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Lionel Trains Polar Express Train Set - O Gauge

4.3 out of 5 stars 400 customer reviews
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  • Transformer controlled forward, neutral, and reverse operation
  • Locomotive has operating headlight and puffing smoke; air whistle in the tender
  • Locomotive features die-cast metal locomotive body and frame
  • Operating couplers on rolling stock and on rear of tender
  • Passenger cars feature interior lighting and silhouettes in windows
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor, two traction tires, and separately applied metal handrails
2 new from $418.99

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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Product Description

Product Description

Jump on board this Christmas classic, crafted with painstaking detail from Chris Van Allsburg's beloved book and the Warner Bros. movie. Up front, a durable, die-cast metal Berkshire steam locomotive with a powerful maintenance-free motor, puffing smoke, working headlight, a unique whistle and more. The matte-finish engine and tender are followed by three lighted passenger cars, one an observation car with a new rounded movie-inspired deck. Includes four posable main movie characters, three straight and eight curved pieces of FasTrack for a 40" x 60" layout, FasTrack terminal section and a CW-80 Transformer. 63"L train.


With beautiful craftsmanship and styling that evokes a bygone era, the Polar Express Train Set will appeal to everyone in your family. Designed for children ages eight and older, this train set is based on the Caldecott Award-winning book "Polar Express," and the movie that followed in 2004. The gorgeous train set is relatively easy to put together, although parents will probably need to supervise. Even kids younger than eight can enjoy the Polar Express, if parents help them with it.

The Polar Express O Gauge
    Ages: 8+

    Requires: AC outlet
What We Think

Fun factor:
Ease of assembly:
Educational factor:
Novelty factor:

The Good: Lifelike details and optional smoke that comes from the locomotive when it's running.

The Challenging: Learning how to drive the train both backward and forward takes some practice.

In a Nutshell: A beautifully designed and expertly crafted train set that will delight kids and adults both.

The stylish engine bus has a nostalgic, old-fashioned design and is impressively detailed. View larger.

The set comes with figures modeled after characters from the 2004 film. View larger.
Superbly Crafted Toy with Easy Set Up
The pieces of the train set are easily assembled, from the smooth linking of the cars, to setting up the track. The instructions are sometimes vague: for example, the train needs to charge before it runs, but we didn't understand that from the instructions and spent some frustrating minutes wondering why the train wouldn't move.

Otherwise, the toy is a delight to set up and play with. Most of the parts are reassuringly heavy and durable, including the impressive transformer that powers the train. There is a small learning curve associated with learning to drive the train, especially for electric train novices, but kids will quickly catch on with their parents' help. The small figurines that can ride atop the cars are a nice entertaining feature. However, they are small and can get easily lost, as well as pose a choking hazard to younger kids.

Attention to Detail Creates a Lifelike Experience
The Polar Express has some especially nice features, like the smoke fluid that you can add to it so that it emits puffs of smoke as it chugs along. The realistic-sounding steam whistle is also a great touch. The transformer that powers the train is heavy and solid, with a big throttle that's easy for little hands to operate.

Testers found the train easy to assemble, and once charged, it went smoothly around the oval track. At 60 inches long and 40 inches wide, the track is not particularly big, but you can extend it by purchasing more track pieces from Lionel (sold separately). In general, we enjoyed the old-fashioned quality in the train set's well-crafted parts, as well the numerous design details (such as interior lighting, retro styling, and a working headlight) that made the Polar Express come alive.

What's in the Box
1 die-cast steam engine; 1 coal tender; 2 coach passenger cars; 1 observation car; 1 CW-80 transformer; Santa's Bell; 4 articulated movie characters; 1 bottle smoke fluid; 40- x 60-inch oval track (with 8 curved sections; 3 straight sections; 1 power terminal section); and instruction book.

The train puffs smoke and makes convincing whistle sounds as it makes its way around the track.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 19.1 x 6.2 x 25.8 inches
Item Weight 29 pounds
Shipping Weight 12.2 pounds
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Shipping Advisory This item must be shipped separately from other items in your order. Additional shipping charges will not apply.
Item model number 6-31960
Manufacturer recommended age 8 years and up
Best Sellers Rank #148,024 in Toys & Games (See Top 100 in Toys & Games)
#46 in Toys & Games > Hobbies > Trains & Accessories > Train Sets
Customer Reviews
4.3 out of 5 stars 400 customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Wow this was worth the hassle to find. We lucked out and got it at retail price and delivered before Christmas. This was my 6 yr old son's first "real" electric train. What a special train it is. The details are fantastic. Lionel out did themselves! The engine is sooo heavy and very well built. The passenger/observational cars were suprisingly light, but incredibly detailed, quite beautiful! Transformer is powerful, track easy to put together. The characters are to scale and he has placed in the train and they ride around sticking out the end of the cars and in the engine. Smoke stack works perfect. Everything is just great. I guess we have a train enthusiast now. He runs it every day... and is soooo proud of it. He is so careful with it and teaches all his friends all about it. Worth every penny.
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My son is 4 years old. He is really into Thomas and was just amazed the first time we started reading Polar Express and played the video. I was playing with the idea of getting this set for him for Christmas and opted to get the Bachmann Thomas sets since I had not seen one of these in person and he is "really" into Thomas the Tank engine.

After Christmas, a major department store had these for 50% off the suggested retail price. I could not pass this up. The department store also had one of these on display.

All I have to say is "wow". The locomotive is actually metal. It smokes; it has a whistle; it lights up; and it's a train. The power pack is nice and stout also. For anyone who had train sets as a kid, this is a blast from the past. It reminds me more of my father's Lionel set from 40-50s than the plastic one I got one Christmas as a kid. It is very well detailed. I would probably have paid full price and felt ok about it since it is good quality.

The bell is a nice touch.

The figures are neither here nor there. Maybe if kids are a little older they might be better. Just a note: The fireman does not have the same long hair as the video.

The track is a lot easier to work with than the old Lionel with the pins from back in the day. You do not need to tack the pieces down to keep the track together either.

The locomotive moves smoothly. It is heavy and stays on the track well.

The cars light up brightly.

At 4 years old, my son primarily watches and hits the whistle button. He has operated the speed a little. The track would be tough for him to work with. Stick with Geo Trax or wooden Thomas if you are not going to work with/supervise your kids on this.
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I bought this set with the hopes that it would become something that would stay in the family for generations - like my father's Lionel set. For those of you who don't know, Lionel Corporation is long gone, and Lionel LLC (the makers of this set) acquired what was left of the company a while back. It's not the same. Here are my two cents:


The locomotive is a die-cast 2-8-4 junior Berkshire, and although the pilot (cowcatcher) is exaggerated, it's a nice looking locomotive. The wheels and trucks are metal, too, although the product specs don't say so.

The passenger cars are nicely lit.

The set comes with Lionel Fastrack, which is nice-looking, durable, and reliable track.


The set comes with a CW-80 transformer, which reportedly fails 50% of the time.

The locomotive has a lousy smoke unit; some work okay, others don't work at all. You can find ways to repack the unit with pink insulation on the Internet, but why would you want to take a new train apart?

The decorative bell and whistle on the locomotive are plastic and flimsy.

The metal handrails on the locomotive that I received were unevenly applied.

The plastic rail on the observation car is a joke. It is flimsy and falls off easily.

The couplers on the passenger cars are plastic.

I've heard a lot of complaints that the passenger car shells are plastic. Well, that's true, but it's really hard to find metal passenger cars these days, made by anyone. It's also hard to find trains made in America. In fact, there's only one company that still makes them here, and they are priced for the serious hobbyist.

I returned my set and went with another brand.
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This is a solid first-quality train set that would be well worth the asking price even if it wasn't affiliated with a popular book and movie. In fact, the locomotive is a scaled-down model of a real locomotive, a Berkshire that was used by the Pere Marquette railroad that ran near the author's home when he was growing up. It is a lucky coincidence that the locomotive the author painted in the book is one that Lionel has been modeling since the 1950s, and all they had to do is change the "paint job" to create this fine model. In case you wondered, this is the best steam locomotive that Lionel includes in any of its train sets. The passenger cars are also based on the same class of real-world cars that the author painted for the book.

A number of comments here had to do with the fact that the first "run" of the train sold out before it even hit the warehouses in 2004. Nowadays, the rush isn't so great, but that doesn't mean there won't be a last-minute "run" on the set if a network station shows the movie in December. Unlike most "Christmas Trains," though, this set is tasteful enough to be used on any O gauge railroad all year round. And it's built like the Lionel trains your grandfather grew up with, solid enough to last for generations.

Happy Holidays - Paul Race, editor, Big Christmas Trains
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