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Lionel to discontinue K-Line products

By Carl Swanson, editor of Classic Toy Trains
Published: July 20, 2010
Lionel LLC has announced that the end of 2010 will also mark the end of Lionel’s marketing of K-Line-branded products.

“It’s something we tried for three years, and we gave it a pretty good shot,” said Jerry Calabrese, Lionel’s chief executive officer.

In an interview with Classic Toy Trains magazine, Calabrese said K-Line had a good following and clever products, but ultimately Lionel could not make the numbers work for its value-priced line and needs to focus its time and energy on areas with more growth potential.

For example, Lionel recently entered into an agreement with NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust to make die-cast metal replica race cars. Calabrese said the combination of Lionel’s established brand and the enthusiastic NASCAR fanbase make this an especially exciting opportunity.

Most of the K-Line tooling, including that used for the SuperStreets system, is owned by Chinese contract manufacturer Sanda Kan. In mid-summer, the Asian company sent letters to a number of its customers worldwide, telling them it will no longer be able to make products for them.

Sanda Kan has not commented on the future of its K-Line tooling.
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