Lionel - what a piece of cr*p...

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by MCF, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. MCF

    MCF Member

    Just wondering...

    do any of the manufacturers 'lurk' on these forums? I know on mountain bike forums, manufacturer's are always reading posts to see if there are any problems with their products....maybe if Lionel or any of the other manufacturer ever read some of these posts, they would realize they have a problem. I think the biggest problem is that the companies aren't looking for 'hobbyists' anymore...they are looking to make a 1 or 2 time sale to a customer and move on to the next...
  2. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    How much do you want for it????????????????????
  3. nycentral2006

    nycentral2006 New Member

    I tend to feel the same way about lionel products. 2 years ago I purchased the majetic post war series set. I have run the thing twice due to problems that I ahve had with the GG1.

    Brought it to the service station. It sat for 2 months because of a no start condition. Finally I was able to pick it up after they replaced a main bored on the loco. When I got it home I eagerly put it on the tracks and it worked.. slowly.. with some problems

    found one of the motors was not operating due to a blown contact spring..
    directional lighting does nto work correctly
    smoking condition after continious running.

    lionel nor the lhs will give me a replacement on this unit. It is a 700 dollar trophy peiece..
  4. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    What model train brands/components aren't made in China

    Are there any major brands, e.g. Athern, Bachman, etc. that aren't made in China? How does the cost and quality of American-made units (if any exist) compare?
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Weaver (O gauge) is made in the States, using domestic and foreign parts. Price? High. Marklin is made in Eastern Europe now (used to be made in Germany). It's very expensive. LGB may be made in Germany too, I'm not sure. LGBs are much more expensive than the Bachmanns they compete against.

    Marklin's quality is very good but the company is having financial problems, which suggests not enough people are willing to pay the premium price.
  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    And to top it off, the Chinese are getting our technology for free. You can bet every product they build is being disassembled and reverse engineered. I know for a fact that this happened with a 707 airplane that Boeing sold them in the 1970's. Twelve airplanes sold, only eleven went into service. The other one ended up in a factory in Shanghai as a blueprint. They couldn't make it work; however. Too heavy to fly efficiently. They don't call it Chinese engineering for nothing.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Lionel-what a piece of cr*p...

    If they do, they don't respond to the threads. I sent an email to an online company, telling them about the bad reputation they were getting on The Gauge due to long waits for orders to be filled and received a reply, "thanking me for the heads up" and telling me about their problems with their new computer program.
  8. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    The Market, Competition, and Free Trade

    Here is the major consideration to the quality/price challenge:

    The model railroad market has declined over the last 2 or 3 decades. There is tons of competition from other toy/hobby segments for the masses of consumers.

    The smaller the market, the lower the production runs, the higher the unit cost.

    The unit cost can go only so high before "the market" can't afford the product any more.

    Manufacturers look for less costly places around the world to manufacture the product to maintain a price point the market can afford.

    Perhaps we are jealous of China or mad at our politicians for allowing free trade, or disappointed in our "American" companies for outsourcing.

    The bottom line is that these manufacturers are trying like mad to stay in business in a declining and highly comptetitive market. They are seeking the best cost/quality balance the market will accept. I cannot fault them for that.

    While you don't always get what you pay for ($2,000 "professional" oven ranges perform worse than standard $800 oven ranges according to Consumer Reports) there is generally a price/quality relationship. I would suspect a $2,000 German-made locomotive is better quality than a $1,500 Chinese-made locomotive. Now if Japan made trains, that may be a different story, as it is with automobiles.
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I don't think "jealous of China" would be a correct statement. It seems to me that those same business folks who are dealing with that communist nation are the ones who told me that I had to protect them from the menace of communism in the 1950's and 60's.
    I would like to see legislation passed that required all American firms dealing with China to make their senior management move their entire family there and live on the chinese economy, wages and all.
  10. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    Good point...

    I cannot disagree with that sentiment. Our moral compass is in need of repair. The benefits of "free trade" are highly debatable. I do agree with much of what Pat Buchannan has to say on the topic. Speaking of topic, I realize I am off a bit.

    So, for O scale, what brand/firm has the best reputation for customer satisfaction, quality/price, etc.
  11. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Just a note here, problems with a product can be addressed, but product "bashing" isn't permitted. As "Joe Friday" used to say, "Just the facts". It is a service to the community to report a problem, it is a disservice to take shots at people for what may prove to be an isolated incident, or for the sake of displaying anger. Above all else, when the cause, and fix are finally found, please post that here, so that others who experience the same problem, have some idea what can be done to make things right.
  12. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Yes we are a bit off topic. Sorry. (but I still had to vent a bit)
  13. Geno

    Geno Member

    If you are still around, please let us know what happened to your loco problem. The Lionmaster SD-80/90's are basically mechanically identical to the scale versions. I'm curious to hear what exactly the problem was with your engine.

  14. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

    Just to add a little balance to this debate. Since getting back into the hobby I have purchased about 40 locomotives, I know that is way to many but I have the sickness. Of those only two required repairs and both were handled expeditiously and at no cost. One was a Lionel, repaired by a dealers repair man. The other was a Weaver, repaired by the factory, with less than one week turn around. I actually think the quality is better than it was in the fifties, yes I was around then, the difference is that back then you could do a lot of the repairs yourself. Today that is not true in a lot of cases.

    This is only an opinion. :)
  15. Geno

    Geno Member

    I consider myself a fair judge of Lionel's overall quality as well, since my diesel roster has over 25 TMCC engines. Of those, I've sent two back to Lionel for repairs, and one I repaired myself (minor wiring issue). The rest of those run very nicely and see regular use. The TMCC system itself is very simple and reliable, and when you have more than one engine under TMCC control the beauty of the system becomes quite clear.

    My experience with the Lionel factory service center have always been good so far, since the malfunctioning engine was under warranty (free repair, only shipping costs), and the returned engine came back better than before. I have another engine (SD-40-2)due back this month, so we'll see if Lionel can hit 100% there.

    Getting back to the orginal topic, for a beginner to have problems with an engine is not new- it happens. And the negative experience with the factory service center is unacceptible. But if you don't give the factory techs an accurate description of the problem, they may not be able to find the problem.

    In this case I would take the engine to a train club and let more experienced train guys see and hear what the problem is- if they cannot diagnose it, the last recourse may be to return the whole set to the dealer or sell it off.

    It's unfortunate to hear about a beginner having problems with what should be a nice TMCC set- hopefully MCF found a solution to his dilemna.

  16. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Its those Red Chineese or who ever makes the stuff. Koreans maybe.
  17. Geno

    Geno Member

    We can blame the Chinese and Koreans all we want, but it's good old fashioned American corporate greed that moved production offshore. The profits still go back to America.

  18. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Lionel could deal with these issues regardless of which country they're made in. They need to send somebody to supervise production and quality control rather than just letting whomever slap some parts together. Start droping the hammer on those not doing their jobs correctly. Then things would improve. However, it sounds like they have chosen not to do that.
  19. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Please keep in mind that while I was serving in the Army I had a very high opinion of American workers. What I saw after I retired from the Army shocked me greatly.

    Some of the problem is cooperate greed but part of the problem is government regulation (EPA and OSHA) and WORKER GREED! I hate to be the one to say it but if you have a minimum wage education you get a minimum wage job. I got very tired of the minimum wage workers yelling that they deserved more money when both by education and quality of their work they should have been thankful that they still were employed.

    The US out sourcing stuff to China isn't a new problem, we first stationed troops in China right after the Boxer rebellion to protect American business interest in the very early 1900's.

  20. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Touche' :thumb:

    Missouri just passed a minimum wage increase that automaticly raises every year. Now I don't mind sticking it to large corperations like McDonald's but this will kill a lot of small businesses that can't afford to pay much more than minimum wage and create a lot of layoffs. If people want more money they need to get a better education and work a little harder not wait for the government to give them a law that demads a raise whether they are worthy of it or not.
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