"What more can be said about the Legacy Berkshires now that they're cancelled." He sez...
Some final thoughts about the cancellation of the Legacy Berks.
I'm skipping the facts and fictions about overseas manufacturing. Those have and will continue to be discussed as the detriment and benefits of modern model train manufacturing in various threads and forums ad infinitum.
I'll take Ryan's explanation at face value and not assign blame: Not enough orders and increased costs of practically all new tooling killed the project.
However, I think these two issues contributed substantially:
Duplication of effort: After two runs of the FlyerChief Berks, only the American Railroads and RF&P locomotives were "new" roadnames in Legacy. The other four roads were well represented in the FlyerChief versions. Granted you're dealing with a well known NKP prototype, so in the strictest sense that sort of limits other roadname choices to NKP and something visually similar.
However, I can't help wonder if wandering off into fantasy-land a little might have made the difference. Illinois Central, Louisville & Nashville, Santa Fe and others all rostered their own classes of Berkshires. Southern Pacific got some second-hand B&M Berks. While the wheel arrangement with these are the only common link with an NKP Berk, maybe adding some of these roads and eliminating some of the duplicates might have helped in the pre-order department.
Optics: When I first looked at the 2018 Volume 1 catalog, I wondered why there were four pages of FlyerChief Berkshires. I didn't give it a second thought until someone mentioned it here on the forum that the first two pages were of Legacy models. Now OK, shame on me for just lookin' at the pretty pictures and not reading the description, but anyone casually glancing through the catalog probably came to the same conclusion.
It's well known Lionel (and MTH) use Photoshop for cataloging purposes. As the Legacy Berks were to be more detailed cousins to the F/C Berks, this may have been an instance where the O Scale Berkshire could have been Photoshopped to better represent the S Scale model. I don't know if any of the CAD drawings were available when the catalog was printed. If so, maybe they could have been included to help differentiate the Legacy version from the FlyerChief versions.