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Lionel trains
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steve19438    Posted 12-08-2004 at 13:57:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lionel trains files for bankruptcy

By Tom Becker / Bloomberg News

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CHESTERFIELD TWP. -- Lionel LLC, a 104-year-old maker of model trains that is part-owned by rock musician Neil Young, filed for bankruptcy protection after a U.S. jury found the company used designs for toy locomotives stolen from a rival.

The Chesterfield, Michigan-based company listed $55 million in debts and assets of $42 million in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. A Detroit jury in June ordered the company and its subcontractors to pay $40.8 million for obtaining drawings and plans for a toy train that were stolen from a subcontractor of closely held M.T.H. Electric Trains.

"The size and weight of this judgment is just too much for what is essentially a small business to bear," Jerry Calabrese, Lionel's chief executive, said in a statement. "Bankruptcy will not only allow us to pursue an eventual reversal of this unfair decision, it will enable us to create, manufacture and ship our products in our normal and usual way."

Under bankruptcy law, the $40.8 million judgment is treated as an unsecured claim. Distribution to unsecured creditors in New York bankruptcy cases this year averaged about 30 cents on the dollar in most cases, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. PNC Financial Services Corp. is the largest secured creditor with a $31 million claim, according to court documents.

It's Lionel's second bankruptcy filing. It sought court protection in 1991, after which Young took a stake in the company. He holds a 20 percent interest now, according to court papers. Lionel spokeswoman Kristin Celauro declined to comment on today's filing.

Bkeepr    Posted 12-09-2004 at 05:14:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Still have my old set too, and my wife inherited her Grandfather's set a few years back. Her "Pop Pop" was a collector and train nut, and had bought just about everything Lionel sold in the 40s and 50s and kept it all like-new. An amazing set-up, it used to take up the periphery of an entire room every year.

Tom A

screaminghollow    Posted 12-08-2004 at 15:23:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
I still have the Lionel set given to me for my first Christmas by the doting grandparents. It still works. Have various sets in "N" "HO" "O" and "G" gauges. "Z" gauge is way too expensive. Haven't had the trains out since my daughter was about five. Maybe when there is grandkids.

steve19438    Posted 12-08-2004 at 15:38:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
"Haven't had the trains out since my daughter was about five. Maybe when there is grandkids."

same here. they have been wrapped in newspaper for over 20 yrs.
i miss the "excuberance" of youth.

JB    Posted 12-09-2004 at 00:23:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
My brother and sister in law just passed on the train set they had saved from their 40 year old son's childhood. HIS son just turned 10, and this boy has coveted the train and stroked the cars, but never seen it out of the box.

That's all changed, now, since his birthday on Sunday, when they presented him with the train and a pair of overalls to wear while operating the train. Passing memories along.

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