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difference between Lionel/MTH

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  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 300,835 posts
difference between Lionel/MTH
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 05, 2003 8:28 AM
Hello all, new here.
When I was growing up my father had Lionel trains(50's-70's stuff) and well now I would like to get into trains as my wife and I have just had our first child.

Since I was raised on lionel and my dad has said that eventually my brother and I can pick and choose from his trains i figured I'd look for lionel trains.
I was in a authorized lionel train store the other day only to find that he didn't carry much Lionel because it was now inferior to MTH. He stated that Lionel no longer made there stuff out of metal and etc. I tried to research on the lionel site but could not find much on there quality and craftsmanship.

Granted the MTH stuff looks good and seems to be made well but before I make a move I would like to verify that lionel has gone the cheaper route in making there trains or is it just that the guy prefers MTH over Lionel.

Any help would be appreciated as I have not been able to find Lionel stuff around where i live (just relocated) to see first hand for myself
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 300,835 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 05, 2003 2:30 PM
I think I like Lionel better. I know it's kinda cheesy because of the 3rd rail, but the detail is INCREDIBLE. MTH is nice but to me I think it's less prototypical and less detailed. An example would be that: MTH makes a Big Boy (favorite loco) as does Lionel. I've seen them side by side and on the MTH they didn't put the number boards on. Looks like they didn't do thier homework. I would stick to Lionel if I were you. I model HO scale, but I'd love to get into Lionel if I had the $$$.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 05, 2003 3:45 PM
thank you, that's a start. I'm looking at O gauge. I managed to find some stuff advertised about Lionel, and they appear to be making there cars in dicast, well at least there engines are.

The prices for the sets look to be about the same if not less, and the fast track looks like MTH's track. The other thing to look at i see is the difference between the Sound modules.
  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: St Paul, MN
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Posted by Big_Boy_4005 on Friday, December 05, 2003 8:05 PM
I do work in O guage unlike the other Bigboy, and disagree with with his opinion. These are great times for 3 rail trains! So many manufacturers and products to choose from. It really depends on what "look" you want to go for. I used to only buy Lionel, but now I buy Atlas, Weaver, K-Line, and MTH as well. Though because I have chosen to use TMCC (command control) I have decided to stay away from MTH locomotives and MTH's competing DCS control, even though it is possible to use both systems together.

Oh yah, that cheesy third rail has some advantages over the more realistic looking 2 rail track, and there are many more realistic track systems (with darkened center rails) on the market than there were 10 years ago.

One of Lionel's big claims used to be was that they were made in the USA. This is no longer true, and almost every company has their trains produced outside the U.S. I think that all of the trains made today are of high quality, and you would be safe with any choice, not just with the oldest name in the business.

Have fun.
  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: California
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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, December 06, 2003 2:55 PM
Your question woud be a good one for the Classic Toy Trains Forum, Where mor epeople who know about O scale would be likely to see it.

Lionel, Mikes Train House and K-Line and now Atlas are the "big" companies in O. Most of their products are 3-rail. All Atlas cars and locos are also available in 2-rail

Lionel, Mikes Train House, and K-Line make both "tinplate" and "scale". With MTH and K-Line their labeling distinguishes which are tinplate and which are scale..
The difference between tinplate and scale isn't quality, its size (tinplate is usually smaller) and detail. Tinplate is a toy in the tradition of the pre WW2 trains. The scale is a model.

Atlas is scale.

I have converted some MTH (scale) and K-Line (scale) freight cars to 2-rail. Converting MTH is difficult because of their design. Most K-Line is easier to convert since K-Line makes 2-rail trucks that fit most but not all their 3-rail cars. MTH has offered some of their locomotives in 2-rail.

Another company in O scale is Weaver (scale). They make both 3-rail and 2-rail cars Their cars are nice models but not as heavy and durable as the others. I am not familar with their locos, but hope to have a 2-rail VO 1000 shortly.

There are many fine O layouts tinplate and scale 3 rail The tinplate layouts are usually lots of seperate loop of track with lots of independently running trains in the old toy train tradition. 3-rail scale usually operate like model layouts in other scales.

Lionel has changed hands a number of times. The quality depends on the when it was made. Some owners have gone cheap and others for quality.

MTH and K-Line have overall been good quality so far.

I play with O scale 2-rail. There is allso Proto48 which is O scale 2-rail withe the corract track gauge (4' 8 1/2") Traditional O scale 3-rail and 2-rail is 5' gauge

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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