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on November 29, 2014
This is my first train - and I love it! it was just what I wanted for under the tree! It is the perfect size. I love the sound effects, the whistle, bell and espeically the "All Aboard!"
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on December 21, 2015
 READ THIS IF ON THE FENCE or need help keeping track locked or cars together-USE BLACK SMALL ZIPTIES. I SHOW HOW TO KEEP TRACK LOCKED WITH EASY ZIP-TIE SOLUTION in the video! I also show the G vs O Gauge. Bottom line: BUY THIS IF YOU WANT IT FOR A CHRISTMAS TREE-IT'S PERFECT!! Kids will love it and it is a good product. Make sure you buy a rechargeable 9.6V battery pack x 2 and charger (Tenergy makes them-get the 2000mah, not 1000mah and you will not need to swap them often-milliamp hours is the battery capacity). 1 battery for operation, 1 fully charged ready to go as backup. If your cars keep uncoupling then use the same small, black zip-ties to keep the couplers together. I have a zip-tie between the locomotive and tender coupler, but not on the cars as I have found the cars stay together. You can leave the zip tie on the locomotive and coupler for storage in the box since you don't need to take them apart! Same principle applies as for the track-you can slide off the zip-ties for next year's use if using them on the cars.
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on December 14, 2015
 This is a really decent train, and works as advertised. I would give it five stars if it were properly scaled like their O-Scale version. Unfortunately, all the engine, tender, and cars have all been "shortened", making them appear more toy-like. And with only two cars, that makes for a pretty stubby train. I ended up buying two sets, so I'd have more cars/track, and some redundancy in case something broke. So far, its still working well after two Christmas seasons. PROs: Battery powered, so no concerns about voltage drop, transformer plugins, dirty track, or dirty wheels. Car realism is good, except for the shortness. The train always speeds up and slows down gradually, simulating momentum. And the "All Aboard" sound is actually Tom Hanks from the movie, and the chugging sound is proportion to speed. CONs: Battery powered, so you will definitely want to buy six NiMH C-cells and a charger. The train cannot be turned completely off ... instead it goes to a "stand-by" mode, which will slowly drain the batteries unless you remove them. The bell and whistle sounds are not from the movie, and both could be better. The range of my remote is usually only 10-15 feet, so if you have a big layout like me, you need to follow the train, else it stops. The last (observation) car only has a coupler on the front end, so if you buy two sets like I did, you can't really connect both of these cars. But I would definitely buy it again, so I've provided a video of my train (dubbed over with music) running through my house. Hope it uploads! :-)

UPDATE: The Amazon-hosted video quality is rather poor. So here is the same video on YouTube in HD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzlk9uoRAC0 And here is my same train last year where can hear its sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2fYnp7oqBY
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on November 25, 2016
First of all, I love this train set. It's a great value and I highly recommend this.

After purchasing this train set a couple of weeks ago I finally have had a chance to actually setup and operate the train tonight (the kids are out shopping on Black Friday with Mom!) and I have to say: I’m really impressed with this train! I realize it is supposedly just a “toy train” but really the quality of workmanship is excellent. This is coming from a model railroader going back 40 years. It is sturdy and I think not only will it hold up well to a 5 and 7 year old but I also think they are going to have loads of fun with it.

When you pick up and inspect any of the rolling pieces - engine unit, the coal tender and the cars - the first thing you will notice is they are heavy. And though it is made of plastic the feel isn’t that of just plain ol’ cheap plastic either. I really like the "snow" texturing on the passenger cars too. It easier for small hands to work with them.

Some of the reviews also spoke of problems with the track coming apart during operation. I have not had that problem yet and don’t think it will happen. I suspect that this may have been something that was addressed through a redesign by Lionel. The system I have locks together easily and is very tight. It’s also easy to disassemble. I admit that the disassembly part was a bit nerve-wracking at first because it feels like you are going to break something but it simply snaps apart and all is good.

If you are purchasing a new set it does not accept a 9.6v rechargeable battery pack. Several reviews and questions here say that you can. I purchased a rechargeable 9.6v battery as had been recommended by several people here. When I received the train set, I was not able to find a place to plug in the battery. I contacted Lionel and they responded quickly and explained that due to UL regulations they had to remove the 9.6v battery attachment. This is not a big deal to me and shouldn’t be to you either. What you can take from this is if you are purchasing a new set, then it will only take C batteries and I would recommend you purchase a good quality set of rechargeable C batteries. I purchased the EBL batteries with the charger and they have performed very well.

Overall, very pleased with this. If I could wish for anything it would be to include more of the character figurines. This set includes the conductor and Billy only. It does have the disappearing hobo on the roof of the observation car. I wish they had the girl and the “know it all” boy at least. Maybe Santa. There are more figurines available for the O gauge set but the only thing I can find available of the G scale is a set that gives you a second conductor and Billy but you do get the train operators Steamer and Smokey which is nice.

This whole thing has really got me under the model train spell again. I’ve been around model trains since I was very young. My dad had an old American Flyer (S scale) and that got me interested. My teenage years were “wasted” playing with model trains. But, I haven’t been very active since then. Now, after seeing this, having kids of my own, seeing some of the new stuff out there, I suddenly having a new found interest in Lionel. I always saw both the name Lionel and the O scale to be out of my reach both due to space and cost. Older now, a little easier maybe to do some dabbling.

I may have to consider getting one of Lionel’s O scale higher end sets and see if I get hooked on this crazy fun hobby again.
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on December 24, 2016
Where to begin...? We're lucky if we can get the cheap track wheels to stay in position on the track while we attempt to manipulate the even cheaper hooks between cars. Lionel, really, we can buy $20 RC helicopters that fly without issue now, why can't you make a train that isn't designed like a Yugo? Apparently a lot of people have very low expectations of products these days since there are so many high ratings for this thing.

Though ours actually runs fine,. my 2yo can't get it on the tracks well enough for it to run smoothly. You need supreme motor skill to get them all hooked and mounted to the tracks, and don't even breath near it after it's running, because it will certainly dislodge one of the cars, probably the crappy locomotive.

Either way, I see that there's a newer version of this junk, and it's about 40 bucks cheaper (probably what it should have been in the first place). Hopefully Lionel figured out a few common sense methods of mounting a cheap plastic train to a cheap plastic track, which is what this is. Hecho in China of course, like everything else unfortunately.

YMMV.

Sorry for the rant!
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on December 14, 2015
I was initially a little disappointed in that my train set did not come with the two little figures (conductor and little boy) or the rechargeable battery connection as advertised on Amazon. I called Amazon and Lionel to tell them about it. Amazon has still not corrected their "Product Description". Lionel was as nice as could be. Lionel sent me the two figures and a tender car that had a connection for the rechargeable battery at no charge.

I would not have been at all disappointed if the Product Description had not listed these features. The two little figures are very small and the train ran nicely on the c-size batteries - although it does run much faster on the rechargeable battery pack. Lionel said their latest trains do not have a connection for a rechargeable battery pack.

The train has nice detail, noise synchronized to the speed of the engine and an easy to use remote control. The train speeds up and slows down slowly - like a real train. I put the track on carpet (around the tree) and followed the advise in another review to use black ties to hold the track firmly together. I would guess the track would stay nicely together on a wood floor without the ties. Setting the wheels on the track and the car couplers do take a little effort as other reviewers have mentioned.
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on December 30, 2017
I bought this train. I don’t Like the way it is hard to put on the track. Once you get it going it works ok. My husband had to lay down over and over to put it on the track many times It was not a consistent run as it would slow and then fast. It did fit around ou4 tree good. It made the noises good. We only used one set of batteries for about 4 weeks so that was good. You also had to physically unplug it from the engin in order for it to be completely stopped. This action would sometimes cause it to be pulled off the track which would cause my husband to lay down to put it back on. My grandbaby did love it tho.
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on December 25, 2014
Wow, I have two Lionel pre-war trains that still run perfectly. This train didn't make it once around the track before the internal gears started grinding while going forward. Reverse works ok.

The train track is hard to get together, but comes apart real easy.

For the money you pay, I also expected better attention to detail. The sliding parts that synchronize the wheels is clearly metal in the pictures, plastic in the video. Rest assured, you get plastic with this product, not the metal in the pictures. I wish I would have paid attention to that detail before I ordered, I might have been more prepared for this.

As for detail it goes to the sound as well. The loop is not seamless, there is a clear break as the train sits at idle and you are listening to the engine idle...it should be seamless. I mean you went to the trouble of having the train SLOW down when moving instead of just stopping to act as if it had some weight.

I ordered this for my son and he is so frustrated with it as am I. Amazon can't exchange this one, only apply what I paid toward the purchase of another one, which is significantly more now, surprise. For this plastic set, I feel that I should have paid about $70, not what I did (Over 112). Now the cheapest online is $125ish PLUS shipping.
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on May 4, 2016
We got this for Christmas, and my kids (almost 5) love it! I'm not quite as impressed as they are, but it is a good train. Very accurate details on the train itself, but the track comes apart very easily. It must be on a flat, solid surface in order to stay together. I wasn't willing to put it in my tile kitchen, so we tried putting it on our large living room rug. Unfortunately, the track wouldn't stay snapped exactly as it should have, and the train derailed frequently. Fortunately, I was able to teach our boys how to fix the track when it comes apart (so I'm not doing it every 10 minutes) and how to make sure the wheels lined up correctly on the rail.

I am a little disappointed in the quality of the track. I expected something a little more sturdy for the price. Overall, I would recommend it because my kids LOVE it, but I would lower my expectations just a little as far as durability goes.
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on November 10, 2017
Purchased last year for Christmas. Our young boys were very excited!! Fun train, great sounds and details, but it is slightly wobbly and it does go off the rails occasionally-boys usually need our help to get it back on. Goes through batteries rather quickly. Decided to keep it rather than the hassle of returning it, but not completely satisfied. Update-pulled train out for 2nd Christmas, very slow moving forward and continues to fall off the tracks. Did replace all batteries and inches forward very slowly. When put in reverse the train will pick up speed and go quicker, we then move the control forward and it again goes forward very slowly. Very disappointed boys.
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