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So I'm just now receiving a few items from the 2020 catalogue and prior to this have bought my share of items over the last 15 years.  Is it just me or is Lionel packaging of their products gone completely down?  My recent Vision Baggage car purchase arrived with not only a damaged product but damaged internal packing materials.  Its obvious our "friends" in the shipping cycle somewhere dropped this guy but the outer package shows virtually no damage.  Upon opening, the plastic packing was shattered on one end and some visible damage to the car.  Upon further inspection, the coupler on one end is jammed very badly to the point I just shoved it back in the box and called Charles Ro.  CR happily took my return.

We used to get heavy shipping boxes on the outside and a high end box containing the product on the inside, well packaged and padded.  I've used my old packages to ship my items back and forth when needed for service.  Today's container I would not ship anywhere and opt for something more substantial.

On top of the fact that Lionel has doubled, tripled, quadrupled prices on their high end items in the last 15 years is one thing.  The fact they now package them in JUNK is pathetic.  Come on Lionel!  Clean this up.  The containers you are packaging with are PATHETIC!

Anyone else have an experiences to share?  Maybe Lionel will hear the customer on this one.

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@Randy_B posted:

I love their paper thin locomotive shippers also. I would gladly pay for more substantial packaging which should really be included in the prices they are at these days.

I understand they want to get away from styrofoam and it can be done.  My gripe is that they've gone overboard on minimizing their packaging investment and the product suffers as a result.  I pay too much for these items to have to go through and "touch up" a new to me beauty to have it correct.

LionelAG, be sure and check out the thread Lionel 2021 Catalogs in early (?) for the Pros and Cons of your comment.

I'm with the Cons.

The pricing is certainly a problem and quality too.  I have a new relationship to inform my wife about with my regular conversations with a Lionel Repair Tech to get the items to function as described (Thanks GRJ).  I accept that I'm not in a cheap hobby (my wife isn't quite there yet) but its time to push back on some of their decisions and strategies.

Last edited by LionelAG
@BillYo414 posted:

I haven't received any new Lionel items (though one is on the way) lately. I'm lowkey paranoid that I'm going to receive a pile of parts in a box but I see unboxings online and people don't have trouble. I also won't get worked up over something I can fix. We'll see what happens.

Why are we faced with fixing a product that's improperly packaged?  I understand some things can be fixed...

I just purchased some new Lionel locomotives (including the new LionChief Plus 2.0 F3's) and I love them! The plastic clamshell that holds the locomotives certainly does it's job and everything was in very good shape when I opened it up.

I also collect Marklin HO and noticed Lionel's' new plastic clamshell is identical to what Marklin began using a number of years ago. Apart from being a little bit of a challenge to repackage the locomotive, I find the plastic clamshell discolors and becomes brittle with age. By contrast, I have much older Marklin and MPC Styrofoam packaging that is still in very good shape.

Thanks for sharing your experiences!  My goal is to find out high wide spread the problem is AND to give Lionel a heads up that they are pushing the envelope with their new packaging.  I understand and appreciate the need to evolve the packaging but feedback is the only way Lionel could understand potential problems.  Happy Railroading to all!

Funny, I recently opened a Lionel box and thought this packaging is nice. It was the new 0-6-0t engine, it even had the blue ribbons to lift the locomotive out. Granted they are tanks and I think tougher than most locomotives, I thought the clamshell was designed well to protect it.
The only issue I saw was the clamshell pushes out on the flaps so they don’t stay closed all the way.

Plastic peanuts and other plastic-based packaging has been banned in NY State, and perhaps elsewhere. Also, styrofoam food and other packaging also banned.

As a long time seller on eBay, I have been using 100% biodegradable packing peanuts made from starch.  If the buyer wishes to dispose of them, they can simply toss them in their garden and wet them with a garden hose.  They completely melt and disappear!  They cost a bit more than styrofoam peanuts, but they keep everyone happy and do a good job of protecting fragile items.

You haven’t lived, until you pull an LTI orange box off of a shelf after a few years, to find that the orange color has faded horribly on the exposed end, while the end facing the back of the shelf is still nice and bright.  I have orange Lionel boxes that are closing in on a their hundredth birthday that still look like the day they were printed.  Do some folks here really throw their boxes away?

Another thought:  I wonder how fade resistant the paints used on the Chinese made models will hold up?  Will they hold up like this old set?

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@MrAllied posted:

As a long time seller on eBay, I have been using 100% biodegradable packing peanuts made from starch.  If the buyer wishes to dispose of them, they can simply toss them in their garden and wet them with a garden hose.  They completely melt and disappear!  They cost a bit more than styrofoam peanuts, but they keep everyone happy and do a good job of protecting fragile items.

I get those too, and they're a preferred cushioning material. No garden, so I usually toss them in the toilet bowl, pour some water over them, then watch them do a "Wicked Witch" impression ("I'm melting! Melting! Oh, my beautiful Wickedness...").

On tossing out boxes, I keep mine, though, honestly, in a 1-bedroom apartment, finding new and clever places to hide them is more problematical than ever.

Well that is good to know @Andrew-Porter. I've held onto that foam for landscaping purposes on the layout but I will double check this and reconsider. Could be a heck of a seismic event on the layout if we're talking about the same foam haha They sell this stuff in 1 inch thick sections made of quarter inch layers. It's intended for toolbox organizing (and does a **** good job). You cut the outline of the tool and peel the layers up until it's the depth you're happy with.

Lionel really needs to improve the shipper cartons of the made in USA - Concord boxcars.  They are flimsy and there is about an inch of free room inside for the Lionel carton to damage itself in some manner.   The PERFECT shipper cartons were those used by the Made in USA - Winchester VA (Blue Ridge) product.  Solid, Lionel box covered in plastic and fit nicely in the carton with the fold over top lids.  The cars made by Blue Ridge were also higher quality. 

The boxes used by the imported Scale Lionel Rolling stock are also flimsy and the shipper usually grabs them in the center for packing and they crease instantly.  I believe in keeping packaging perfect as its part of the product.  These are expensive items we enjoy.  The box is part of the experience.

All large Lionel locomotives should have lift off packaging like the Vision Line items.  Where one does not have to work to slide a tray out of the side of a box.

Last edited by Mike W.

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