CSW652

Are the Creator Expert trains finished?

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Anyone know if they will continue the creator expert line of trains (Emerald Night, Maersk, and Horizon Express) or are they finished?

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8 minutes ago, CSW652 said:

Wasn't referring to the winter holiday trains.

It's Creator Expert and it's a train.

You questions cannot be answered without taking the Winter Holiday Train into account. It's very likely that Lego will not consider a new train until the Winter Holiday Train is retired.

Edited by legotownlinz

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I don't think they will ever be "finished", that's too definitive a close to put on the line. Instead, I think the current sales of the line don't warrant a new one every 1 or even 2 years. It may be a few years until we see another one. Whenever Lego deems the time to be right.

The exceptions being that, as Jamie Berard said, if there's an opportunity to cross a train with another theme or idea. The Winter Village train, Harry Potter trains, etc.

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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3 hours ago, legotownlinz said:

It's Creator Expert and it's a train.

You questions cannot be answered without taking the Winter Holiday Train into account. It's very likely that Lego will not consider a new train until the Winter Holiday Train is retired.

I agree, a new expert train is going to pop someday, but not very soon. Also city trains 60197 and 60198 are just a few months old so i dont expect it to happen in 2019.

Edited by AE bricks

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:48 PM, danimarroquin said:

they where great sellers for LEGO

No they weren't. None of them were, with the possible exception of the Winter Village one.

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I remember the emerald night was on backorder when I ordered one of mine for Christmas.  So it must have sold well enough.

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2 hours ago, eric87 said:

I remember the emerald night was on backorder when I ordered one of mine for Christmas.  So it must have sold well enough. 

"Well enough" can mean any number of things depending on what degree of popularity is anticipated. Back when Emerald Night came out, the production numbers of those kinds of AFOL-targeted exclusives in general were a lot lower than today.

If you view the Advanced Models category on Brickset and filter by which sets are owned by the most users, it's pretty striking to compare how stuff in that category (which includes sets from both before and after the Creator Expert rebrand) has sold. Modular Building sets from 2009 to 2016 are owned by between 11,514 and 19,703 Brickset users. The rest released so far are owned by between 3,561 and 8,916 Brickset users. Cafe Corner, Market Street, and Green Grocer are known to have been far less successful than Fire Brigade and subsequent sets, while Downtown Diner and Assembly Square presumably haven't been available long enough to sell as well as their predecessors.

Winter Village sets have been more modestly successful in general, but still reliable enough to be an annual tradition. The already retired Winter Village sets are owned by between 11,708 Brickset users (Santa's Village) and 6,530 (Winter Village Station). To its credit, the Winter Holiday Train is second highest on this list, owned by 9,595 people Brickset users — lower than the number who own most Modular Buildings, but higher than the number who own any of the three oldest or two newest Modular Buildings released to date.

But as for other trains?

  • 2009's Emerald Night is marked as owned by 5,152 users, compared to 9,120 and 13,500 who own that year's Winter Village Toy Shop and Fire Brigade, respectively.
  • 2011's Maersk Train is marked as owned by 5,222 users, compared to 7,258 who own the Winter Village Post Office, 17,213 who own the VW T1 Camper Van, and 19,703 who own the Pet Shop.
  • 2013's Horizon Express is marked as owned by 5,168 users, compared to 8,853 and 19,173 who own that year's Winter Village Market and Palace Cinema, respectively.

That said, all four Creator Expert trains are owned by way more Brickset users than:

  • All pre-2009 Advanced Models sets except for Cafe Corner and Green Grocer.
  • Any of the non-train Maersk sets: owned by between 947 and 2,459 Brickset users
  • Imperial Flagship: owned by 4,603 Brickset users.
  • Mini-Modulars: owned by 4,749 Brickset users, though it was originally more limited by design due to being a VIP exclusive.
  • Shuttle Adventure or Shuttle Expedition: owned by 3,213 and 3,145 Brickset users, respectively. Although in that case, the former was retired after less than a year and replaced a few months later with a successor to correct some weaknesses in the design that Customer Service had been made aware of. If you counted them together as one set, they would outsell all of the Creator Expert trains except the Winter Holiday Train.
  • All but one of the Landmarks series sets: the Tower Bridge is owned by 10,427 Brickset users, but the rest are only owned by between 1,576 and 4,800. Perhaps this is why we haven't seen any new Landmarks series sets in 2018, or why LEGO took a gamble by re-releasing the highly requested Taj Mahal set the year before?

But overall, the Winter Holiday Train was the only Creator Expert train that seemingly hasn't been outmatched in popularity by every other set between 2009 and 2016 in the Modular Buildings, Winter Village, Vehicles, and Aircraft subthemes. So it's understandable that we haven't seen a Creator Expert train every year or every two years like we have with most of the other ongoing subthemes.

In fact, looking at the Historical Product Themes sections of the Creator Expert site, something interesting stands out to me: in it, the subthemes Brickset lists as Vehicles, Aircraft, Maersk, and Trains are all grouped together into the "Vehicles" category. When viewed from this perspective, instead of a "Trains" subtheme with gaps of two years or more between releases, you have a "Vehicles" subtheme that consistently got one or more new releases every year since 2008, but that has since 2015 been narrowed to a "Classic Cars" subtheme after those turned out to be the most reliably successful part of that larger category:

  • 2008: VW Beetle
  • 2009: Emerald Knight
  • 2010: Imperial Flagship, Shuttle Adventure, and Maersk Line Container Ship
  • 2011: VW T1 Camper Van, Maersk Train and Shuttle Expedition
  • 2012: Sopwith Camel
  • 2013: Horizon Express
  • 2014: Mini Cooper MK VII and Maersk Line Triple-E
  • 2015: Ferrari F40
  • 2016: Volkswagen Beetle
  • 2017: London Bus
  • 2018: Aston Martin DB-5
Edited by Aanchir

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@Aanchir While all your facts may be true, you forgot to state one thing, in my opinion very important thing:

While the Beetle, VW Camper, Winter Village, Winter Train and others have been available in retail shops, ALL of the mentioned expert trains have only been sold by Shop@Home! Well, seems at least the Horizon Express got some exposure in selected shops. But I can assure you that NONE of these 3 sets appeared in shops around my town or even country...

So, less exposure -> less sales. Given this hindrance it seems that those 3 train sets did very well.

Edited by Capparezza

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1 hour ago, Capparezza said:

@Aanchir While all your facts may be true, you forgot to state one thing, in my opinion very important thing:

While the Beetle, VW Camper, Winter Village, Winter Train and others have been available in retail shops, ALL of the mentioned expert trains have only been sold by Shop@Home! Well, seems at least the Horizon Express got some exposure in selected shops. But I can assure you that NONE of these 3 sets appeared in shops around my town or even country...

So, less exposure -> less sales. Given this hindrance it seems that those 3 train sets did very well.

All Creator Expert sets and Direct to Consumer sets from other themes (Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series, etc) start out as LEGO.com and LEGO Brand Retail exclusives. Some of them get wider releases afterwards, but my understanding is that this only happens if they sell well enough for LEGO to continue producing and selling them for long enough before retiring them. If the trains don't make it to a wider retail release, that alone is a pretty good indication that they're not performing well enough as LEGO exclusives to justify a wider release.

Edited by Aanchir

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I think trains in general are marketed (lately it seems) towards targeted audience in hopes for better sales. As where others are wide audience sales. 

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On 12/9/2018 at 11:40 PM, Capparezza said:

@Aanchir But I can assure you that NONE of these 3 sets appeared in shops around my town or even country...

Same in Germany. TRU had the Maersk train. Six of them. I wanted to buy all six but they wouldn't let me. By entering and exiting the store multiple times I managed to get two of the six sets. Way to limit your sales. And I had to drive 110 km for that. What fun that was.

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10 hours ago, 3797 said:

Same in Germany. TRU had the Maersk train. Six of them. I wanted to buy all six but they wouldn't let me.

WTH! Wondering whether this restriction was imposed upon TRU by LEGO? Must be, because no one running a business would invent something this stupid. But, even then, LEGO must be the stupid one in this story and I can't belive that either? And then they wonder why sales have not developed as expected. :facepalm:

 

@Aanchir Well, you do get the irony of all this, right? If you want to get a broader audience for your train sets, the perfect thing is to restrict it's exposure to possible buyers by hiding it in your online shop... errrr....? I'm on one side glad you responded and keep the discussion alive, but a bit disappointed that you neglected to talk about this aspect.

Just found a comment from you in the Emerald re-release discussion thread:

Quote

I think the causality is a bit backwards there — based on what we've heard from LEGO, how much impact retailers have on LEGO's product decisions, and the fact that in the past some of these retailers DID carry LEGO train sets more extensively, it seems more likely to me that train sets aren't in those stores as often because they weren't popular enough for those retailers to continue stocking them.

That seems to be relevant here as well. One the one hand it is true that (maybe mostly because of the price?) sales of train sets might not be par to expectation. However, this is also a bit elevated with LEGOs policy of selling stuff. You can't buy single waggons any more, you can only get straights mixed up with either curves or curves and flexi track (reminds of the delimma with those road base plates). You can't get ANY smaller train related set anymore (besides that Winter Village station). That makes shelving out a 100 or even 150 bucks just for a single set, which a) doesn't line up with anything else and b) which can only exist on it's own and can't be "completed" with smaller sets in the future even harder to justify.

 

To me it's quite clear that LEGO does not care about their train sets anymore as they did in the past (9V and 12V era). Maybe LEGO is doing just the right thing. Maybe the era of trains as a childrens toy is long gone. One might suspect that this might be the case if you have an eye on the H0 trains market: Lots of old companies making wonderful sets have vanished in the past, because sales have dryed up.

Edited by Capparezza

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The British 00 (same track, but 4mm to the ft instead of 3.5mm to the ft) seems to be going from strength to strength, with several smaller companies chipping in too.

There will always be something of a market for toy trains, kids love playing with trains. But they are expensive, and there are so many other things to distract kids with these days, so Lego will probably (hopefully) keeping doing the 2-3 sets over 4/5 years, but nothing more. 

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On 12/11/2018 at 4:20 AM, Capparezza said:

@Aanchir Well, you do get the irony of all this, right? If you want to get a broader audience for your train sets, the perfect thing is to restrict it's exposure to possible buyers by hiding it in your online shop... errrr....? I'm on one side glad you responded and keep the discussion alive, but a bit disappointed that you neglected to talk about this aspect.

Just found a comment from you in the Emerald re-release discussion thread:

That seems to be relevant here as well. One the one hand it is true that (maybe mostly because of the price?) sales of train sets might not be par to expectation. However, this is also a bit elevated with LEGOs policy of selling stuff. You can't buy single waggons any more, you can only get straights mixed up with either curves or curves and flexi track (reminds of the delimma with those road base plates). You can't get ANY smaller train related set anymore (besides that Winter Village station). That makes shelving out a 100 or even 150 bucks just for a single set, which a) doesn't line up with anything else and b) which can only exist on it's own and can't be "completed" with smaller sets in the future even harder to justify.

Again, though, I feel like you're getting cause and effect backwards. You're arguing that retail sales of train sets suffer because LEGO doesn't offer individual wagons, when the reality as has been explained is that even when LEGO DID sell individual wagons and carriages or track supplements in more specific shapes, they have generally struggled to sell compared to more complete trains or track supplements in assorted shapes.

And this isn't even a phenomenon specific to LEGO — it's very rare to find ANY kind of toy train cars sold individually except at specialty hobbyist stores. You're welcome to check the Trains and Train Sets categories on Target.com if you won't take my word for it (Walmart.com does have a wider selection of individual train cars and track packs… up until you filter by what you can actually get in their stores without ordering to pick it up at a particular Walmart location, at which point the selection declines precipitously). Suffice to say that outside of the preschool age set (which generally still loves Thomas & Friends and other train-related brands), toy trains in general have declined a great deal in popularity since the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

And we're not talking about train sets being purposely hidden away in LEGO's online shops. Usually, they carry them in their own brick-and-mortar LEGO brand retail stores as well. But usually, as far as I've been able to tell, most LEGO train sets have NOT been LEGO Brand Retail or LEGO.com exclusives (except for Creator Expert ones of course, since all Creator Expert sets are LBR/LEGO.com exclusives). In other words, the fact that other retailers don't carry them largely comes down to the fact that other retailers don't WANT them.

What's more, it's generally safe to assume any product that is exclusively carried by shop.LEGO.com or LEGO Brand Retail is that way not because LEGO is simply trying to make it seem "special", but because it's a product with a limited enough audience (whether due to its high price, or niche subject matter, or restrictive target age range, or all of the above)  that they couldn't justify creating and distributing it in any less limited capacity. Even with big recent and ongoing investments in new factories or expansions to existing ones, LEGO's manufacturing capabilities remain extremely limited, to the point that they often struggle to keep up with demand even on some of their biggest and most popular themes. They simply don't have the luxury of producing global mass retail quantities of products in categories that have repeatedly failed to demonstrate the kind of sales performance it would take to justify that.

On 12/11/2018 at 4:20 AM, Capparezza said:

To me it's quite clear that LEGO does not care about their train sets anymore as they did in the past (9V and 12V era). Maybe LEGO is doing just the right thing. Maybe the era of trains as a childrens toy is long gone. One might suspect that this might be the case if you have an eye on the H0 trains market: Lots of old companies making wonderful sets have vanished in the past, because sales have dryed up.

I think you hit the nail on the head. It's not that LEGO doesn't care about train sets — frankly, their commitment to trains in the City theme (with eight complete train sets in the past ten years, usually at higher, riskier price points than LEGO is willing to commit to with other City products, and kept available considerably longer) is a lot more stable and consistent than their commitment to many other types of LEGO City products like restaurants, buses, taxis, hospitals, ambulances, or farm equipment. It's just that they can't afford to express that care on the scale they once did. They know that simply making more train sets or re-attempting sales strategies for them that have failed them in the past will not be enough to turn train sets back into the staple product line they were back when toy trains in general were a much bigger presence in the industry and much more highly in demand.

I'm not saying any of this as somebody who dislikes trains. I don't buy them often, but mostly because they're not usually part of the themes I'm most drawn to, and because I spend more than I probably should on LEGO as it is! And outside of LEGO I'm not really a train enthusiast, even if trains are easily my favorite way to travel, and one I wish my country's government and society would invest more in instead of lining the pockets of the airline and automotive industries. But I have been really impressed with some of the recent LEGO City train sets, and in the past I greatly enjoyed helping my dad build the Maersk Train and Horizon Express. He's been a LEGO train fan for about as long as I've been old enough to enjoy LEGO. If there WERE a new Creator Expert train set, I'd be thrilled to help him build it again or even buy it for him!

If LEGO were to make a really sleek, luxurious LEGO Friends train (with a comparable standard of detail to sets like 41109 and 41317)? I'd be all over that! I've even tried MOCing my own LEGO Friends high-speed train on LEGO Digital Designer, though I usually get stumped trying to balance sleekness with accuracy and complexity. And if they made a LEGO Movie or LEGO Ninjago Movie train/monorail? Or a train station as a future installment in the Modular Buildings or Ninjago City series? Right on!

In general, I'm just trying to stay realistic about this, same as with themes that have been lifelong favorites for me personally but seem unlikely to return to their former glory any time soon, like Bionicle. Sorry if it makes me sound like a "Debbie Downer" or wet blanket sometimes, but I don't feel as though the stuff designers have said about demand for train sets being limited these days is just PR talk, personal bias, or some sort of lack of understanding of what makes a good train product.

I guarantee that there are a lot of LEGO product ideas often demanded by AFOLs that today's set designers would be thrilled to work on if there were a strong enough business case to support them. And even so, that probably doesn't stop them for trying. For all I know, maybe the next Creator Expert train is already in the works, and if so, hopefully it'll sell well enough to re-invigorate LEGO's faith in AFOL-targeted train sets (certainly the apparent success of the Winter Holiday Train has been nothing to sneeze at). But I think we owe LEGO a little understanding of why they haven't invested as heavily in that category as I'm sure a lot of us would like them to.

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On 12/11/2018 at 10:20 AM, Capparezza said:

WTH! Wondering whether this restriction was imposed upon TRU by LEGO? Must be, because no one running a business would invent something this stupid. But, even then, LEGO must be the stupid one in this story and I can't belive that either? And then they wonder why sales have not developed as expected. :facepalm:

And the kicker was that those sets were sitting so high up on a shelf that I couldn't reach them. I had to ask an employee to get a ladder. I was looking for them and it took me a few minutes to spot them. They were basically hidden.

I ended up calling my mom begging her to stop at my hometown's TRU store on her way home from work. She did but she too was allowed to buy one train only. I also called the store in Paderborn but they supposedly didn't have any in stock. 

58 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

You're arguing that retail sales of train sets suffer because LEGO doesn't offer individual wagons, when the reality as has been explained is that even when LEGO DID sell individual wagons and carriages or track supplements in more specific shapes, they have generally struggled to sell compared to more complete trains or track supplements in assorted shapes.

And you've been told over and over again that the individual wagons and carriages from the My Own Train line were never sold in regular toy stores and thus not available to the average consumer. You've also been told that those designs were so bad that they didn't even appeal to many "hardcore" LEGO train fans. My Own Train sets were released in 2001. Is it too hard to comprehend that buying stuff online was pretty much unheard of at the time?

The better designs from the 80's and early 90's actually did so well that those sets sell on eBay all the time. Many of them are going for quite a lot of money, actually. Prices for regular parts like 4025 in black shot up like crazy even though LEGO must have made millions of those. A smart move would be to start selling them under Bricks & Pieces and actually advertising their availability!

As for track pieces: Their own fault, if they insist on not selling straight track seperately. There's a reason why curved track is so cheap and readily available on eBay. In 2018.

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Just now, 3797 said:

And you've been told over and over again that the individual wagons and carriages from the My Own Train line were never sold in regular toy stores and thus not available to the average consumer. You've also been told that those designs were so bad that they didn't even appeal to many "hardcore" LEGO train fans. My Own Train sets were released in 2001. Is it too hard to comprehend that buying stuff online was pretty much unheard of at the time?

The better designs from the 80's and early 90's actually did so well that those sets sell on eBay all the time. Many of them are going for quite a lot of money, actually. Prices for regular parts like 4025 in black shot up like crazy even though LEGO must have made millions of those. A smart move would be to start selling them under Bricks & Pieces and actually advertising their availability!

As for track pieces: Their own fault, if they insist on not selling straight track seperately. There's a reason why curved track is so cheap and readily available on eBay. In 2018.

This, so many times and so much THIS. While I have to agree with lots of points @Aanchir made about general toy train popularity, it seems everyone is always rehashing the arguments from more than 15 years ago.

 

2001 was the year when I had my dial-up Internet, via 55k modem. I measured RAM in Megabytes and ordering, let alone paying something via Internet was just not a thing that came into my mind back then. I could have counted shops delivering to my country with one hand only. Besides that, I didn't have a credit card back then and other payment methods were either not developed yet or unsecure for either the buyer or the seller. If LEGO had started something like this in 2018 the outcome would surely be different. (And I'm not taking into account that there have been some weird design choices with the MOT sets)

Hell, 2001 seems so far away to me but it's only a mere 17 years ago that I played Diablo II LOD and Gran Turismo 3. Seems my interest was more into gaming then LEGO, anyway :laugh:

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24 minutes ago, 3797 said:

And you've been told over and over again that the individual wagons and carriages from the My Own Train line were never sold in regular toy stores and thus not available to the average consumer. You've also been told that those designs were so bad that they didn't even appeal to many "hardcore" LEGO train fans. My Own Train sets were released in 2001. Is it too hard to comprehend that buying stuff online was pretty much unheard of at the time?

The better designs from the 80's and early 90's actually did so well that those sets sell on eBay all the time. Many of them are going for quite a lot of money, actually. Prices for regular parts like 4025 in black shot up like crazy even though LEGO must have made millions of those. A smart move would be to start selling them under Bricks & Pieces and actually advertising their availability!

As for track pieces: Their own fault, if they insist on not selling straight track seperately. There's a reason why curved track is so cheap and readily available on eBay. In 2018.

When did I say anything about the My Own Train wagons being the only ones that undersold? Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the idea of doing train carriages and locomotives via mail order was a response to sales already being low enough that LEGO couldn't justify those types of sets at mass retail. I mean, even in the 90s, the number of sets with carriages/wagons but no locomotive had declined precipitously since the 70s and 80s when such sets were the norm: only ten such sets from 1991 through 2000, and the two released after 1995 had already switched a limited release sales model.

And anyway, it's not as though LEGO isn't looking at how many sets are being sold specifically via their own site/stores/catalogs. Frankly, if demand for individual carriages and locomotives were as strong as demand for complete train sets, then the sources that offered them should have been able to boast HIGHER sales for the carriages than for train sets that weren't LEGO-exclusive and that people didn't need to order direct from the company. And statistics like that would have given them a highly convincing argument to convince other retailers to stock train cars and locomotives individually. But individual carriages have never been able to sell as well as complete trains, whether before, during, or after the My Own Train era.

I'm not sure why that's not common sense, honestly, just as with requests for LEGO to sell the modular buildings floor-by-floor rather than as a complete package. Generally, the only people who are going to get any enjoyment out of buying a set that's not a more or less complete display piece or play experience are those who are already committed to buying as many other sets as it would take to MAKE them a complete play experience. People who can't stomach the cost of a locomotive and a wagon or two aren't going to somehow be satisfied with a locomotive and no wagons or a wagon and no locomotive. Nor are they likely to go back and buy a second, separate set if they were bored or dissatisfied with the first one — not when there are plenty of other sets or even other toy brands that can actually offer more meaningful satisfaction individually.

It's the same as I've told people about the old school Bionicle mask packs when they wonder why those couldn't be just as successful in the long term as collectible minifigures. A collectible minifigure is small, but it is at least a complete, playable character, not a piece of molded plastic that has basically no value as a plaything or display piece unless you've already bought other, bigger sets separately. For that matter, it's a lot like why today's City Police and Fire sets typically also include emergencies to respond to, or why more recent Space/Pirates/Castle sets typically include both "good guys" and "bad guys", etc.

People are far more likely to come back as repeat customers if you can guarantee them a complete and rewarding play experience from their very first purchase, no matter WHAT set happens to be their first purchase. If you nickel-and-dime them for stuff that isn't especially interesting on its own, they're either going to assume it's a boring toy from the start, or start to feel cheated as the purchases add up to as much as they would have had to spend on a more complete set to begin with.

Finally, it's generally not reliable to assume that a set selling for a high value in the aftermarket means it sold well at release. Usually, in fact, it's the exact opposite. Sets from themes like Bionicle or Ninjago, which were produced and sold in enormous quantities year after year, tend to be relatively inexpensive on the aftermarket unless they're new in box, because there are enough in circulation that the market is more or less saturated. Any new demand emerging for those older sets is offset by people selling their older belongings they've moved on from, which is a common occurrence, especially with stuff aimed primarily at kids. By comparison, it's common to see astonishingly high prices even for used sets from themes like Avatar: The Last Airbender that were not particularly successful to begin with, and thus were neither produced nor sold in large numbers.

Especially when dealing with older sets, currency inflation and the increasing scarcity of sets that HAVEN'T been opened/played with can make increases in aftermarket price a lot less significant than they might appear at a glance. According to BrickLink, the four used copies of #4549 sold in the past 6 months sold for an average of $94.08. Pretty good for a set that originally cost $52, right? Well… no. $52 is equivalent to around $90 today, so the real value of used copies has risen less than 5% from its original market value after 25 years.

Occasionally, sure, there's a gem like #4547 (for which used copies in the past 6 months have sold for around 155% their original market value), but again, taking 27 years to appreciate that much in real value is not so impressive. Sets like #10219 appear to be in much wider circulation (with 16 used copies and 58 new copies sold in the past 6 months), and yet have appreciated 50% in real value just 7 years after release.

This is a big part of why a lot of the people who play the "LEGO as investing" game deal in newer sets… older sets in general often don't tend to appreciate in value anywhere near as quickly or reliably, and those for which the prices HAVE risen staggeringly or continue to do so can often be attributed more to low supply (due to few copies being produced or sold in the first place) than extensive and heightened demand.

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Regarding My Own Train, what really made things inefficient was the sheer number of sets on offer. Five different vehicles, two types of locomotive, five different colour packs (did they really need brown or dark grey?), and a tender. You can't get economies of scale that way, retailers also disliked the complexity of the locomotive products. I think that slimming it down to a more manageable range such as one or two types of wagons in production at any one time, with new designs every few years, plus one or two locomotive designs, again with new designs every few years would make it more viable. Perhaps the Creator 3in1 concept could be used to stop locos being too region-specific and provide reasons to buy multiple copies. 

It's worth remembering that the thing that puts retailers off large, high value sets (not just trains) is that they occupy large amounts of shelf space and are slow to shift. This is unlike your police sets 

I wonder if bundling could be a solution. There would be separate boxes for the locomotive, wagons and a track pack and they could be sold individually or strapped together as a bundle for sale at a price less than the sum of the individual sets. I think it's been done elsewhere in City. 

Regarding Creator Expert trains, I'll go out on a limb and say I don't really want any. I'd rather MOC trains that are more relevant to me. What I would prefer is for LEGO to produce trains both through the City line and ideally through the normal Creator line so as to provide me with a ready supply of parts as well as introducing more children to LEGO trains (on them, the future depends). If these sets could include train windows then that would be great. 

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I think four sets over 10 years is not enough to set any kind of precedent like "they release a new set every x years" or that they've given up on it.  With such a limited sample, only time will tell.  I doubt they ever really considered it to be some sort of "line" or "theme" as much as "hey, let's do this this year!" or "Hey, Maersk wants to do another set with us - we've done so many ships, let's do a train this time!"

Along the lines of other discussion, trying to be brief: I also think something like MOT could work better now than it did in the past.  However, I also understand that it's not a matter of making profit, it's a matter of maximizing profit, and if TLG can do that with other sets and themes, then that's where they are going to put their effort.

Now, in retrospect, I don't think many train fans would pass up another set like EN - most people realized they seriously missed out, and every EN buyer would likely buy something similar, and everyone who missed out on EN would likely buy something similar, and I think if they did offer matching rolling stock - be it a passenger car or a cargo car (not both), it would probably end up selling more units than the train itself for obvious reasons.  However, if they sold a caboose it would almost certainly sell less.

I would like to see more variety in their trains, though.  It seems like every few years we get yet another cargo and passenger train.  How about an Old West one, just to stir things up?

 

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Regarding extra rolling stock - I imagine it’s more an issue of production capacity than anything else. Lego could have made available the two bags of parts needed for the middle carriage for 60051 as, say, an online exclusive (advertised in the instructions for the main set) without extraneous packaging etc and I imagine it would do moderately well.

Or

They could use the factory production capacity this would take for another City set, which would sell in far greater quantities in multiple retailers and have a far greater return.

Regarding sales - I’m not sure that the recent Roller Coaster Set will sell in massive quantities, probably less than the EN did, but expectations seem to be higher for trains for some reason... Not every set needs to be a blockbuster to justify its existence, but having ‘done’ trains now (one steam, one diesel, one electric) sales aren’t the only factor - I would think that novelty and innovation in the product line is just as important to the bods at Lego HQ...

Edited by PeteM

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