Deluxe Polar Express

Francine  you said:

Excuse me, but talk about "thomas" is a waste of time.  No one, except you, is interested and with limited funds doled out the S, we want Lionel to maximize new engines (Legacy & FlyerChief), especially with the direction of senior management to cater to kids.  THINK, if you lose the established base, there won't be S anymore.  ENOUGH OF THOMAS!

1) First off I think you are all missing the point.  I don't care if it is Thomas or a Harry Potter engine.  The point is if by making that item you can appeal to new Train perspective customer then it will only help bring more dollars to S scale.  Thus giving Lionel more money for new tooling for both the classic and new S items.

2) Regarding your comment that no one but me is interested in Thomas.  You are  incorrect.   Over the past 2 years I ran surveys on this site as well as others plus also in train clubs as to what people wanted.  Although Thomas was not at the top of the list it did get a significant number of votes. 

3) I agree you should THINK.  We are loosing the established base as we are all getting older.  Many are retired and have fixed incomes.  If we do not bring new customers into the scale it will die off.

In conclusion if you do not like Thomas, substitute any other train related product that will bring new S customers who may one day transition to classic S scale.  Keep in mind that several people only like Gilbert style 1940-50 trains.  Does that mean we should not have modern rolling stock and engines that appeal more to the younger new train enthusiast.  I like Legacy trains but I would not suggest that we should only focus on what I want.  If Flyer Chief brings more people into the scale then great.

So I apologize that using Thomas as an example offends or annoys others who have no interest in it but instead it is meant to represent a set of new ideas and the opportunity to bring new people into S gauge.  If you have a better idea on how to bring new customers feel free to suggest it.  I promise to listen and will not tell you to stop pushing forward your suggestions on how to help.



Hi Rocco,

It's down to simple ECONOMICS.  Economics is the science of the allocation of scarce resources.

If Lionel, MTH, American Models are not allocating major resources to S, dividing the small amount of dollars that is alocated will only lessen the amount of dollars available for FlyerChief, Legacy and new engines.  That is as simple as I can make it.  There is no doubt some small market for Thomas in S, but not enough to drive the hobby.

A nice FlyerChief/Legacy Hudson would bring people in from HO and O as would a new Pacific, Mountain, Northern, F3, F7, and on and on and on.  S is STARVING for new good engines and would grow, if they were produced.  My prime example is the Berkshires - they sold out the first run in less than a month.  I purchased a Polar Berk set and liked it so much I went back for another separate Berk, but they were sold out everywhere.

You can like anything you want, but the majority (small as S may be) want real, new engines - steam, diesel, turbo or whatever.  Give people what they want and they will buy - expanding the S market - back to simple economics.

The length of this PE topic kind of amazes me.  But that's probably because IMHO what we need and would sell is not more or upgraded fantasy stuff.  We (S) are so far yet from having a foundational line-up of real world motive power it isn't funny, particularly when compared to virtually any other gauge or scale bar perhaps standard gauge tin plate.  It amazes me the number of pages, for example, in the latest Lionel catalog dedicated to novelty or fantasy engines and rolling stock (albeit mostly for O gauge).  I mean HotWheels trains, Budweiser, Presidents cars, baby picture cars, Halloween trains, holiday trains, PE, Mickey, Disney, Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Thomas, etc. Are our O gauge counterparts so saturated with running their Baldwin sharks, streamlined steamers, electric box engines, T1's, T2's, M1's, decapods, etc. that they're buying up fantasy with a fervor?  Maybe, and good for them I suppose, but I'd be very grateful for just a handful of the real world engines they've apparently had too much or too many of and we've yet to see a single release in S.   Not that I don't enjoy LT, PE, Disney, beer, etc.  They're just not what I'd vote for any more or enhancements of in S.  



S happens


x-Chief Wrench & Bottle-washer of Precision Flyer Repairs 

Hi Francine

I agree it is simple ECONOMICS.  If you do not grow the market and people keep aging out of the market, the market will dry up and you will never get a Hudson, a GS4 or an SD40.  Now if you expand your market and more dollars are flowing in then you can do more things.  So say new tooling allocations are set at 10% of total sales.  if sales are $10 then they will allocate $1 to new tooling if sales go to $100 then they will allocate $10 to new tooling.  If bringing in new people by building Thomas, Harry Potter or Hot wheels increases sales to $1000. Then they will have $100 for new tooling.  Now the ECONMICS will decide if they should invest the new tooling in Fantasy or in Classic.  The odds are they will do a mix as they want to continue to pull in new blood but they want that new blood to move to the more expensive classic line.

Anyway I have tried my best to explain why both are needed.  I appreciate that those on this forum are of course vested in the classic line (Gilbert, Flyerchief, Legacy), but they need to understand that in order to get new tooling dedicated to what they want, the market needs to expand.


I hate to beat this dead horse anymore but, economics of the situation is that if you serve the "children S Market" which is tiny, at the expense of the general S market, you will starve the general market into extinction.  In some ways, we're close now, with alot of people who would like to enter, but won't because they can't get what they want.  And what they want isn't child's toys.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020