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@Jim R. posted:

Gotta disagree with this. K-Line’s sales weren’t a problem, especially given the lower price point that attracted buyers. And lots of people were raving about K-Line as the products were being released. But tooling debt and the steeper Lionel lawsuit settlement could not be overcome by decent sales. Perhaps the price simply was too low for the product line.

Agreed. As this thread has shown, plenty of people were buying K-Line's products (as further indicated by their stated annual sales of $7-$8 million). It appears the larger problem was the company's efforts, both licit (low margin, higher quality offerings) and illicit (wrongful acquisition of intellectual property), to step up from their niche as a seller of low-end, low-cost trains into the same sales strata as MTH and Lionel.

Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer once defended his decision to stick with the Wishbone offense by saying, "You gotta dance with the one that brung you." K-Line didn't do that…

@irish rifle posted:

Gary:

In my discussions with Joe Hayter, he indicated that he was very interested in selling the business intact to a new owner, but could not find one.

Pat

And Mike Wolf actively tried to sell the company as a whole, but also could not find a buyer. So the tooling was sold to various companies, including Lionel and Atlas, leaving a remnant (Premier steam and much of the RailKing line) that no one wanted to buy. At least MTH is making use of that tooling now, but that certainly wasn’t the plan.

@John F posted:

One area of K-Line products that I got into were their super snap track which looked much better (at least to me) than Lionel old and new track. I was able to obtain a quantity of track at relatively good prices, especially 30" to 40" sections and used them to replace my old Lionel tubed tracks on my 12' by 9' layout. It appears that switch tracks under the RMT label were based on K-Line designs which I also was able to obtain at reasonable prices. At present, supersnap tracks only seem to be obtainable at high prices on EBay.

My club, the Austin Tinplate Trackers decided to convert our entire modular layout to Shadow Rail / Super Snap track a year or two before K-Line's demise. We have bought all we can find of the wide curves, 40" straights, and 10" straights. We bought more from Walter at RMT as well but he didn't reproduce all the wide curves. We need to find more 081 curves.

My club, the Austin Tinplate Trackers decided to convert our entire modular layout to Shadow Rail / Super Snap track a year or two before K-Line's demise. We have bought all we can find of the wide curves, 40" straights, and 10" straights. We bought more from Walter at RMT as well but he didn't reproduce all the wide curves. We need to find more 081 curves.

Same for the Milwaukee Lionel Railroad Club, which built a new traveling layout using that track. (The clubhouse layout is still GarGraves.)

@Jim 1939 posted:

After all is said. The bottom line here is the hobbyist did not support K-Line with their purchases. Now everyone is talking about how nice the offerings were.

I'm not really sure how you can draw that conclusion.  From the discussion on this topic, it's pretty clear that many hobbyists did support K-Line.  That K-Line fumbled the economics of their situation and indulged in some intellectual property theft was hardly the fault of the consumer. 

George

Last edited by G3750

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