Train Set Review

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Why Buy Model Train Sets?

There are few things that bring out the holiday spirit like building and operating model train sets. Electric train sets bring out the inner child in adults and give children the excitement of assembling their first train set on their own. They can be the perfect gift for both adults and children but also can serve as an annual family decoration that circles the Christmas tree during the holiday season.

While there aren’t a large number of manufacturers for model trains, there are many model styles and types of trains to choose from. Some feature locomotives that make bell and whistle sounds as they circle the train track, while others puff smoke from the locomotive and offer accessory items to decorate and create an imaginary landscape for your train. The best train sets we reviewed are the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief Remote Control Steam Set, the Lionel 2-4-2 LionChief Remote Control Scout Steam Set and the Lionel Polar Express Train Set – G-Gauge. All of these Lionel trains offer immaculate detail and craftsmanship on each train car, but also snap-together tracks that are easy for both adults and youngsters to set up. For more information check out our articles on train sets.

A model train set has the potential to last a family a lifetime and can be passed down from generation to generation. Picking the right one can bring joy to both young and old for years to come.

Train Sets: What to Look For

Train sets come in many different sizes and scales. G-Scale trains are the largest, O-Scale trains are smaller than G-Scale, and HO is smaller than both but considered the most popular size among train collectors. Train sets have different feature sets; some make sounds and puff smoke while others don’t. They also come with different-style train cars and track lengths, so it's important to know what type of train cars you are getting with your set.

As you choose the best train set for you, keep these elements in mind:

Train Details
Each train comes with a different arrangements of train cars. Make sure you get a train set with the type of train cars that you want. Train sets also have built-in features like operating smoke stacks, air whistles and headlights. These fun features can make it more fun to operate your electric train set.

The most durable train sets have locomotives constructed out of die-cast metal. These tend to last longer than engines built out of plastic. The more metal parts, the more durable the train is going to be.

Assembly
Train tracks come in multiple lengths and arrangements. The more pieces of track your train comes with, more track configurations can be created. Also, look for manufacturers that have expansion track available so that you can extend the track length. Snap-together track pieces make the train track easy to assemble for children and help in getting your train out of the box and assembled quickly.

Accessories
Model train sets that come with multiple accessories such as figurines, road signs, tunnels and bridges allow you to create an entire world for your train set. Some sets can be operated by a remote control that can control the train's speed and features.

Help & Support
A one-year warranty on train sets is standard. Warranties longer than one year can give you extra confidence in your train purchase. Most manufacturers offer phone and email contact information in case any issues arise with your model trains.

Today’s train sets are well-designed and innovative feats of engineering. They are packed with features, and you can choose your own themes, scenery and accessories. Assembling and operating these miniature trains offers hours of entertainment for your whole family to enjoy.

 
 
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Lionel 2-4-2 LionChief Lionel Polar Express Bachman Rail Chief Bachmann Chattanooga Bachmann Thomas' Fun Life-Like Trains Salute To America Life-Like Trains Rail Master Lionel Thomas & Friends Bachmann Santa Fe Flyer
Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Lionel 2-4-2 LionChief Lionel Polar Express Bachman Rail Chief Bachmann Chattanooga Bachmann Thomas' Fun Life-Like Trains Salute To America Life-Like Trains Rail Master Lionel Thomas & Friends Bachmann Santa Fe Flyer
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Visit Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief
$168.99
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$155.99
Visit Lionel Polar Express
$120.00
Visit Bachman Rail Chief
$88.14
Visit Bachmann Chattanooga
$98.46
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$123.50
Visit Life-Like Trains Salute To America Train Set
$86.50
Visit Life-Like Trains Rail Master
$79.99
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$105.99
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$59.98
Ratings
9.25
8.98
8.50
8.40
8.40
8.23
7.85
7.53
7.28
7.25
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
6.25
10.00
9.38
10.00
6.25
10.00
8.75
8.75
6.88
10.00
7.50
9.38
8.75
9.38
7.50
9.38
8.75
9.38
8.13
10.00
5.63
9.38
7.50
9.38
5.63
10.00
6.25
9.38
6.88
10.00
5.63
10.00
6.25
10.00
6.88
9.38
4.38
9.38
 
Train Details
Durability Score 100% 90% 90% 80% 80% 90% 80% 75% 70% 75%
Model Scale O O G HO HO HO HO HO O HO
Included Cars 5 5 4 5 5 5 6 4 3 4
Track Length (inches) 50 50 72 47 47 47 47 38 50 47
Track Width (inches) 40 40 55 38 38 38 38 45 40 36
Multiple Speeds
Types of Cars
Locomotive
Tender
 
   
Tank Car
   
 
  
Boxcar
   
   
Caboose
 
 
 
Flat Car  
    
   
Hopper/Gondola  
  2
  2
Passenger Car    2       2  
Train Features
Headlight
 
 
Whistle
     
 
Smoke
 
     
Bell
     
 
Traction Tires
      
 
Metal Rims
  
   
Assembly
Curved Track Pieces 8 8 12 12 12 12 12 12 8 11
Straight Track Pieces 2 2 4 2 2 2 2 2 1  
Expandable
 
Snap-Together Track
No Tacking
Requires Batteries 3-AAA 3-AAA 2-AA       3-AAA  
Accessories
Remote Control
     
 
Roadbed
Figurines   
    
Telephone Poles    
  
  
Signs    
  
  
Signal Bridge    
 
   
Help & Support
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year Limited Lifetime Limited Lifetime Limited Lifetime 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year Limited Lifetime
Instruction Manual
Phone
Email