Why do European trains look so much better than U.S. trains?

I guess there’s something floating around Facebook right now comparing sleek, elegant European trains against clunker, junky trains that roam the rails in the United States. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve already had some questions about it.

There was a time when U.S. trains were pretty bleak to look at, but that time isn’t now.

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Lionel trains at Target, 2006

Lionel sold starter sets at Target in 2006 and again in 2008, though the arrangement only lasted a couple of years. The sets were priced at $249.

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