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Got this notice from a hobby shop about an hour ago. Don't see it at the Lionel site yet.

"Lionel - Good news: the new Lionel 2021 Big Book Catalogs just arrived (early this time).  Stop by and pick up a catalog whilst supplies last or you can access the catalog on-line at the Lionel web site."

Last edited by breezinup
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Our hobby shop called us today, so off to Nashville we go in the morning. It’s one of the best times of year there is, sitting back in the recliner, a cup of coffee, and total involvement in the newest and greatest toy train book ever. It takes our minds off everyday situations that we have no control over, and that’s why our model railroads are Our best friends. It’s the best hobby I know of. Happy Railroading Everyone 955DA63D-91E2-4670-9B83-E051E93CACC211D7A50B-7D55-4C0C-B214-0621F10A72D6

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Nothing yet seen that's of great interest.  Nice that camelbacks being offered w/ Legacy & whistle steam ...but at $650 MSRP, I'll happily stick w/ my two TMCC versions.  The modern powered (Acela?) Polar Express is interesting to see offered but again at a steep price and 0-72 minimum curve that approaches what I paid for my first car in the '80's which IIRC had a tighter turning radius.  Maybe it's the almost yearlong covid experience funk talking (or could be I've come to realize I have more than enough stuff acquired over the last 20yrs and for me, today's pricing structure has taken some of the shine off the new catalog aspect of the hobby.  I'll likely look to direct more time into improving the layout and performing routine maintenance tasks.  Hopefully in 6 to 9 months we'll see the return of train shows/meets that will rekindle my fire, although I think my eye will be favoring pre-war or modern tinplate.

We are arguably in the era of the big (wish book size) catalog that offers many items but contingent on a designated amount of confirmed pre-orders.  With Lionel's de-facto return to the lone mass-marketer of O-gauge, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next 3 to 7 years.

@scott.smith posted:

Did they get Tom Hanks.."All Aboard, this is the Broken Express."

Scott Smith

Scott you seem bitter.

As for the pictures being deleted, at first I thought it was probably the right thing to do but in reality, they'll just get posted somewhere else.  Why drive the traffic away unless Lionel has an issue with it being a sponsor but then they would have to try to have the other forums remove them as well.  It's not OGR's or the folks posting the pictures fault that the catalogs are on the streets already.

I remember 1 year Lionel did an awesome job of holding a catalog release that wasn't full of leaks.  Now it seems there are just too many holes in that dike to keep plugging.

Last edited by MartyE
@Keith L posted:

Thank you for the link, Keith!  I certainly missed that one.  I'm not surprised the announcement received very mixed reviews here on OGR Forum.    I did not comment over there to reopen a can of worms.    I can see it has value to anyone who wants to embrace it, young or old.  It you don't want to use the feature, you don't have to.

@MartyE posted:

I suspect it has more to do with the app than the engines themselves since it's compatible with all the previous Bluetooth engines.  Seems the app will "Alexify" your command and send out the appropriate commands.

Thank you, Marty.  What you said makes sense indeed.  It is the app that is communicating with the engine, whether the app takes it's instructions from the touch screen or the mic and voice recognition will be irrelevant to the engine.  Referring to the previous topic Keith linked, it doesn't add to the cost of the engine like some would think.  I recall when you demonstrated the then new LCS over at Patrick H's house a few years ago.  I think a lot of folks are now using it who thought they never would back then.

Where'd the Veranda and other Acela photos go?

You know, I'd actually be substantially tempted by a Veranda Turbine in a General Electric demonstrator scheme, as I am far more interested in these locomotives than I am in the UP, as such.

GE built  all the UP's GTELs, and did indeed paint the first GTEL for the UP (UP never owned it, though) in a GE scheme, before it went yellow.

@D500 posted:

You know, I'd actually be substantially tempted by a Veranda Turbine in a General Electric demonstrator scheme, as I am far more interested in these locomotives than I am in the UP, as such.

GE built  all the UP's GTELs, and did indeed paint the first GTEL for the UP (UP never owned it, though) in a GE scheme, before it went yellow.

Your wallet is safe D. No GE but 6 other fantasy schemes.

Pete

@Norton posted:

Your wallet is safe D. No GE but 6 other fantasy schemes.

Pete

A relief. A disappointment. Much like my PRR S-1 6-4-4-6 Pilot version that did not show up in the last catalogue.

But, that Pacemaker L2a Mohawk...aren't there laws against that? And a train to go with it!

And, Lionel - how about a full-valve-geared and can-motored version of your "old" L3a Mohawk? MTH-facilitated or not, that was way before Korea Brass and lawsuits.

I have to say I learned something thanks to the catalog. I had never heard of the Cardinals train. I first thought it said the Cardinal, now an Amtrak train. I saw the red cars and thought is was another fantasy scheme, then discovered the train existed if only for a few weeks. Lionel's version is somewhat accurate even to the cab number on the NYC Pacific. At nearly 2900 bucks for an engine and 7 cars I will be admiring it from a distance.

Pete

Last edited by Norton
@eddie g posted:

I have the catalog. A lot of fantasy items. I don't understand how those items sell. Kids don't care about that stuff any more.

If they didn't sell they wouldn't make them.  Someone is buying them and if I recall Ryan once said they are some of the bigger sellers.

I certainly don't care for many of them but if it helps fund other prototypical projects then I say make 'em.

@eddie g posted:

I have the catalog. A lot of fantasy items. I don't understand how those items sell. Kids don't care about that stuff any more.

Well, some of us are not strictly “model railroaders” but “toy train operators.” And of course most of us are somewhere along that spectrum.  It’s almost like it’s two different hobbies divided by a common three rail track! As a person on the “toy train operator/collector “ end of that spectrum I don’t mind having fantasy items running on my traditional sized 4x8 layout. I’m sure Lionel’s catalog is trying to serve both modelers and toy operators.

@MartyE posted:

Approx $1649.99 from the quick look i saw yesterday when the pics were still up.

Thanks Marty, that is most definitely intriguing.

I wish someone would post the full catalog description of its features - I can live without fantasy scheme mock-up images. (I wonder most of all what they have done with the sound compared with the TMCC version - phased diesel and then turbine or something else?)

I suspect a new Legacy Veranda would have at least the TMCC model's features, which were pretty good BTW.

Yes, they were, and indeed still are even by today’s O 3-rail standards. But I’ll reserve judgment on what Lionel’s offering now until I can see the actual catalog text feature description. From the blurry copy I have seen online, there are no less than 10 different schemes but I’m not sure they have the synchronized diesel and then turbine sounds and smoke the TMCC version has.

The acelas (amtrak, amtrak concept, new haven, PRR, UP, Milwaukee Rd, SF, polar express) all feature 2 powered units with sound and automatic pantographs. 3 Passenger cars in the standard set include manually operating doors, lights figures, automatic tilt. Expansion pack, additional 2 cars with features above +1 station sounds diner (cafe car). Min curve O-72

@Joe Fermani posted:

I don't mind fantasy road names. I ordered the genset PRR from the last catalog. I know Pennsy did not have them but it looked good and it gives me more variety to run. Visitors always like the various features of the locs and the flappers on the smoke stacks is cool. Since I'm not a rivet counter it doesn't bother me.

bro i love fantasy stuff

from what i've seen its gonna be hard looking through this thing with out wishing i had a few grand, o72 curves and a decent AC power supply

cough pacemaker cough strasburg camel cough us army with shark face turbine cough

This is a great catalog, for those that purchased the first VL Sante Fe 3000, it was nice, however this one is called a Vision 2-10-10-2, in multi color road numbers and lots of choices and looks Great. It’s very nice. The Veranda, is a heavy monster full of great new electronics, the Camelbacks are neat with also great new electronics, and lots of other products. One could spend $10K with a blink of the eye, of course that’s if the Wife says OK. Your going to love Lionels offerings. It’s truly a 2021 dream book. Happy Railroading Everyone

I picked up a paper copy today at my local hobby shop, was thinking about a Legacy Camelback steam purchase until seeing the Legacy Veranda Turbine. Being a veteran, it is a no brainer for me, one US Department of Defense #1941 will be placed on order. I will also have to purchase a circle of 072 curves, but what a great die-cast engine.

Last edited by das boot
@Norton posted:

I have to say I learned something thanks to the catalog. I had never heard of the Cardinals train. I first thought it said the Cardinal, now an Amtrak train. I saw the red cars and thought is was another fantasy scheme, then discovered the train existed if only for a few weeks. Lionel's version is somewhat accurate even to the cab number on the NYC Pacific. At nearly 2900 bucks for an engine and 7 cars I will be admiring it from a distance.

Pete

Didn't MTH make a nice RailKing version of the Cardinals Train some years ago?

Well fortunately all this stuff won't be available until likely the end of the year so plenty of time to save up....

And really excited to see the Acela finally return.  Honestly don't really get the hate everyone has for it.  I own the old one and sure, the tilt and door functions are useless, but turn them off and you've still got one of the most prototypical and spectacularly detailed models in 3-rail O.  A crime it's never made it to Legacy until now.

Cannot fathom how they will ever get enough orders to actually make the "Polcela Express" though, but more power to 'em if they can...

Well fortunately all this stuff won't be available until likely the end of the year so plenty of time to save up....

And really excited to see the Acela finally return.  Honestly don't really get the hate everyone has for it.  I own the old one and sure, the tilt and door functions are useless, but turn them off and you've still got one of the most prototypical and spectacularly detailed models in 3-rail O.  A crime it's never made it to Legacy until now.

Cannot fathom how they will ever get enough orders to actually make the "Polcela Express" though, but more power to 'em if they can...

I am happy because I own 2 perfect running Acelas.  If I need to replace anything, the parts for the new one should fit.  Hopefully with upgrades.  I am also happy because of the price of the new offering.  In theory I have $7k worth of Acelas for 1/4 the price.  Not a bad catalog at all.  Don’t see any new features not on original.  Can’t think of what else.  No room for smoke😏

@Jerry Rubin posted:

I could not agree more. Who ever is running Lionel has no clue what we can afford. Electric Trains for $600 to $3000. Customers 50 years old or older; Pandemic cutting income; Products made in China; Using some predesigned parts; Let's see how these guys make out in 2021.

They'll do fine.  They'll cancel what they don't get orders for and make the rest.  This catalog is quite ambitious IMO.

I guess if they were made in the U.S.A., you'd really be upset about the price.  I can't imagine a product made here would be any less expensive and there is no guarantee the quality would be better.

Last edited by MartyE

Come on Marty, how long will you continue to defend Lionel?  $600 to $3000 for a TOY Train Engine??? Customers 50 years and older; Pandemic cutting or eliminating people's  income; Products made in China; Using many predesigned parts; Over pricing everything they import. And you think they are the customers friend with how fast (slow) they repair defective merchandise?  I'm sorry I just think they are heading for disaster.

@Jerry Rubin posted:

Come on Marty, how long will you continue to defend Lionel?  $600 to $3000 for a TOY Train Engine??? Customers 50 years and older; Pandemic cutting or eliminating people's  income; Products made in China; Using many predesigned parts; Over pricing everything they import. And you think they are the customers friend with how fast (slow) they repair defective merchandise?  I'm sorry I just think they are heading for disaster.

Who's defending?  It's just the way it is. 

I guess they could bring back production to the US and deal with labor costs, government regulations, and all the other things that US companies deal with but that would just add to the cost and again there is no way to say QC will improve other than they have better oversight. 

People have been saying Lionel is done for years.  So far it hasn't happened.  $600 for an engine isn't bad.  I won't spend $3k but someone will.

" $600 to $3000 for a TOY Train Engine??? Customers 50 years and older; Pandemic cutting or eliminating people's  income; Products made in China; Using many predesigned parts; Over pricing everything they import."

I agree with Marty (as usual ).  There are plenty of locos below that price in every catalog I've seen previously.  I buy the occasional $600 loco, but mostly I've bought locos for one-third or one-half that price with LC+ or LC.  Customers get older whether Lionel or the customers like it. 50 is young.   Lionel doesn't control the pandemic or unemployment, obviously.  MTH's prices aren't much lower and they are going out of business for whatever reason.

Bottom line, unless you believe in toy train conspiracies, Lionel is just trying to sell products people will like,  and to make a profit.  That's reality, whether any of us like it or not.  If toy trains could be made much less expensively, someone would be doing it. They aren't.  This is a niche market with no economies of scale, using hand assembled products.  Expensive compared with other products.



By the way, sounds like a fun catalog to look at.  May even buy a train or two, but I already have more than any rational human being would want.

Last edited by Landsteiner

Sometimes I see folks getting sticker shock when looking at the pricing on some of these really neat Engines, articulated steamers, multi functioning diesels,  and it reminds me of my sales days working for Honda. Folks that never thought of owning a mini van would look at the Honda Odyssey, $45K, Wow, however after they were given the great features, demonstration ride, being taught about all the available features for all members of there family they were amazed. Similarly, the new Vision articulated 2-10-10-2 is awesome to operate, the sounds, all the features, worth the money as the early order pricing will be less than the catalog price. In this hobby, it’s nice to start with some nice trains one can afford, later down the road sell them, add a little money to what you get, buy a higher end model. This is how I adjusted to the higher end products. I sell some of the older technology, at good and fair prices to act as a down payment for the newer engines I want. I know the hobby is pricy, but the fun and relaxation one gets running some of these feature rich products and utilizing the Cab2 or Cab1L remotes, or the IPhone, it’s a WOW. So, the fun of the hobby is sharing your layout with others that have layouts in your immediate vicinity. Everyone can play. It’s like small layouts are fun, medium size layouts are fun, big layouts are fun, it’s all in what one chooses. I love the Legacy System, the least expensive diesel is more fun to run for me with all the bells and whistles than their conventional counterparts. However there are those that like conventional better than command, it’s all up to the individual, I like Operation. I think there will be something for everyone in this neat 2021 catalog, if they really sit down and read the book from cover to cover. Start small, grow over the years. I began buying Lionel in 1953, a Sante Fe F3 was $49.95. (66 years ago) Today, I have the newer Legacy Sante Fe F3’s ABBA, $1800, that’s a 66 year difference in quality, features and it has lots of benefits. The Sante Fe ABBA was my favorite toy train, and the legacy version is icing on the cake to me. So, all this being said, go to a fun hobby shop in your areas and get the Demonstration on these fine products and then price can be justified. It’s a fun hobby, we just need to understand everything has a price, cars, houses, Life. Toy trains simply make our lives more fun. The new catalog is Amazing. Happy Railroading Everyone

Last edited by leapinlarry

Some food for thought:

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Lionel make most of their sales (by volume) on entry level starters sets and the less expensive items? These days that would include the plain vanilla products, Lion Chief, and the many licensed trains aimed mostly at the youth market (see them all in the catalogs). Lionel essentially subsidizes the higher end by massive sales on the lower. Those conventional Penn Flyer Sets, well, fly off the shelves.

Sure, there are the multi-thousand dollar trains in the catalog, too, and you know what? They sell also. Just look at this forum and places like You Tube. Read this thread with all the "I'm in!" for the new Acela, among others.

Bottom line: Those that talk about rich man's hobby, or Lionel going under, or it can't last (121 years and counting), are plain wrong.

Edit: And let me add a personal note. I'm a 99.9% conventional Postwar collector and operator with a 1950's style Lionel Display Layout. I don't buy those 4-5 thousand dollar trains. But that's my direction in model trains and a choice I've made. But others make different choices and that's what it's all about. Lionel gives us a myriad of choices to enhance the model train hobby on whatever level, or cost, we choose.

That's one reason why they're still here, as one poster likes to say incessantly, in Century 21.

Last edited by johnstrains
@Jerry Rubin posted:

Come on Marty, how long will you continue to defend Lionel?  $600 to $3000 for a TOY Train Engine??? Customers 50 years and older; Pandemic cutting or eliminating people's  income; Products made in China; Using many predesigned parts; Over pricing everything they import. And you think they are the customers friend with how fast (slow) they repair defective merchandise?  I'm sorry I just think they are heading for disaster.

If you look back at Lionel's history, they were making trains around the time of the depression that were $80!  I believe the State Set was very high priced when it came out.  They were just toys back then as well.  The bottom line is that model trains are expensive.  Just because it fits under the category of a toy does not mean its cheap.  When my son was younger he was really into Legos.  Talk about expensive.  Any Lego set with over 100 pieces is $100 and up.  The big sets are several hundred dollars each.  There is no hand assemblies for Legos.  Its all molded plastic.  As stated above, people have been predicting Lionel's eminent doom for years.  The opposite has happened.  Their stater sets are the bulk of their sales.  The LionChief line has really gained momentum because of its affordability.  I don't find their prices outrageous at all when you look at the big picture.  Before the pandemic hit, Lionel was very responsive to warranty repairs and answering the phone.  I would give them a break until things return back to normal.  They are doing their best in a niche industry.

@MartyE posted:

Who's defending?  It's just the way it is.

I guess they could bring back production to the US and deal with labor costs, government regulations, and all the other things that US companies deal with but that would just add to the cost and again there is no way to say QC will improve other than they have better oversight.

People have been saying Lionel is done for years.  So far it hasn't happened.  $600 for an engine isn't bad.  I won't spend $3k but someone will.

I couldn’t  agree more. They’re running a business...in a market that is shrinking with far lower volumes than they had 15-20 years ago. They’re the brand leader and the high end line is for the few...not the many. They have plenty of starter sets and other offerings for that segment. The used market is flooded...so how do you maintain the brand leader position and sell product in a shrinking and flooded market....go high end! They have their challenges for sure. Not all of us are over 50. I’d like Lionel to be around for another 50-60 years and the high end products with unique paint schemes they’re producing are what I’m looking for. Just about everything else can be found on the used market, which will only continue to grow. Are prices high? Yes of course, but factor inflation into what you paid for items 15-20 years ago and it’s not too bad given the vast improvements.

I do not view the high end Legacy locomotives as toy trains.  I view them as scale models, with high end engineering and electronics.  My budget does not permit me to order any of those if I wanted them.  The LC Plus line is more in my line with my budget, if there is something I really want, which from what I have seen of the catalog, I don't see anything I want which is not bad. Another catalog will come along that I have to pick between 2 or 3 items.  Once I see the whole catalog, there may be something I want.

Excellent answer, however all the factors I pointed out still stand. Yes there is a group of younger people interested in the product, however that group is very small. As you point out the after market is loaded, I sell new AF passenger cars for 1/3 the price that Lionel sell their Chinese product. Yes, I do think $3000 for a Toy Train is a lot of money. Lionel can only exist on the higher end merchandise and since their market is going away, management will have to come up with a quick and in my opinion impossible solution. Why did Mike bail out? Are there any buyers for MTH out there?  In my opinion Menards has the only viable platform to sell O Gauge Trains. Their quality is not bad, they have the retail outlets and their prices are affordable.

@Jeff T posted:

Search YouTube. There's a video of a guy paging through it.

Not sure if Rich would be more mad that it was posted here or that the guy shot it in portrait mode.  LOL!  It was horrible to watch.  I gave up after a few pages.

I did spy the Lionel Voice Streaming.  Looks like they are following MTH and letting the locomotive "talk" from a recording on your phone using the Bluetooth App.

@Jerry Rubin posted:

Excellent answer, however all the factors I pointed out still stand. Yes there is a group of younger people interested in the product, however that group is very small. As you point out the after market is loaded, I sell new AF passenger cars for 1/3 the price that Lionel sell their Chinese product. Yes, I do think $3000 for a Toy Train is a lot of money. Lionel can only exist on the higher end merchandise and since their market is going away, management will have to come up with a quick and in my opinion impossible solution. Why did Mike bail out? Are there any buyers for MTH out there?  In my opinion Menards has the only viable platform to sell O Gauge Trains. Their quality is not bad, they have the retail outlets and their prices are affordable.

I agree with you on the ratio of younger to older people interested is dwindling since I am apart of the younger side of the spectrum. I can also agree that prices have gotten a bit ridiculous with some products but I do not agree that Lionel has put themselves in a corner. Yes, sometimes Lionel's prices are just ridiculous especially for products that have problems new out of the box. Also, yes, I think Lionel has based their market on the higher end production since that is where the market is, but I don't think that is where they will make their last stand. For example, my hobby shop this past two months have been wiped out of starter sets for Christmas and they were priced at retail. The younger market is out there, hence why I am here, I think the reason why we don't hear about it is because they either do not speak up, are not informed, or loose interest due too being discouraged or they were never truly interested. On prices, I have seen them fluctuate for well over a decade and the biggest increase being in the 2018 V2 catalog. For this catalog, I would say it is reasonable for once. In the last catalog, prices for Legacy locomotives actually went down because Lionel was able to make the Legacy boards cheaper to make. With that in mind, I would say the only reason this catalog seams to be murder on the wallet is due to Lionel is pulling out old tooling, redesigning them, and adding new stuff into them since they have made the base price much lower. Overall, I think Lionel could do a little better but I think they have done a good enough job that all we should worry about is the products being produced will work properly.

Thanks for reading and happy railroading!

Last edited by Trainmaster04

My only complaint about this catalog is that my wallet will take a beating! I’m definitely getting an Acela (I live in Boston, so I gotta), and the NKP MOW train set wit’s the expansion (my main layout RR). But seeing the rolling stock and engines, I doubt that’ll be all I buy.

I’m mid 30’s and have really gotten into this hobby within the past 2 years. I have several friends around the same age getting active in O gauge too. I love LC+, makes it easy for my nephew and I to run trains together using the device he always is glued to. Plus, it gets him off social media for a bit!

@MartyE posted:

Not sure if Rich would be more mad that it was posted here or that the guy shot it in portrait mode.  LOL!  It was horrible to watch.  I gave up after a few pages.

I did spy the Lionel Voice Streaming.  Looks like they are following MTH and letting the locomotive "talk" from a recording on your phone using the Bluetooth App.

For those who have not seen the catalog yet I plan on doing a video on the 22 when the digital version comes out so that the quality of the video would be much better.

@MartyE posted:

Not sure if Rich would be more mad that it was posted here or that the guy shot it in portrait mode.  LOL!  It was horrible to watch.  I gave up after a few pages.

I did spy the Lionel Voice Streaming.  Looks like they are following MTH and letting the locomotive "talk" from a recording on your phone using the Bluetooth App.

As did I.

Also, he stopped without getting into most of the stuff I would be interested in. At this point (Jan. 13), I'll just wait until catalog release next week.

Last edited by johnstrains
@MartyE posted:

Not sure if Rich would be more mad that it was posted here or that the guy shot it in portrait mode.  LOL!  It was horrible to watch.  I gave up after a few pages.

I did spy the Lionel Voice Streaming.  Looks like they are following MTH and letting the locomotive "talk" from a recording on your phone using the Bluetooth App.

There is another video on youtube from Jim's plane and trains. He pages through and discusses. Much nicer to view.

I suspect a new Legacy Veranda would have at least the TMCC model's features, which were pretty good BTW.

I’ve managed to answer my own question about this by freeze-framing one of the YouTube vids on the catalog. Yes, dual smoke units, synchronized smoke and sound for the diesel and turbine power plus roughly the same lighting features as the original TMCC version. And die cast bodies and I think 10 different paint versions.

For some years I have agitated with Lionel to do a VL version of the Veranda. This is not VL but so close in terms of advertised features that there must have been other people agitating for the same thing!

I won’t carp about the price for this model - the original version was listed at $1,250 way back when in 2001 and with dealer discounts this new version is probably within my reach. I just hope that they actually make whichever one I decide on.

@MartyE posted:

Not sure if Rich would be more mad that it was posted here or that the guy shot it in portrait mode.  LOL!  It was horrible to watch.  I gave up after a few pages.

I did spy the Lionel Voice Streaming.  Looks like they are following MTH and letting the locomotive "talk" from a recording on your phone using the Bluetooth App.

I agree it was horrible to watch.  In portrait mode, he had to keep scanning and I couldn’t read anything even on the pc monitor. He could have at lest made some comments as to what he was looking at.  We were saved by the bell when his kid called him away!  😄

@Jerry Rubin posted:

I could not agree more. Who ever is running Lionel has no clue what we can afford. Electric Trains for $600 to $3000. Customers 50 years old or older; Pandemic cutting income; Products made in China; Using some predesigned parts; Let's see how these guys make out in 2021.

I'm calling BS on this post.. Sorry Jerry, you have several posts regarding price yet YOU do not afford Lionel one bit of information on the price you can or will hand over, you are not alone either.

You can't have it both ways, blame Lionel for having "no clue what we can afford" and then you do not give them any thoughtful insite on what you, the buyer, will spend. And don't just say I want Menards Price with Lionel features and selection which by your posts is probably what you will post.

Charlie

@Jerry Rubin posted:

Excellent answer, however all the factors I pointed out still stand. Yes there is a group of younger people interested in the product, however that group is very small. As you point out the after market is loaded, I sell new AF passenger cars for 1/3 the price that Lionel sell their Chinese product. Yes, I do think $3000 for a Toy Train is a lot of money. Lionel can only exist on the higher end merchandise and since their market is going away, management will have to come up with a quick and in my opinion impossible solution. Why did Mike bail out? Are there any buyers for MTH out there?  In my opinion Menards has the only viable platform to sell O Gauge Trains. Their quality is not bad, they have the retail outlets and their prices are affordable.

Jerry, I respectfully disagree. Menards is doing a great job for the low end market. Their buildings are beautiful. If you want something more, menards is not going to deliver. I love sound, smoke, and all the extra details. Mth, Lionel, 3rd rail, etc... deliver in this area. Yes. Prices are higher. I do agree 2000+ is high and not many people buy at this end. But, lionel must be doing decent with the high end or they wouldn't be making them. My son got the vision big boy and it's one of our favorites. We dont buy from this end often but we saved for it and dont regret it. Anytime friends come over the big boy gets used. My point is, lionel does make stuff for all levels. Happy railroading.

@Jerry Rubin posted:

Why did Mike bail out? Are there any buyers for MTH out there?  In my opinion Menards has the only viable platform to sell O Gauge Trains. Their quality is not bad, they have the retail outlets and their prices are affordable.

In the few days that you have suddenly appeared to take on Lionel, you have posed this same question about Mike/MTH 3-4 times.  Are you really asking or is your question implying something that you'd like to share.  Do tell, Mr. Rubin.

Menards? Ain't happening. They are a home improvement company in a limited region of the U.S. that has found a niche making limited O gauge items. Btw, they've had fairly significant quality issues with the trucks and wheel sets on their rolling stock. The Forum is full of threads on that topic. So, let's stop pretending that "quality" is a label to stick on one company alone.

I'm glad to see them in the O gauge market place, and I own a few Menards items myself. But if your "viable platform" comment means anything like the comprehensive offerings of Lionel or MTH I don't see it happening.

Last edited by johnstrains
@Jerry Rubin posted:

Excellent answer, however all the factors I pointed out still stand. Yes there is a group of younger people interested in the product, however that group is very small. As you point out the after market is loaded, I sell new AF passenger cars for 1/3 the price that Lionel sell their Chinese product. Yes, I do think $3000 for a Toy Train is a lot of money. Lionel can only exist on the higher end merchandise and since their market is going away, management will have to come up with a quick and in my opinion impossible solution. Why did Mike bail out? Are there any buyers for MTH out there?  In my opinion Menards has the only viable platform to sell O Gauge Trains. Their quality is not bad, they have the retail outlets and their prices are affordable.

The entry level sets and licensed products are Lionel's bread and butter, not the high end stuff.  That is info straight from Lionel btw.  They know their market well and cater to it.  Also, fantasy schemes sell like hotcakes, they have also admitted this.  There is also a healthy market for very high end items and sets.  You make what sells.  This catalog very obviously reflects what lionel has indicated are their best selling types of items.  Also, from what I've seen, o-scale has gained a lot  of popularity in recent years and especially with the 20-40 year old crowd.  Things aren't as bleak as you think.

Last edited by Brian DeFazio

Looks like Lionel should borrow from Sears and call it the Wish Book. I wish I could afford it.

I've always enjoyed perusing through the catalog, trying to avoid looking at the pricing, as I rarely by anything new anymore. More $2k plus engines on huge curves I don't have, so not to worry about those!! Good part about being in a club, some of the guys fortunately have deeper pockets than I, so I do get to see them in action though!!

I don't want to encourage any arguments but I feel like some of these models are reasonably priced seeing what they can do. It's impressive as heck. I also found out that this stuff was never cheap when you run the numbers for inflation from 1940 to today. $100 then is roughly $1800 now.

Also, I don't understand the hate for the fantasy stuff. Didn't MTH have all sorts of goofy out of the ordinary paint schemes? I don't care if the Youngstown & Southeastern never had a decapod. It would be cool to have a decapod with the Y&S scheme if I was modelling the Youngstown and Southeastern. I can understand not being into the Halloween or holiday stuff but that's fine. I don't buy it. I hope parents buy it for their kids and get their kids into the hobby though.

@Charlie makes a good point. I never called Lionel up and told 'em what I want haha I would prefer not to spend more than $2000 on a model. That 2-10-10-2 is a monster with all the features it has and I was fortunate to remain employed through the pandemic but I couldn't spend any money at the bar and such like I normally would so I'll probably splurge. I also would love access to blank locomotives and rolling stock so I could put my own logos on them without needing to repaint. I know Atlas has made blank hoppers and now I hunt them. The fancy Cricuts and laser engravers available to consumers today mean you can do some really awesome stuff with logos but I think that some repainting is involved to accomplish that if there is already a logo on there and painting is not one of my stronger skills even though I could probably handle a simply black recoat. Anyway, I assume (and expect) Lionel has a presence here. Maybe they'll see this, maybe not. Either way, I want the catalog so I can scope out that 2-10-10-2.

"it's a disgrace to the hobby for a million dollar corporation such as Lionel to sell trains at over inflated prices who in turn deliveres them with defects or broken parts."

I thought you said you didn't buy trains these days?  So what are you basing this comment on?  I've bought dozens of Lionel products (and some from other vendors) over the last five years or so and have had exactly zero problems. I know lots of people with similar experiences.  The prices (mostly from Charles Ro) have seemed good value for money to me.  Obviously, some lemons will arise and some folks have had disappointing experiences.  Welcome to the real world where perfection eludes us.  But if you're not buying anything, it seems to me it behooves you not to be making comments that, if Lionel really could be bothered, and you lived in the USA, would wind up with you in court on the complaint of libel.  Just kidding, sort of.   Let's stick to facts please.  These sorts of wild misrepresentation of reality just upset people who don't know any better, harm dealers and discourage new hobbyists.  Unless that's what you are aiming for.

Last edited by Landsteiner

I'm confused.  Where's the problem?  Jerry has give Menards the Thumbs Up.  I agree with him that Menards offers great products at affordable prices.  Always perfect?  Nobody is perfect, but it's a disgrace to the hobby for a million dollar corporation such as Lionel to sell trains at over inflated prices who in turn deliveres them with defects or broken parts.

There's no Quality Control anymore for the most part which is just short of a Crime because they can get away with this bull, while the train shop owners are left attempting to please the customer, who got stuck with a piece of imported junk made by some poor soul in some sweatshop factory making wages lower than the minimum wage in the U.S.A. to boot!  The result: Many train shop owners end up with high blood pressure, perhaps even short of suffering a massive heart attack, while the investors of the toy train industy are laughing all the way to the bank, thinking, "Suckers, you got just what you deserved"!

Item: A model railroader isn't required to buy any product from any manufacturer.  If you see an item and you gripe about the high price and cry that it's going to put you in the poor house, it's your freedom to do it your way, but perhaps you should ask yourself first: "Do I really gotta get it and can I live without it?" Looks like a bunch of gumpy old men, acting like little children, who need to grow up and get a grip on their life and pocketbook too.

Jerry, please pass the box of Kleenex (Reg.U.S.Pat.Off.) I'm laughing so hard I'm in tears.

Joe

Please tell us about your layout and your experiences purchasing models trains from Lionel, MTH, and Menards. And the relative merits and shortcomings of each.

Maybe I'll need some of that Kleenex.

Last edited by johnstrains

You make what sells.  This catalog very obviously reflects what lionel has indicated are their best selling types of items.

You know, Brian makes a good point (maybe others have as well), but Lionel and every other company makes what sells. Scott Mann over at Sunset 3rd Rail has posted this very point.

What would be interesting is to see what has been cancelled over the last few years.

Just from memory, I'm guessing most of the cancelled items were from the middle to low end of the price range. With the exception of the Hybrid N&W K4, I think Lionel brought most of the "high" end stuff to market. Again, this is just anecdotal, I have no numbers.

Bottom line, if Lionel really had no clue (as Jerry Rubin stated) then I think we would see many more cancellations and/or "blow-outs" and from my perspective, I do not see that happening on a regular basis.

Charlie

Now that the catalogs have manged somehow to squeeze through Lionel's "Sieve of Security" via posts and YouTube, there's no real reason for them to wait on posting the catalog online, is there?

This sorta reminds me of the Cone of Silence from the old TV series Get Smart, where nobody can hear inside the cone, but everyone outside can hear what's being said...

Rusty

There seems to be a lot of comments about concern of pricing and quality and how this impacts the future.

First I would would like to comment on the "market age group" which I have seen mentioned a lot. I am in my late 20's and have been into Model Railroading since I can remember around 3.5 years old when I got my first HO set for Christmas. I did not get into O gauge until I was able to make my own money to purchase O gauge which there were 2 factors, 1 being the price, and 2 being that my father and grandfather both modeled HO so I tend to blame genetics for that mistake haha. I currently Model O "Scale" purchasing more of the higher end items and do a significant amount of pre ordering every year. One of the difficulties I found as a younger individual becoming seriously involved specifically in O scale is sometimes the space required/desired especially for Scale. What I mean by this is that where I reside in northern Indiana there is not much of anything to find as far as clubs. Closest one to me is Chicagoland which is 2.5 hours. So to a young individual who might be in high school/ college living at their parents, or working and in their first apartment/ maybe small rental house, or purchased their first home space might be a hard thing to come by and I can find smaller gauge clubs with layouts All Day Long haha. I hope that as time goes on more and more people use the "power" of social media and find others around them into the hobby and grow a group and more clubs appear with the aspiration of building club layouts. One can dream right? On a side note from visiting clubs that are far away with the interest in possibly traveling from time to time, some of the older generations have not been to enthused to have younger individuals involved from a club perspective. This is not the case all of the time as I have met many people of all ages that thoroughly enjoy conversing and interacting with anyone involved in the hobby, but I have noticed enough to mention that I see sometimes the age gap be an issue.

Now for the topic of price. Price has been fluctuating a decent amount. For the most part legacy locomotives have been fairly consistent of late and lets remember the reduction of cost with the smaller legacy boards. Also we are now seeing in the most recently delivered items from 2020 the added features like the selectable whistle/horn, selectable bell, and color changing marker lights.... I didn't notice a significant change in the price for those features. If budget is an issue as it may be for many the modern LC series is pretty darn awesome while being middle of the row for pricing in my opinion.

Last the quality. From a big picture quality for me has not been a large concern, however of recent there has been a large spike of issues from my experience. In the last 12 or so months I have had to send back 4 legacy steamers immediately. First being the most recent J Class northern and the "wrong red stripe" issue. This could have been prevented fairly easy with QC but you know what stuff happens, they issues RA's to have them fixed and that was that no big deal. Next the second run of the Vision Line Challengers and "synchronized chuffing issues", again RA was acquired and loco was fixed. Next I received my First Run Edition Big Boy and the boiler front was open in the packaging causing pressure to be put on it in shipping via being pinned on the front foot plate when open. this cause it to basically pull those small hinges out of the casting damaging the front of the loco significantly. Again RA issued with no questions for the repairs (still waiting to get this one back). Last the recent release of the Santa Fe Northern one of the number boards was DOA in regards to the LED, RA issued and awaiting its return still. My frustration is that 4 out of the last 6 locos I pre ordered had to be shipped back immediately after already waiting for a year roughly just to wait another 2 months roughly, kinda stinks at this price point but again stuff happens. The last to RA's were very difficult to acquire though just from the issue of getting ahold of lionel. I have had no luck ever communicating via email and the when I would call a lot of times i would be on hold for and hour or so and their switchboard would hang up on me and I would have to call in again. It took about 4 days calling and waiting multiple times to get the RA's for the two most recent locomotives. I understand the challenges that business have been dealing with since the beginning of last year and that issues do happen but do sincerely hope that they find a better way to manage claims in the mean time.

These are just my thoughts on some common topics in this thread. My point to all this is that I Love the Hobby and the products from lionel, patience at times is a great virtue and lets have some faith that lionel is aware of issues that can be improved on and give them a chance to work on them. After all they have been a successful business for 121 years and survived the depression.

Last edited by TheThirdRail91

Just got done watching a YouTube video that was on another post. Catalog is decent sized IMO as far as not going with so many things much like last year's. Prices are what they are, and remember last year's also had increases which seem about the same for similar sized engines from what I could make out.

What is affordable depends on what you consider based on your income, and like MartyE said, "I won't spend 3k, but someone will." Also, the bug question we always seem to have because they are extremely relevant, will these be the right color, will they break down right out of the box, will they make it through transportation?

What will people settle for is a great question as well. I don't have a copy yet, but will when I go to my LTS next Saturday. I have eyed just a few things but need a much closer look at things. That being said, I guess I'll figure out what tickles my fancy if anything, better bet on NYC, lol.

Just a FYI:

Some people have more disposable income than others. Some people have larger layouts with larger curves than others. Buy what fits your budget and layout. It's a hobby. Don't get so bent out of shape that others have more space/bigger wallets than you. It's not like you need model trains to sustain your life .

As far as quality I've gotten several preorders from Lionel over the last two years without issue. No damage or anything. None were locomotives but a few had electronics (couple sound refrigerator cars). I did pick them up at my LHS (who Lionel ships to on a pallet), so perhaps that helps. I got a couple MTH locomotives from my LHS as well in the past couple years (Premier SP AC6 Cab Forward, Premier SP Alco PAs, Rail King scale ATSF H10-44) and they all worked fine out of the box with no damage. Should stuff not get damaged in shipping? Sure. But if it keeps happening to your stuff perhaps your package handlers are really beating the **** out of your boxes before delivering them. Lionel should take this into consideration, obviously, but there is only so much packing that they can put in a box, and it's hard to protect an item when it's drop kicked from 8 feet in the air....

It always rubs me the wrong way when people complain about Lionel "making high-tech stuff I can't afford" or "making fantasy engines I hate".  Just because you can't afford or don't want to spend the money on the high-end stuff, doesn't mean that stuff shouldn't exist for those who can/do.  I can't afford a yacht, but it doesn't bother me that they exist for those who can buy them.  And likewise, I have no interest in a Milwaukee Road Acela, but if making and selling them can improve Lionel's sales and strengthen their company, why should I care?

Further, what do I do for things I can't afford but want?  I save!  If you really want something from this catalog, you have probably a year to save before you will have to cough up the money for it to buy or pay for the pre-order.

It always rubs me the wrong way when people complain about Lionel "making high-tech stuff I can't afford" or "making fantasy engines I hate".  Just because you can't afford or don't want to spend the money on the high-end stuff, doesn't mean that stuff shouldn't exist for those who can/do.  I can't afford a yacht, but it doesn't bother me that they exist for those who can buy them.  And likewise, I have no interest in a Milwaukee Road Acela, but if making and selling them can improve Lionel's sales and strengthen their company, why should I care?

Further, what do I do for things I can't afford but want?  I save!  If you really want something from this catalog, you have probably a year to save before you will have to cough up the money for it to buy or pay for the pre-order.

Good thoughts! I would n we complain about what Lionel makes, wether high end or “fantasy “ ( I prefer alternative timelines) . Others would want them and be happy with them. I may grumble a bit  about what Lionel didn’t make. 😉

Good thoughts! I would n we complain about what Lionel makes, wether high end or “fantasy “ ( I prefer alternative timelines) . Others would want them and be happy with them. I may grumble a bit  about what Lionel didn’t make. 😉

True that!  I think the best way to help Lionel is to grumble about what they didn't make, because then they will see what people want, and perhaps make it and sell it!

It always rubs me the wrong way when people complain about Lionel "making high-tech stuff I can't afford" or "making fantasy engines I hate".  Just because you can't afford or don't want to spend the money on the high-end stuff, doesn't mean that stuff shouldn't exist for those who can/do.  I can't afford a yacht, but it doesn't bother me that they exist for those who can buy them.  And likewise, I have no interest in a Milwaukee Road Acela, but if making and selling them can improve Lionel's sales and strengthen their company, why should I care?

Further, what do I do for things I can't afford but want?  I save!  If you really want something from this catalog, you have probably a year to save before you will have to cough up the money for it to buy or pay for the pre-order.

This reminds me of a time when I was a kid, I received a Marx set for Chrismas.  My cousins received Lionel.  I asked why.  Lionel is way too expensive.  If you want a train, be happy with Marx.  The point I make is Lionel to me has always been expensive premium.  Never thought of as great value, but was the best . 

johnstrains:  First, I sincerely apologise to you sir!  I'm sorry for my disrespect.

I collected Lionel for several years, my favorites being the Santa Fe blue and yellow freight F3 A-B-B-A set, Pennsylvania green GG1, and Northern Pacific 4-8-4, all proudly displayed in my basement.  Due to health issues I sold them to my best friend (RIP) in Florida, who in turned sold them shortly thereafter, to help finance his conversion to two rail O scale.  He also sold his O gauge Lehigh Valley center cab diesel switcher and assorted freight cars, left over from childhood.

I also collected some large scale LGB about five years ago, which is now gone.

I'm now an armchair model railroader and still hope to consturct a small S scale layout.  At the moment everything is on hold.

Hope that answers your question.

Shake hands?  I truly hope so.  Don't worry, I'm wearing my protective Corona mask!

O scale railroadingly yours,

Joe

johnstrains:  First, I sincerely apologise to you sir!  I'm sorry for my disrespect.

I collected Lionel for several years, my favorites being the Santa Fe blue and yellow freight F3 A-B-B-A set, Pennsylvania green GG1, and Northern Pacific 4-8-4, all proudly displayed in my basement.  Due to health issues I sold them to my best friend (RIP) in Florida, who in turned sold them shortly thereafter, to help finance his conversion to two rail O scale.  He also sold his O gauge Lehigh Valley center cab diesel switcher and assorted freight cars, left over from childhood.

I also collected some large scale LGB about five years ago, which is now gone.

I'm now an armchair model railroader and still hope to consturct a small S scale layout.  At the moment everything is on hold.

Hope that answers your question.

Shake hands?  I truly hope so.  Don't worry, I'm wearing my protective Corona mask!

O scale railroadingly yours,

Joe

i'm an armchair model railroader as well my main hold back is space and money i want to build a traditional o gauge carpet layout with lionchief trains and pep accesories with very few exceptions to this rule. i plan on getting the nasa and john deere sets spoiler alert but nothing is set in stone