*Reviewer’s note: I do not own this train. It is my Papa’s. But, he lets me play with it sometimes, so I know a bit about it.
What I like: I like that the LEGO City Cargo Train 60198 is as green as Christmas. I like using the Bluetooth LEGO Powered Up controller on my Papa’s cell phone to move the model train around the track. I like running this model train on the LEGO Bluetooth app, even more than I like running my O Scale Lionchief BNSF RS3 model train on the Lionchief bluetooth app.
The only thing I don’t like about the LEGO City Cargo Train 60198 is that it isn’t my train, so I can’t crash it or tear it apart (and I love train crashes). Papa likes to always keep his trains put together, and keep them un-crashed. Although this train set is for 6 and up, Papa’s rules about not crashing makes it seem like it’s for kids 69 and up.
If you want to get the LEGO City Cargo Train 60198 to build, you can find it on Amazon here. But, make sure you figure out your LEGO rules before you start running your train, so you know if you’re allowed to crash, or not!
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The LEGO City High-Speed Passenger Train 60051 model train set reminds me of a real-life bullet train. It’s white like the Cascades of Amtrak, which is really awesome. I like moving things off the tracks with this train’s bullet nose. It’s a great pusher! Because the engine nose is made of one giant piece, it doesn’t fall apart as much when it crashes. Which is good, if you like crashing trains like me!
I like to combine the LEGO track that comes with this set with the track from my LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 to make a giant LEGO train layout. I like that you can set the controllers to run two trains, so I can run this bullet train and my freight train at the same time, with the same controller.
What I don’t like: This set is hard to build without help, similar to LEGO City Cargo Train set 60052 (You can read what I think about that set here). Also, the bullet nose sections of this train are hard to get connected. Although this train set is for 6 and up it’s very difficult to build without a grownup helping.
I saved my own money for a long time to buy the Lego City Cargo Train 60052 train set. I built it with Dad the first time. It’s L Scale, which is close to O Scale model train size, but it’s L for LEGO! I like to crash my trains a lot, and I like to take my LEGO kits apart and build new things. Mom has helped me rebuild this set a couple of times, too.
The LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 set reminds me of a real-life CSX Freight Train. I like that it’s blue like Amtrak. I love crashing this train set. When I first got it, I would crash the train into the truck, and crash the forklift into the crane.
I don’t like that when I crash it, the headlights on the bottom fall off. It’s pretty hard to build, and I have a hard time building it without help because it’s such a big set and I just want to play. Although the LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 model train set is for kids 6 and up, it’s very difficult to build without a grownup helping. If you want to build this set with your kids, you can find the LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 on Amazon here.
Make sure you build it together, and you decide if you’re okay with crashing it or not. It’s more fun when everyone agrees on how to play trains!
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When you collect trains as long as I have, you can’t help but pick your favorites. In my collection, I have about 30 engines, over one hundred different model railroading cars, and enough O scale track and accessories to fill most of the floor space in my house. When I look over at my collection, it’s easy to see that Lionel trains are my favorite.
I also love the weight and size of the Lionel O scale model railroading engines. Lionel trains are heavy, and you should use both hands when you pick one up. And watch out for little hands – small children will definitely need help moving the engines around the train room.
One of my favorites cars is the Lionel US Army boxcar 3665, which includes an operating plastic missile launcher. I personally enjoy the wide variety of flat cars and all the different loads you can model. The detail on tank cars for oil and gasoline are amazing. If you look hard enough you can find models that relate to the history of your town, state and country. We used to have a Reynolds Aluminum plant where I live, and I was able to find two Reynolds bauxite cars for my O scale trains. One of my newer log dumpers carries the Weyerhaeuser logo, to represent the mill that used to be in our town, too.
Another fun aspect is finding vintage “post war” era railroad cars. I found a vintage milk can car, Lionel 3472, that can carry 7 “milk cans” and unload them onto a side platform. I was given a post war era cattle car and unloading side platform, Lionel 6656, with 15 “cows”. Since each car can only hold 5 “cows” I have been looking for more of these vintage stock car and now have two. (Please note that vintage accessory pieces like the milk can station or the cattle corral were made to work on the track available at that time, Lionel “0-27” three rail metal track and will not work with modern FasTrack without adapter track section and some shimming due to dimension differences.)
Lionel is my favorite model railroading manufacturer because of the wide availability of sets and accessories, coupled with affordable prices. But that’s not to say that Lionel trains are cheaply made. Their remote control sets can now include Bluetooth ( e.g. Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief Set-with Bluetooth), and for the more discerning model railroader hobbyist, Lionel offers more expensive engines with remote control couplers (Lionel Southern LionChief Plus 4-6-2 Pacific Steam Engine w/Bluetooth), and other options like a wider array of sounds, lighting, and more sturdy construction of the engines.
My favorite thing about Lionel model train layouts is they’re so easy to expand. Combine your favorite engines with add-on sidings that have decoupling sections (like the Lionel FasTrack Siding Track Pack)and you can create a working train yard with multiple sidings for each train line or style of load like freight cars or hopper cars.
For those who want to look beyond Lionel trains, another brand I enjoy is MTH (Railking). I was happy to acquire a vintage NYC docksider set made by MTH. Although Lionel is still my brand of choice, I also look for Atlas, Menards, and Industrial Rail O scale model railroad sets.
You’ll enjoy Lionel trains because they are fun, full of features and best of all, expandable. Playing trains with family and friends has created rewarding experiences that I’ve cherished for half a century, and I know they’ll do the same for you and your loved ones, too.
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Do you remember your first encounter with a railroad train engine? I was a toddler and my dad took me to the Union Pacific railroad roundhouse in Meridian, Idaho. The big black, noisy steam engines scared me. I think that was why dad bought us our first set of Lionel trains. He loved the O Scale train set as much, or more, than we did. I still have that engine although it doesn’t work anymore. The original model railroading set sold for $19.99, which was very expensive for the early 1950’s.
Today, Lionel’s offerings are significantly expanded. Entry level Lionel train sets are inexpensive, and easy to use. I love browsing hobby shops and model railroading stores looking for “hidden treasures” like vintage engines and rolling stock. Modern Lionel trains bought in a set come with a loop of FasTrack, a power pack, a remote control, a model train engine, one or two railroad cars, and a caboose. Once set up you will usually have a 40-inch by 60-inch oval loop. If you’re like me, just going in a loop won’t be enough, but here is where Lionel model railroading really excels. Add on kits are readily available to allow you to create the model railroad system of your dreams. You can buy turnouts, siding kits, passing loops, and powered accessories like lighted towers.
My collection has expanded since those early days. I have about 30
engines, over one hundred different railroad cars (often referred to as rolling
stock) and enough track and accessories to fill most of the floor space in my
Our current Christmas tree O scale layout has seven different engines including my favorite, the Polar Express. Yes, there are sidings everywhere! All the engines have separate remote controls, and we only operate two trains at a time to avoid train collisions.
You might be lucky enough to have a relative or neighbor with a “model
train room” filled with Lionel trains. If you do, you know the fun and joy that
comes from playing with the trains. And
if you don’t, I recommend reaching out to a local model train club in your area.
We are fortunate to have a local model train club who displays their
trains several days a week for the general public. They run O scale model
trains, have an HO scale layout, and even get their N scale model railroads
running most afternoons. Visiting with avid collectors and model railroad enthusiasts
is where you get a real feel for what is possible.
These days, I enjoy sharing my model railroad with my family. But I especially enjoy playing with the Lionel trains with my six-year-old grandson. We operate the “B&S railroad” whenever we get the chance.
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