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February 28, 2006

Lionel Court Proceedings Update from Erol B Gurcan

February 28, 2006 - Lionel’s motion in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, seeking court approval to allow it to enter into the licensing agreement of K-Line’s assets with Sanda Kan  was on before Honorable Burton Lifland this morning at 10 am. I called the judge’s chambers shortly before noon today. I was informed that, after a hearing, Lionel’s motion was granted by the court.  The court order allowing Lionel to license K-Line’s assets from Sanda Kan should be entered later today or tomorrow. This clears the way for Lionel to be able to eventually license K-Line’ assets from Sanda Kan. I stated in my article on February 17  this was the most important and difficult of the 3 events that needed to occur before Lionel could obtain the licensing rights.

However, as I also reported yesterday, based on information provided to me from K-Line’s bankruptcy attorney Terri Gardner, the sale of K-Line’s assets to Sanda Kan has not been concluded as of the current time. There is also no closing date for this deal as of yesterday. The information provided to me from Ms Gardner is public information and does not violate any attorney client privilege. Until Sanda Kan purchases K-Lines assets, they have nothing to license to Lionel. It is expected this will definitely occur  in the near future.   Stay tuned.      

Erol B. Gurcan

Senior Trial Attorney

An "Oldie but Goodie"

Yesterday I found a very informative article about the MTH lawsuit on INC magazine's website.  The article is from February 2005 and is entitled "Train Wreck".  It's worth a read if you haven't seen it yet.

Weaver Models Announces In-Stock Items

Weaver Models has announced on its website that "the following list of cars are now in stock":

  • CB&Q & Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern Outside Braced Box Cars
  • GTW and Bessemer & Lake Erie Steel Side Box Cars
  • REA and CN Wood Side Refrigerator Cars
  • Milwaukee Road Express Box Car
  • N&W 2-Bay Offset Side Coal Car
  • Cargill, Pressureaide, GTW, Shell Plastics & Corn Products 4-Bay Centerflows
  • Norfolk Southern AC-2 Covered Hopper
  • L&N Steel Side Double Door Box Car
  • ONE (1) 2-Rail Troop Kitchen Car  That's right, only ONE available so act fast!

Visit the Weaver Models website for more information.

February 27, 2006

Current Lionel - K-Line Update from Erol B. Gurcan

February 27, 2006-As of today, the sale of K-Line’s assets to Sanda Kan has not been concluded. Therefore, K-Line’s bankruptcy is still pending. There is no  closing date for the sale as of the current time. The above information was obtained today from K-Line’s bankruptcy attorney, Terri Gardner. The information provided is public information and does not violate any attorney client privileges.

Regarding Lionel’s proceeding to obtain K-Line’s assets, as I stated in my last OGR post on February 17, 2006, Lionel  filed a motion (an application for a court order) on February 16, returnable in the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan (where its bankruptcy proceeding is pending) on February 28 (tomorrow), asking the court for permission to allow it to enter into the licensing and marketing agreement with Sanda Kan. This information was obtained from Lionel’s own motion.  As I stated in my previous post, this was the most important and difficult of the three things that had to occur before Lionel could obtain K-Line’s assets from Sanda Kan. As I also stated, I expect this to occur, but it is more than a formality as the judge can grant the motion, deny it, or modify the requested relief on such terms as are reasonable to the court. Even if the motion is granted tomorrow, the licensing deal with Sanda Kan, through a new entity known as Newco,  will not take place yet as they have not concluded their deal with K-Line. Until that occurs, Sanda Kan (through Newco) does not have any assets to license to Lionel.

I will keep everyone updated as necessary.    

Erol B. Gurcan

Senior Trial Attorney

Please note that Mr. Gurcan has graciously offered to add OGaugeWatch to the e-mail distribution of his legal updates concerning the Lionel lawsuits.  His articles will be posted on OGaugeWatch in their entirety with Mr. Gurcan's permission.  Thanks Erol.  

Understanding the Lionel - K-Line Deal - PART 3

In Part 2 of my multi part series to give you a clear understanding of the Lionel – K-Line “deal” I gave you a summary of the K-Line bankruptcy, the principal players involved, and explained what I believed to be the “monkey wrench” that derailed Sanda Kan’s initial attempt to take over the K-Line assets. I also explained the emergence of the deal that Lionel’s CEO, Jerry Calabrese, mentions in his 02/16/06 statement. In this final installment of the series I will review the details of the proposed Lionel/K-Line deal, including the cost to Lionel and Lionel’s option to acquire the K-Line assets.

According to court documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on 02/16/06, Lionel is proposing a deal involving Newco (a.k.a. NC Train Acquisition, LLC, a legal entity of Sanda Kan), Sanda Kan and itself that will eventually give Lionel the option to acquire the remaining K-Line assets.

OK, keeping in mind that this deal is predicated on Newco’s purchase of the K-Line assets, here are the terms of the proposed deal:

Continue reading "Understanding the Lionel - K-Line Deal - PART 3" »

Vote For Your Favorite "6464" Lionel Boxcar

There is a new survey on the Coil Couplers of America website allowing you to vote for your favorite Lionel "6464" boxcar from the 1950's.  The survey page also has a link to an interesting write up about the "6464" series of boxcars complete with photos from the e-Train online magazine.

February 26, 2006

Understanding the Lionel - K-Line Deal - PART 2

In Part 1 of my multi part series to give you a clear understanding of the Lionel – K-Line “deal” I gave you a summary of the events that lead K-Line and Lionel into bankruptcy. In Part 2, I will summarize the details of the K-Line bankruptcy, the principal players involved, and explain what I believe to be the “monkey wrench” that derailed one principal player’s attempt to take over the K-Line assets.

The material creditors in the K-Line bankruptcy are Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services and Sanda Kan. As material creditors, both have a claim to what is left of K-Line. Merrill Lynch, K-Line’s senior secured lender, has a claim of $1.6 million dollars that is secured by all of K-Line’s assets located in the United States, including accounts receivables, inventory and intellectual property. Sanda Kan, K-Line’s principal inventory

Continue reading "Understanding the Lionel - K-Line Deal - PART 2" »

February 25, 2006

2006 East Coast Hobby Show Canceled

The East Coast Hobby Show which was scheduled to take place on March 10, 11, 12, 2006 at the Fort Washington Expo Center in Fort Washington PA has been canceled.  The show's website has the following message:

The East Coast Hobby Show has been canceled for 2006 due to circumstances beyond our control. Please check back with our website for 2007 East Coast Hobby Show date and location.

Please note that the "Great Train Expo" show scheduled for March 18th and 19th has not been canceled.

No news from the promoter's of the event as to why it was canceled but folks are speculating in a post by prrhorseshoecurve on the OGR forum.

Harry Turner, Owner of Largest Mobile Lionel Train Display, Dies

The Post Gazette of Pittsburgh, PA is reporting that Harry Turner passed away at age 63.  Mr. Turner was known for his large mobile train display, The Magical World of Lionel, that he transported around the country in an 18 wheeler.  In 1989, his display made the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest mobile Lionel train display.  Mrs. Turner will be selling the display and states in the article "I'd love to be able to find someone who would take it on as a business and continue the legacy."

Mr. Turner's layout was featured in Volume 2 of "The Magic of Lionel" video series.   

View the entire Post Gazette article.

View the discussion thread on OGR

February 24, 2006

A Little Lionel History

On the OGR forum, ed h posted a question asking for photos of Lionel's New Jersey factory.  There is a link in the thread with some photos of the abandoned NJ factory but nothing from when it was operating.  So I decided to do search the web for photos of the NJ factory.  I came up empty but did find a bunch of pictures of the Michigan facility from 1988.  Take a look.

February 23, 2006

Weaver Models US Army RS-3 In Stock

Weaver is indicating on their web site that their U.S. Army RS-3 locomotive is in stock.  3-Rail versions with sound retail for $329.00, w/o sound - $279 and the dummy unit lists for $159.95.

MTH Announces Super Bowl XL Box Car

MTH announced yesterday that they will be offering a box car commemorating Super Bowl XL.  Delivery is scheduled for April 2006.  The box car retails for $44.95.

Fred Dole, Editor and Art Director of OGR Retires

O Gauge Railroading Magazine announced yesterday on their forum that Fred Dole, editor and art director of the magazine has decided to retire after 19 years with the magazine. 

View the announcement on the OGR forum

Understanding the Lionel - K-Line "Deal" - PART 1

In Part One of this multi part series of posts I will lay out the necessary background you need to know to get a complete understanding of the Lionel/K-Line “deal” announced by Lionel’s CEO, Jerry Calabrese last week. Over the past week, speculation and opinions surrounding the announcement has dominated the O Gauge Railroading forum and to a lesser extent, been the subject of some discussion in the other forums. Readers of Mr. Calabrese’s statement were lead to believe (by reading between the lines) that Lionel was actually taking over K-Line. That isn’t the whole story.

To get a better understanding of the deal, I obtained a copy of the docket report detailing the motion filed by Lionel in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Since Lionel is in bankruptcy, any of its financial dealings need to be reported to and approved by the bankruptcy court and become part of the public record. On February 16th, 2006, lawyers representing Lionel filed a motion with the court to allow it to enter into the agreement Mr. Calabrese alluded to in his statement last week. Upon reading the report, I quickly realized there were several aspects of the proposed “takeover” which need to be presented to paint a complete picture of the Lionel/K-Line deal. Please note that throughout the court documentation K-Line is referenced as MDK, Inc. For the purposes of clarity, I will refer to MDK, Inc as K-Line.

For you to gain a better understanding of the proposal on the table, it is important to be

Continue reading "Understanding the Lionel - K-Line "Deal" - PART 1" »

February 21, 2006

Forum Roundup #5

Installment #5 of forum roundup:

Need Suggestions on Basement Layout Ceiling Lighting by Walter Matauch on the OGR forum.  Discussion about the best type of lighting and lamps to use to illuminate a layout.

 Hot Wire Foam Cutters by John Devlin on the OGR forum.  Discussion about foam cutters.  In the thread is a link to a Hot Wire Foam Factory which looks like a good source for foam cutting tools.

Plywood or Homosote by rrman on OGR forum.  Discussion about the use of plywood, homosote or a both for bench work and road bed.

Making trees by kettlestack on The Gage forum.  In this post kettlestack explains how to make trees from scratch.  His trees are for HO but the technique could be used for any scale.

Woodland Scenics Grass Mat by RT on OGR forum.  A discussion about Woodland Scenics new grass mat and indoor/outdoor carpet for a layout base.  In this thread you'll find some good suggestions for the type of carpet to use for a layout.

Realistic Telephone Poles by southern rr on Model Train Journal forum.  Discussion about where to get realistic o gauge telephone poles.  The post also contains links to other posts about telephone poles in MTJ.  Be sure to check out HiRailJon's links.

O27 track questions by jpbart2 on Model Train Journal forum.  Some good discussion about the pros/cons of using O27 track.

Type of Camera used for Train Pics by TheTrainMaster on Classic Toy Trains forum.  A short thread about the types of cameras folks use to take pictures of their layout.  Lighting is the key.

Quiet Table Layout by Chip Jackson on OGR forum.  A discussion about the various ways to build a quite table layout.

Double Silo from Korber Models

Korber Models has launched a new double silo kit for O Gauge.  The kit is 32" long, 7" wide and 21" high.  A perfect addition for a HUGE layout.  Available for $189.95 from Korber Models.

February 20, 2006

UPDATE: Lionel Acela Prices Dropping on eBay

Since my last post on this topic, the price of a Lionel Acela set on eBay is coming done.  Over the past month, the Acela sold for as high as $2,224.99 on 1/29/06.  The lowest price paid to date is $1,609.90 on 2/19/06.  Lionel limited production of the Acela to 2,000 sets and the retail price is $1,999.99.  The chart below shows the Acela prices on eBay since 1/22/06.  Click on the chart for a larger view.


February 18, 2006

New Pictures Posted on Atlas Website

Atlas O has posted pictures of a few new products on their website.  The are:

Gunderson Stack Cars

45' Containers

C-628 Locomotives

The Gunderson cars are beautiful.  Wish I had a big enough layout to run a string of them.

February 17, 2006

Another Statement from Lionel's CEO

Lionel CEO Jerry Calabrese has issued another statement on the Lionel web site today.  The subject of this statement addresses Lionel's reaction to Sun Model Corporation's attempt to liquidate K-Line locomotives.  In the statement Mr. Calabrese explains that Lionel had asked Sun Models to stop shipping models that were covered by a permanent injunction issued by a Federal court when Lionel brought suit against K-Line for stealing it's technology.  The Lionel CEO goes on to explain that Lionel has decided to allow Sun Models to continue to liquidate the models in question "even though we have no legal or moral obligation to do so" in what could be interpreted as a sign of good will toward K-Line fans.

Mr. Calabrese seems to take a shot at K-Line's current owner when he states:

Lionel intends to make K-Line products as part of a larger plan to expand our own middle line offerings that we believe have a greater role in our catalog and overall business –  offerings intended to give more people a chance to own quality Lionel products at many levels.  This includes engines and rolling stock that are more manageable in size and price, but yet strong on value.  Having said that, selling highly detailed, die cast, steam engines that contain state of the art electronics for not much more, or in some cases, less than they cost to make, is a devil’s bargain and not a good deal for anyone.

Manufacturers and dealers who do that kind of business do not survive in the long term.  In their wake they leave broken companies, broken hobbies and broken promises.  Who takes responsibility for unshipped orders and pre-paid deposits?  Who provides service and repairs trains that don’t work?  Who invests in new tooling for next year’s products and keeps the hobby fresh and alive?  Worst of all, this kind of irresponsible opportunism poisons the market for merchants and manufacturers who are committed and deeply invested in the next 20 years of the model train business, not the next 20 minutes.

Read Mr. Calabrese's entire statement on the Lionel web site


An Interesting Take on the Lionel - K-Line Announcement

Today, Charlie of Nassau Hobbies posted Erol B. Gurcan's (a trial attorney that has had his hand on the pulse of the K-Line bankruptcy) take on the state of the Lionel - K-Line announcement made yesterday by Lionel's CEO, Jerry Calabrese.  It's worth a read because Mr. Gurcan makes the case that it may be a bit premature and incorrect to assume that Lionel is actually taking over K-Line.

View Mr. Gurcan's analysis on the OGR forum

February 16, 2006

Lionel Announces Takeover of K-Line

In a news flash posted on the Lionel web site today, Jerry Calabrese, Lionel's CEO, announced that Lionel will be taking over K-Line's assets including the brand, tooling and unsold inventory and will be making new products under the K-Line brand.  He also stated that Lionel will make good on all prepaid orders for K-Line club products.

Mr Calabrese also stated that Lionel will be opening a new office and showroom in New York City at 33rd and Madison.

On an unrelated note, Lionel has recently posted an Acela FAQ page on their site.

UPDATE: View the trains.com article

Sun Models Shipping K-Line Locos with Cruise Control

The buzz on the OGR forum is that Sun Model Corporation is shipping the K4 locomotives, originally manufactured for K-Line, with the controversial K-Line cruise control included.  K-Line is in bankruptcy court and was unable to pay Korea Brass, the manufacturer of the models, so they are being sold through Sun Models in an attempt by Korea Brass to recoup manufacturing costs.  O Gauge enthusiasts were hesitant to order these locomotives, at a savings of over 40%, because it was not known if Sun Models would be able to include the cruise control component.  K-Line's use of the cruise control technology was part of the subject of a lawsuit filed against K-Line by Lionel, LLC.  Lionel alleged that K-Line stole the technology from Lionel and was installing it in it's products.  Lionel won the case.  Part of the ruling stated that K-Line could not sell any products that contained the stolen technology.  Cruise control technology keeps the locomotive's speed constant through curves and up grades.

February 15, 2006

MTH Announces New Uncataloged Items

MTH Electric Trains announced 4 uncataloged Pittsburgh related items today.  Items include an Olde Frothingslosh Tank Car - $44.95, a Pittsburgh PCC Trolley with Allegheny Fair livery featuring special Proto-Sound® 2.0 trolley stop sounds for the stops from South Hills Junction to Mesta - $229.95, a 40' High Cube Pirates All Star Box Car - $49.95 and a Premier Line Aliquippa and Southern Hopper - $42.95.





Control a Model RR Over the Internet

Train enthusiasts of all scales will get a kick out of this one.  There is a site out of Germany that has been programmed to allow visitors to control a number of trains on a HO layout over the Internet.  The site was built by students.  Here is an excerpt from the site:

The completely digital installation was built up by students. After the mathematical calculation of the driving routes, establishing theories on the collision avoidance and clarification of questions how to control the hardware, software could be successfully implemented on the control server in the student project. Together with a web server it serves as a link between the Internet users and the model railroad.

I've tried it and it works.  Go to the "control desk" tab of the site.  Here you will find a link to the control desk in the upper left corner.  Click on it and you are taken to the control desk window.  You run the train by first selecting a train (blue and yellow icon) then a destination.  Destinations are green if they are available, red if they're busy.  Hit the start button then hit start again and the train will head to the destination once the line is clear.  There are 2 cameras set up that allow you to watch your train's progress.  Very cool!

Union Pacific is at it Again!

Union Pacific, who recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Lionel and MTH, has filed a similar suit against photographer Nils Huxtable for publishing a calendar.  A group has set up a web site and a legal defense fund to assist Mr. Huxtable in his fight against UP.  Here is an excerpt from the site:

Ron Paludan, working on behalf of the Steamscenes Legal Defense Fund, stated recently, "Union Pacific Railroad Company's use of its vast legal resources is harming Steamscenes, a small company that produces publications that ironically enhance U.P.'s public image. In no way could Union Pacific Railroad Company's calendar and the Steamscenes' calendar be confused, as "A Steamscenes Publication" is printed right on the cover of every calendar. In our opinion, the Union Pacific Railroad's case lacks merit and its interference with Steamscenes' business is unwarranted. We seek to ensure that this suit is settled by revelation of facts and fair application of law, rather than won by the company who has the most financial resources.".

UPDATE 2/16/06:  More information on this story can be found in the  2/15/06 edition of the Trains.com newswire.

February 14, 2006

Norm Charbonneau is Blogging

Norm Charbonneau, a celebrated O Gauge modeler that I have posted about in the past has started a blog. It's called Norm's Train Blog.   It should be an interesting read.   Norm's layout is unbelievably realistic so be sure to check out the photos posted on his website.  Looking at one of his latest photos it is hard to believe it's not a scene from a real town.  In Norm's first blog entry he announces that his layout will be featured in Issue #29 of O Scale Trains magazine due out around November of '06.

February 13, 2006

Original Lionel Dealer Display Sells for Big $'s on eBay

D40_display_1An original Lionel D-40 dealer display layout from 1951 was up for auction on eBay this past week and sold for $17,600.  There were 32 bids from ten bidders.  The winner cast only one bid with 40 seconds remaining in the auction.  Another bidder placed a bid of $17,500 with 7 seconds left but it wasn't enough. 

The 4' x 6' layout of 0-27 track with 2 #1122 switches, a #6019 operating track and display shelves with a Lionel semaphore blade sign was pre wired to accept a number of Lionel accessories that the dealer was to supply.  The layout surface still has it original "grass" intact.  The auction included some of the Lionel accessories plus a copy of the original instruction sheet and wiring diagram.  Shipping charges were an additional $500.  The display was originally available to dealers in 1951 for less than $50.00.

Forum Roundup #4

Here is installment #4 of forum roundup.

Traveling Boxcar by Lehigh Valley Railroad on OGR forum.  This discussion is about a cool idea.  The "traveling boxcar" is sent around the country to members that sign up to be on the recipient list.  Members take photos of the box car on their layout then send it to the next person on the list.

Suggestions on blacktop for layout.  In this post by darianj on the CTT forum, participants recommend ways to create blacktop roads, etc on a layout.

New to Ballast. Dumb Question by SpaceMouse on the CTT forum.  Discussion about how to ballast your O Gauge layout.

Coldness and Toy Trains by Munster518 on CTT forum.  A discussion about the the effects of storing trains in cold and hot places.

ZW Instructions by jimsiv on CTT forum.  If you own an old Lionel ZW transformer, you can get a link to the original repair manual in this discussion.

Cleaning a layout by quick on OGR forum.  Discussion about keeping layouts clean.

Great Stonework Article by mm00047 on OGR forum.  There is a link in this discussion to an issue of The Keystone Modeler that has plenty of pictures of stonework on the Pennsylvania railroad.

February 12, 2006

Unusual Use for Lionel Trains

Here's an unusual use for a Lionel train.  The photo below is from a picture gallery accompanying a Detroit News article about toy trains.  It's a photo of a scientist using a Lionel toy train to move radioactive material around a lab.  Notice that he is at a ZW controlling the trains.  Click on the photo for a larger view.  The article itself has nice photo of the Lionel assembly line in 1976.


New Site Showing Train Shop Locations Around the US

Here's a site you'll want to add to you favorites list, especially if you travel a lot and like to visit shops in other cities.  I found a post on Google's model railroad discussion group with a link to a site that displays the location of model train shops across the US.    The site, by a company called MapMuse, plots the locations of trains shops as points on a map of the US.  You can drill down into regions and metropolitan areas for more detail.  Hovering over a point on the map gives you the name, address, phone # of the train shop and if you click on the point it gives you more info on the shop, a link to directions and the weather forecast for shop's location.  If you know of a model train shop that is not on the list you can submit a request to add it.  A very cool site.   

View the map of model train shops

February 11, 2006

Frank the Train Man

I came across a fantastic post by LVFan (a.k.a.Frank and no he is not Frank the Trainman) while browsing through the O Gauge Railroading forum this morning.  The subject of the post  was a response to a forum participant's request for experiences with Frank the Train Man, a small hobby shop in San Diego.  LVFan's description of the shop paints a wonderful picture of what I'm sure everyone would considered the ideal train shop.  Here is the post in it's entirety:

I lived in San Diego for 19 years and for several years lived about four blocks from Frank The Trainman’s original store ( it’s a credit union now, or at least was the last time I was there ) My wife ( now ex ) and I would take walks in the evening and inevitably wind up at his store and spend some time looking in the window. Frank had a number of glass cases that held post war cars and locomotives that were nice pieces but not uncommon so they were not too expensive. Something would catch my eye and

Continue reading "Frank the Train Man" »

February 10, 2006

Atlas Responds to Switch Issues

Tom Haedrich, Chairman/CEO of Atlas O, LLC and Atlas Model Railroad company, through a post Atlas' O Scale Model Railroad forum, responds to  posts on the O Gauge forums, including their own, that question the quality of Atlas' switches and Atlas' commitment to fixing them.   In Mr. Haedrich's response, he admits that there have been a number of problems with their Atlas O switches, all of which have been rectified.  The post states:

Some noted Atlas O problems relate back to the insufficient rail joiners that arrived with the first shipment of O track back in 1997. Atlas O quickly redeveloped that rail joiner and supplied free replacements that consisted of a heavier stock and redesigned joiner. We found the initial switch machines were not stable enough and so we quickly

Continue reading "Atlas Responds to Switch Issues" »

February 09, 2006

The Latest K-Line Update

A post on OGR Forum contained details about K-Line's December '05 financial filing with the North Carolina federal bankruptcy court.  Points of interest include:

  • 19 employees terminated in month of December
  • Maury Klein was paid $8,882 and Anna Szajnert-Klein was paid $8,822 for the month
  • K-Line's law firm was paid $40,037

Also, I found a comprehensive breakdown of the Lionel vs K-Line and Lionel vs MTH lawsuits on the Lionel Operating Train Society web site written by Erol Gurcan, Esquire (the same Erol that is passing info about the cases to Charlie of Nassau Hobbies).  The write up is not new, seems to have been posted in mid 2005 but it's worth a read if you are interested in the details of the Lionel cases.  Here is an excerpt from Mr. Gurcan's report:

"Lionel claims that Grubba, its former director of engineering, with the knowledge and consent of his current employer K-Line, knowingly schemed, conspired contracted and acted as a liaison with then Lionel senior electrical engineer Marty Pierson, to provide K-Line with Lionel's technology, consisting of trade secrets and copyrighted  computer circuits."

View OGR discussion about K-Line's December filing

View write up of Lionel's lawsuit with K-Line and MTH on Lionel Operating Train Society site

MTH Files Lawsuit Against Korea Brass, Inc UPDATE

Charlienassau of Nassau Hobbies and his lawyer/friend Erol come through yet again with some interesting details about the legal proceedings in the O Gauge industry.  This time, on the OGR forum, Charlie posts Erol's explanation and findings about why MTH filed a new lawsuit against Korea Brass. 

View Charlienassau's post on OGR

February 08, 2006

2006 MTH Ready to Run Catalog Now Online

MTH has posted their new 2006 Ready to Run catalog on-line today.  There is a new Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer set which is interesting and the tin plate offereings are very nice. 

View the MTH Ready to Run Catalog

Toys Trains Get Mentioned on Engadget Blog

Many of you may be familiar with Engadget.com.  It's a blog that reviews all types of gadgets and things.  Well, on Feb 6th they posted a entry about Hornby Trains and how they are now offering digital control for their trains.  Engadget thought this was unique, but as all you O Gauge fans know, it is not.  The post's comments section is filled with people trying to set the record straight and most do a bad job of it.  It's worth a look.

View the Engadget blog post about Hornby Trains

February 07, 2006

Lionel Apologizes to Lionel Club Members

In a "News Flash" communication to Lionel Club members found on the company's website, Mark Erickson of Lionel's marketing department issues an apology to Lionel Club members.  In the statement, Mr. Erickson apologizes for the length of time between issues of Lionel Inside Track, the club magazine and what most people feel is the real benefit from club membership.  He also announced that Bob Cosgrove has been hired to the Editor-in-Chief post to oversee production of the magazine to ensure the magazine is produced in a timely fashion.  Lionel will be producing an extra issue of the magazine this year.

Read the Lionel "News Flash"

February 06, 2006

Lionel Acela More Impressive in Person

Today I stopped by one of my favorite train shops on the way home from work hoping to get a look at the new Lionel Acela set.  Sure enough, there was the Acela in the display case in all of it's O Gauge glory.  The pictures I've seen posted on the web are impressive but seeing the Acela for myself left me saying WOW! as I stared at it for a while.  It is much longer than I expected and the detail is incredible, right down to the perfectly positioned tiny "Danger High Voltage" sign on the base of the pantographs.  The Acela as a static display was extraordinary so I'm sure it's even more impressive when it's operating.  Unfortunately the shop wasn't running it and probably never will (they don't have much of a working layout - which boggles my mind but that a subject for another post).  This shop was selling the Acela set for $1,699 which is a good price compared to what it's been selling for on eBay recently.  It's a hefty price tag but seems to be well worth it if you have the $$ and layout to run it on.


Classic Toy Trains magazine has a nice review of LED lamps from Scott's Odds-n-Ends in the March 2006 issue.  The LEDs come in three styles, focused, inverted and four-LED.  The bulbs can be used to replace incandescent bulbs on your O Gauge layout and according to the article are much brighter, give off virtually no heat and will last a very long time.  They are available in clear, red, or green with either a standard sized screw or bayonet base.  The red and green bulbs appear clear until they are activated. Prices start at $4.95. 

Visit Scott's Odds-n-Ends LED web page

View a discussion on the use of LEDs on Classic Toy Trains forum

February 05, 2006

How much for the New Lionel Acela Set on eBay?

Lionel's Acela set was limited to a production run of 2,000 sets.  The sets started hitting hobby shops over the past week or so.  If you are looking for the set many have shown up on eBay.  How much will you pay?  The highest paid so far is $2,224.99, the cheapest is $1,725.  The set retails for $1,999.00.  Here's a recap of  how the Acela has been selling on eBay to date (date shown is auction ending date):

01/22/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/27/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/29/06  18 bids $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/29/06  36 bids  $2,224.99 plus $35.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,995.00 plus $30.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,999.00 plus $40.00 shipping
01/30/06  Buy It Now  $1,995.00 plus $30.00 shipping
02/02/06  17 bids  $1725.00 plus $35.00 shipping
02/03/06  0 bids  $1725.00, $1995.00 Buy it Now w/free shipping  (re-listed)
02/03/06  0 bids $1,999.00 Buy it Now $40.00 shipping (re-listed)

See all the latest Acela listings

Working' on the Railroad

DIY Network has a TV show devoted to Model Railroading.  The show, Workin' on the Railroad,  is hosted by Chris Chianelli, RC fans will recognize Chris from DIY's Radio Controlled Hobbies show.  Airtime for the show on DIY is Saturdays at 8:30 am EST and 11:30 am EST (repeat broadcast). 

Visit the Workin' on the Railroad on the DIY site.

Visit the post on OGR about this show.

February 03, 2006

Building a 4x8 Layout Live on the Web

This post has nothing to do with O Gauge but it's worth noting.  Model Railroader magazine will be building a 4x8 HO layout during the week of February 6th and they are inviting everyone to follow their progress live over the web through Model Railroader's web cam.   Here's an excerpt from the Model Railroader blog:

Welcome to the Model Railroader Weblog. February 6 through 10 should be pretty exciting around here as the MR staff builds its latest project railroad from start to finish in a single week. A web cam set up in our workshop will allow you to watch the project unfold via live streaming video. If you happen to miss a day, a time-lapse video archive will also be available. 

Visit the Model Railroader blog

Visit the Model Railroader web cam


MTH Files Lawsuit Against Korea Brass, Inc

From the Detroit Free Press:

A Maryland model train maker that won a $40.7-million judgment in 2004 against Macomb County-based Lionel LLC and a Korean supplier has returned to U.S. District Court in Detroit to collect damages from the Korean firm.

Mike's Train House Inc. of Columbia, Md., charges in a lawsuit filed last week that Korea Brass Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., transferred all of its assets to a new company, Hagye Trading Co., to avoid paying the judgment.

In 2004, a federal jury in Detroit awarded $27.7 million to Mike's Train House, which alleged that Lionel of Chesterfield Township and Korea Brass had stolen its design for making zinc die cast O gauge steam engines.

The judgment forced Lionel to file for bankruptcy protection while it appealed the judgment.

Hagye Trading Co. isn't listed in the Charlottesville phone directory and could not be reached for comment.

February 02, 2006

Joshua Lionel Cowen is Blogging!

Joshua Lionel Cowen, founder of Lionel trains, is maintaining a blog entitled, what else,  Joshua Lionel Cowen.  Mr Cowen passed on in 1965 but somehow is posting entries in his blog about his trip to Germany in 1901! 

Visit the Joshua Lionel Cowen blog

K-Line Update

Charlie, owner of Nassau Hobbies has posted another update on OGR concerning the status of K-Line.  As posted on OGR:

Charlie- here is the latest on the status of K-Lines bankruptcy case. As you may recall, financing was previously put in place to operate the company until January 31 and it was hoped a deal would be completed by that date.

K-Lines lead bankruptcy attorney Terri Gardner informed me today that a lot is happening right now and that negotiations are continuing. In other words, a deal with Sanda Kan (or any other potential buyer) has not been finalized. Ms. Gardner promised to notify me in the near future once she can comment publicly as to what is occurring. I will of course pass on any news to you to post for the OGR Forum readers.

Erol B. Gurcan
Senior Trial Attorney

View Charlie's post on OGR

February 01, 2006

More Lionel Acela Pictures

CSX FAN posted some more Acela Pics on the OGR forum.  His layout is impressive, especially the cantenary lines.  The detail that Lionel built into this set is amazing.

View the Acela Photos

Update:  Even more pics from OGR  Great detail in these photos!

The Village of Greenbrook

Back in Forum Roundup #2 I mention a post concerning The Village of Greenbrook, an incredible model layout built by Norm Charbonneau.  I didn't realize Norm had a website, where he posts detailed photos of his layout and projects to improve it.  It's a must see.

Visit Norm Charbonneau's site.

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