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on September 10, 2011
At the last minute, I found this on Amazon after resigning myself to going to hobby shops hoping to find it in time for my son's 2nd birthday. Thank goodness! It arrived as ordered and I couldn't wait to put it together-VERY simple to do. Once I had it up & running, my son took over the controller and can't seem to put it down! He asked what the different cars were and names them every time the train rounds the track! Since we see Amtrak trains as we are traveling to and fro, I used the 'all aboard' call to help him identify trains. This set makes the sound as well as train sounds and whistle. He absolutely loves it! Lionel-thanks! Amazon, you came through again!!
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on January 17, 2012
I bought this for my 4 and 2 year old boys. They seem to really love it. I didn't realize how big it is when it's all put together! I just glanced at the pictures while Christmas shopping and they make it look smaller than it is. I made the mistake of buying 2 whole sets since the boys would probably argue over them. On the up side, I eventually used both sets to make one big track, put both trains on there and one controller will make both of them go or stop at the same time. Kinda neat but the boys are young enough to want to grab the trains and mess with them too much to let them go on the tracks. They are not happy until the train is derailing and dragging the cars behind it. The trains have to be put on the tracks just right and that is difficult for toddlers. My 4 year old can do it most of the time. I thought they might have fun just pushing the trains around on the bare floor if nothing else but they don't work so great that way. I even tried (just for kicks) to put them on wooden thomas the train tracks and they fit but won't roll themselves since they are made to only fit and work on the tracks that came with them. And again, pushing them is no fun because they won't 'roll' like that. It seems like the more we play with it, the more it derails itself around curves. I wonder if this has something to do with carpet fibers and dirt getting around the wheels?? For the price I paid, I think it's pretty cool, especially since the kids were really wanting a Polar Express Train for Christmas and all the others I found were really expensive or made for train hobbyists. This ended up being one of 'those' toys that I sneak into a box and put up in the closet when they are not looking and only get it out when they remember it! :)
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on September 10, 2011
I had trains when I was a kid, and so did my dad. I still have my trains and will give them to my son when he's old enough, but not yet. For now, there's Lionel Little Lines. The box says ages 2 1/2 and up, and it's true. This is a real train set, but made of plastic and way more durable than the big boy trains.

Our house is completely tile, and I fully expected the Little Lines engine to be smashed in days or weeks. In fact, I watched my son bounce the engine off the tile many, many times. It just keeps on working. Easy on batteries, simple remote control, and the track snaps together extremely securely. While certainly not the kind of toy that becomes a classic, it is indeed a toy that will last.

Like another reviewer said, it is quite loud and there is no means to adjust the volume. I'm thinking the speaker covering technique is a simple and effective idea- if that doesn't work, I'll solder a 100 ohm resistor in series with the speaker. That will definitely reduce the volume.

I'd rate this toy a best buy, if your kid is interested in trains. It is tough, simple, fun, and cheap.
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on January 3, 2014
Don't buy this. I read all the review on Amazon before purchasing for my 21/2 year old twins.
Wasn't expecting too much, just wanted a simple, introductory train set to put under the tree.
They are very easy to please at this age, but their hearts were broken, when the train would not even
climb the simplest incline of the track. We tried the bridges at first, but decided it would be enough if the train just went around the track flat, and it barely made it around with just the engine. Also, in order to shut it off, we had to unscrew the battery compartment.
It is hard to believe Lionel is responsible for such a pathetic item.
I had very modest expectations, and no matter how we compromised them and tried to make the best of a bad thing, we
could not redeem this item. The horn did not work either. Terrible.
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on December 3, 2013
Came very well packaged. Perhaps too well. Bit difficult getting engine out without tearing up the box for later storage. Layout of track easy to follow and directions quite good. A fun item easy for Kids to operate once they get hang of it. Had to reinstall batteries in engine before getting light to come on. As I had already set up track would have been most unhappy if turned out a return item! But all is well. For anyone growing up with O or HO guage this is a snap to put together. Took bit of figuring out what was lower and what was upper ramp and snapping into the bridges but over all pretty simple. Only item that is drawback is that once you push the stack on the engine the light stays on for five minutes. No way to turn off unless you want to remove the batteries. Turns off after five minutes but would be nice to be able to turn of sooner especially when only testing. But this is minor and I am sure will keep Engergizer and Duracell smiling this Christmas. If you are looking for a fun and simple train set that is battery operated this is a great item and can recommend it highly. All aboard!
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on December 18, 2012
My son is 3 years and two months. I just got it for him. While we have only had it a week, it seems very durable. Everything seems made well. I like that it is a nice, solid train for a reasonable amount of money so I don't have to keep saying, "Don't touch!" I don't worry about it, and he loves playing with it. It seems to stay on the track very well. I did open the box, and I wondered how to put it together, but I just went by the photo on the box. I am not handy, so if I can do it anyone can do it. Since some mentioned the train gets caught on the cardboard backdrop, I left that off. My son just enjoys watching it go around.

I did not find it loud at all, but my son doesn't like anything even remotely loud. (ie: he likes the television or radio on low). The constant chug chugging of the train did drive him nuts, and within hours he wanted it disabled. However, he still wanted to be able to push the button which says "All Aboard the Polar Express!" I have had to explain multiple times (due to his age) that he either takes all the sounds or none of them. He has opted for none of them.

It would be great if there was a way to have just the whistle and All Aboard, but that isn't possible. I do love that you can turn off the sounds. It is inside the battery part.. which is great. That way if you want it off, and your child wants it on, he/she can't change it. It is factory preset to make the noises, but just flip the switch when the batteries are put in, and then tighten the screw on the battery case. I am sure some families appreciate that.

I, a female who rarely puts things together, was able to put it together very, very quickly right before I went to bed one night. :-)
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on November 29, 2012
A Lionel train entusiast for 50 years. I bought this for my grandson, but I set it up to make sure it works (hey, I paid for it!) I have no idea what the complaints are about. The train climbed the elevations without pause (forward and reverse). The sounds are clear and at a perfect volume for play. The tracks are very well made, easy to connect, hard to brake and sturdy when assembled! It met my expectations with flying colors. I have no idea how long it will last, but if you supervise play it has the same survival chance as any other "operational" toy (it's not designed to be thrown, kicked, submerged or blown up!) I also don't know how this "first train" will be received christmas morning: 3-year old humans are selective, picky and sometimes strange! Get the train, it works, see what happens! John

UPDATE:
This was my grandson's favorite toy by far! One surprizing note..the battery pack lasted all day! This kid left the train running far longer than it was designed for. I bought plenty of batteries but didn't need them. The whole thing might blow up tomorrow, but I'm thoroughly impressed with it now. I wish I could add tracks. John
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on November 4, 2015
The train and white track is great, but the cut out board is a little cheesy. It doesn't want to stand up all the time. Kind of makes it look cheap. Wish they would have included more little figures (Christmas like) to place around the track, but our little guy loves to play with it.
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on January 27, 2014
The price was right - paid ~$50.

We didn't have trouble with our first engine, but Lionel replaced it in a timely manner.

My 3 year old adores this. Plays with it for hours a day - literally, we've gone through 2 sets of batteries since Christmas. (About 5 weeks.)

Snaps together quickly and firmly. Has to actively be taken apart, does not fall apart. The 2nd engine is more than powerful enough to make the incline and pull all the cars.

The only con I give it is the cardboard decal is flimsy. We wound up taking it off and packing it away for now.
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on January 27, 2014
This was a great train set to have set up under the Christmas tree, Christmas morning. I did not set it up with the cardboard insert so there was more space in the middle. You really can only set up this set a few ways but it is so fun and my son loved it. Wish there was a volume control, though you can mute it but you have to unscrew the bottom where the batteries are. The train derailed a few times but all in all it was a great buy and so cute.
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