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My VL BigBoy stopped running mid circuit on my layout.  I sent an email to TalkToUs on the 28th of January listing the issues:

1. Track power on: Number boards light; center rear tender light on;
2. Start up: intermittent low buzzes from speaker; a sound off-on as if a servo is trying to move; start up sounds normal; Smoke turned on to high, no flashing lights; periodic buzzes - not sure if it’s from the speaker or some other source
3. Sequence control initiated correctly; when throttle turned, lights dim/blink and buzz from speaker, off-on; some other strange noise accompanies any Cab2 command sent
4. Train would not move although throttle applied
5. Electrocoupler would not open.
In the past the response to an email submission was terrific..within a day or two  I'd be corresponding.  However, this time, I had not received a reply as of 11:00 this morning other than the initial auto-response so I called.  I spoke to "Kate?". Very pleasant but she advised they are not taking out of warranty service and suggested I try back next month.    She said they  only have two people working the desk...  So, for those who are wondering what's up with customer service, here's the latest.  I hope it's just a temporary shortage of personnel.  
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This has been happening after Christmas for at least 5 years.  Lionel puts priority on  warranty repairs and with a large percentage of their sales happening at Christmas,  the two or three first months of the year require a  disproportionate amount of time.  When this has happened to me, it is usually late March to early April before their backlog is managable and they start taking out of warranty repairs.

Happy railroading,

Don

Hi All,

Mike Reagan is now the East Coast Director of TW TrainWorx and not only can handle repairs but a well kept secret is his Traintastic Design/Fabrication talents! We are truly blessed to have an amazing duo of Farkash and Reagan who together with our talented Traingineers have all aspects of YOUR custom layout needs absolutely COVERED!

We're talking; design, fabrication, engineering, repairing, layout assessment, model making and of course installing your layout ensuring not a second is wasted for train running, memory making, fun to be had!

Here is Mike's contact information:

mreagan@twtrainworx.com
(330) 519-4831

Happy Tracks!

TrainDame aka Dorcie Farkash
TW TrainWorx
(214) 634-2965
Dallas, TX | Concord, NC
www.blog.traindame.com 
www.trainworxlayouts.com

DGJONES posted:

This has been happening after Christmas for at least 5 years.  Lionel puts priority on  warranty repairs and with a large percentage of their sales happening at Christmas,  the two or three first months of the year require a  disproportionate amount of time.  When this has happened to me, it is usually late March to early April before their backlog is managable and they start taking out of warranty repairs.

Happy railroading,

Don

One has to wonder why so many failures in such a short time? 🙁

ToledoEd posted:

I’ve opened my VL Hudson to replace fan motors and batting but I get weak kneed when it comes to the  VLBB. I thought it prudent to let a pro fix it, especially with it acting so erratically. I do admire folks that DIY the VL products. 

Actually the VLBB has been one of the easiest locomotives I have ever opened and worked on.  I just need to sit down and rebuild the smoke units before I put the boiler back on.

I do not advertise on the Forum or look  for work.  Many do advertise that have a certified Lionel tech and I suggest you contact them.  My good friend Mike Reagan comes to my mind.  He has been known to fix a train or two.  I mainly do Lionel and MTH repairs for Charlie Ro and see hundreds f engines  engines each year.  Charlie sells a lot of trains.  I have a few friends I take care of.  I do my own MTH work for people.  Any forum member with a question about Lionel can contact me as I am a Lionel tech  and have access to the Lionel tech only site.

Please be patient with Lionel as Dean is working very hard to make things happen.  Customer Service at Lionel is very lucky to have him.   Any Vision that was purchased from Charles Ro can be taken care of by me.   I get emails every day from guys who buy broken junk  from fleabay.   I feel sorry for them but their problems they bought into are not going to be my problems.  I have more than enough good work to keep me busy.  

The OGR Forum is a great resource for getting anything fixed.  Use it and you will have good luck.

Last edited by Marty Fitzhenry

"One has to wonder why so many failures in such a short time? 🙁"

Do we know the number?  We just know they're busy.  Given the small number of warranty repair staff (?2), the large number of trains sold relative to that number of staff (? hundreds of thousands, certainly tens of thousands of locomotives), the frequency of shipping damage, abuse and user error, I'm surprised they get anything done. 

May be difficult to justify significant staff increase when the work is seasonal, or, more likely,  perhaps there is a shortage of people suited to undertaking this sort of repair work. 

In short, I would suspect your comment doesn't address the complexity of the issues, and is grossly unfair.

Why is Lionel not doing warranty work on the newly released 6-83102 Southern Pacific Lines Daylight cars? They will not pay to have them returned for Service, and instructed me to send them back to the dealer for my money back. The name strip "Southern Pacific Lines" is falling away from the car bodies. I also have a coupler that will not close on the two-pack add-on cars.

"So many problems in such a short period"  If you continue to spend your hard earned $$$$ on this junk as I use too how can you expect change.  Now if you retaliate by withholding your hobby $$$$ in mass as I am doing myself perhaps they will get the message.  If not there is plenty of great used product on the market, at least to satiate my railroading needs.  Just my opinion.  Cheers Jim

I have only great things to say about Lionel Service, and their customer service writers. Other than VisionLine Locomotives, I have a great repair station in Louisville, Ky. Roundhouse Hobby Shop, and also in Evansville, Indiana, ABC Hobbykraft.  I really hate sending these large locomotives through UPS and FedEX.  I have had work done by Gunrunner John which is great.  I have also had work done by Jojo Squatrito in Ashtabula Ohio, great for DieCast ES44's, Challengers, Big Boys, FEF's,....So, when our trains are out of warranty there are many choices in getting them repaired.  Lionel may be under-staffed, as are many big companies today, its expensive to run businesses.  This is a great thread and both or all Lionel, MTH, Atlas O, all the great train makers are wanting their products to run right. These are the best of times.....Good luck and Happy Railroading

BTO is a commitment to buy, sight-unseen.  Whether a deposit is taken, a commitment has been made on a product that may or may not work properly, or even look as advertised. 

With being told to return my new Lionel Southern Pacific Lines 21" passenger cars because Lionel does not have parts and does not expect to get any, I have to wonder what is happening in manufacturing.  Parts are always a necessity for the long-life of a product. Rollers, couplers, wheels and trucks wear in time.

ARE WE NOW BUYING DISPOSABLE TRAINS?  Are we expected to toss them out because parts for a new item will not be available.  The manufacturers need to inventory a reasonable number of parts to service the items they sell.

I talked to Katie too.  She was very kind when she informed me that there will be NO CALL TAGS for the Lionel Southern Pacific Lines 21" passenger cars.  (6-83192, 6-83107, or 6-83110)  She stated that Lionel does not have parts for these cars and does NOT expect to get any.  So these new cars DO NOT have a WARRANTY.

The only option for merchandise with broken couplers or Southern Pacific Lines Strips falling off, is to RETURN it to the seller for a REFUND.  I have a beautiful Southern Pacific Lines GS4 34449 and no passenger cars,

As we all know, defects develop both before and after the warranty period. Problems with defective trucks, couplers, messed up rollers and other components are commonplace. Whether it's a manufacturing defect, zinc pest a couple of years down the road, or user damage, things will happen. I do repairs like this all the time on Lionel passenger and freight cars. Without Lionel providing a reliable source for common parts for these 21" cars, many buyers are taking a financial risk if they do not return these products for a full refund, during their limited time window to do so. Parts availability is essential to support product repairs both in and out-of-warranty.

Last edited by GregR

While I think it's not fair to the customer for Lionel to not have some parts for issues, I think all the issues you have described could easily be fixed in an evening. A couple drops of Testors cement on the name plates will take care of that. I'm not sure what the issue with the coupler is, but I imagine if you take it apart you can find the issue. It's a pretty straightforward design. Or as previously mentioned, swap the couplers with Kadee #746 scale couplers. 

I noticed on my newer 2017 SD40's if you input thier part numbers into the Lionel part site no parts are available yet. I hope they are coming. These products are built overseas then they ship them back to sell, but Lionel is the middle man left with no parts to support the products. I guess they slowly build up parts with enough returned items? I just got my #1991 SD60M with a scratched windshield. Dave Olson confirmed the older SD70MAC windshield is the same so I ordered it and am going to swap myself.  

Otherwise I love my Legacy engines, it' just the parts support and warranty stories like this giving me pause the deeper I go into the blackhole. Spending $3,000 on a loco and they don't have time to repair it? 

Last edited by SuperChiefer84
Will Ebbert posted:

While I think it's not fair to the customer for Lionel to not have some parts for issues, I think all the issues you have described could easily be fixed in an evening. A couple drops of Testors cement on the name plates will take care of that. I'm not sure what the issue with the coupler is, but I imagine if you take it apart you can find the issue. It's a pretty straightforward design. Or as previously mentioned, swap the couplers with Kadee #746 scale couplers. 

I just don't get what you are "getting"...These high dollar Locomotives are not "project pieces" They should be right or the MFG should make it right. Nick

rockstars1989 posted:
Will Ebbert posted:

While I think it's not fair to the customer for Lionel to not have some parts for issues, I think all the issues you have described could easily be fixed in an evening. A couple drops of Testors cement on the name plates will take care of that. I'm not sure what the issue with the coupler is, but I imagine if you take it apart you can find the issue. It's a pretty straightforward design. Or as previously mentioned, swap the couplers with Kadee #746 scale couplers. 

I just don't get what you are "getting"...These high dollar Locomotives are not "project pieces" They should be right or the MFG should make it right. Nick

I get that. I'm not saying it's ok, but no point in returning something that can be fixed. Life isn't fair and sometimes things aren't right, but part of the hobby is learning to fix things. 

Cincytrains posted:

They have not taken out of warranty trains for a couple of years. Last Feb they told me to try back in a couple of months. Very foolish not to take out of warranty repairs. How many train shops can figure out how to work on a VL loco. At least we have Mike Reagan..

Cincytrains,

I did not mean to leave the impression they never do out of warranty repairs. I apologize if that’s what I did. I’ve had a number of out of warranty repairs performed,  some with less than a 2 week turn-around. In this case I was too impatient to wait. It’s the kid in me. Lionel customer service has been and will continue to be my go to folks for service. I understand they may have periods when prioritizing requires a delay in out of warranty repairs. I appreciate the honesty up-front so items don’t sit for long periods of time. Good news is, as you noted, there are very competent alternatives for service available. Unfortunately, there are no authorized Lionel repair shops near me. 

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