LionChief Plus: The New Postwar?

Ever hear the expression 60 is the new 40, meaning that older people are living longer and feeling better than they did in the past?

Could the same be said for certain modern trains that have some of the charm and other good qualities of treasured trains of the past?

I submit that a case can be made that LC+ has some of the desirable characteristics of Postwar. These include user friendly, ease and simplicity of operation, affordability, ruggedness to the extent they are not too delicate, durability (so far so good after 6 months).

There are also differences. So far, I think the positive differences outweigh the negative ones. Being able to set the track voltage at 17 or 18 volts and controlling the speed with the remote is a huge technological breakthrough IMO. 

Even though this video was taken long before I added feeder wires and there was a 4 volt drop in power as the LC+ Pacific approaches the switch on the far side of the layout, the train runs with the same steady speed with prodigious smoke output.

Postwar is still king when it comes to available parts and repairability. Also, Postwar has stood the test of time. The verdict is still out for LC+ on that score.

I am now enamoured with LC+ steamers. Keep in mind, I have never before run anything modern with a remote unit where the track power is set at 18 volts. I know that the Niagra Vision Line locomotive and many other advanced modern engines have other amazing features. 

I guess I love it all when it comes to O Gauge. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Interesting question and discussion topic. From the perspective of being a new standard, I'd say yes, LC+ or perhaps LC is the new postwar (forgive me, I'm not familiar with the MTH offerings). I'd say the new standard includes sound and remote control. Maybe LC is the old O27 and LC+ is the old O Gauge.

That said, I think two things get in the way full analogies to postwar. Postwar era today represent nostalgia, toys from the boomer and silent generations. Since train travel was so much more common back then, I don't see LC/LC+ attaining any level of nostalgia over time. And, because (my guess) fewer boys are into model railroading compared with, say, 50 years ago, I just can't envision LC/LC+ becoming commonplace items that "every boy wants."

Again, good question for banter. 

Raising4daughters, I think you points are well taken. Only time will tell whether LC and LC+ will approach the long term popularity of Postwar, but I tend to doubt it for the reasons you've mentioned.

When I came up with the title for this topic, I thought it might be a good slogan for Lionel to use in its advertising campaign for LC+ (without the question mark at the end). And I also thought that if it is, Lionel should pay me at least $10,000 for coming up with it. LOL

Maybe even a better slogan would be: LionChief Plus: the 21st Century Postwar.

 

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Somewhat off subject, but I wish TMCC had been designed with an ability to update/upgrade the sounds via software downloads. Now THAT would extend the life of my early, Traditional-sized TMCC engines and give them Postwar longevity.  I'd gladly pay an upgrade fee to update the sounds of my early TMCC engines, mostly RS 4.0 with one or two at RS 2.5. 

Arnold D. Cribari posted:

Maybe even a better slogan would be: LionChief Plus: the 21st Century Postwar.

 

 

21st Century Trains would be better.  Most of the young'uns will have no clue as to what Lionel Postwar is all about and they'll probably think (if at all) of the Gulf War...

Rusty

I must agree with Arnold.  Lionchief Plus seems to have filled a void for alot of folks who are intimidated by TMCC, DCC, Etc., Etc., Blah, Blah and so on.  Lionchief is incredibly simple to operate and even better, uses post-war loco styles for the most part.  I know there are some newer types of motive power, but these are still made to post-war dimensions.  So it's a win-win situation for post-war lovers, like myself.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I'm not a PW guy I have always liked the new modern stuff but now that I am older and have less space and run mostly Railking I have looked at LC+ and really like what I have seen especially the steam engines. 

I don't have one yet but the attraction is growing, two that I really like are Berkshire and the one Arnold showed, the Reading and Northern. 

For me the ease of running and now Lionel has added Bluetooth for those that like running with their phone or tablet and at no cost. Seems like a winner to me. 

Dave

david1 posted:

I'm not a PW guy I have always liked the new modern stuff but now that I am older and have less space and run mostly Railking I have looked at LC+ and really like what I have seen especially the steam engines. 

I don't have one yet but the attraction is growing, two that I really like are Berkshire and the one Arnold showed, the Reading and Northern. 

For me the ease of running and now Lionel has added Bluetooth for those that like running with their phone or tablet and at no cost. Seems like a winner to me. 

Dave

Hi David, the 2 LC+ steamers I have are the blue Jersey Central Pacific and the Erie Camelback.

Reading and Northern (or Reading and something else), rings a bell,  but I don't have that one. Reading is another Eastern railroad that I love. 

So far, my preference within LC+ are also the steamers. I have one LC+ smoking diesel, New Haven FAs, which are very nice, but not as good a puller as the steamers that have more heft.

Incidentally, since I am approaching the end of the 1 year warranty period, I don't over exert my LC+ engines. This may sound silly  but I generally have them pull trains with light weight modern cars whose wheels have angled flanges. I tend to avoid having them pull long trains with heavier Postwar operating cars. I got classic double motor Postwar Lionel locomotives, and modern double motor Williams, K Line and MTH engines for heavy duty pulling.

 

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Rusty Traque posted:
Arnold D. Cribari posted:

Maybe even a better slogan would be: LionChief Plus: the 21st Century Postwar.

 

 

21st Century Trains would be better.  Most of the young'uns will have no clue as to what Lionel Postwar is all about and they'll probably think (if at all) of the Gulf War...

Rusty

I think you struck a chord with me, Rusty Traque. Postwar is a term that is largely confined to Lionel. I don't hear it used much anywhere else. So Arnold, your new slogan would, I think, most likely only ring a bell with the older farts, myself most certainly included. I don't know if it would grab or "snag" the younger generations.

George

GeoPeg posted:
Rusty Traque posted:
Arnold D. Cribari posted:

Maybe even a better slogan would be: LionChief Plus: the 21st Century Postwar.

21st Century Trains would be better.  Most of the young'uns will have no clue as to what Lionel Postwar is all about and they'll probably think (if at all) of the Gulf War...

Rusty

I think you struck a chord with me, Rusty Traque. Postwar is a term that is largely confined to Lionel. I don't hear it used much anywhere else. So Arnold, your new slogan would, I think, most likely only ring a bell with the older farts, myself most certainly included. I don't know if it would grab or "snag" the younger generations.

George

 

I agree with George. The younger generations would not know that Postwar refers to model trains.

I guess that's why good advertising slogans are not that easy to come up. Lionel had some good ones years ago, ie. An Investment in Happiness. That would be another good thread: Great Slogans of  O Gauge Train Manufacturers. Anybody else want to start that one?

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Arnold D. Cribari posted:
david1 posted:

I'm not a PW guy I have always liked the new modern stuff but now that I am older and have less space and run mostly Railking I have looked at LC+ and really like what I have seen especially the steam engines. 

I don't have one yet but the attraction is growing, two that I really like are Berkshire and the one Arnold showed, the Reading and Northern. 

For me the ease of running and now Lionel has added Bluetooth for those that like running with their phone or tablet and at no cost. Seems like a winner to me. 

Dave

Hi David, the 2 LC+ steamers I have are the blue Jersey Central Pacific and the Erie Camelback.

Reading and Northern (or Reading and something else), rings a bell,  but I don't have that one. Reading is another Eastern railroad that I love. 

So far, my preference within LC+ are also the steamers. I have one LC+ smoking diesel, New Haven FAs, which are very nice, but not as good a puller as the steamers that have more heft.

Incidentally, since I am approaching the end of the 1 year warranty period, I don't over exert my LC+ engines. This may sound silly  but I generally have them pull trains with light weight modern cars whose wheels have angled flanges. I tend to avoid having them pull long trains with heavier Postwar operating cars. I got classic double motor Postwar Lionel locomotives, and modern double motor Williams, K Line and MTH engines for heavy duty pulling.

 

 

I mistook the Jersey Central for the Reading and Northern, very similar colors, sorry for the mistake. I really like it though. 

Dave

Postwar ...for me...is a dual paradigm.  It refers to the actual Lionel/ AF /Marx merchandise and its styling, as well as the secondary nostalgic elements, I.e. setting up the trains with dad, the idea of actual factories in New Jersey and Connecticut making trains, and any black and white movie circa 1946-1955 in New York where men wore overcoats and fedoras.  Lol. 

 

 

Pete, I agree with you too, especially when you mention setting up the trains with dad, and the wonderful bonding that can result from that.

Interestingly, I think LC+ can keep a young child and parent modeler equally engaged and intrigued the same way Postwar in the 1950s did.

I am having that experience with my 6 year old granddaughter, and I know I am not alone.

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

bostonpete posted:

Arnold you are not alone.  My kids can run the kw-s and zw I have but prefer the LC+ remotes.     I like your layout videos BTW.   I like both options.  

Cheers

I just clicked on your YouTube link, Pete. I think a subway would look great on the lower level of your layout. Also, I think your layout is ingenious with so much going on in a small space without clutter.

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I'm not sure why you would need a comparison.  LC/LC+ is to this generation of kids and forward, what postwar was to the boomers.  They would not know what Postwar is and even if they did where would they buy it?  Unless a relative takes them to a train show, most parents are going to a hobby shop or online to get a train set for their kids.  They are not going to buy some beat up 1950's postwar set.  That's like a teenager today wanting to but a 1950's car.  They want a 2018 car.   I think each generation should stand on it's own, no comparison needed.  LC/LC+ is a great new system for this generation of techy kids.

Sean

SandJam posted:

I'm not sure why you would need a comparison.  LC/LC+ is to this generation of kids and forward, what postwar was to the boomers.  They would not know what Postwar is and even if they did where would they buy it?  Unless a relative takes them to a train show, most parents are going to a hobby shop or online to get a train set for their kids.  They are not going to buy some beat up 1950's postwar set.  That's like a teenager today wanting to but a 1950's car.  They want a 2018 car.   I think each generation should stand on it's own, no comparison needed.  LC/LC+ is a great new system for this generation of techy kids.

Agreed, but the comparison is for those who already know about and like Postwar. LC+ has some similar qualities to Postwar that many of us value: simplicity of operation, reliable, rugged, affordable, etc.

Also, LC+ runs very well on my Postwar tubular track, 031 curves and 022 switches.

Then, LC+ has modern features that Postwar doesn't have. I find these modern features very desirable and make me want to run LC+ more often lately: prototypical slow and steady speed, very good smoke and sounds, uncoupling anywhere I want on my layout.

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

SO- why do we think that LC+ might be a candidate to increase model train popularity among the young,  AND become a "classic"??  IMO mainly because it uses a remote, vs. sitting at a console, and the 18 volts eliminate many track issues. 

Why might it NOT?  The PW stuff WAS quality- still running after 65 years. 

My personal experience after buying and giving TWO LC starter sets: one has been perfect after three years of Christmas tree duty, the second (also the same Pennsy Flyer LC set): the original set had to be replaced immediately after set up- several major faults- engine no sounds/ cars would not stay coupled etc.). 

THEN that same family- on Christmas # 2- the set engine developed a "grinding" sound and is headed back to NC.  Lionel has allowed it to be returned for service/ likely replacement.  But warranty returns do NOT make up for quality lapses w/ most.

I had to buy a new LC+ Pacific to replace the set engine- you can't have a 2 year old's train set not be running for the three weeks before Christmas. So- I am out $400.  This type of stuff will not "create a new generation of train hobbyists". 

Why LC+ might NOT be a candidate to increase model train popularity among the young,  AND become a "classic"??  Because we don't know about its long-term quality.  There are many more things to go wrong:  The LC engines have a more complex (and sensitive) smoke unit, electronics, and plastic parts than did the 1945- 69 stuff.  Gears (plastic?),  wheels (with zinc rot)?  Traction tires (v.s all-steel Magnetraction?)  

Every one of these features will increase dissatisfaction vs. the original product.  Every replaced part, or failure drives people away. 

Lionel originally WAS the most expensive, and was not "competitive".  They didn't care about "realism" - the compressed scale, AC and three rail proves that.  They DID care about "tough", "reliable" and capturing the magic of accessories.  So- they built toy trains that cost a lot for their day, and still run-  50+ years after.

This is a little off topic, but it occurs to me that the members of this Forum and very passionate and enthusiastic about this hobby.

Some, maybe most, members will disagree, but I believe passionate, enthusiastic members could be the nucleus to change attitudes to make something more popular. I concede this is a long shot.

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I’m confused. Perhaps the original poster is confused too. How do you reconcile the contradictory statements? On the one hand it was stated that LC+ is durable, rugged and postwar-like. Then, in a subsequent post it was suggested that these engines are run  gingerly, without much load, for fear the 1-year warranty was ending.  Sounds like some legitimate and not unfounded anxiety that anything could tip them into a catastrophic failure at random. Who bites their nails cranking up a 2343, and letting it roar around the layout?

Mike Wyatt posted:

SO- why do we think that LC+ might be a candidate to increase model train popularity among the young,  AND become a "classic"??  IMO mainly because it uses a remote, vs. sitting at a console, and the 18 volts eliminate many track issues. 

Why might it NOT?  The PW stuff WAS quality- still running after 65 years. 

My personal experience after buying and giving TWO LC starter sets: one has been perfect after three years of Christmas tree duty, the second (also the same Pennsy Flyer LC set): the original set had to be replaced immediately after set up- several major faults- engine no sounds/ cars would not stay coupled etc.). 

THEN that same family- on Christmas # 2- the set engine developed a "grinding" sound and is headed back to NC.  Lionel has allowed it to be returned for service/ likely replacement.  But warranty returns do NOT make up for quality lapses w/ most.

I had to buy a new LC+ Pacific to replace the set engine- you can't have a 2 year old's train set not be running for the three weeks before Christmas. So- I am out $400.  This type of stuff will not "create a new generation of train hobbyists". 

Why LC+ might NOT be a candidate to increase model train popularity among the young,  AND become a "classic"??  Because we don't know about its long-term quality.  There are many more things to go wrong:  The LC engines have a more complex (and sensitive) smoke unit, electronics, and plastic parts than did the 1945- 69 stuff.  Gears (plastic?),  wheels (with zinc rot)?  Traction tires (v.s all-steel Magnetraction?)  

Every one of these features will increase dissatisfaction vs. the original product.  Every replaced part, or failure drives people away. 

Lionel originally WAS the most expensive, and was not "competitive".  They didn't care about "realism" - the compressed scale, AC and three rail proves that.  They DID care about "tough", "reliable" and capturing the magic of accessories.  So- they built toy trains that cost a lot for their day, and still run-  50+ years after.

I agree, the jury is still out on LC & LC+.  It will be a long time before the two can be compared to post-war, as far as longevity goes.  This, coming from someone who has recently purchased two LC+ locomotives and is very happy with them.  

You've hit the nail on the head about the remote.  Kids today are all about electronics and stuff we older folks may not understand.  

The bottom line is that older stuff was easily repairable.  Newer stuff with all of the electronics is not, at least by the average hobbyist.  

With care, the new stuff will last a long time.  However the new stuff is aimed at kids, and depending on their care level with their toys, we will see how the new Lionel holds up. 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

There's no reason that LC/LC+ will last any longer than my TMCC or Legacy stuff as it's also stuffed with electronics and cheap plastics.  The reason post-war stuff lasts so long as it's built to 1940/50's standards, stuff was built to last back then.  That's not the standards used today.

GregR posted:

I’m confused. Perhaps the original poster is confused too. How do you reconcile the contradictory statements? On the one hand it was stated that LC+ is durable, rugged and postwar-like. Then, in a subsequent post it was suggested that these engines are run  gingerly, without much load, for fear the 1-year warranty was ending.  Sounds like some legitimate and not unfounded anxiety that anything could tip them into a catastrophic failure at random. Who bites their nails cranking up a 2343, and letting it roar around the layout?

I agree with this post.

Mark in Oregon

gunrunnerjohn posted:

There's no reason that LC/LC+ will last any longer than my TMCC or Legacy stuff as it's also stuffed with electronics and cheap plastics.  The reason post-war stuff lasts so long as it's built to 1940/50's standards, stuff was built to last back then.  That's not the standards used today.

...and this one. Case in point: the American Flyer 300 I got yesterday. 

By my research, it was probably built 1947-ish, which makes it 70+. Upon receiving it, all it took was a few simple tools and a bit of time; it runs beautifully and will no doubt outlast me, who is 10 years its junior.

Also, as GRJ states about things "built to last", I don't know if modern consumers think in those terms. It's a different age, so comparing PW and LC/LC+ is perhaps another example of "apples and oranges".

Mark in Oregon

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