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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 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: And here is my same train last year where can hear its sounds:
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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 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 December 17, 2017
Lionel really went cheap on this one. I bought one from target 20 years ago and it lasted16 Christmases. This train has been Nothing but trouble from the beginning. The cars are hard tp keep connected. The engine works works off and on. It struggles around the track. It easily comes off the track. I'm surprised at the level of junk Lionel cranked out with this model train. This was a popular company when I was a child. Lionel used to be a childhood favorite like Schwinn. What the hell happened. I do not recommend this product and would never by in at this level Again. Stay away, Don't waste your money. Look Elsewhere. Trespassers will be ripped off. W3hat's Next, Try a Bachman
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on March 9, 2015
Lots of good things, bad things.


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.


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 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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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 November 25, 2016
Buyers beware!!! Extra plastic track sets for Lionel G scale Battery Train Sets are no longer in production by Lionel. If you plan on expanding the track layout, you are probably not going to find any! These train sets are for sale and they do not produce extra track sets for this item.
I love the way this set looks, although it is for my nephew. I am trying to get more straight track sets for it, but the price here on amazon is double what it was last year currently at $49.99 - Lionel 11039 G-Scale Plastic Track (4-Pack) for Battery Train Sets. I contacted Lionel because their price was around $19.00, and they told me they have none in stock, and to top it off, they stopped manufacturing it. Unbelievable. Nice going, Lionel.
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on August 6, 2016
We bought an off-brand train 2 years ago, and it was horrible. I swore off trains after that. It was so bad that my son begged last year for a working train set. So we tried this and LOVE IT! My 7-year-old son sets up and dismantles the track constantly. The train has realistic sound effects (without annoying smoke), takes a moment to take off, and slows gradually to a stop. Plus it comes with Santa's sleigh bell, small figurines, and a disappearing hobo. This train set is worth every penny we paid for it.
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