Top positive review
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Exeeded My Expectations
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.