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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 13, 2015
We REALLY wanted a cool train to run around our Christmas tree during the holidays, but just couldn't justify paying $300-$400 on a real, metal train...even though they look, sound and feel much more like the real thing.

So, we looked at the reviews for this one and decided to "give it a shot", hoping that, because it's plastic (and I'm sure on a MASS production assembly), we didn't get a "lemon".

Well, we were PLEASANTLY surprised! It was delivered in great shape, packaged well & when we opened it, our almost-5yr old lit up like our Christmas tree!

It took no time to get it out of the package, assembled and running around the track! It sounds good, looks good and seems to be running smoothly. Better than expected actually.

Batteries were not included (as expected), so be sure to have 6 "C" batteries for the train & another 2 "AA" batteries for the remote, on hand and ready to go.

I would recommend this purchase if you are on the fence trying to decide as I was đź‘Ť
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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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My 3 Y.O. boy almost fainted while opening the box :) and, despite the 14% of 1-star reviews, the train is running fine!
No derailing so far (used only the curved tracks due to the space around my Christmas tree). You better find a flat surface (hardwood or tile floor) to avoid track-caused problems though.
The train slowed down and stopped on its own, which freaked me out, but it turned out that the train stops if it loses connection to the remote control. If you lay the remote down on the floor, even right next to the track, the train will stop. Keep the antenna high.
I agree that the build quality is not good esp. for a $80-$150 toy (certainly not a collector item), but if your child is as crazy about Polar Express as mine (and if you are lucky to avoid a lemon), this may worth the money.
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on March 9, 2015
Lots of good things, bad things.

Pros:

I don't see the track issue like other reviews. The tracks required some force to get together, but the stayed solid.
The wheels rotated and cycled as a real train engine would
Cool special effects, although the whistle and "All board" sound effect were confused on my remote control.
I like the special effects as it slowed down and stopped.
The disappearing hobo effect is manual, but he is well-articulated and the figures are fun to use.
Not train related, but the silver bell ornament was top-notch...better than the Hallmark polar express bell ornament IMHO
The light was decent in brightness.

Cons:

My biggest dislike was when I saw the stickers on the passenger car windows right out of the box. Some of the stickers were peeling off and I think stickers are super-junky. This con alone brings my rating from a 4-star down to a 3-star.
Overall, the plastic was so-so in quality and had some scuffing.
The couplers were horrible and fell apart all the time. Once you finally got the got the couplers to stay, don't touch it and it will be fine.

Overall: i will look good around my Christmas tree if the child doesn't knock it over and I have to spend 30 minutes getting the couplers to stay. Ill just hand her the remote.
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on January 4, 2014
Our 4 year old son has been asking for a BIG polar express train for the past 3 Christmases. We didn't get it before now, concerned he would grow out of trains as a hobby. Still in love with trains, we got it this year and he loves it. I got it on sale, paying less than $100, which is always good. The talks are easily put together and the train itself is easy to couple the cars together. It is an exact replica from the movie and the whistle and other sounds are direct from the movie too, which thrills my son. The fact that it is radio controlled is another perk, and it's easy enough for him to control without any help. The figurines that come with it are a novel idea, but I can see them getting lost very quickly. Other than that, a great train from the trusted Lionel brand. I will purchase more if his hobby for trains continues.
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on December 19, 2015
Although made most entirely of plastic, these are a good looking train set for the price and compete in looks with the metal series. The problem is the track system and the weight of the cars. The track system fails to remain snapped closed. The slightest jarring of the tracks causes the tracks to separate creating a problem for continuous runs. Secondly the cars have a low weight and it is hard to get the car wheels stabilized on the tracks. This is especially true of the flimsy guide ( front and rear) wheels of the locomotive and the coal car, wherein the batteries are stored. Getting the locomotive and coal car properly set on the tracks is a difficult task especially for younger hands, Finally the coupling devices which hold the cars together during the pull are not aligned properly and detach from time to time. The coupling latch may be higher or lower on one car versus another and any attempt to bend them upwards or downwards will cause them to crack off. If you are looking for a novelty set to create atmosphere under a Christmas tree and don't want to spend much on a train set, these are them. If you are looking for a serious play set for a young child, or even a child up to 13-14 these are not for them on a number of fronts because of the lack of stability of the cars on the tracks. Once you get them aligned and going they can be cute to watch and the sound effects are fun. The photos give illusion that the passenger cabs are lighted but they are not. However the color of the paint and the type of paint on the windows of the cabs give the impression the are light up on the inside. And last but not least. once you train " pulls into you station," you must unplug the locomotive from the coal car manually to stop the sound effects from running and running down the batteries. It is in this poorly designed step to shut off the use if the batteries that further causes the trains to come off the tracks. This will be an annoyance to excited little hands as well as older hands. The main good thing about this set is that they run on batteries so if you are concerned that a small child may get a electric shock for mishandling an electric train transformer ( some O Gauge)) if not under adult supervision, this cannot happen with this set ( G Gauge) because they are battery operated. In hindsight I regret not buying a more expensive heavier set. Lionel certainly doesn't make things the way they used too. This is what happened when production was shifted outside the USA.
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on December 16, 2015
The product works well enough and for my little kids, it's a nice addition to the christmas tree. The sounds that the train makes (bells, whistle, and conductor) are wonderful additions that the kids enjoy. However, here are the reasons that prevent it from being a great product and on the verge of a not so good product.

1. The track is hard to put together. This sounds strange as it should just snap together. But the track is plastic and for some reason, they just don't fit together well. Specifically when trying to add the straight pieces. The track continuously comes apart. So, I end up getting a twist tie to keep it together. Shouldn't be necessary. It also causes the train to derail easily. A slight separation in the track and the train will derail. This doesn't always happen, but it happens enough to be annoying.

2. The controller is the brain of the system. Without the remote control, your train will simply not function. It can be somewhat easy to lose too. And with little children, we tend to be looking for the remote often. It would be great if there was a way to allow it to just run around the track at least w/o the controller.

I guess that is pretty much it. This is a great little train and it's sizable enough for the young kids. It's all plastic, so no metal pieces to harm things or people as much. It's not quite as detailed as I thought it would be, but I guess that's why it's only $100 vs the $200+ sets.

I would recommend this for people with the proper expectations. Mine were a little higher and this did not live up to my expectations.
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on October 18, 2015
My nephew just turned 2 and he loves trains. I bought this believing it would end up in pieces, or scattered all over the house by the end of his birthday party. He was mesmerized and sat in the floor just watching it go around the track. Every now and and then he would yell, "ChooChoo!" He and his cousin gave the train set a run for durability, but it held it's own. It's tougher than I thought it would be and is definitely well made. It's almost easy enough for him to put back on the tracks by himself, sometimes he gets it on and sometimes he doesn't. Hopefully it will last long enough for him to do himself. The sounds are really fun. The kids had all of the sounds playing over and over. Kind of pricey for a 2 yr old, but he dropped every other toy he got that day and watched his train for hours. Can't beat that reaction for any price.
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on January 5, 2016
Santa got this for my almost 4 year old son who has been train crazy since he was 9 months old. He's got more patience than the typical kid his age, and an abnormal reverence for trains -- he enjoys watching documentaries about trains that put me to sleep. My point is that I would not recommend this for the average kid in his age 3-4. Even my 3,4, and 5 year old nephews were rough with it and threw it off the table, but miraculously it didn't break!
When Santa's elves were setting this train up beneath the tree the tracks didn't go together very easily and kept popping apart. It took 3 different full grown men to try and get some of the curves to fit together. With use, the tracks seem to be easier to fit together, however, they also pop apart more easily.
My son needs some help getting the trains onto the tracks, but that was expected.
My biggest complaint is that the couplings do not line up. Especially on the Tender and engine coupling. The engine coupling sits much higher than the tender and they frequently come undone and then they tender and all other cars are being pulled by the wire that gives the engine power. It really bothers me that these don't match up. It's like that on all the cars but it's worst between the engine and the tender. Time will tell if it holds up.
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