From Athearn (via trainorders.com) this morning:
Effective immediately, we here at Athearn have made the difficult decision to discontinue the production of our Blue Box line of kits. There were several factors that contributed to this extremely challenging decision however, the primary issue revolved around affordability and ensuring that our Blue Box kit pricing remain aligned with what the market can bear. Unfortunately, due to increased manufacturing and labor costs it has been determined that we are no longer able to continue offering kits at competitive price points as compared to our already assembled products.
For over 50 years the Athearn Blue Box kits have been sold worldwide, bringing happiness, joy and excitement to thousands of model railroad enthusiasts. Your passion for these products has allowed us to thrive and grow into the industry leader you still support today, and for that we are eternally grateful. Moving forward this will allow us to dedicate more resources to new and exciting projects in our Ready To Roll, Genesis and Roundhouse lines for another 50 years, or more.
We will continue to support all service and warranty needs on Blue Box kits from our headquarters in Long Beach, California. You can find our contact information here.
The Folks at Athearn