My recent experience with Lionel has not been a good one.
I have an Alaska GP7 in for repairs under warranty. A drive gear fell out.
I have a Rio Grand SD 45 that vibrates when going around the curves.
I have a lighted Rio Grande caboose that doesn't light.
I have a C&O tamper that won't run more than a few inches, though it's been cleaned thoroughly.
I have found that the Williams E7 A-A engines look and run like a dream. The Williams aluminum passenger set stays lit 100% of the time without a flicker. The price on this excellent equipment is a wet dream as well. Plus the low price includes a lifetime warranty!
Screw the collectability factor. I'm done with Lionel.
I have found with the lower end Lionel I have always had problems. I also have the GP7 and had to replace the board. The upper end I never had one go bad. I do not model O27 any more, but still run them about once a year. I am now into HO and G.
Respect man, Respect!! I'm not a fan of current day entry level Lionel, but I do understand the effect this company has had on our hobby. Many of us would never have been exposed to model trains were it not for the Lionel 2-6-2 running around the Christmas tree dragging under-scaled cars behind its tender. I model in HO, but I will always be grateful to Lionel and other pioneering firms who brought us this hobby as we know it today.. My two cents..................... Howard Zane
Hmm, could you expand on this thought? I have heard this mentioned in fleeting about Brass Locomotives, and could possibly see it applied to Lionel O27 collectables, but is there any real evidence on what's going on?
The detail in 1:48 is generally excellent. However, this assumes that your layout is of sufficient size and that your minimum track curves are no less than O-63. My outside loop is O-72 and the inside loop is O-63. I have one area of O-45, but that area is restricted to switching operations and I limit the size of the stock that I run there. I would agree that O-27 and similar stock which I believe is sometimes 1:64 can appear to be more toy like. If your layout isn't large enough, you're frequently restricted to the smaller scale. I have given my grandson some of the O-27 stock (generally that I'd purchased in error), and he hasn't reported problems in running it.
I've generally not had problems with Lionel's 1:48. The Consolidation of a couple of years ago had some tracking problems, but when this was identified, Lionel provided a spring for the leading truck to take care of that. I've also heard that the Lionel Pioneer Zephyr has had problems with the motor mount. I've yet to have that problem with mine. I've never had a problem with a Lionel diesel, but I run only TMCC.
If anything, AtlasO is occasionally overly detailed. Truck chains on some of their diesels can come loose and get caught in the gears. Their Trackman items are also quite good and more reasonably priced.
I have little experience with Williams. I have some Weaver rolling stock and my criticism there is that their ladders and stirrups tend to be quite fragile.
So, I'd say that my Lionel experience is somewhat different from that of the original poster--at least as it pertains to 1:48 TMCC.
It's hard to see how roughly 1:48 scale equipment running on 13 1/2 inch radius curves (way too sharp for any HO scale except maybe a two axle industrial switcher), not to mention the goofy tubular "rail" on O27 track*, or those toy switches, could be called modeling.
It's toy trains, and ought to be happy to consider itself as such, but it's not O scale modeling.
the FASTRACK stuff looks a little better, but it's still three rail, and the switches are just as toy-like