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Lionel HO

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, August 4, 2019 1:11 PM

     Let's get a couple of things said.  I don't use model railroading as a social exercise.  I live in a small town where model rairoading is as ordinary as a lunar landing, so I'm a "lone wolf" and have been most of the sixty years I've pursued this endeavor.  The nearest place that sells a code 100 rail joiner or a bottle of Testors gloss black paint is a 330 mile round trip-which due to a lack of inventory in being a 7-11 type of hobby store, is not a destination for me.  Saved by the internet.

     I don't play golf or hunt or fish but, I do have interests outside of model railroading.  It is human and very healthy to have varied interests in ones life so I'm not advocating creating cadres of pint-sized foamers on every block in every town.  I say simply expose them to it and maybe some will take the bait but, most won't. This is still America!  The reason is mercenary.  If that super-duper model of 4014 with the wowzer-zowzer 654 function platinum decoder is to be produced and the manufacturer only has market potential of 50, possibly 75 buyers, what do you think the price will be--if it gets produced at all?  Remember the current business of toe-in-the-water pre-ordering?  If that potential audience suddenly blossoms to hundreds or even thousands, it will possibly be made and sold at a lower price.  The manufacturer might even look for other items that have broad appeal.  We already have manufacturers producing quality models of single classes of car types that were owned by a single prototype railroad.  I like that.  The more people enjoying the hobby, the better for all of us in it.  Do you think we would be where we are in anything we do, without the infusion of new blood and, ideas?

    I'm no starry-eyed savior swooping down to rescue America's youth from their electronic leashes.  It is way too late for that but, what's wrong with them having the opportunity to experience something different?  There may be some whe haven't become electronic zombies just like there are those who opt to play golf or other sports.  Not everyone is a jock, or car mechanic, or professional poker star! When that new locomotive comes out with the five digit price tag, and you can only get it by pre-order--with a deposit, maybe it will all make sense.

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Posted by selector on Sunday, August 4, 2019 1:26 PM

I was very young in the hobby when I acquired my only Lionel HO locomotive, that being a 'greyhound' challenger with smoke lifters.  It's a lovely, robust, and well-crafted model.  It isn't especially well detailed, but it looks good and runs very well on my layouts.  I'm happy to have it.  I was sad to see that Lionel had already abandoned their (then) latest attempt to enter that scale's market.

I wish them success in their latest attempt. As others have said, the larger and more diverse the market, the better it is for the hobby.  And, I think the best ambassadors for the hobby are those who practice it and who let others know why they enjoy it the way they enjoy it.

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, August 4, 2019 2:42 PM

NHTX
If you want to interest your young in trains, its going to take more than 12 volts DC to do it.  The kids need to experience the enormity and dynamic power of railroading to possibly spark their interest, since most kids pay attention to that which is large, loud, and overwhelming. 

Based on the crowds of over-excited youngsters (and adults) that I saw trackside last week to watch the UP Big Boy go through, I suspect someone selling trainsets of any scale out of a van could have made some serious money.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, August 4, 2019 4:25 PM

 

  

 

Based on the crowds of over-excited youngsters (and adults) that I saw trackside last week to watch the UP Big Boy go through, I suspect someone selling trainsets of any scale out of a van could have made some serious money.

Dave Nelson

 

[/quote]Mr Nelson:  Precisely what I mean!

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Posted by buoyboy on Monday, August 5, 2019 1:32 PM

After browsing through the Lionel HO ad in the September issue, I noticed one bit of irony: some of the freight cars shown in the ad are made from tooling which originated with the Louis Marx co. in the 1950's when they began their venture into HO.

I would hazard a guess that many people who became model railroaders in the late 1950s and early 1960s got their start with Marx HO. It was inexpensive, it was rugged and it RAN! The first HO scale train that I ever owned was a 1959 Christmas present of a Marx HO set, which consisted of a rather crude "GP-7" with no headlight, a boxcar, a gondola, and a bay window caboose. The set came with a circle of Marx track, which had tinplate rails on fibre ties. Yes it was crude. Yes it was toylike - but the engine was gear-driven and it RAN and RAN! This initial train set led to the purchase of some Athearn cars, which could be bought for a buck apiece, some Athearn F-units with cheesy rubber band drives, and some Atlas track.

The point is, that this little NYC geep with its three cars led a layput that now consumes most of the basement, has a thousand or more cars and more than a hundred locomotives. People need rugged, reliable trains to get started in the hobby. If Lionel can provide that, and at a resonable price, I say MORE POWER TO "EM!

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Posted by chutton01 on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 11:08 AM

I am not going to debate the past, but I must muse - couldn't Lionel have improved somewhat on those horribly punny business names ("Holy Donuts", "Curl Up And Dye", the funeral palor billboard ad stating "We Dig You" and so on).  They were groaners 4 decades ago, and remain stale now.  Be more cerebral, Lionel.
It looks like Walthers did brought the rights to only some of the model Power molds, such as the Aunt Millie's house (and it's many derivities) or the 3 story Townhouse (again, and it's many derivities), as they were notable absent from the Lionel listing while other well known building kits were listed.
The scooter, heh, I still have mine that I got in the late 1970s with a figure set, surprized the ad didn't have the associated rider with the jacket and wool cap...

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Posted by Eilif on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 5:38 PM

Got my insert in the mail yesterday.

This mostly seems like a very wise approach for Lionel.  The ex-ModelPower/Mantua stuff they're selling is roughly the HO equivalent of the 0-27 toy-style stuff they already sell.  Sturdy, colorful and mostly 1950's.  Sure they also make scale O in all eras, but that's not what the general public knows them for. 

If you check the website, you can see that their prices are also among the lowest in the industry and top it off, they're doing all this while having to invest in virtually no new tooling.  

The only unsure thing IMHO, is the track.  Was EZ track so bad that they had to invest in a new expensive track system?  

All this to say, they are clearly aiming at the casual holiday shopper at Menards rather than the hard core MR reader, but that may be exactly where they should be. 

 

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:34 PM

chutton01

I am not going to debate the past, but I must muse - couldn't Lionel have improved somewhat on those horribly punny business names ("Holy Donuts", "Curl Up And Dye", the funeral palor billboard ad stating "We Dig You" and so on).  They were groaners 4 decades ago, and remain stale now.........  

Oddly enough, there is a “Curl Up And Dye” in Newport, RI, Belmont, ME, Watsonville, CA, Malden, MA, Monroe, MI, and quite a few other places in the US.

Lame it may be, but there are a number of them in the US. It is, therefore, prototypical.

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 4:46 PM

dknelson

 

 
NHTX
If you want to interest your young in trains, its going to take more than 12 volts DC to do it.  The kids need to experience the enormity and dynamic power of railroading to possibly spark their interest, since most kids pay attention to that which is large, loud, and overwhelming. 

 

Based on the crowds of over-excited youngsters (and adults) that I saw trackside last week to watch the UP Big Boy go through, I suspect someone selling trainsets of any scale out of a van could have made some serious money.

 

 

I was there for the first two legs of the May 4 run out of Cheyenne. There were a few kids among the many railfans both in Cheyenne and Laramie. I got in my car and tried to chase it to Laramie but it took the cutoff track and was quickly out of sight. I felt bad for all those people who were lined up along the double track main waiting for the Big Boy to come by. I nearly made the same mistake waiting for the arrival in Laramie. I forgot that the UP had built a third main on both sides of Hermosa Tunnel and was waiting on the double track main a long with a few other folks when somebody got the word it was coming in on the 3rd main which was about a half mile away from our spot. Luckily I got there in plenty of time to see Big Boy arriving just east of Laramie. 

I read in Trains magazine that the caravan of cars that pursued Big Boy west out of Laramie was 12 miles long. I can believe it. I was in that caravan and there were cars as far as the eye could see both to the front and rear. Most of it was two lane highway (US30) and bumper to bumper. There was a short stretch of divided four lane highway where traffic picked up speed and I saw the train about a half mile ahead but then we went back to two lane and there was no hope of getting to its next stop at Medicine Bow in time to see it arrive. Well worth the long drive from central Ohio and seeing the Big Boy run was one of the items on my bucket list. On the way back I stopped at Yellowstone, the Custer Battlefield, and Mt. Rushmore and checked 3 more items off the list. 

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Posted by Howard Zane on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 9:16 PM

Somehow I think the market Lionel is shooting for would want the bar raised somewhat higher, but I cannot judge from small items in an ad....and what an ad.....!!! 18 all color full pages including the inside front cover. This has to be a record of sorts. Cost??? I'm assuming Lionel is planning on huge sales. I hope for them that this line is succesful. I respect any company who produces products for our hobby. Also I'd hate to be a cow caught up that huge cow catcher on the Berk.

Howard Zane
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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, August 8, 2019 7:43 AM

Regarding the track Lionel is obviously going after the kind of person who would set up a train layout on the floor and than pick it up when finished. But without turnouts the market is seriously limited.

Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Thursday, August 8, 2019 8:01 AM

joe323
Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

Why not? The Lionel HO range of products are aiming at a different market, who want to have good quality entry level products.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, August 8, 2019 9:30 AM

NHTX
Do you think we would be where we are in anything we do, without the infusion of new blood and, ideas?

Exactly! I been saying that for years.. When I was a junior member in the Columbus,Oh club (there was six of us) and the other 50 plus members was adults.Three years ago I visited a club and I felt of out place because the members was between 20-40 with two teens! DCC and sound ruled on a layout that was top line. There was no BB or Roundhouse cars to be seen. I did notice a BB SW7 cow and calf set equipped with DCC/Sound.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by Billwiz on Thursday, August 8, 2019 3:34 PM

joe323
Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

 

I'm thinking about a 4 x 4 under the Christmas tree.  18" radius fits great, but limited for a steam locomotive (and my guess is the HO Polar Express needs greater than 18" radius).  22" stretches to the ends of the 4 x 4 so maybe Lionel split the difference. 

Anyway, I'm glad they are back in HO with the Model Power items and some new offerings.  Good for them, I'm sure they fit a niche.

 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, August 8, 2019 4:27 PM

Lionel's HO Polar Express train set comes with MagneLock track pieces with 20" radius curved tracks, so I assume 20" is it's minimum radius. 22" radius track is designed to fit on a 4' by 8' sheet of plywood with 2" clearance around the track, so a circle of it fits fine on 4' by 4'.

Stix
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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, August 8, 2019 5:36 PM

Howard Zane

Somehow I think the market Lionel is shooting for would want the bar raised somewhat higher, but I cannot judge from small items in an ad....and what an ad.....!!! 18 all color full pages including the inside front cover. This has to be a record of sorts. Cost??? I'm assuming Lionel is planning on huge sales. I hope for them that this line is succesful. I respect any company who produces products for our hobby. Also I'd hate to be a cow caught up that huge cow catcher on the Berk.

 

The way it looks to me, they have simply repbranded Model Power without really adding anything to the hobby. Maybe they will have some higher end stuff in the future but right now it looks like the same old low end merchandize with a new name.

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Posted by Eilif on Thursday, August 8, 2019 7:34 PM

John-NYBW

The way it looks to me, they have simply repbranded Model Power without really adding anything to the hobby. Maybe they will have some higher end stuff in the future but right now it looks like the same old low end merchandize with a new name.

To be fair, this is not exactly new in railroading.  Companies have bought others' tooling and re-released models repeatedly throughout the history of model railroading.  
 
Most of what's in the Lionel HO catalog looks like high-quality renders, but if they represent the final product then Lionel is at least improving the quality of the paint and printing by a good bit in addition to doing what appear to be nearly all new paint schemes.  
 
I'll also give Lionel credit for not increasing the prices much.  In fact, if you go back to when the Model Power prices were last raised, Lionel probably isn't doing much more than matching inflation.

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Posted by OldEngineman on Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:52 PM

joe323 wrote: "Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc."

My guess is that the track is being made for Lionel by Kato. The Unitrack comes in a 19.25" radius -- could they just be calling it "20" instead (measuring from the extreme outer edge)?

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Posted by Eilif on Friday, August 9, 2019 10:57 AM

joe323

Regarding the track Lionel is obviously going after the kind of person who would set up a train layout on the floor and than pick it up when finished. But without turnouts the market is seriously limited.

Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

I think it's a near certainty that Lionel will be releasing turnouts.
 
As for why 20" I think it's a combination of two factors.
 
-Currently their only HO loco is a Berkshire, and regardless of "minium radius" it's a near certainly that it will run smoother on 20" than 18".   The track HAS to work well with the sets it is packaged with.
 
-20" curves helps to push buyers to keep coming to Lionel for their track.  The same reason that different brands of razors don't have interchangeable heads. 
 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, August 9, 2019 11:04 AM

joe323
Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

Kato Unitrak didn't read that memo either

Henry

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, August 9, 2019 2:12 PM

BigDaddy

 

 
joe323
Also why 20” curves? Industry standard seems to 18” 22”26” etc.

 

Kato Unitrak didn't read that memo either

 

True but Kato is metric and seems to be aimed somewhat at their home market in Japan.  

Lionel seems more focused on the US market.

 

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 9, 2019 4:26 PM

The standard break-down of HO track for decades has been 18"R is "sharp", 24"R is "conventional" and 30"R is "broad".

Kato's HO Unitrack starts with 'conventional' 24"R curves, then has curves three sizes sharper (down to 16-7/8"R) and three sizes broader (up to 31-1/8"R), each spaced 2-3/8" apart. Although they often refer to the track in millimeters, it's based on inches. The "odd" sizes are caused by Kato using 2-3/8" between tracks, whereas most manufacturers in HO use 2", not because it's metric.

Lionel O-gauge train sets come with Fastrack sectional track with O-36 (36" diameter) curves and 10" straight track, which Lionel literature describes as "Layout Dimensions: 40"x 60"". My guess is they made their new HO train-set track's ovals to be the same size as their O-gauge trainsets, kinda like c.1960 three rail "Super-O" track and their HO trainsets were both 36"D/18"R.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 11, 2019 9:25 AM

I finally had a chance to look through the new issue yesterday and saw the Lionel HO Flyer in the magazine.

.

I must say, I like it. It is not for me, but I am glad to see a fresh run at the toy/gift market with HO scale toy trains.

.

It felt like Christmas when I was young. It is most definitely aimed at the grandfathers with young boys on the christmas shopping list.

.

I hope it works out well.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by joe323 on Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:37 PM

SeeYou190

I finally had a chance to look through the new issue yesterday and saw the Lionel HO Flyer in the magazine.

.

I must say, I like it. It is not for me, but I am glad to see a fresh run at the toy/gift market with HO scale toy trains.

.

It felt like Christmas when I was young. It is most definitely aimed at the grandfathers with young boys on the christmas shopping list.

.

I hope it works out well.

.

-Kevin

.

 

The track system does remind me of the Child Guidance railroad I had when I was little boy, minus the plastic turntable.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 14, 2019 6:55 AM

Christmas shopping season is here. I have visited three hobby shops in the past couple of weeks, and none of them had the new Lionel HO products in stock.

.

They might be missing out on a gold mine, or they might know the market better than I do. Check that, I am sure they know the market better than I do!

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Eilif on Thursday, November 14, 2019 9:22 AM

SeeYou190

Christmas shopping season is here. I have visited three hobby shops in the past couple of weeks, and none of them had the new Lionel HO products in stock.

.

They might be missing out on a gold mine, or they might know the market better than I do. Check that, I am sure they know the market better than I do!

.

-Kevin

I noticed also that there weren't any at Menards either. I figured they'd be there for sure along side the Lionel train sets, but it was Bachmann HO there.

Though the price of the individual rolling stock is reasonable, I wonder if Lionel is shooting itself in the foot by only going with a more high-tec loco that by necessity boosts the price to nearly $300.   That's quite alot more than the $90-130 that Bachman charges for their sets.

With the obvious excepion of Polar Express set, I don't think most parents are going to be savy or interested enough to pay 2-3 times as much for remote control and fancy track.

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Posted by Eastrail11 on Thursday, November 14, 2019 10:32 AM

I am deffinatly on the younger side of modelers. My first train was a wodden Thomas. Years later, I got a lego train set, and a Bachmann starter set. 
however, my father and grandfather were both into trains, and my dad worked for a comany that made trains in Europe. My dad has a plethora of Marklin stuff. 

Inbetween getting that wooden Thomas and my first model train, I got a computer and a game called Trainz 2006. I had spent hours on the game, making anything I could think of. 
Now that I am older, I have a 5x9 switching layout, but I still own a game in the Trainz series - Trainz: A New Era (T:ANE). I find this game really useful because it lets me make my dream layout without needing to spend thousands of dollars on a real layout. It doesn't give you the same feeling as being eye level with a HO model, but it does its job well enough. 

~Eastrail

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 14, 2019 10:37 AM

SeeYou190

Christmas shopping season is here. I have visited three hobby shops in the past couple of weeks, and none of them had the new Lionel HO products in stock.

.

They might be missing out on a gold mine, or they might know the market better than I do. Check that, I am sure they know the market better than I do!

.

-Kevin

.

 

With Bachmann and Athearn sets out there, Bachmann being much better than years ago, which very much can be transitional into scale model railroading, Lionel is going to have a tough go of it in my opinion. But what do I know, I just stood behind the train counter and sold people "put together" starter sets of Athearn rolling stock, Atlas track and a MRC power pack....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, November 14, 2019 5:23 PM

Well, as a 6 year old kid, I got into the hobby because I loved watching MODEL trains.

I could've cared less about REAL trains as a kid.  I only cared about them after I wanted to know more about operations,era, and prototype fidelity; which was about age 35 for me.

So the diminishment of real trains in our world, hopefully, has no impact on kids enthusiasm for MODEL trains.

That's why I support the effort to get more kids exposed to the hobby.  Train shows are great, as are display layouts, and NMRA home layout tours.

There isn't necessarily a linkage between the frequency of real trains in real life and the desire to pursue model railroading, IMO.

Model Power/ Lionel seems like a great place to start, especially since the other guys are raising the stakes with fragile details, specificity that kids don't care about, and price.

- Douglas

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 16, 2019 6:37 AM

Doughless
Model Power/ Lionel seems like a great place to start

.

I agree completely. It looks like a great line of products to attract the Youngster's interest and Grandpa's nostalgia.

.

I hope it does very well and Model Railroading has a great Christmas Season.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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