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The ATLAS O scale Evans Product plug door box cars have molded in doors.

The PREMIER O scale Evans Products double plug door box cars have operating doors.

Most of the real railroad paint schemes have been made.

The regular WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN scheme has not yet been produced.

The PREMIER version is more durable and that factory is up and running, so that box car would be made there instead.

Andrew

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

A longtime fan and customer of 3rd Rail, I'd be surprised to see Scott pick up MTH steam.  Scott's always been into brass, with few die-cast offerings.  Certainly within the realm of my interest, he's done in brass most of the locos that MTH has done in die-cast.  While there would be a significant opportunity in the second-tier market with the RailKing steam tooling, that's not the market that 3rd Rail concentrates on.  The opportunity for 3rd Rail is increased quantities on the items they do, not alternative product that could detract from the resale value of what they've sold and irritate customers.

@Landsteiner posted:

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

This isn't a licensing agreement.  The exact wording from the press release is:

"Hillside, NJ – Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc. is proud to announce the purchase of a variety of tooling in the M.T.H. Premier O Scale Locomotive and Rolling Stock lines from M.T.H. Electric Trains of Columbia, MD."



What Atlas did license is the Proto-3 electronics.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

"This isn't a licensing agreement."

You're correct. What I should have written is that I'm guessing Atlas has"purchased" the exclusive rights to use the MTH tooling.  And that the purchase agreement isn't likely a straightforward capital acquisition but rather a royalty per use to avoid upfront expenditure of millions or tens of millions of dollars to literally purchase the tooling rather than the rights to use the tooling.  Licensing is not the correct term for what I'm guessing is happening.   At least  that's what I'd do to minimize risk in case the market isn't there for adequate volumes. 

There's a good bit of uncertainty which will only be clarified when Atlas announces its intentions. And those may change over time and experience.   One or two locos to begin with?  An actual catalog?  DCS, TMCC or both?  The devil is clearly in the details here.

I see steamers going 3rd Rail. As stated, Railking to bachman, the rest going to Lionel. The DCS components and controls will be owned by the mth employees who agreed to buy it as originally announced.

While 3rd Rail would be a good landing spot for some of the steam, I'm not sure that Scott would be all that interested in opening that can of worms.

@Landsteiner posted:

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

I think the truly under-valued aspect of this deal is Atlas' acquisition or access to the MTH production facilities.  A few years ago, Atlas acquired a number of Weaver molds, tooling, and products - we've yet to see anything from that.  Maybe the access to MTH factories will actually result in shipping product (what a concept!  ).  So far, Atlas has only demonstrated their ineptness in this regard.

As for acquiring DCS, I've no idea why they would spend money on that. To my mind, it would be a much smarter move to offer the very pretty MTH locomotives as either conventional ("command ready") or TMCC equipped.

I doubt that Atlas' or anyone else's TMCC licensing agreements with Lionel expressly prohibit the licensee from acquiring a competitive train control system, but annoying Lionel in such a way doesn't strike me as particularly advantageous.

George

@c.sam posted:

Does MTH (or Lionel even) actually own their tooling in the Chinese factories? Seems I remember somewhere that once a tool is created over there, you lose ownership of it to the Chinese companies? Not certain if I'm correct here...

They own it,  they just cannot remove it from China.  If they did not own it they would not be able to make multiple runs because the Chinese recycle tooling to make more money from the tooling once a run is complete and so it cannot be pirated.

Maybe what Atlas actually got is a working factory to actually make stuff for them.

Atlas in the past has done a lot of scale equipment for 2 rail.    This includes the Zephyr passenger  cars which were based on prototypes, and hence were models.     In reading the announcement, it looks like a lot of stuff that Atlas has purchased or gotten access to, are more in the toy train realm.    I am not familiar with MTH diesels as they have done nothing I want to buy in 2 rail, but there may be some more prototypical stuff there.    The passenger cars are based on real prototypes for the most part.     So they may expanding their 3 rail line considerably and dropping out of 2 rail.

@G3750 posted:

I think the truly under-valued aspect of this deal is Atlas' acquisition or access to the MTH production facilities.  A few years ago, Atlas acquired a number of Weaver molds, tooling, and products - we've yet to see anything from that.  Maybe the access to MTH factories will actually result in shipping product (what a concept!  ).  So far, Atlas has only demonstrated their ineptness in this regard.

As for acquiring DCS, I've no idea why they would spend money on that. To my mind, it would be a much smarter move to offer the very pretty MTH locomotives as either conventional ("command ready") or TMCC equipped.

I doubt that Atlas' or anyone else's TMCC licensing agreements with Lionel expressly prohibit the licensee from acquiring a competitive train control system, but annoying Lionel in such a way doesn't strike me as particularly advantageous.

George

Weaver wagon tops and troop cars have already rolled out in Atlas boxes. I'm sure there have been others. The Bradley coaches were offered up at one point too. Theyve done something with it. Maybe not all of it, but its not like they buried it all.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

Weaver wagon tops and troop cars have already rolled out in Atlas boxes. I'm sure there have been others. The Bradley coaches were offered up at one point too. Theyve done something with it. Maybe not all of it, but its not like they buried it all.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

Ding, ding, winner. With PS3 Atlas can reduce production costs. Now there will be one wiring harness and board set for both 3 rail and 2 rail that will operate with a major 3 rail control system (DCS) and a 2 rail control system (DCC).

.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

Atlas has managed to get a few items produced, but that's way less than the stuff they're sitting on.

As for TMCC, it has several overwhelming advantages over DCS:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.
  2. Open to 3rd Party innovation.  By putting the TMCC codes into the public domain, Lionel sparked innovation from 3rd party entrepreneurs such as IC Controls, Digital Dynamics, Electronic Railroad, TrainAmerica Studios, and Z-Stuff.  And licensing provided us with TMCC equipped locomotives from K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, and 3rd Rail.
  3. Upgrade path.  If you really need all of the sophisticated "bells and whistles", there's Legacy.  And the sound in those locomotives is superior to anything else around.

Have a nice day,

George

Last edited by G3750
@G3750 posted:

Atlas has managed to get a few items produced, but that's way less than the stuff they're sitting on.

As for TMCC, it has several overwhelming advantages over DCS:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.
  2. Open to 3rd Party innovation.  By putting the TMCC codes into the public domain, Lionel sparked innovation from 3rd party entrepreneurs such as IC Controls, Digital Dynamics, Electronic Railroad, TrainAmerica Studios, and Z-Stuff.  And licensing provided us with TMCC equipped locomotives from K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, and 3rd Rail.
  3. Upgrade path.  If you really need all of the sophisticated "bells and whistles", there's Legacy.  And the sound in those locomotives is superior to anything else around.

Have a nice day,

George

1. Just because DCS doesn't work for one person does not mean it's "unreliable". I've had 0 issues with DCS or TMCC. All I did in setup was read the instructions that came with my TIU, wired it how I was instructed to, and it has operated perfectly since day 1. Yes all you have to do with Legacy/TMCC is hook up one wire and you're good to go. Being that it uses radio signal there are people who have issues with the system getting interfered with by their house wiring or layout setup. So even Legacy/TMCC isn't a perfectly reliable system

2. The only reason DCS doesn't have the same things is because MTH never licensed it. They might now, and then there could be aftermarket products.

3. The only real "upgrade" path to Legacy is to buy a new Lionel locomotive. Lionel doesn't make Legacy upgrade kits available to the consumer. Want Legacy in an older locomotive? You have to make your own kit by ordering boards from Lionel and building your own wire harness. You can get older TMCC kits but in diesels you only get 4 RPM sound levels, steam needs extra hardware for 4 chuffs and puffing fan smoke.  PS3 kits gets you all those features, plus remote couplers, out of the box without additional parts. Plus you get a locomotive that has the same features as a brand new PS3 locomotive out of the box. In addition there are hundreds of sound files that can be added to a PS3 locomotive, plus existing files can be modified and by the end user with programs like ADPCM. ERR upgrades give you limited files, nothing locomotive specific, and you can't change them. As far as Legacy Railsounds being the best around that's debatable. There are sounds in DCC that blow Railsounds out of the water.

I own PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives. Quite honestly for those who want to operate their trains in a prototypical manner with the correct sounds (whistles/horns/bells) or be able to change them when they want DCS is the better, more advanced system.

Last edited by Lou1985

George, I might agree with you if Lionel licensed the LEGACY sound and control package to the likes of Atlas.  But I absolutely disagree with your assessment if Atlas continues to use TMCC with the very dated and very generic RailSounds packages.  I don't know about you, but a lot of us here aren't very excited about purchasing $500, $600, or $700+ locomotives with outdated (and often incorrect) engine sounds...even if they do have TMCC control.  Certainly not with what's available with Legacy or PS3 today!

I own several Atlas locomotives, from some of their early stuff right up to their most-recent releases, and the sound packages are terrible when compared to current Legacy or PS3.  They were fine way back when Atlas first started using them, but they simply don't cut it today.

I don't know if you own any Atlas TMCC/RailSounds and MTH PS3 locomotives, but if you do, I urge you to run them one right after the other.  I'm confident you'll agree that PS3 blows the RailSounds away...without any doubt whatsoever.

Last edited by CNJ #1601
@G3750 posted:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.

George

And George wins the Internet today!  ("[B]ook of spells and incantations!"  Hah!  LOL, etc.)

I carry no candle for TMCC or Legacy--I have had my problems with both, more the engines themselves than the control system.  I have no desire to install a system as complex, as touchy, and as high maintenance as DCS.  I'm going in the other direction:  back to conventional.  Push the handle, the engine moves.  Pull it back, the engine stops.  Push a button, the whistle sounds.  Darned hard to mess up and relatively easily fixed if you do.

Interesting news.

I am most interested in the continuation of the Premier steam line with 2-rail option. I am glad that Atlas didn't acquire those products.

Why?

In HO, the product lines they purchased have taken years to get to market, and then only a small percentage of the models have seen the light of day.

And in N, which I dabble in, the Atlas quality has become hit and miss - with much more miss.  More than half of my last 10 Atlas N locos were dogs. Some went right back to Atlas. One they could never get right. For now, Atlas N locos are off limits for me. Not worth the risk.

Let's hope the MTH quality is maintained... and that we will get 2-rail models with pure DCC electronics.

Hopefully the MTH/Atlas transaction will be beneficial to Atlas and the modelers.

Rob

Good news I guess for some.

I.M.O. I see several undesirable items in the mix.

I would think someone will pick up the 50’ PS-1’s F3’s, FM’s, RS-1, RS-3, 44 ton, Subways, MU’s, SW1, NW2 or GP35’s. I know Atlas has offers some of these so they were probably avoiding conflict in the choice.

As a Fallen Flags operator, I see nothing in that list to buy. I have em all. New molds need to be made if anything.

@CNJ #1601 posted:

George, I might agree with you if Lionel licensed the LEGACY sound and control package to the likes of Atlas.  But I absolutely disagree with your assessment if Atlas continues to use TMCC with the very dated and very generic RailSounds packages.  I don't know about you, but a lot of us here aren't very excited about purchasing $500, $600, or $700+ locomotives with outdated (and often incorrect) engine sounds...even if they do have TMCC control.  Certainly not with what's available with Legacy or PS3 today!

I own several Atlas locomotives, from some of their early stuff right up to their most-recent releases, and the sound packages are terrible when compared to current Legacy or PS3.  They were fine way back when Atlas first started using them, but they simply don't cut it today.

I don't know if you own any Atlas TMCC/RailSounds and MTH PS3 locomotives, but if you do, I urge you to run them one right after the other.  I'm confident you'll agree that PS3 blows the RailSounds away...without any doubt whatsoever.

It's a fair comment.  I wish Lionel had licensed Legacy.  It's a bit short-sighted.  I was in the grandstand at York when Jerry Calabrese was introduced to the OGR meeting by Neil Young (how cool was that?).  Mr. Calabrese seemed to regret the licensing of TMCC to the other train makers.  He also (from what I could tell) did not comprehend or appreciate the absolute brilliance of that move.  At that point in time, in one fell swoop, Lionel guaranteed its dominance in control systems (K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, 3rd Rail accepted) and put MTH under pressure to deliver a competitive system.  As history has shown, Lionel retained Legacy as a closed system and focused all its efforts on features there.

Personally, I think not licensing Legacy was a mistake.  Maybe Lionel will counter the situation by licensing Legacy to the other remaining 3-rail train manufacturers - Williams, 3rd Rail, even Atlas.  That would be a huge game-changer.

George

@palallin posted:

And George wins the Internet today!  ("[B]ook of spells and incantations!"  Hah!  LOL, etc.)

I carry no candle for TMCC or Legacy--I have had my problems with both, more the engines themselves than the control system.  I have no desire to install a system as complex, as touchy, and as high maintenance as DCS.  I'm going in the other direction:  back to conventional.  Push the handle, the engine moves.  Pull it back, the engine stops.  Push a button, the whistle sounds.  Darned hard to mess up and relatively easily fixed if you do.

Hmm.  The whole internet you say?  Wow, what should I do first with that?     

George

@Lou1985 posted:

1. Just because DCS doesn't work for one person does not mean it's "unreliable". I've had 0 issues with DCS or TMCC. All I did in setup was read the instructions that came with my TIU, wired it how I was instructed to, and it has operated perfectly since day 1. Yes all you have to do with Legacy/TMCC is hook up one wire and you're good to go. Being that it uses radio signal there are people who have issues with the system getting interfered with by their house wiring or layout setup. So even Legacy/TMCC isn't a perfectly reliable system

2. The only reason DCS doesn't have the same things is because MTH never licensed it. They might now, and then there could be aftermarket products.

3. The only real "upgrade" path to Legacy is to buy a new Lionel locomotive. Lionel doesn't make Legacy upgrade kits available to the consumer. Want Legacy in an older locomotive? You have to make your own kit by ordering boards from Lionel and building your own wire harness. You can get older TMCC kits but in diesels you only get 4 RPM sound levels, steam needs extra hardware for 4 chuffs and puffing fan smoke.  PS3 kits gets you all those features, plus remote couplers, out of the box without additional parts. Plus you get a locomotive that has the same features as a brand new PS3 locomotive out of the box. In addition there are hundreds of sound files that can be added to a PS3 locomotive, plus existing files can be modified and by the end user with programs like ADPCM. ERR upgrades give you limited files, nothing locomotive specific, and you can't change them. As far as Legacy Railsounds being the best around that's debatable. There are sounds in DCC that blow Railsounds out of the water.

I own PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives. Quite honestly for those who want to operate their trains in a prototypical manner with the correct sounds (whistles/horns/bells) or be able to change them when they want DCS is the better, more advanced system.

WRT 1:  You are correct.  One person's problems aren't enough.  But that's not the case with DCS.  Many, many modelers (some very well known) have had trouble getting it to work consistently or work at all.  Five TIU versions and dozens of software upgrades in 20 years - doesn't look like a reliable system to me (and I built reliable systems for a living).  Over on the DCS sub-forum you have a legitimate rocket scientist (PhD EE from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory) who's had to diagnose and fix a number of DCS issues.  Doesn't sound like a case of simple user error or reliability, does it?

2.  Yeah, but MTH didn't do that, did they?

3.  As I have said above, I wish Lionel did license Legacy and did offer easy upgrades.  They should, but that's not saying they will.  Who knows?  Maybe now they will.

George

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