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The O-gauge train hobby market expanded for a while to a marketplace with too many players; now it is shrinking -- more or less to "the last man standing," Lionel. I'm a Lionel loyalist, so this announcement is good news to me and to my extended family. They will inherit my collection of Lionel trains some day (but not too soon, I hope)!

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394



@HiramO posted:

I for one find this quite exciting. As a TMCC operating person, I have noted many, many MTH locos that I envied. If Lionel plays this right it will cost me a lot of money...

Jan

Buying a piece of MTH will be a great investment for Lionel

The O-gauge train hobby market expanded for a while to a marketplace with too many players; now it is shrinking -- more or less to "the last man standing," Lionel. I'm a Lionel loyalist, so this announcement is good news to me and to my extended family. They will inherit my collection of Lionel trains some day (but not too soon, I hope)!

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

It has been an interesting evolution. Now there is  a large Lionel and a group of much smaller O gauge companies.

@Rail Dude posted:


Competition is good for business and the hobby is seeing that competition fade.

Dude,

That 'fade' began almost 20 years ago now.  We're fortunate to see Menard's come in and take a shot a turning it around after too many sources have left, scaled back, or fallen apart.

On the other hand the only real way to get the same level of competition back that we had before the fade began is to recruit more interested hobbyists in order to re-expand the market.  It looks like Lionel is hoping to do so with this purchase, although it may be more a case of trying to stop the continued shrink.

Are we doing everything we can to help make a re-expansion happen?

Mike

@superwarp1 posted:

Does Lionel get access to MTH factories?  That’s the real game changer if so, as Lionel’s current Chinese factory suck.

superwarp,

How do you know it's the factory that sucks?  Quality takes a lot of work.  With the exception of those in Japan from the 50's through the 80's (all largely having a built-in cultural commitment to perfection), most factories only produce junk if their customers agree to accept junk.

There's enough blame here to spread around to all parties in the design-procurement-manufacturing chain.

Mike

@Rail Dude posted:

I agree completely. At least now our Lionel control system will be installed in a locomotive that arrives with the correct paint scheme and without pieces lying loose in the box.

But at what price?

Competition is good for business and the hobby is seeing that competition fade.

Huh? Do you think Lionel would subcontract the locomotives out to MTH? I'm guessing they acquired the Santa Fe Blue Goose tooling, unfortunately their 4-8-4 was painted much more in the Girls Train color pallette then close to actual Blue Goose colors. Superman and Batman are fantasy items yet they refrain from pint tights and yellow or green capes right? In any case it will be an interesting catalog update. Clearly MTH realized selling tooling at some price is worth more then scrapping it.

@BobbyD posted:

Huh? Do you think Lionel would subcontract the locomotives out to MTH? I'm guessing they acquired the Santa Fe Blue Goose tooling, unfortunately their 4-8-4 was painted much more in the Girls Train color pallette then close to actual Blue Goose colors. Superman and Batman are fantasy items yet they refrain from pint tights and yellow or green capes right? In any case it will be an interesting catalog update. Clearly MTH realized selling tooling at some price is worth more then scrapping it.

I have no idea what you just said...

Dude,

That 'fade' began almost 20 years ago now.  We're fortunate to see Menard's come in and take a shot a turning it around after too many sources have left, scaled back, or fallen apart.

On the other hand the only real way to get the same level of competition back that we had before the fade began is to recruit more interested hobbyists in order to re-expand the market.  It looks like Lionel is hoping to do so with this purchase, although it may be more a case of trying to stop the continued shrink.

Are we doing everything we can to help make a re-expansion happen?

Mike

Mike, I love what Menards is doing and definitely a boost for the hobby.

Are we doing enough? I can only hope so.

As a diehard MTH engine fan, this news is not only not welcomed but horrible.  I hate to be Debbie Downer but if these are Railking steam engines that will only be available with Legacy, as they say on Shark Tank, "I'm out".   Without DCS, forget it.  Premier steam engines mostly require curves over 0-42 so Railking has been my go to.  I'll be interested to find out if there are any Railking steamers left for what's left of MTH to make.   If not, I guess it's EBay relics or nothing.  I hope Atlas makes a strong and long run with what they have purchased in order to keep DCS alive with their diesels.  And will MTH continue to make Premier steamers?  Or are those going to be sold off, too?

This is great news.

Maybe now Lionel can finally get around to producing an Amtrak Genesis P42 instead of that nonsense they did a few years ago with the release of an Amtrak RTR set...

But then again (for those in the now, gladly correct me if I'm wrong), didn't Lionel inherit all of the K-Line tooling and instead of producing the K-Line product - some of which was better quality product (trains and operating accessories) than Lionel - just shuttered those items away into history... and high prices on auction sites when they show up.

Last edited by Amfleet25124
@IRON HORSE posted:

As a diehard MTH engine fan, this news is not only not welcomed but horrible.  I hate to be Debbie Downer but if these are Railking steam engines that will only be available with Legacy, as they say on Shark Tank, "I'm out".   Without DCS, forget it.  Premier steam engines mostly require curves over 0-42 so Railking has been my go to.  I'll be interested to find out if there are any Railking steamers left for what's left of MTH to make.   If not, I guess it's EBay relics or nothing.  I hope Atlas makes a strong and long run with what they have purchased in order to keep DCS alive with their diesels.  And will MTH continue to make Premier steamers?  Or are those going to be sold off, too?

If Lionel bought an RK steam locomotive tooling the likely route is they would end up in the Lionchief line, not Legacy.

superwarp,

How do you know it's the factory that sucks?  Quality takes a lot of work.  With the exception of those in Japan from the 50's through the 80's (all largely having a built-in cultural commitment to perfection), most factories only produce junk if their customers agree to accept junk.

There's enough blame here to spread around to all parties in the design-procurement-manufacturing chain.

Mike

Well, the defects are coming from somewhere.



But then again (for those in the now, gladly correct me if I'm wrong), didn't Lionel inherit all of the K-Line tooling and instead of producing the K-Line product - some of which was better quality product (trains and operating accessories) than Lionel, just shuttered those items away into history... and high prices on auction sites when they show up.

Some things from K-Line were used.  I think the newer PRR K4s use some of the tooling.  The original Lionel K4s from the late 90s early aughts had a firebox that was too long.  I think maybe the moguls, ten wheelers, or 4-6-4T (can’t remember which) uses a K-Line derived drive train.  

That said, I agree… I would hate to see some of MTH’s great steam (Decapods, Q2, L-3 Mohawk, WM M-2 Challenger, Erie Triplex, GN Z-6 and R-2 etc.) just go on the shelf and not get used.  Or be so expensive that It’s out of reach.  

This is great news.

Maybe now Lionel can finally get around to producing an Amtrak Genesis P42 instead of that nonsense they did a few years ago with the release of an Amtrak RTR set...

But then again (for those in the now, gladly correct me if I'm wrong), didn't Lionel inherit all of the K-Line tooling and instead of producing the K-Line product - some of which was better quality product (trains and operating accessories) than Lionel, just shuttered those items away into history... and high prices on auction sites when they show up.

Lionel briefly made a few K-Line 21" passenger cars, Milwaukee RD, Texas Special among others. The USRA Mikado, Pacific, 0-8-0, PRR B6 and A5 maybe the K4 are all K-Line tooling. They also own a lot of the Weaver tooling. Pretty sure their made in the USA cars are ex Weaver plus the 60' head end cars.

Pete

@rplst8 posted:

Some things from K-Line were used.  I think the newer PRR K4s use some of the tooling.  The original Lionel K4s from the late 90s early aughts had a firebox that was too long.  I think maybe the moguls, ten wheelers, or 4-6-4T (can’t remember which) uses a K-Line derived drive train.  

That said, I agree… I would hate to see some of MTH’s great steam (Decapods, Q2, L-3 Mohawk, WM M-2 Challenger, Erie Triplex, GN Z-6 and R-2 etc.) just go on the shelf and not get used.  Or be so expensive that It’s out of reach.  

@Norton posted:

Lionel briefly made a few K-Line 21" passenger cars, Milwaukee RD, Texas Special among others. The USRA Mikado, Pacific, 0-8-0, PRR B6 and A5 maybe the K4 are all K-Line tooling. They also own a lot of the Weaver tooling. Pretty sure their made in the USA cars are ex Weaver plus the 60' head end cars.

Pete

On my personal preference list would be for Lionel to produce the 21-inch Bombardier Commuter Coaches that K-Line did that aren't as stubby looking as the 19-inch ones that MTH did, but I digress

I’m not sure that I agree with this announcement meaning a reduction in competition. My head has been in a different place the last few months so I’m a little fuzzy on details, but if I remember the bits I’ve gleaned from various threads, there are a number of pieces to this puzzle...

  1. I believe MTH said that there would be an “MTH entity” which would handle maintenance and development of DCS (I thought that included the Z4000 - not sure)
  2. there was to be another “MTH entity” which would still produce certain MTH engines/rolling stock
  3. Atlas purchased some MTH tooling that they will produce - the engines will have DCS
  4. and now, Lionel has purchased some MTH tooling that they will produce - the engines will have Legacy/TMCC


So, assuming I am remembering all this correctly, while there won’t be one major competitor (aka MTH), there will be a several pieces which may be greater than the sum of the pieces.

P.S. and I hope Lionel got the tooling for the CP Royal Hudson and the produce one in the short term!!!

Last edited by Apples55

Maybe the catalog will have a list of what tooling was purchased from MTH. As much as I like the anticipation and wondering of what will be in the catalog, I would like to know if Lionel even has the tooling for something before we start speculating when they will make the thing. It does no one any good to think "they will catalog L3/L4 Mohawks with Legacy this time around" only to find out years later that they don't have that tooling. Did I just reveal what I want most out of this???

Last edited by Harry's Trains

If this news makes anyone happy, I'm glad for them and good luck. Not meaning to rain on anyone's parade, just giving my two cents...

Personally, it means nothing to me.

People looking for USA-made craftsmanship, quality and competition...we have a place for you at our prewar table.

IMG_1780

I don't see the excitement...my prewar switchers are all 79 to 82 years old...they can all easily make it for another 79 to 82 years. The new stuff will last how many years and will the new products be supported as far as out-of-warranty repairs? Weren't there topics about this? Lionel Support: Out of Warranty Repairs not being taken at this time | O Gauge Railroading On Line Forum (ogaugerr.com)

Tom

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Maybe the catalog will have a list of what tooling was purchased from MTH. As much as I like the anticipation and wondering of what will be in the catalog, I would like to know if Lionel even has the tooling for something before we start speculating when they will make the thing. It does no one any good to think "they will catalog L3/L4 Mohawks with Legacy this time around" only to find out years later that they don't have that tooling. Did I just reveal what I want most out of this???



After this week, Lionel never mentions MTH again.

In the presentation today, they rarely if at all identified what was MTH.

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Last edited by SeptaTony
@Paul Kallus posted:

This was a no-brainer for Lionel, just a matter of making the numbers work for both parties. MTH simply had a tremendous amount of fine-scale tooling for steam and electrics...probably diesels too but am not well-versed in those. The Railking Line of buildings may not be gone, either, another tremendous resource for Lionel

Why can I see menards making railking buildings?

So... does this mean Lionel won?

Actually, I'm not a brand loyalist. In fact, I think it's sad that MTH has been (still being) parted out. Over the decades I had a few of MTH's products, and I thought them good. I also admired the spunk that Mike would exhibit at times. MTH was definitely an interesting company.

However, as my dad would sometimes say when it was time for me to stop the playing and hit the sack: "All good things must come to an end!"

So long MTH.

Andre

@laming posted:

So... does this mean Lionel won?

In one sense, I guess the answer would be yes.  However, Mike leaves at or near the top of his game.

Actually, I'm not a brand loyalist. In fact, I think it's sad that MTH has been (still being) parted out. Over the decades I had a few of MTH's products, and I thought them good. I also admired the spunk that Mike would exhibit at times. MTH was definitely an interesting company.

One thing I wonder though... How many hobby store custom run Pacific's and RS1's can "new" MTH do before the market burns out on them.

Rusty

However, as my dad would sometimes say when it was time for me to stop the playing and hit the sack: "All good things must come to an end!"

So long MTH.

Andre

@Traindiesel posted:

Exactly. What’s the big secret?

Is it possible that MTH still might be using some of the tooling and in doing so would lose sales if Lionel announced all of the tooling bought?  Just a thought.  I'm with you though other than if it's a contractual thing then spill all the beans.  The whole "Big Announcement" thing here was a to do about nothing IMO.

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