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7 hours ago, Glenn Holland said:

Allow me to pose this question: if there were to be a line of "Thomas" INSPIRED merchandise, which could be produced and sold under a third party with generic names to avoid copyright strikes, what would the community expect, what would they want to see available, and anything else? 

Honestly, instead of an all-new product line/theme, I don't see why Lego couldn't just give us some smaller, generic steam engines under the Creator theme as Three-In-One sets as opposed to Expert/Advanced ones. I mean, if a British L-Gauge locomotive and coach build like 2009's Emerald Night retails for $99.99, then a single tank engine or shunter diesel build without a coach/car should cost a whole lot less.

5 hours ago, Glenn Holland said:

Is there enough interest for a Sodor-esque line of products that could be sold under a name like Brick Model Railroader? I have a few things I'd like to achieve for myself along these lines but if there is enough interest I would be willing to look into selling something, obviously with generic naming.

If Lego were to release a new model railroading centric line, I'd personally name it something along the lines of, say, LEGO Railways, kinda simplistic and broad like the City theme somewhat. :shrug_oh_well:

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15 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

If Lego were to release a new model railroading centric line, I'd personally name it something along the lines of, say, LEGO Railways, kinda simplistic and broad like the City theme somewhat. :shrug_oh_well:

As LEGO mentioned before, the train market is just too small for them to invest in its own line, there needs to be a tie in theme (winter, hp, etc).  This leaves 3rd parties like BMR to fill the niche.

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14 hours ago, pirzyk said:

As LEGO mentioned before, the train market is just too small for them to invest in its own line, there needs to be a tie in theme (winter, hp, etc).  This leaves 3rd parties like BMR to fill the niche.

I still think a 3-in-1 set might be able to surmount the various regional interests if it were done right, but I don't see Lego sinking the resources into doing so. Maybe if the right combination came in through IDEAS though.

PS, wandering back on topic, there was a Megablocks Thomas series a few years back. The one interesting feature they had was that their version was compatible with wooden train track. And it is worth noting that the Lego Thomas sets are still available on BL.

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On 9/8/2018 at 6:58 PM, Pdaitabird said:

Really, though, I think TLG's best option would be to produce some smaller steam engines and rolling stock loosely based on the original engine types that inspired the Railway Series. Example: an 0-6-0 "Terrier" tank engine, but with neither a face nor a proper name. (I wonder which of Lego's colors is the best match for Stroudley's Improved Engine Green?)

Sorry to shamelessly plug my LEGO Ideas project here, but my model could kind of fit in to this category. Not a train but a traction engine that shares the same basis as Trevor The Traction Engine. Now if this could build up enough votes then it would be a good way of delivering a message to TLG that there would be a market for sets based on steam engines. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/2a2ec583-9836-4868-8dc7-6b3bb0a2fe80

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The model submission on Ideas obviously doesn't feature a face but I have produced this mock up showing it re-styled as Trevor. :sweet:

29720672838_5350e0acbf_z_d.jpg

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On 9/8/2018 at 1:05 PM, Digger of Bricks said:

Thank you @Phil-B259 so very much for joining Eurobricks as so put this inquiry to rest; for as sad as it may be to hear, it is a great peace of mind for me personally. :sad:

Do you have any sources you can cite by the way for further reading?

Unfortunately due to the aggressive stance taken by the lawyers working for Hit Entertainment, and latterly Matel, anything that paints them in a bad light is kept firmly out of the public domain. The letter concerning Stepney to the Bluebell Railway definitely exists in the society's archives though along with the ensuing correspondence which sorted the issue out - but its never going to be made public. I know about it as I'm a volunteer there.....

Incidentally, when Thomas the Tank Engine became massively popular, many Heritage railways in the UK started holding "Days out with Thomas" weekends with the blessing of Brit Allcroft allowing children to come and see their heroes in hot metal so to speak. These events helped both parties with increased revenue for the railway preservationists and enhanced the appeal of the brand thus increasing merchandising etc. - and for several years a happy partnership was had. However once HIT took over they ruined things - they started demanding a much higher take of the revenues, demanded you use their own 'approved' Fat controller character and that every single person on the railway premiss that day (even if they were tucked away in workshops and would never come into contact with children) had enhanced criminal checks carried out on them (to be paid for by the hosting railway of course). The net result was most of the bigger railways dumped the events as more hassle than they were worth, but HIT didn't seem to care, which tells you a lot about the mentality of the organisation. I believe that Matel have simply carried on with the same policy

 

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On 9/13/2018 at 2:16 AM, Phil-B259 said:

Incidentally, when Thomas the Tank Engine became massively popular, many Heritage railways in the UK started holding "Days out with Thomas" weekends with the blessing of Brit Allcroft allowing children to come and see their heroes in hot metal so to speak. These events helped both parties with increased revenue for the railway preservationists and enhanced the appeal of the brand thus increasing merchandising etc. - and for several years a happy partnership was had. However once HIT took over they ruined things - they started demanding a much higher take of the revenues, demanded you use their own 'approved' Fat controller character and that every single person on the railway premiss that day (even if they were tucked away in workshops and would never come into contact with children) had enhanced criminal checks carried out on them (to be paid for by the hosting railway of course). The net result was most of the bigger railways dumped the events as more hassle than they were worth, but HIT didn't seem to care, which tells you a lot about the mentality of the organisation. I believe that Matel have simply carried on with the same policy

You are right. Many heritage railways in the UK seem to have ditched the once common Thomas weekends. My local Great Central Railway have instead opted for Peppa Pig and Superheroes weekends. Seems pretty ridiculous and a real shame when there are many active volunteers on preserved railways who can say there interest in trains was originally sparked by Thomas The Tank Engine when they were children.

I've often wondered about the Talyllyn Railway in Wales who provided the inspiration for the Skarloey stories in the Railway Series for whom the Rev Awdry himself was once a volunteer. They often run themed weekends with their engines re-dressed as their counterparts from the Railway Series. However I believe these are never marketed as Thomas The Tank Engine weekends as such and carry no Mattel or Hit entertainment branding.

Are the Talyllyn Railway allowed to do this due to the fact that they are basically the real life inspiration for the Skarloey Books? Even though these characters have all been featured in the TV series, I wonder if The Tallyllyn Railway or Christopher Awdry still retain some rights that allow them to do this?

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On 9/17/2018 at 12:41 PM, Bricked1980 said:

You are right. Many heritage railways in the UK seem to have ditched the once common Thomas weekends. My local Great Central Railway have instead opted for Peppa Pig and Superheroes weekends. Seems pretty ridiculous and a real shame when there are many active volunteers on preserved railways who can say there interest in trains was originally sparked by Thomas The Tank Engine when they were children.

I know that this is going quite sideways from the original purpose of the topic, but I came across this which perhaps provides insight why not just many, but all "Thomas Weekends" have ceased. The following is an exert from a blog (http://gwsrsteamloco.blogspot.com/2018/09/farewell-thomas.html), written by a volunteer fireman on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) in the UK.

Quote

Also of note in my absence has been our last Day Out With Thomas (DOWT) weekend.   The descendants of Rev A.W. Awdry who wrote the original Thomas books have long since sold their interest in the rights and the current owners don't feel that having DOWT events with real steam locomotives on heritage railways is in their best interests, hoping that people will visit their theme park instead. I find this a rather regrettable state of affairs, the DOWT events were quite fun for the fooplate crews at least, and most importantly it fired an interest in steam in the next generation, a generation that we will need to pass the regulator handle to, when we graduate to the great footplate in the sky.

Given this anonymous persons' writing style in other posts I can't vouch for it's accuracy; however, based on @Phil-B259's comments, it seems all too likely.
The GWSR is my local line, and from what I can tell as an onlooker the Thomas-themed weekends were always popular and were probably a boost for income during "low" seasons.

If the current owners of "Thomas" don't even want heritage steam railways or an actual working steam engine to be able to promote their brand, what hope is there for a "rival" toy company if they're putting out toys themselves?

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I have a few friends who work at tourist/museum railroads in the US and have heard that at smaller RR without much non-railroad infrastructure (e.g., paramedics on staff, tents or shelter areas, etc.) that the mandated requirements for DOWT were quite burdensome, to the point that it was often a loss.

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3 hours ago, Brandon Pea said:

The current seasons are trash to me. Classic era (S1 to S7) for life! 

This. Thomas died when they stopped being real models. That was the whole impressive joy of the thing - that, somewhere, a Thomas "layout" (or at least modules) existed. Even as a teenager I could appreciate how cool that was.

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First two seasons were even narrated by Ringo Starr (of Beatles).

Some nice memories with my son about this.

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Well, obviously the only real Thomas medium that counts (!) is the original 1940s books, which we grew up on at home and are still in my parents house I think...

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5 hours ago, Retro said:

Well, obviously the only real Thomas medium that counts (!) is the original 1940s books

Ah yes, and still in print . Several of the early stories have basis in real events, e.g., repairing a rod with shoelaces, fish in the water tank.

 

 

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Speaking of Thomas the tank engine, My toddler son and I were recently driving around, and we came across a life size fully operational Thomas the Tank engine. My son just happened to have a thomas the tank engine toy with him, so, after getting permission, we went out and took pictures with the train and his little toy. Something really funny was that there was a bag over thomas's head, like he was kidnapped. 

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@Carefree_Dude, they do that with the bag when the engine is not being used (I.E. not the actual event day), or is on the road traveling on a flatbed truck. I've seen it pass through St. Louis, Missouri on the highway a couple years back... too bad I didn't get a picture!

Edited by Murdoch17

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