LionChief Model Trains

A Model Train Review by Papa

I love Lionel trains and I truly enjoy talking about the sets I personally own and play with, every chance I get.  You can see what I have to say about my favorite set, the Polar Express, in my article about it here. But my affection for the Lionel train lines doesn’t end there.

One of my first sets was the Lionel New York Central RS-3 Freight Train Set – O-Gauge.  This set features a dark blue NYC diesel locomotive all trimmed in white. The model railroad set comes with one NYC boxcar in a nice bright green, and a striking red caboose.  Both cars are trimmed in white and black with the oval shaped NYC logo. This set comes with the wall pack power supply, the remote, and enough Lionel FasTrack to make a 40 inch by 60 inch loop.  I have found quite a few NYC railroad cars, and now when I run it, I have a nice long NYC train.

The Patriot Diesel train set is a model train I purchased about a year ago.  I love the red, white and blue paint scheme on the locomotive and caboose. This is a great set to help celebrate the 4th of July, which is a special holiday for our family.  The set comes with a green boxcar celebrating 200 years of our great nation, and a special hopper car with bold red and white stripes.  This set has enough track to make a 40 inch by 50 inch loop, a wall power pack and the remote control.

I even have a train set for Halloween!  The Lionel Peanuts Halloween Train Set is a spooky set according to my six-year old grandson, who does not like the Halloween sound effects. Painted in Peanuts’ themed Halloween style, this train is ready to take you on the hunt for the great pumpkin.  Being a steam engine, the set includes the tender, a boxcar, a tank car and the caboose, a wall power pack, the remote and enough track to make a 40 inch by 50 inch loop.

Here’s a family favorite, Lionel’s DC Comics Batman Phantom Train Set in O-Gauge.  This set features the best sound effects. Batman’s voice sets the stage, talking about fighting crime as train moves smoothly around the track.  The Phantom diesel has two additional cars, the wall power pack, remote control, and the standard 40 inch by 60 inch loop of FasTrack. Heads turn every time this train set goes by.

I’ve been planning on expanding my O scale trains, and have been planning a layout to showcase my favorite trains. Eventually, the layout will have farmland features, so I had to get the Lionel John Deere Steam LionChief Train Set – O-Gauge.

John Deere green is the predominant color of this train set although the steam engine does have a bright metallic nose. The set has a flatbed railroad car with two tractors on board, a gondola car with crated farm equipment, and the caboose. The set includes the remote control, a wall power pack and the standard 40 inch by 60 inch loop of FasTrack.

I’ve purchased farm buildings, grain silos and other accessories to go along with my countryside setting. Part of my farmland layout will be done in older O track so I can incorporate some of my post war era Lionel accessories.  You should see the cows go from the corral to the stock car.

Did I mention that our layout will have a subway level?  We will be running the Lionel MLB Yankees LionChief Subway Set.  It’s a three car, M7 subway train set painted with scenes baseball fans can enjoy. This model railway set comes with a wall power pack, remote control, and enough FasTrack to make a 40 inch by 60 inch loop.  

To expand the subway line, I also have the Batman M7 subway set and I have plans to have it make special runs to the Arkham Insane Asylum from Gotham City.

As an O-scale model railroad collector, I’ve also picked up a few sets that I are no longer find available online but are worth mentioning in case you happen to find them in a model railroad hobby shop, or swap meet.

My Lionel Pennsylvania Railroad Keystone Special features a working searchlight flatcar. I also have a Lionel Union Pacific Scout Hill Freight Train Set.  We met a railroad engineer who told us that Union Pacific’s nickname is “Unkle Pete. I can say with confidence that I love “Uncle Pete!”

In addition to modern railroads, I also have a Rio Grande & Santa Fe Steam Switch Engine Train Set. It was my very first railroad set.

Part of the fun of model railroading is going to different hobby and train stores and train shows.  I like looking for interesting sets to expand my railroad layout. The diligent, knowledgeable shopper can find some good bargains hidden on the back shelf, so it’s absolutely worth getting to know your hobby store staff to find out what they’ve got hiding behind the counter.

One of our biggest inspirations in O-Scale train layouts is Ericstrains on YouTube. If you love trains, you have to check him out!

I have saved the best for last.  I bought the Lionel BNSF RS-3 Scout Freight Set with Bluetooth Train Set for myself, then I gave it to my grandson who loves BNSF. The BNSF diesel locomotive is a vintage RS-3 painted in the new BNSF road colors. The set includes a green Burlington Northern boxcar, a black BNSF tank car, and a red BNSF caboose. The set has the standard 40 inch by 60 inch oval loop of FasTrack, a wall power pack, and the remote control.

One of the coolest features of the Lionchief systems are the included sounds that come from hidden speakers. You have a bell, a horn, and voice announcements. There are different announcements for when the train is moving and for when it is stopped. Both of these situations switch to a third announcement after 30 seconds of changing from being motion or stopping.

Operating two or three Lionel LionChief train sets on a big layout gets noisy, but it’s my kind of noisy. We’ve added a few extra BNSF railroad cars, and the train is impressive as it winds around the layout. These trains are powerful enough to easily pull a dozen railroad cars. I intend to obtain another of these sets so that I can have my own, again. Then my grandson and I will have two identical engines to play with. I have not tried that yet!

To me, gaining the ability to operate an O scale train from my tablet or smartphone with bluetooth functionality makes playing with the model trains more like running the engine from the cab. The features of the control panel are excellent.  Having the Bluetooth ability is also be a great way to run the train if the batteries in the standard remote control fail. The Lionel Bluetooth app is a free download available at most app stores.

Once you get started playing with Lionel trains, it’s easy to get enthralled with the charm and excitement of each different set. I know you’ll enjoy run any of these railroad sets! To get started choosing your own Lionel O-Scale railroad set, you can browse their Amazon storefront here.

Want more like this? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.


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