There was a time on this forum when discussions of fantasy trains being made to "O-scale" would bring caustic criticism out from the great and respected rivet-counting model railroading clique, as well from miserly scrooges . And, those who dared to dream would retreat to fight another day. I remember those days well, and while some good friends are dedicated scale model railroaders, I believe that there's plenty of room for everyone in the O-gauge world.
When I thought about writing an article detailing the history of the Polar Express, which after drafting, later appeared in OGR Run 309 and was titled, "Where Life and Art Intersect - The Polar Express" I had concluded that "Lionel's PE journey shows no signs of losing steam" - a small metaphorical attempt at train humor. By the time the article appeared in print ~ late 2019, Lionel was delivering to dealers the fascinating Polar Express BiPolar; a new run of scale PE cars with simulated snow on roofs (and prototypically correct placement of lettering beneath the windows); and, the long asked for Stationsounds Hot Chocolate Diner Car, among other goodies. There were a couple of "hiccups" in the scale cars, but nevertheless fevered PE fans do as all loyal fans do, endure and overcome
Since that article, Lionel has continued with some interesting scale and traditional sized PE items, and with the latest 2021 catalog they have, in my opinion, gone for broke and advertised a PE Acela train. Without getting into the price point of the set and add-on cars which has been covered under other threads, I am interested in other "Christmas Train" and/or other holiday (e.g., Hanukkah) train enthusiast opinions; and, whether you've decided to pre-order them. Considering that the Acela is a "Built-to-Order" item, and since it'll likely be some time before another run of these trains are made, if ever, I am torn on what to do. Like some others, these times have been trying in many respects, not the least of which is financially, and in 2021 I need to factor in some major house repairs among other expenses. I also note that, as I've tried to make my layout late 1930s to early 1940s themed, the PE Acela would be quite out of place...yet with the mysterious character known as Saint Nicholas you never know what can come hi-balling down the mainline on Christmas Eve
So, don't worry about getting chastised, we're in good company here, so please chime in on whether you've decided to "break the bank" as the saying goes and pre-order a PE Acela set. And, if you plan on operating it, displaying, collecting, etc.