classifies the other four as fantasy in my book.  Just like the Flyerchief Northern's in the 2020 V1 catalog.  Yes all 6 roads had 4-8-4's but they are fantasy paint jobs on a distinctively UP locomotive.

I'm not criticizing the Challengers, (or the Northern's) at least Lionel didn't give them screwy paint schemes...

BTW: GN bought their two 4-6-6-4's from the SP&S in 1946, then sold them back in 1950 and the SP&S scrapped them in 1960.  NP, and WP didn't sell their Challengers, they held on to them until they were retired and scrapped.  NP scrapped theirs between 1955 and 1959.  WP scrapped their 4-6-6-4's in 1952.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

Thanks for those details, Rusty. I knew about the D&RGW, but I wasn't sure about the others. Lionel does take a lot of heat for failing to apply railroad-specific details to locomotives, and this is particularly difficult for steam locomotives that were typically "custom" jobs for each road. When Lionel does a surprisingly good job with road-specific (and probably expensive) modifications such as on the first issue of the U33Cs, those efforts go unnoticed. I hope their marketing group does not give up on S despite chronic the griping but, instead, continues to seek advice and recommendations. Maybe a small committee of "experts" from the NASG (National Association of S Gaugers) could take surveys, fight among themselves, and provide some information that Lionel could assess. My guess is that the excellence of the U33Cs, Y-3s, and improvements in the SD70ACes and ES44ACs was partly the result of "consultants" who are or were members of the NASG.

Terry

@TOKELLY posted:

My guess is that the excellence of the U33Cs, Y-3s, and improvements in the SD70ACes and ES44ACs was partly the result of "consultants" who are or were members of the NASG.

Terry

If they only they offered scale wheels for the latest batches of U33C's.  The wheels made available for the first run won't work because of a gearing change.

I have friends that refuse to buy the SD70's and ES44's because the headlight is not in the nose.  Only NS and some UP's had the headlights on the cab up by the numberboards.  My friends feel that for the price Lionel's asking for them, they could at least move the headlights where the bulk of railroads have them.  I disagree with them, but they won't change their minds.  I figure we were lucky to have what we have.  If Lionel didn't try to jump on the UP and NS "Heritage Bandwagon," we probably wouldn't have modern diesels at all.

Rusty

Lionel does do some odd things now and then, such as cylindrical hoppers with misaligned scale wheels complete with the large American Flyer couplers. The latest U33Cs and U36Cs should have scale wheels as an option, as you said. The Y-3s could run on DC, but they didn't seem to know it until that was pointed out to them (the backup light on the tender is on in forward and off in reverse, though.) At the end of 2014 about 6.4% of all ES44ACs had the headlight between the numberboards, and I agree that Norfolk Southern's "Heritage Bandwagon" was all that Lionel was looking at then. Although it bothered me, I figured I could fake it a bit by fitting a BTS headlight with MV lenses into the rectangular depression meant for a nose light on the ES44AC.  It's held on only by GOOP glue so as not to damage the paint if I were to remove it. It doesn't light, but that locomotive trails the BNSF SD70ACe with the numberboard headlight and, unfortunately, a number for an SD70ACe with the nose light.

If it weren't for the misplaced headlight, the ES44AC locomotives would rank along the Y-3 and the Berkshire as American Flyer locomotives where Lionel got almost everything right. Since the Mikado nearly 15 years ago, Lionel has provided some very nice locomotives for the S gauge high-railer. With just a little more effort they could appeal to those who use scale track to run diesel locomotives. BNSF dieselsBNSF SD70 high headlight

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Good morning,,

I am not an S scale person, as a matter of fact I run on original Gilbert track and rubber roadbed.

I am not looking for an argument with any of the others here on the forum, but just wondering. I have seen a number of S scale layouts illustrated and a few in person. I know a number of scalers do scratch building, something way beyond my capabilities, and looking at some of the photos of these layouts they are fantastic. My question is would it be possible for any of you who really want the locomotives with scale wheels to remachine the high rail wheelsets  from the big L to fit your desires? I realize these products are expensive as purchased now but, might this be a way to get more of what you want.

Just a thought from an American Flyer operator.

Ray

It is the time and cost of having to remove the wheels, machine them and refit them, especially for steam locomotives. Add this to the initial purchase cost and it is going to make it prohibitive to a lot of people. S Helper had the right idea on the diesels.

I suspect the art of the true scratch builders of years ago is not quite the same as today. People want to take something out of the box and expect it to meet all requirements and not do much to them. With high quality/detail comes a cost and somewhere has to be a compromise.

@Rayin"S" posted:
My question is would it be possible for any of you who really want the locomotives with scale wheels to remachine the high rail wheelsets  from the big L to fit your desires? I realize these products are expensive as purchased now but, might this be a way to get more of what you want.

Just a thought from an American Flyer operator.

Ray

@Ukaflyer posted:

It is the time and cost of having to remove the wheels, machine them and refit them, especially for steam locomotives. Add this to the initial purchase cost and it is going to make it prohibitive to a lot of people. S Helper had the right idea on the diesels.



Fred Rouse of the now pretty much defunct S Scale Locomotive and Supply offered a limited amount of scale conversions for the Y3.  Cost was $500.00 plus shipping.  An additional $75.00 got you the DCC code installed.

Rusty

@Rayin"S" posted:

My question is would it be possible for any of you who really want the locomotives with scale wheels to remachine the high rail wheelsets  from the big L to fit your desires?

Unfortunately the profile of a high rail wheel, esp. an AF one, is very different from one that meets the scale wheel std. So it is a matter of machining from scratch rather than modifying highrail wheels.  NWSL will make custom wheels, and they are currently making some to fit the U33c/36c based on the request of Rick Koch. I don't yet know what the cost will be.

@Chuck K posted:

Unfortunately the profile of a high rail wheel, esp. an AF one, is very different from one that meets the scale wheel std. So it is a matter of machining from scratch rather than modifying highrail wheels.  NWSL will make custom wheels, and they are currently making some to fit the U33c/36c based on the request of Rick Koch. I don't yet know what the cost will be.

However, when operating your trains, can you really see the difference between High-rail and scale wheelsets?  Or the difference in height of the rail?  The difference in height is about 1/32".

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

However, when operating your trains, can you really see the difference between High-rail and scale wheelsets?  Or the difference in height of the rail?  The difference in height is about 1/32".

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Well, yes, no and maybe.  While I posed a lot of my HiRail stuff on my former code 100 railroad, I certainly couldn't run them on it.

Y3 122212 04

Although I'll admit in operation on larger rail, it does get difficult to notice.

hw0106

When I ran a video taken at this train show in 2001 to a very detailed-oriented HO modeller, he didn't even notice the claw couplers until I pointed them out.   Even the AM's code 148 rail isn't that noticeable.

I am considering moving up to Fox Valley track whenever I get around to building a new layout.  It may be scale, it may be HiRail, it may be hybrid with the turnout mod.  Haven't decided.

Rusty

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Regarding the statement “Ask 20 S Gauge people what they want and you will get 25 different answers” I believe the problem is with Lionel.  It’s true you can’t please everybody but you can find out what a majority of people were willing to buy.  For 2 years I did surveys here and with some user groups to find out the top 5 items in multiple categories (Engines, Cars, Track & Accessories) people want Lionel to make.  They were ranked and Lionel saw them.  It would make more sense to pull from those lists then make engines, cars and sets that no one asked for.  Better to please 50% of the people then 0% of the people.  If they don’t like what their customers came up with then offer us a list of 5 choices and see what we would be willing to buy.

—Rocco—

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