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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 14, 2009
I bought this train for my six-year old grandson. He fell in love with my husband's old N Gauge train, one that had the tracks that had to fit together perfectly, and one that gave a small shock from the transformer if it wasn't together properly. I worried that he would end up hurt on the thing, plus I wasn't thrilled at putting it together all the time - really hard to get the track to work. So when I saw this one that had an easy-put-together track and yet still had all the capability of our older electric train I thought why not?

Well, the train is awesome. The track goes together easily (however it is a little more difficult to get apart - more on that later). It took about 10 minutes to get the train up and going. My grandson had no problems working it and going both forward and backward. He did have a little bit of difficulty getting the train cars to stick together, but once we got that figured out all was well.

Taking the track apart turned out to be tricky - you have to slightly twist one section to get it apart. Once we got that figured out it was easy, but it took a number of minutes to get it to work, so be prepared for that.

Otherwise, great train and track - definitely recommended.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
Scale model trains generally aren't hands-on toys, especially for smaller children. They're fragile and they can easily fail to work and break irrepairably. They can also be very costly in purchase price and in the investment of time and materials put into building a layout. I won't extol all the virtues of model railroading but obviously it includes art in the scenery, science in the electrics and electronics, social science and even economics in modeling society and industry. So they are much more than a toy and can become a life-long hobby or avocation for an interested person. One way to get started is to research and buy the good stuff, not wasting your time and money on junk like this LL set. But if you over estimate your child's readiness to work with a model versus a toy, your mistake can be costly. You may also not appreciate what modeling takes in terms of how much work it is, how much space it takes, how much is involved in terms of skills and learning.

This train set has got to be the rock-bottom cheapest HO set out there. If not, it's real close. The weaknesses abound. I won't elaborate on them all. The train is not accurate to the prototype (the real thing#. It's made with poorly detailed plastic shell. The engine's motor is cheap, won't slow-start but jumps, won't run slowly, won't stop slowly but jerks to a halt. The cars are too light #they feel like an empty egg shell) and easily derail. The controller only has one DC circuit and one AC and a poor potentiometer type twist throttle that is hard to regulate. The track is very phoney-looking black molded plastic and code 100 rail. Code 100 has very tall metal rails that are easier to manufacturer carelessly and hold trains well but look far too tall for scale. If you "get into it" you won't re-use this track but instead you'll want some code 83 track or to hand lay your own code 70 or 55. Still, the track and the rest of this set is so cheap, you can't beat it to have something almost 'disposable' to get started with and learn all the hard lessons. It's like learning to drive in a beater.

The LL set I have doesn't have the plastic road bed. This is a big improvement for durability in play. Without the plastic road bed, you have to nail the track to a foam or cork road bed on a sheet of MDF or something or the track will easily break. The plastic road bed is, of course, completely phoney for scale modeling and is a concession to the toy aspect of this product. For a toy, I like the Fisher Price Trackmaster trains better. They're bullet proof, both the engines and the track. The durability is amazing and yet they're slightly bigger and better detailed than the wooden railways and less expensive. I do prefer wooden railways for their craftsmanship though, particularly the older Swedish made Brio and the modern Thomas ones. Another awesome toy to check out is the Lego trains. They're quite costly with the power options but have two big advantages for play in that they're able to be totally customized, and they integrate with the whole Lego play system.

So their your have it. If you want to try scale model railroading, this LL set is a cheap start and you'll learn plenty on your way to a rather sophisticated endeavor. If you're looking for a toy, try Trackmaster for children 6 and under, and Lego trains for older children. The play value is far better with either of those. Of course, when I was six, I had to have the 'real' thing. I got an N scale model and loved it. If your child is attracted to the scale realism, no mere 'toy' will suffice.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2008
The locomotive didn't work when we opened it, but I called the 1-800 number and they sent a new one ASAP (no cost) and now it works great!!! The back trains need some weight in them or they will derail on high. We just added some from the arts/craft store. It's interchangable with other HO Scale models.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2012
At this price, I didn't exactly have high expectations - especially after reading some of the more negative reviews. This is NOT your Dad's Lionel set. Just about everything noted in other reviews is correct. While the engine is fine (for what it is), the remaining cars are VERY light and cheap. The best tip I can share is to make sure you take your time putting the track together. I was quite dismayed at first, as the train derailed constantly. And, it can be very challenging getting all the cars lined up again, properly on the track, and linked. With young kids impatiently waiting to play, it can be very aggravating. However, I had also made a crucial mistake. I attempted to assemble the track on a rug. Not a good idea. If you slide the track pieces into each other to get that "lock" they advertise, on a smooth floor or other surface, it's incredibly easy. But if you try to get that click on a carpet, forget it. The joints in the track will be just a little off in places - just enough to make your train derail. Once the kids were off to bed, I returned to the track layout and calmly, carefully went over every joint, running just the locomotive slowly along the track to look for problems. Once I corrected three misaligned joints by sliding a thin board underneath and re-joining the track there, the train worked perfectly. It was that simple. The curved track that assists in aligning the wheels of the trains onto the track is invaluable. Once I got the hang of using that, and the track was aligned properly, the train ran its course without a problem for as long as I would let it run.

Now that I know that, my opinion of the set has improved considerably. Nothing like giving a setup another try before abandoning it. Still, the additional cars are very cheap and very light. Little kids will NEVER get them to work or have the patience to get them to work. And, they're too flimsy to last long in the hands of a small child. I have no illusion that I can let my three-year old anywhere near it. The set won't last two minutes. But with supervision, it can be great fun.

Some have mentioned adding weights to the freight cars, but that sounds too involved and complicated to me. As a model train enthusiast, I'd rather spend a little more and get a better, heavier-quality set of freight or passenger trains. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. I can accept the flimsiness of the freight cars because the whole set was so inexpensive. With the money I saved, I'll go find a decent used set of freight trains somewhere. The engine works great, btw. No complaints there, though the coupling on all the trains leaves a lot to be desired. The transformer, the item that kids would actually use to give power to, control forward and reverse of the trains, is also pretty flimsy. Not very comfortable letting my youngest use that himself. I went out and bought a more substantial transformer at the local train store. The transformer cost as much as the whole set! You may understand now why I wrote 'ok starter set" as the title.

Look, it is a fun set to get your toes into model railroading. And for some families, they may decide that they need go no further into the hobby. On the other hand, if the kid's face lights up like my son's did, this set may lead to many hours, days and years of fun with Dad, building something ridiculous and wonderful in the garage, attic or basement. Just don't limit yourselves to the cheap freight trains it comes with. And know that quality trains have better couplings and are more enjoyable in the long run. The track is great though, if you align and connect it on a flat surface. (You can move the whole thing to a carpet or rug once it's assembled.) Would I buy this again? Probably not. I would simply buy track, and a locomotive, then add quality freight cars, and a better transformer. But hey, you get what you pay for. For what it is, the price can't be beat. Because I like the ease and stability of the track, I might invest a lot in additional track so the train can run around the circumference of my office. The kids are still on the young side to leave the trains alone with them. But I hope to set up a "ceiling track" that will allow the kids to run it high out of their reach. Controller is mounted on the wall. One less thing to worry about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2011
Train is a nice size for under the Christmas tree. It was easy to set up and works well. I purchased it for my granddaughters and they love it!
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2009
The railroad was very hard to put together because the tracks keep getting undone and the diagram for elevating the tracks was not clear. Also, unlike the Thomas the Train type of a wooden track, the design is inflexible. You need to have all your pieces in a particular order, otherwise, you won't be able to close the loop. It is also very difficult to properly position the locomotive onto the tracks (it's got 8 wheels which don't appear to be well aligned) and once you finally get it on, it derails easily. We ended up spending 2-3 times more time on getting the train back on track than actually seeing the train run.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
If the track is the slightest bit uneven, the cars behind the engine have a great tendency to derail. This is because of their relatively lighter weight. Other than that, it runs fairly well. The power-loc track is ridiculously easy to put together. Nothing like the standard track that came with the older sets and most sets today.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2011
OUR 2ND LINE-RUNS BETWEEN THE PARK & RIDE AND THE CAMPGROUNDS STOP. When we say second line, we mean the elevated track that runs above our Life-Like Freight line that is down below, you will see it pass by the diner as the 2nd line pulls into the park & ride stop.
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on December 28, 2013
We received this item as a gift. The set looked nice, so we put it together to test. Unfortunately the pins between the track pieces easily fell out. And then when we took it apart to put away, more fell out. The wheels on the trains also come out easily. This item is probably fine if you are going to leave it assembled, but not good if you want to put it away and take it out. Also very expensive for the craftsmanship. Would not recommend. Cheaply made.
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on December 16, 2014
This is not a fancy train, but it keeps the little ones occupied and happy. The packaging boasts numerous parts, but it includes a myriad of little plastic signs that rattle around in the box that you will never use. The train and tracks have held up pretty well for a couple of Christmases.
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