Which Would Be The Better Deal?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Jan 15, 2007.


Lionel or Marx?

  1. Lionel Penn Flyer and an extra switcher

    1 vote(s)
  2. Marx Milwaukee Road Coal set

    0 vote(s)
  3. Beeps! Lots and lots of Beeps!

    3 vote(s)
  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I'm trying to decide which I would rather get once we get our tax refund.

    I can go for either a Lionel Penn Flyer set and a small switcher engine on the side or go with the new Marx set from AmeriTrains. Or I could get several Beeps I guess. However, the two options I'm really interested in are the Lionel or Marx choices.

    Lionel Pros:

    Get two engines
    Get track and accessories with the set
    I have always wanted a diecast Lionel

    Lionel Cons:
    Developing a reputation for being unreliable
    Made in China

    Marx Pros:
    Cool retro tinplate model
    Metal cars as well as the engine
    Made in USA

    Marx Cons:
    Set would cost more than the Penn Flyer set and the extra switcher combined
    Couplers are the old hook style not compatible with other sets.
    Engine is only an 0-4-0 (But could possibly be converted to a 2-4-2 with extra parts)
    No track with the set

    So you see whrere I'm at. Help me, O gaugers!
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    I'd go for a Beep or two. Get some smaller cars to pull, like the Ore jennies MTH sells. A caboose to bring up the rear. :D If funds are still available look into a couple of buildings. Just me though. Good luck.

  3. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I'd go Marx, but I'm prejudiced. Being an 0-4-0 does make the engine more reliable as it's virtually impossible for it to derail, so there is a bit of upside to that disadvantage.

    The coupler incompatibility can be overcome if you want by getting a junker car and putting one Lionel coupler on one side and a Marx coupler on the other. I've made up a few of those so I can run several combinations of otherwise incompatible cars.
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    An 0-4-0 is more stable than a train with 2-4-2? I always figured the front wheel helped act as guides? Have I been mislead all these years? :confused:
  5. Geno

    Geno Member

    I'd pick up a Lionel Copper range set- 0-6-0 Docksider, 4 ore cars, caboose, oval of Fastrak and a CW-80 for less than $200. Even a guy with $400 TMCC diesels knows that's a deal too good to pass up.

    The bonus is this- you could also sell off the Fastrak and CW-80- leaving you with a nice little train and about $100 in your wallet.

  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I think in real life that's the case, but in O gauge, if something's going to come off the track, it's usually either the front or trailing truck. They're just so lightweight, the only function they really serve is decoration. That's not to say it happens all the time (if it does, it usually means the wheels on the truck are way off gauge or something) but an 0-4-0 won't ever derail except by taking a curve at too high of speed.

    That was a big part of the reason why the original Marx company made so many of its trains 0-4-0, even when it wasn't prototypical. There was less to go wrong, so they were more reliable. The other reason was cost, of course--when a retailer wanted to hit a certain price point, the lead and trailing trucks were always among the first things to go in order to reduce costs.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Ah.... Makes sense then. ;)
    I still like the looks of the front trucks better than without though.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Decisions Decisions......
    Why couldn't I have been born rich instead of intelligent and good looking? :rolleyes: ;)

    I'm really suprized that other than Dave's comments, there have been no votes for the AmeriTrains/Marx set. I figured with Lionel's current reputation for bad QC, the Marx would be a landslide.

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  9. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    will the new marx train pull the old marx tin cars?
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I believe so. It's got the hook and slot couplers like the old ones. You can check them out at http://www.marxtrains.com
  11. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Yes, they're completely compatible. The new stuff is actually more universally compatible than the old stuff is.

    I still say go for the Marx. The other thing I didn't think of until just now is that the New Marx stuff holds its value very well, where modern Lionel doesn't. You shouldn't go into this with the idea of turning a profit, but it's nice to be able to get your money back out of something if something happens and you have to sell (which happened to me a couple of years ago).

    Get the Marx this year, and pick up the Lionel secondhand in a few years for 50 cents on the dollar.
  12. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i look at the new marx, and see the same cars as there old stuff , but with alot bigger price tag.
  13. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Pretty much.
    That's the price you pay for nostalgia. ;)
  14. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i will just keep buying the originals for 5.00 to 10.00 bucks each, lol

  15. cdawgs65

    cdawgs65 New Member

    Starter sets

    Well I started with a Lionel starter set, a 442 with couple of cars track and small transformer. But I wouldn't go with the 442 again it's just not that impressive or realistic. If I was going to go with a starter set I would go with one of Lionels with the new 80 watt transformers, fasttrack and plenty of it, and you can buy more of it when you want to add on, plus they have lots of track switches and accessories to go with it. The thing I like about the track is the durability you can stand on it and nothing will happen, plus it's close to scale and looks good with the roadbed already attached! Okay, sorry about that rant, I have a Berkshire Jr. from lionel and it looks good, pulls a hell of a train, and if there is a problem theres enough dealers around that could help you. Atlas O is coming out with a starter set, I just read a review on it in O Gauge railroader Mag. and it was a very positive review.
  16. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Pretty much. There are some advantages to the new locomotives, but when it comes to the cars, I like the originals better. The new stuff is computer-generated and uses the same fonts you see everywhere today. Times and Helvetica, rendered precisely the same every single time. Yawn.

    The Marx stuff looks less mechanical (the imperfections give it charm and make each one ever so slightly different--the same reason tube amplifiers sound better than transistor amps), and uses fonts that were popular in their timeframe. Seeing new fonts on something that's supposed to look vintage throws me. I may be the only one who notices--I took lots of graphic design classes in college--but it bugs me. Maybe it looks wrong to other people too and they just can't place why. And as for cost, I just bought an original prewar Marx set--engine and five cars--for $60 this past weekend. I underpaid for it a little, but a lot of times you can get original Marx for less than book value. I can't get two of the new cars for $60.

    Of course, the reason for the high price is the tiny quantities they're made in, and pressing metal and printing tin aren't as cheap as diecasting and injection molding now. I would say making it in the USA adds to the price, but then when I see what MTH charges for its reproductions that are made in China I wonder. (Probably Ameritrains is just settling for a lower margin.) I'm sure I'll eventually buy something from Ameritrains, but the originals have something the new stuff doesn't have.
  17. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    You're right about that.
    Rust, nics, dings, chips, corrosion, cracked wiring........
  18. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Since this thread was started, RMT has brought out hoppers, sold by the pair for the price of one MTH hopper. They fit their BEEP's and don't forget the caboose they offer also. The Ameritrains are nice but I heard scuttlebutt that they are closing shop and not going to be produced anymore. Anyone know for sure?

  19. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Ameritrains has closed up shop, yes. Nobody knows yet if it's temporary or permanent.

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