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on November 11, 2011
After my bad experience with the O Gauge I was very hesitant to order another Lionel. But this is something else. With my experience with the O gauge;and since this doesn't need to be on a track to run,I decided to battery up the tender and connect it to the Locomotive and place it on the hard wood floor,figuring that if this works,THEN I'll assemble the tracks and put on the other two cars. I grabbed the remote control pushed the on-off switch to ON and turned the Directional switch to half way forward....nothing happened...then I remembered I'd forgotten to put batteries in the RC. Turned it over and as you could probably guess,when I put in that second battery the train and tender shot forward (The switch was STILL on and the direction STILL to half way forward)LOL. I continued with the assembly of the tracks and the addition of the other two cars. I could see that if you don't have the tracks setup on a hard level surface you're gonna have problems with train disconnects and possibly track disconnects too,so watch out for these possible problems. I decided after a few hours of having fun that I should investigate the idea of 9.6 VDC rechargeable batteries. Id heard others,here, mention a few batteries that wouldn't fit so I decided to find out what would fit. Called Lionel customer service; open 9-5 EST @ 586-949-4100 Amy there said they have listed two such batteries,BOTH Radio Shack,one is 23-342 a 1000 mAh Ni-Cad and the other is 23-432 a 1600 mAh NMH. I did two searches on the Radio Shack website. The 23-342 came up with nothing;the 23-432 resulted in a 23-1171 which turned out to be the 1600 mAh battery and the charger. When I manage to get over to a Radio Shack I'll pick up the pair and report back as to: if and how well they work.

Battery update: I bought the 23-1171 @ Radio Shack since I can't add a picture of what it looks like,here's a link [...] WHOA does this thing FLY NOW! After charging the 10 hrs.the package recommended I checked the DC voltage on the battery pack it was 11.03.
So if you want one that fits and comes with a charger get yourself to a Radio Shack.
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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 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 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 October 13, 2009
I was surprised to see the negative reviews on this product, but after reading them I think most of them were from people that did not read or understand the product description. This is a 'G' scale toy plastic train with plastic track that is battery powered and is controlled by an R/C unit.

I have not seen another 'G' scale set with better quality equipment and features for the price. The engine has built-in sound that makes a steam 'chuff' noise synchronized to the speed of the engine. It also makes a steam brake release noise when it stops. It has a bell sound and whistle that you can control from the R/C unit. It has 3 speeds in both forward and reverse directions. The speeds seems very prototypical. The speed is also momentum controlled - the train speeds up and slows down at a measured pace just like a real train. The detail on the engine is quite good for a 'toy' train.

I had the same experience with the included batteries as others - they barely moved the train for a few minutes and then conked out. I replaced the standard batteries with alkaline ones and it ran for about 10 hours before needing replacement. I have switched to a compatible 9.6v rechargeable battery that works great, is cheaper to run, and environmentally better.

The packaging states the set is for kids 4 years or older. Both my 4-1/2 year old and 2 year old can run the train with the R/C controller (and did not stop playing with it for almost a week). However they do not have the dexterity to couple the cars or snap the track together. I would guess that a 5 or 6 year old would be able to assemble and operate everything without adult help. They have banged the engine, thrown the controller, and knocked the coaches around quite a bit without any damage.

For model railroaders or anyone who wants to tinker, you could add lighting to the coaches fairly easily. I think the train would work well outdoors if you want to try creating a garden railway. I do wish Lionel would make more track options - an 'X' crossing and R/L hand switches would allow expansion to a true train layout instead of just an oval or circle.

I don't think you could find a better quality radio controlled toy 'G' scale train with so many features for such a low price.
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on November 25, 2012
My wife and I decided that we wanted a small train set to put under our Christmas tree during the Holidays...well, after doing a lil internet research, I decided that this one was the one that seemed to be worth the price. Well, we got it a few nights ago via UPS...it came in a huge box....which meant that it was bigger than I thought it would be. I'm not at all familiar with train set scales...this one was a G gauge. So a lil bigger than I was expecting.

It comes with enough track to set up 3 different track configurations...I went with the small "circle" track, it measures 24" across, so that was important for placement of the tree. I got it all put together, inserted the included batteries...C and AA's. Fired it up....played with all the buttons on the remote, it makes 2 different whistle or bell noises, and the conductor announces "all aboard, this is the Polar Express".....put it in gear and it makes the steam engine noise....and when it stops, it makes the noise of the steam releasing. The one suggestion that I would make is to get better batteries or the rechargeable 9.6V battery.....BIG difference.

The one thing that I wish was different is, I wish that the two coach cars would light up....there are only 2 LEDs on the train..one on front of the engine and one on the back in red that flickers to represent the coal that burns. Other than that, we are happy wit it.

All in all...for the price, this set is hard to beat...if we get a handfull of Christmases out of it, we will be happy.
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on December 15, 2017
 My grandson loves the train which is great. But the issue I've had is that the controller has to be pointed perfectly at the rear of the train or it won't run. I thought it was just bad batteries so I replaced them all but still the same issue. And I've seen other videos were the controller is just in the general area of the train and it works fine.
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on November 8, 2017
Stopped running. Trying to find a place to get it fixed or replace car that has power to make them run.
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on January 2, 2011
I should have listened to the bad reveiws. Ended up sending back the polar express and paying a little more for the lionel pennsylvaina flyer train set 0-8-0 ($148 + shipping). The diecast is much more durrable and comes with transformer so no batteries are needed unlike this one. I'm so glad for amazon's great return policies!
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on December 5, 2017
My grand daughter loves this train!
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