A Trickle of MTH S News

From the S-Trains Yahoo board, by Tom Hawley, a dealer of S at train shows:

 

"While at the National Train Show this past weekend I had a nice talk with Mr
Rich Foster of MTH's sales dept. The first thing they hope to get out the
door, in 2013, will be track. Then some freight cars, then some
locomotives. The first locos will be the F3 & F7s because they can fit
their electronic boards in those. The SW & NW locos will require some study
to adapt them to MTH electronics.

The plan is to install the same electronics in our S locomotives that they
use in their O gauge products. It can be run by their DCS or by the NMRA's
DCC. I asked if they might sell them without the DCS/DCC capability, just
plain DC. He said it was possible, but not likely. They tried it in O
gauge but found that when people became familiar with their DCS/DCC, they
liked it, and MTH found themselves with unsold non-DCS/DCC."



Just passing it on...

 

Rusty

Original Post

Well, I figure any news is good news at the moment. 

 

Knowing some of what's involved in bringing my employer's new products to the market, (and there's a lot of pitfalls even when you own your own domestic factory...) it's understandable that it's going to take time for MTH to get up to speed with the Showcase Line.

 

Making trains isn't a turn-key operation.  Tooling has to be inventoried, inspected, repaired/refurbished if necessary, tested. Decisions of what's going to be run have to be made, supplies and materials ordered, then the run has to be scheduled, prototypes built and evaluated, any changes made to both the product and process, the list goes on.  And that's just for what already exists. 

 

While all this is going on, the rest of the business also has to be attended to.

 

Rusty

 

Sept/Oct issue of S Gaugian has a 3 pg. interview with Andy Edleman, VP marketing. Separate S catalog in the fall with 2013 items. Track, rolling stock then loco's, most likely F3's one of which will be SF. Starter sets 3rd qtr of 2013. Prices most likely higher than SHS products.

 

Rich

Good news for Lionel if they can get their product out the door, it gives them a little more time to continue to hold the market.  To me the real battle here will be their RTR sets.  We all (folks already in S) will pick and choose what we want from both sides for our little railroad worlds no matter when items are announced or produced, but that new blood that is out there being targeted by L and MTH (if S IS really the quickest growing segment of model railroading) is more likely to run with one manufacture depending on who's RTR set is most appealing to them.  

 

Ben

NASG&CASG
Originally Posted by NotInWI:

Good news for Lionel if they can get their product out the door, it gives them a little more time to continue to hold the market.  To me the real battle here will be their RTR sets.  We all (folks already in S) will pick and choose what we want from both sides for our little railroad worlds no matter when items are announced or produced, but that new blood that is out there being targeted by L and MTH (if S IS really the quickest growing segment of model railroading) is more likely to run with one manufacture depending on who's RTR set is most appealing to them.  

 

Ben

AND who can get the most shelf space in the stores.  Plus have extra track, rolling stock, accessories and buildings available at the point of sale.  Without the add-ons, a set becomes a lonely curiosity.

 

Rusty

I wasn't really clear.  I just thought it was an example of Lionel having a market segment to grow and then just abandoning it.  If they only offer a high-priced starter set with the Northern or Challenger, and then don't offer any more add-ons -- well, you get the idea.  The Docksider set has been around for a few years but only promoted when first released.  A lot of discounting on it, too.  And now it lacks Fastrack, so it's not an item for the new S push.

 

My point about MTH was that they saw the need for "affordable" Tinplate starter sets and offered them for $600, as well as heaps of accessories whereas Lionel only offered two big -- if quite impressive -- "Collector" sets at just over & under $2,000.

 

I didn't realize that the Bachmann/WBB set was that much.

I can not confirm this, but for WIW, I was told today at the DuPage Co Train Show (IL) that the new Lionel S RTR set will feature a new locomotive to pull it.  I was not able to find out what it was.  I was also told that there will be approximately three versions of the set (road names, freight variations... etc..) and that Lionel will keep it in production so it is always on the shelf like their O Gauge RTR counterparts.  

 

I did not think to ask, will it be TMCC equipped? 

 

This came from a source that has been involved with some of the S manufactures in the past, so I would consider it reliable.

 

Ben

NASG&CASG
Originally Posted by Gilbert Ives:

I wasn't really clear.  I just thought it was an example of Lionel having a market segment to grow and then just abandoning it.  If they only offer a high-priced starter set with the Northern or Challenger, and then don't offer any more add-ons -- well, you get the idea.  The Docksider set has been around for a few years but only promoted when first released.  A lot of discounting on it, too.  And now it lacks Fastrack, so it's not an item for the new S push.

 

My point about MTH was that they saw the need for "affordable" Tinplate starter sets and offered them for $600, as well as heaps of accessories whereas Lionel only offered two big -- if quite impressive -- "Collector" sets at just over & under $2,000.

 

I didn't realize that the Bachmann/WBB set was that much.

Bachmann tends to get HEAVILY discounted across the board.  I think there's few that would actually pay the MSRP.  But, As I said, the retail prices are just for comparison purposes.

 

Lionel floundered around quite a bit in the late 90's and early 00's, when personally I had little respect for the company as a whole.  I had little faith in the current management when they took over in 2004, but they do appear to be doing things right this time around.  Not perfect, but then neither am I.

 

So now Lionel's turning some much needed attention to the Flyer line.  Competitive starter sets are needed, just as top of the line stuff, along with some "transition" stuff in the middle.  I'm pretty sure it will come. 

 

No matter how they're improved upon, the old Gilbert mechanics are not conducive to modern manufacturing.  The new locomotive that Ben mentioned in his post should address that situation.  We'll have to wait and see how it turns out.  It'll be interesting.

 

MTH will also have to address the same issues.  Good as SHS locomotives are, they really are too expensive to produce for mass market starter sets.  The F-units can be simplified to a degree, but MTH will probably also have to do something more basic in design. 

 

I don't know if Lionel has a "TMCC Lite" in the works for sets, but I'm pretty sure MTH will be including DCS in the S sets, just like they do with HO and O set.  That may prove to be the competitive edge in that portion of the market.

 

Stay tuned, folks...

 

Rusty

Per MTH marketing chief at York, 4 different freightcars (SHS)in 8 roadnames (total?) to be available end of 1st qtr- 2nd qtr 2013. F3's in several roadnames 3rd - 4th qtr availability. No SW's or steam in forseeable future due to necessity to develop all new electronics to fit smaller carbody.

 

Rich

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Gilbert Ives


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