Most helpful positive review
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good, and I fixed the range problem for $5
on January 31, 2012
First off, this is a toy. Plain and simple. It's big, it's plastic, and it's very lightweight. It comes with enough track to make a loop around your Christmas tree, and that's it. I've read the reviews here and for the Polar Express, and I'm baffled about some of them. The train has never come uncoupled for me, and I've never had it derail. But I run it on hardwood or linoleum flooring, I don't have carpet in my house. The track is difficult to push together, but once it is together it takes quite a bit of force to have it come back apart. I replaced the batteries immediately, and the train straight out of the box just worked. No problems there. My only problem was range. I could operate it standing nearby, but often the train would lose the throttle signal and slow to a stop. Usually hitting the bell or whistle button would wake it back up, but it would happen often unless I laid the controller on the floor inside the loop of track.
Well, I fixed that. Details here: [...]
Basically, I purchased a $5 28" telescoping antenna from Radio Shack, and replaced the antenna in the remote. Now I can reliably control the train from across the house and upstairs.
If you get a bunch more track and some additional rolling stock (train cars), the Hogwarts express will have a hard time pulling them - especially up an incline. Not because it lacks power, but because it's so light. If you open the locomotive up (four screws on the bottom) there is plenty of room inside. I went to my local motorcycle shop and got a bunch of stick-on wheel weights, and stacked them over the drive wheels. I plan to run this in my garden, so I'm probably not your typical purchaser. As it comes out of the box, it's more than fine for a child. I'm just a bit of a train nut, and I wanted one too! :)