Lionel Operating Train Society

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By Edward H. Mazur, RM 3123

Recently LOTS members received personal copies of the Lionel 2009 catalogs---sets, K-Line, and the top of the line Signature Edition.

On Saturday, March 21, 2009, Lionel sales managers Mike Braga and Rich Grutzmacher and electronics guru Rich Moser met with approximately 50 Chicago metropolitan area toy train dealers, their helpers(both volunteer and paid), and ardent hobbyists to examine the catalogs and discuss Lionel and its consuming public.

LOTS was represented by President Christopher Matuszak, Immediate Past President Scott Kuntz, and your reporter, Ed Mazur plus several local members including George Pope, Richard Rosenthal and Joey Piscitello.

The meeting was designed to herald Lionel's new VISION line of electric trains. Believe me, the VISION line are not your father's or your first postwar train circling the holiday trees and decorations. They are designed to fulfill the LEGACY operating system which should be viewed as the base or platform for these high range and expensive offerings from Lionel. The line includes locomotives, steam and diesel, ranging from $2500(yes, $2500) to $800.00. In addition there is a variety of rolling stock, some operating, others with sophisticated sound systems and accessories in the line ranging from $270 to a limited edition(250) Grand Central Terminal, manufactured in the USA and retailing for $1,499.00! Watch the video we saw without leaving the comfort of your home!

Cris, Scott, and I saw the sophisticated operation of the Vision Line Steam Locomotives that practically put you in the loco's cab. The bells actually move in addition to sound; the steam and smoke features include blow-down and smoke effects that are user controllable. It was great---but oh, those prices! The Vision Line locomotives all command 0-72 radii with the exception of the UP GenSet Switcher which handles loops of 0-42. GenSet is shorthand for Generator Sets.

Lionel staff also discussed the Vision Line Rewards Club and clarified several issues that have arisen. If you purchase a Vision Line Steamer you will receive a $200 rebate check from Lionel; purchase both steamers and your rebate check will be $500. If you purchase one of the two diesel offerings, your rebate will be $100 and if both it will be $250. Why a rebate and not price reduction? This was a question for Lionel's marketeers and could not be answered by the sales and electronic personnel.

Obviously, over time, many of the VISION LINE features will migrate to power units and rolling stock that will operate on smaller radii. VISION LINE products are scheduled to begin shipping in June although most of the locomotives will ship in September/October 2009.

Lionel is opening a new shipping warehouse in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and they hope that this will result in vastly improved on-time delivery.

Yes, Virginia----there will be a Christmas catalog coming out in May and a secondary catalog in July.

Now, enjoy those catalogs sent by Lionel and your friends at LOTS.