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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 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 26, 2014
If you want it to last zip tie the tender to the engine. Otherwise the train will come apart and pull the heavy batteries and train by the power cord which will fail over time. Whoever designed this was not thinking. As everyone else has said the cars come apart too easily and the remote only works within a few feet. If you make too big a track you have to follow the train around.Train comes apart non stop.. Connectors between cars are useless. Power cable between tender and engine stopped working, probably from the stress of pulling the weight of the train when the connector comes apart. I thought Lionel was a good toy maker. This thing is probably worth cloer to $40.Do not buy.
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on October 22, 2016
I purchased this set for my five year old grandson. The track does not stay together and the trains are constantly coming apart. He was so excited to get this gift and so disappointed that it doesn't stay on the track or is easily put back together. I would not recommend this set.
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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 👍
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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.


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 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 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 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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