Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by tracman165, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. tracman165

    tracman165 New Member

    First let me say I have just discovered "The Gauge" and have not purchased
    any major Lionel items in quite sometime, nor have I read all the posts
    about Lionel "O" gauge railroading. What I have read is just about all negative
    on Lionel products. Are all these negatives really true, or are they just
    isolated incidents? I read a post where it was said that they only do warranty
    work on trains? Thats sad. They were the "Kings" of O railroading. What has
  2. Illus

    Illus Member

    I have a few Lionel sets, and I don't have any problems with them, transormer controlled, or TMCC...
  3. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    what has happened?????........................china......! enough said
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    There is a lot of bitterness with Lionel for moving production to China. On top of that, there have been some quality issues. Unfortunately, that is what you usually hear/read about. You don't hear about the thousands of good sets they sell. Just the hundreds of bad ones. The CW80 transformer is a prime example. Almost everything I've heard about it has been bad but I just bought one a few weeks ago and have had zero problems. While I'm not dancing around singing the praises of the CW80 because I've got a good one, there are many who claim it is the devil incarnate because they got a bad one.
  5. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    not even just the china stuff, i wount buy an engine made after 1969. and thats pushing it for me, id might buy newer rolling stock, but thats it. china took over in 2004 i think
  6. Geno

    Geno Member

    Lionel, as well as its competitors like MTH and Atlas, have had quality control issues since moving their production overseas. But it also has to do with their respective production levels- all of them have increased the amunt and varitey of product they sell, so naturally when quantity goes up, quality goes down. The new demand for low-end product like starter sets has risen, so that also takes away from production capability.

    But overall I would say that Lionel's overall product quality has gone up in the last ten years. I bought a Lionel Coast Guard set and compared it to the Copper range set- the difference IMO is noticeable. The fist set's cars and engines are typical MPC-era quality- very cheap and light weight. The second set's equipment has a more substantial feel and weight to it- it also runs and pulls much better too.

  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Mine was made in '74 and still rolling. (And it was one of the cheap box sets as well. No headlight, whistle, or smoke!)
  8. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    It seems like most of the people who complain about Lionel would be complaining about something else if Lionels were perfect. They aren't perfect and they weren't perfect when they were made in Irvington, NJ either, but a lot of people don't want to let the facts get in the way of their emotions. I see a lot of complaints about the Polar Express set online too, but Lionel was literally selling them faster than they could make them for two Christmasses in a row and they're still a strong seller this year. (I have one and I really like it.)

    Lionel made some stinkers in the '50s and '60s too, but since most of the junk they made then ended up in the trash decades ago, leaving the good stuff, there's a perception that the older stuff is higher quality. The truth is there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The newer locomotives with complex electronics can have some issues, but the fact is, the inside of a Lionel train is an extremely harsh environment for a computer (no room for heat to escape), and people subject their trains to things they would never subject their laptop too, and yet they complain when they burn out a circuit board.

    To me, the older stuff has more soul, so most of what I own is pre-1969. But the modern stuff works well for the most part, and some of it is phenomenal. For that matter, even the MPC-era stuff (1969-1985) is extremely underrated. Some of that was junk, but some of it is very nice, and it's dirt cheap. I'm not going to argue that the prewar-era and postwar-era stuff was better, because in some respects it isn't. If you want something you can fix yourself and keep in the family for 2-3 generations, and has lots of charming quirks like the smell of ozone and oil that brings back old memories, then yeah, the old Lionel stuff is fantastic and it's really hard to beat. If you want scale fidelity, then the modern Lionel is a whole lot better in that regard (Atlas is better still, in most cases, but not if Lionel makes the model you want and Atlas doesn't). If you just want to run trains without spending a lot of money, there are plenty of post-1969 bargains out there, although most of what Lionel made in the '60s is pretty affordable too.

    As far as service concerns, even if Lionel won't fix it once the warranty is over, the dealers will. I think it's repairs and not sales that keep my favorite shop in business. There are plenty of people willing to fix anything that Lionel won't. While the item is in warranty, Lionel's support is top-notch. It's not at all like having to contact the company that made your computer.

    And, for the record, Lionel's U.S. production ended in 2001, and some of its production takes place in Korea, as well as China.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want a Lionel, go get one. I've got a Polar Express set and I still think it's as great today as two years ago when it first arrived on my doorstep. A few weeks ago I played around with a Pennsylvania Flyer set (Lionel's cheapest set, which you should be able to get for less than $175) and it's a good value for the money. The locomotive runs smooth and pulls well, and the price won't break the bank.
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I've been thinking hard about a Pennsylvania Flyer set myself. I'll probably grab one after tax season if not before. Right now, has it on sale for $149 plus shipping ($30.88 which is steep as far as I'm concerned. Just means I'll more than likely buy it locally and spend the little difference extra)
  10. Illus

    Illus Member

    Like I said, I have a couple of sets, Polar Express, Southern Pacific Freight (black widow TMCC GP-9), and my favorite loco, a GE Dash-9 Demonstrator, and a lot of rolling stock, and I am happy with it. I have a friend who collects Lionel only, and he hasn't had any problems with anything yet. And just for the record, the Acela is a sweet train set!

    By the way, Cannonball, I have 3 of those CW80 transformers, and I don't have any problems...
  11. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    lionel is just another american company that took jobs away from americans, i think thats what i hate the most,
  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    On the flipside, we have factories in this country for Toyota, Nissan, Volkswaggen, and other "forgien" vehicles- So who are we taking jobs away from? Most brands of motorcylces are now built in the US as well. The funniest thing I've seen lately was a guy whith a brand new Chevy pickup. He had a bumper sticker that said, "Please take my American flag off your foriegn car." Chances are that new Chevy he was driving was assembled in Mexico and the Toyota he saw with the flag was built in Tennessee.
  13. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    there is no cars made here, or bikes, all the parts are made out of the country. honda has 28 factorys in the USA, (bikes/4-wheelers) none are made here tho, all just put togeather here.

    i work at a factory, the steel we use comes from other countrys. we dont make it, just cut it up, and weld it togeather.
  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Assembly is still a job isn't it?
    And I'll argue no parts are made here. My Chevy HHR is made in the US but assembled in Mexico.
    Who's making Harley's parts?
  15. Geno

    Geno Member

    Everyone wants to support our economy but the reality is that you are going to buy the brand you prefer, whether that's based on experience, patriotism or practicality. If that product happens to be a non-American brand built here or an American brand built overseas, those companies set up their production in that country beacuse it was more profitable to do so.

    Patriotism doesn't exist in a global economy- American corporations are only loyal to profit.

    Cars? I drive Hondas or Toytota because there's no domestic automaker that makes one that is more reliable and lasts longer. Trucks? I drive American trucks because even the new Fullsize imports are still tin cans and don't have the track record our trucks have.

    I stil prefer Lionel, despite their production being overseas. I've been buying their products for over thirty years and I 'd say the quality has risen, and their warranty work has been good so far (two out of fourteen engines in for repairs is not that bad).

  16. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    harley parts........ china, japan, are the biggest ones, there are a few others to.

    theres over 100 differant motorcycle companys in china, but the biggest selling bike that the chinese people buy is harleys. and there is a 100% inport tax on them to china. so if a harley cost 20,000.00 in USD in the USA, it cost 40,000.00 in USD in china, plus the shipping. there is no dealers in china as there guv wont let them in. or thats how it was a few years ago.
  17. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    100%??? :eek:
    Dang.... talk about getting screwed by your government.
    Ah, well... enough of the political BS.... Bring on the trains! :thumb:
  18. Illus

    Illus Member

    Ain't that the truth.....

    Hate to argue with that statement, but if you want to see my odometer reading, come look. I have a 97 Ford with 191,750 miles on it, never been cracked open...
    And my partner at work drives a Chevy truck with 260,000, its a 96 (he's crazy, drives like 55 miles one way to work)

    But I am biased, I have worked for GM for almost 5 years...
  19. Illus

    Illus Member

    All Chevy Pickup trucks are made in the US or Canada. If it was a Large SUV it could have come from Mexico... Don't think I'm happy about it either...

    BACK TO TRAIN TALK!!!sign1
  20. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thank you for the HHR. :)

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