Did K-Line produce any catalogs in 2006?

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Did K-Line produce any catalogs in 2006?
Posted by phrankenstign on Thursday, October 12, 2017 3:47 AM

I've been unable to find any pictures of a 2006 K-Line catalog.  I've seen catalogs from 2005 and 2007-2009, but none from 2006.  I believe Lionel took over the K-Line name in 2007.  Was K-Line in such bad shape they didn't produce a catalog in 2006?

 

I thought they offered the best value for money from the late 90s until Lionel took the name over.  Even their collectors' club offered the best values for membership.  I really miss seeing their products.  They made a lot of improvements and offered a wide range of products.  Lionel cheapened the quality expectation of K-Line branded products by only offering their lowest quality products under that name.  It was obvious they were going to get rid of the name soon afterward.  Now Lionel has more than doubled their prices.  K-Line had a line of $19 "Train 19" cars.  Now Lionel sells one gondola with 2 canisters for $49.99.  A three dome tank car costs the same.  I doubt they are newly sculpted cars.  If you want a three dome tank car with die-cast sprung trucks, Lionel charges another $25 for a total of $74.99.  I rarely buy new Lionel stuff anymore.  I get a lot more for my money by buying new old stock Lionel.

I miss K-Line!!!

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Posted by robmcc on Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:09 AM

There's a website called legacykline.com that has links for the K-Line catalogs. It only goes to 2005. I would have to look at my Lionel catalogs, but I'm 99% sure 2006 was the first year for K-Line by Lionel. I think that was when my KCC SD75 was produced by Lionel, but the memory is a little fuzzy! I agree. It's too bad about the demise of K-Line. They were making some fantastic product the early 2000's like the intermodal cars, scale passenger cars, etc. The detail on my SD75 was second to none at the time.

 

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Posted by robmcc on Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:25 AM

Just took a look. Lionel added 5-6 pages of K-Line to the 2006 Volume 2 catalog. It doesn't appear there was a stand alone catalog until 2007.

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Thursday, October 12, 2017 12:59 PM

What Lionel did to K-Line is a cautionary tale for any business. K-Line tried to improve thier offerings by borrowing/licensing technology from Lionel. Somewhere along the way Lionel decided to sue K-Line out of existence by claiming they had used unlicensed technology in thier upscale products. 

End result Lionel took K-Line over. The story has a bittersweet ending for Lionel though, courts gave much of the K-Line tooling and product line to other manufacturers. That is how Williams wound up with SUper Streets.

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Posted by phrankenstign on Thursday, October 12, 2017 3:50 PM

I'm curious, what was the rationale the court used to split up K-Line's assets?  Which assets went where?

 

(I remember there was a thread here last year where someone mentioned there was a company that had been releasing trains under the name "O Line Reproductions.  They had some of the ex-K-Line tooling.)

 

 

 

As for the improvements K-Line made.......

I joined their K-Line Collectors' Club in the mid-90s.  There were many articles about improvements they'd made during that period.  If memory serves me correctly, many of their tooling was originally made by Marx/Kusan.  They'd taken those, and reworked them.  K-Line added separately applied ladders, wheels, and undercarriage detail.  It was kind of funny that their earlier couplers and gondolas suffered from some basic design problems.  Many of their couplers weren't reliable at all.  Some would get stuck.  Some would release at unpredictable times.  Some were difficult to open and close.  After a few design changes, the coupler problem was solved.  The gondolas had the trucks attached to the car bodies with studs or rivets that weren't flush with the payload side.  Since K-Line usually supplied crates on with their gondolas (as opposed to canisters like Lionel) the base of the crates on the ends couldn't lie flat in the gondola floor.  It was such a silly mistake, but I couldn't believe their QC department let it through to begin with.  (Of course, the tooling from Marx/Kusan may have originated that way.)  I remember looking at the gondolas pictured in their catalogs and noticing how they'd balanced the end crates on the studs/rivets against the ends so they would appear level, but slightly higher than the other two inner crates.  I did that with my gondolas, but the end crates would quickly get uneven once the train started rolling.  I believe K-Line evetually fixed that problem too.

I remember one year the KCC's bonus car that came free with a $35 membership was an MP-15 Kennecott Copper Company.  Membership still came with 4 issues of the K-Line Connections newsletter, catalogs, and flyers (sometimes for exclusive club offerings.  I think Maury Kline was building brand loyalty by doing things like that.  I certainly bought a lot of his products during that period.  Lionel's LRRC NEVER offered any deal as good as that one.

I also liked the licenses he obtained to create a myriad of special trains and sets.  Nestle, Heshey's, True Value, Black & Decker, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Coca-Cola all had sets with very colorful cars.  K-Line sets usually came with quite a few Plasticvile like structures.  Maury Kline packed his sets with a lot of play value.

I usually run a Coco-Cola Bears Handcar Train Set every Christmas.  It has two bears pumping the levers on the motorized unit, while pulling the third bear who's on lying on his back enjoying a Coke atop a snow mound.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, October 12, 2017 5:31 PM

I lucked into a K-Line Hershey set at a flea market several years ago, complete and un-used. Fun set!  It comes out of the box at Christmastime and looks great under the tree pulling the "Suger High Express!"  (Smoke unit doesn't work but I can live without it. Here at the "Fortress Firelock trains under the tree are "smoke- off, sound-off," I just rely on the visuals.)  I've gotten really lucky and found three K-Line "Ferrara Torrone" gondolas.  If you're of Italian extraction and from the New Jersey/ New York area like I am I'm sure you know what torrone is!  Thank you Maury Kline for producing them, a fine monument to a Christmas memory!

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Thursday, October 12, 2017 8:12 PM

phrankenstign
I'm curious, what was the rationale the court used to split up K-Line's assets? Which assets went where?

It wasn't up to the court, it was up to Kader, a manufacturer creditor that took possession of most of the tooling and entered into the arrangement with Lionel to sell product that was mostly already made. Kader made product for Aristo/RMT w/ K-Line tooling. My guess would be that Kader was already in talks with Jerry Williams about acquiring his business and was positioning for a slot in the O-gauge market when making decisions on who thay would lease which tooling to leading up to the formation of WBB.

Rob

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Posted by rtraincollector on Friday, October 13, 2017 8:13 AM

Also the actual straw that broke the camels back as they say was that K-line used a mold belonging to Lionel without there permission, so Lionel sued them and they didn't have the resources to pay so from what I understand is that Lionel had the option to make K-Line items ( I think for two years ) with the option to continue with a lease option after that if they wish, which they didn't take up on, so thats what ended the K-Line name as a business selling trains. Now as staded Kader owns the molds now and it appears they have leased/sold them to some other companies. ie RMT

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, October 13, 2017 10:28 AM

My favorite K-Line car is 6611, with a model of the actual K-Line shipping company's container:

Image result for "k line" 6611

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Bob Keller on Friday, October 13, 2017 3:00 PM

It is all ancient history now, but it was a little more than company B using company A's tooling. Here are some dates of the stories we ran. Some might still be in the news section of the website.

Lionel accuses K-Line of stealing trade secrets, News & Notes Oct 2005 p23

K-Line seeks bankruptcy protection following Lionel lawsuit, News & Notes, Nov 2005 p23
K-Line/Lionel settlement (Second statement), Product News Feb 2006 p24

Lionel will take over K–Line brand, Product News, May 2006 p23

Bob Keller Classic Toy Trains

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Posted by phrankenstign on Friday, October 13, 2017 9:23 PM

Those are sad articles indeed.

 

I met Maury Kline once.  The K-Line SuperStore in Carroboro, North Carolina was having a big sale where a lot of one-of-a-kind and limited edition items were being sold.  On November 4, 1995, I drove about 4 hours to get there from Newport News, Virginia.  Once I got there, I couldn't believe just how much stuff was on-sale!  There was a man who was playing with his daughter Ashley by the K-Line layout.  I told him I was having a great time going through the stuff on sale.  He introduced himself as Maury and his daughter as Ashley (she was about four).  We talked for a bit about many of the trains there, and he told me some interesting things about why K-Line trains had released certain things.  One of the things I'd picked out (it was either a birthday box car or a container) had "Ashley" on it.  He told me he made it for his daughter that he was playing with.  He asked her, "Right Ashley?".  She shouted, "Yeah!!!!!"....as he flipped her.  That's when it dawned on me I'd been talking to Maury KLINE---the MDK in MDK Inc.!  No wonder he knew so many interesting tidbits of information about what was for sale.  It's funny, because I thought it had been made for Ashley Furniture's birthday.  I'd wondered why the word "Birthday" had been used rather than "Anniversary" like most stores usually celebrate!

My wife and three kids were with me, so I couldn't go wild and buy everything.  Unfortunately I knew I was on a budget.  I figured I could by a lot of different, unique items or one set.  As a seasoned collector of many things, I decided it would be better to buy a lot of unique items.  Each unique item is a conversation piece with its own story.  Since the prices were so low, I was able to pick out quite a wide variety of stuff.  I was really happy and feeling great!

I went to the cashier to pay.  I'd planned on paying with a credit card, so I grabbed my wallet from my back pocket.  I opened it.  No credit card was there.  In fact, there was hardly anything in it.  The night before, my wallet had fallen down from the end table in my bedroom as I'd adjusted my alarm clock.  I'd picked it up, but most of the stuff in it had fallen out.  I figured I'd gather up everything in the morning in the daylight, rather than turn on a light and fumble about.  I guess I'd forgotten to pick up all the stuff and put it back into my wallet in the morning.  I looked at my wife and asked her if she'd brought the check book.  She usually brought it along, but this time she forgot.  She looked in her bag.  She had a little over a dollar.  I had a few dollars and change.  That was not enough.  In fact, I'd paid for breakfast at McDonald's with a $20 bill earlier.  The change I had was what I' gotten back from the cashier at the restaurant.  It was lunch time now, so everyone was starting to get hungry.  I'd just told the kids we'd get something to eat as soon as I paid, and now I realized it would be tough to do that with the cash we had on hand.

...........But first thing's first!  I had to tell the cashier I couldn't afford what I'd gathered up.  I turned to him and started explaining how I'd screwed up and not brought the credit card I'd intended to pay with.  I told him I'd put everything back on the proper shelves where they belonged.  As I'm doing so, Maury comes over and stands there next to him hearing me end my tale of woe.  The cashier looks at him, and Maury smiles.  He tells me don't worry about it.  He'll just put everything in a box and seal it up.  He told me I can call the store with my credit card info, and then they'll mail the box full of stuff to me.  It seemed so simple! In the short time I realized my wife and I didn't bring any money to hearing Maury's solution, I went from feeling really stupid and sad to being happy again.  I was a little worried about lunch.  Obviously we wouldn't be able to go to a restaurant.  I figured we could go to a local food store and buy a loaf of bread, chicken salad and tuna salad spreads, chips, and a two-liter bottle of soda.  It wasn't the best meal, but it was enough until we got home.  Our original plan was to explore the area, but knowing everyone would be hungry again in four hours meant we headed back home right afterwards.  We got home, I grabbed my credit card, and called the K-Line SuperStore.  I told them I was the clown who'd shown up earlier without any cash.  The person told me Maury wanted to talk to me.  He told me I shouldn't have felt so bad.  It wasn't a big deal, and he was happy he was able to help me out.  He said he'd packed the box himself, and it would be sent out first thing Monday morning.  I thanked him and I wished him luck with all the new things he'd told me about when I was shopping.  I still have Maury's handwritten receipt of everything I bought that day.

 

After my phone call, I treated my family to a nice dinner out WITH my credit card in hand.  So ended one of the most embarassing days in my life.  Unfortunately there were others still to come.

 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, October 14, 2017 8:26 AM

Great story!  I never met Maury Kline but from what I gathered the man sounded like a class act all the way.

I hope Roger Carp reads your story and files it away for future reference, people do like the human interest parts of the toy train world.

An addendum: I also have to thank Maury for my K-Line Heinz pickle cars, boy how I love pickles! 

One of them drove me nuts for a while though.  A billboard car, on the side it says "Heinz.  Onions-Pickles-Euchered Figs."  What the heck is a "euchered fig?"

Took me years to find out!

Oh, I went looking for those stories Bob referenced in the "News" section but didn't find them.  Just as well, I remember the whole sordid situation pretty well, and at any rate who wants to be reminded of internecine warfare in the toy train business?  Sad, and in the end there's really no winners.

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Posted by robmcc on Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:32 PM

Copy what Firelock said! Yeah, Roger would be all over that story.

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Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, October 21, 2017 2:01 PM

Check this out:

Image result for "K" line train containers

 

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