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I tried creating a thread like this to separate the Rail King discussion from the Atlas/Premier discussion. Seemed logical and even harmless to me since the Atlas purchase of Premier items along with licensing DCS is pretty squarely focused on 1:48 scale but not applicable to us semi/O27 scalers.  The thread got deleted, as I imagine this one will as well.

I hope Rail King continues, just hard for me to conceive who'd buy the line and why. Yes, some nice items (I own 6 RK engines and a good amount of rolling stock), but seems like an overlap with what WBB and Lionel already have. Then again, there are a lot of people with more insight into the economics of the 3RO industry than me, so I'm all ears and hopeful that Rail King fits into someone's strategy and portfolio.

I tried creating a thread like this to separate the Rail King discussion from the Atlas/Premier discussion.   The thread got deleted, as I imagine this one will as well.

Just as with the original MTH is closing threads, it's probably becuase since it was already mentioned, and the sheer number speculation threads are getting out of hand....  There's really no speculating to be done.  We will know when the announcement is made in a month or so.

Last edited by EscapeRocks

I tried creating a thread like this to separate the Rail King discussion from the Atlas/Premier discussion. Seemed logical and even harmless to me since the Atlas purchase of Premier items along with licensing DCS is pretty squarely focused on 1:48 scale but not applicable to us semi/O27 scalers.  The thread got deleted, as I imagine this one will as well.

I hope Rail King continues, just hard for me to conceive who'd buy the line and why. Yes, some nice items (I own 6 RK engines and a good amount of rolling stock), but seems like an overlap with what WBB and Lionel already have. Then again, there are a lot of people with more insight into the economics of the 3RO industry than me, so I'm all ears and hopeful that Rail King fits into someone's strategy and portfolio.

I think we may have discussed this recently, but I don’t see rk and lionchief as directly parallel. From a relative newbie perspective (no current layout), I wouldn’t dream of paying $375ish for a lionchief (gp7 or rs3), when you have a decently detailed and realistically detailed rail king equivalent that’s often a few bucks cheaper. I really like the idea of running engines from WiFi, as I don’t have a dcs or legacy system, but that only goes so far. Furthermore, to my knowledge wbb is a non factor, since there catalogs are nearly identical yr to yr. Plus they are detailed like Lionel engines (next to no detail). Let’s all pray that rail king lives on!! Maybe the “king” is not dead after all ?, long live the (rail) “king”!

@Csxcellent posted:

I think we may have discussed this recently, but I don’t see rk and lionchief as directly parallel. From a relative newbie perspective (no current layout), I wouldn’t dream of paying $375ish for a lionchief (gp7 or rs3), when you have a decently detailed and realistically detailed rail king equivalent that’s often a few bucks cheaper.

I agree with you. The last 6 new engines I've purchased are all Rail King for the very reasons you cite. I just had to get over the mental block of adding DCS to my new, in-progress layout rather than limiting to TMCC like my prior layout.

When I said equivalent, I didn't mean in quality, detail, or caliber. I meant that Lionel Traditional and WBB already offer most of the same models even if less caliber. Rail King has a Berk, Lionel Traditional has two non-scale Berks and WBB has one. MTH has an RK K4, and Lionel Traditional has a K4 in TMCC, LC, and one coming out in LC+2, while WBB has semi-scale Pacifics/K4s.

Go up and down the roster of Rail King steam, diesel, freight cars, and passenger cars, and I think there are very few, if any,  models that Lionel or WBB will say "I need to add that to our roster to fill a gaping hole."  WBB and Lionel already have semi-scale molds for NW-2s, GPs, F3s, FAs in 2 sizes, GG1s, FMs, Hudsons, small steam switchers, and Mikados.

Perhaps WBB decides to add some articulated steam from Rail King.

Anyway, fun to speculate. It's that time of year for prognosticating....NFL Draft, March Madness, and 3RO hobby.

Last edited by raising4daughters

I agree with you. The last 6 new engines I've purchased are all Rail King for the very reasons you cite. I just had to get over the mental block of adding DCS to my new, in-progress layout rather than limiting to TMCC like my prior layout.

When I said equivalent, I didn't mean in quality, detail, or caliber. I meant that Lionel Traditional and WBB already offer most of the same models even if less caliber. Rail King has a Berk, Lionel Traditional has two non-scale Berks and WBB has one. Lionel Traditional has a K4 coming out in LC+2, WBB has semi-scale Pacifics/K4s.

Go up and down the roster of Rail King steam, diesel, freight cars, and passenger cars, and I think there are very few, if any,  models that Lionel or WBB will say "I need to add that to our roster to fill a gaping hole."  WBB and Lionel already have semi-scale molds for NW-2s, GPs, F3s, FAs in 2 sizes, GG1s, FMs, Hudsons, small steam switchers, and Mikados.

Perhaps WBB decides to add some articulated steam from Rail King.

Anyway, fun to speculate. It's that time of year for prognosticating....NFL Draft, March Madness, and 3RO hobby.

Speculation is definitely fun. I will have to take my yearly March madness break from watching hockey.

While we are speculating...

You would think @Menards at least entertained purchasing portions of the Rail King line such as passenger cars or even some engine tooling.  I could see them focusing on only a few engine models and produce those in relatively high numbers.  IE., they may only produce Rail King F3s and baby hudsons, but we would get them in different road names throughout the year.

What about engine warranty / service work? They will just replace the whole unit .  No different than when you return a faulty drill.  Or they could contract with repair shops to perform the work on their behalf.  Menards doesn't have to do the work themselves, just be able to fund it through proper warranty management.

Engines aren't Menards M.O.! Not to date, but it's not a stretch either.  Toyota gained its foothold in the 70s and 80s with cheap, yet reliable vehicles.  Then in the 90s, moved into the higher-end market with Lexus.  Menards has a foothold in traditional rolling stock, it certainly could take advantage of producing a few popular engine models which have a higher margin than $20 boxcars.

What about operating system/could Menards have DCS in their engines? From what I saw, Atlas was "licensing" DCS, so Menards could theoretically do the same thing if they wanted.  On the other hand, they could produce low-cost conventional engines that are eligible for upgrades (similar to Williams).  They could also contract with somebody like BlueRail to provide DCC electronics in their engines - that could be very interesting.  IF they went full battery power, with two rail O gauge track - that would be a disruption to the market for sure.

Bottom line, if Menards wanted to pursue engines at some point in their "Train Stuff" existence, Rail King would certainly be a good opportunity for them.  In the end, the total cost and projected ROI informed their decision.  Although, as a private company, if the CEO/President/Owner wants to do it, they are going to do it.   



Speculating is fun...

Last edited by JD2035RR

ATM, I think it's hard to imagine where the RK toolings could go, assuming the rumor that MTH will still operate in a smaller capacity isn't true. Although some of the possibilities you guys mentioned above sound pretty plausible, like Lionel or Williams buying certain pieces. Lately I've been thinking about getting more into RK myself, specifically the semi-scale 6-axle diesel locomotives. Just thought they would look cool pulling my MPC stuff, and whatever else is semi-scale in my collection. But yeah, I hope that none of MTH's stuff in general goes to waste. I've become a fan of their products a couple of years ago, and I don't want to see any of it go down the tubes.

@JD2035RR posted:

While we are speculating...

...What about engine warranty / service work? They will just replace the whole unit .  No different than when you return a faulty drill.  Or they could contract with repair shops to perform the work on their behalf.  Menards doesn't have to do the work themselves, just be able to fund it through proper warranty management.

...Bottom line, if Menards wanted to pursue engines at some point in their "Train Stuff" existence, Rail King would certainly be a good opportunity for them.  In the end, the total cost and projected ROI informed their decision.  Although, as a private company, if the CEO/President/Owner wants to do it, they are going to do it.   

Speculating is fun...

IMO, the warranty work is the killer here. Menards isn't going to want to get into shipping stuff to service stations, which would leave it up to the customer to get the item to a shop, which will lead to unhappy customers.  Also, as I understand it, repair shops get MTH parts for free, but don't get reimbursed for their labor (please correct me if I'm wrong).  This arrangement kind of works because the shop also sells the product - I doubt that it would work in this scenario, nor do I think that Menards will want to start paying for warranty labor.

OTHO, the owner is a train nut, so you never know...

@Tom Q Fan posted:

When I read about Atlas I sure thought they would get the RK line too. I figured it would go with or be blended into the O scale Trainman and or Industrial Rail lines.

I was a big fan of Industrial Rail and own nearly every piece they made in the road names I collect . They were a great value for us O27/semi-scale guys. Unfortunately, I don't think Atlas has produced much since acquiring the line. Never quite figured it out, although I recall another thread talking about the molds getting destroyed.

If the RK line goes kaput, for rolling stock, I think that leaves Lionel, WBB (with its limited offerings), and the secondary market. Judging by the decrease of my own purchases and the large amount still available, I'm guessing the supply contraction may be necessary.

Last edited by raising4daughters

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