Lego Train Set Review | Don’t waste your money on the wrong set!

By | December 19, 2014

Trains have captured the imagination of many a child and owning a train set is wonderful. If you have ever shopped around for these you will have found that you get quite a few options: from the really cheap sets that fall apart within a month, to those that collectors go after and that most of us can’t afford.

In the middle of this range we get a few Lego train sets. I will take a look at these in this Lego train set review. These include trains that you can build, a train station and track sets to extend the track.

You could get caught out buying an incomplete set if you don’t take a careful look at what you get. If you are wating to buy Lego train sets, you need to know what the options are and what is included with each set.

Let’s look at the options

There are 4 worthwhile and current train sets in the Lego range for children over 5 years of age, with some others that have been discontinued (they use the word retired). I am only going to discuss the current options in this article. Two of the trains form part of the Lego City range.

Let’s start with the passenger travel side of things and kick this off with a look at the Lego passenger train.

Lego City High-Speed Passenger Train (#60051)

  • Suggested age: 6 to 12 years
  • Number of pieces: 610
  • Number of mini-figures: 3 (a train driver, a traveler and a cyclist)
  • Special items included: 20 train track pieces (16 curved, 4 straight), power functions pack (motor and 7-speed infrared remote control) and a bicycle.
  • Recommended selling price: $149.99
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.5 / 5

This train set has everything you need to build the train and the tracks. It is quite a large train with the front and back cars measuring about 10 inches long and 1 inch wide, the middle car is about 8 inches long. With the included motor and remote control, once it is built you can collect the passenger and race around the track.

The motor and remote control will need 9 AAA batteries and the remote has to be in line of sight with the motor to be able to work. The batteries are not included in the set.

Let’s take a look at what people liked about this set:

  • The motor and remote control is included
  • Enough track pieces to setup a small oval track
  • Great design and not very complicated to build

So what did people NOT like about this set?

  • The track is too short and needs extra track pieces
  • The remote and the motor have to have line of sight in order to work
  • The middle car is a little short

Another great train set from Lego that will give children hours of enjoyment. You can add track pieces to extend the track if you find it is too short. This one is my second choice because it does not come with as many play options as the cargo train does. On the other hand, this Lego passenger train could be the addition that your Lego City needs to get people from one place to another.

It is compatible with other regular Lego sets.

Before I move on to the next train set, I forgot to mention something earlier. The power functions set that comes with this train and the cargo train (further down this page) have 4 frequency settings, meaning that up to 4 different trains can be used at the same time.Amazon price check

 

 


Another passenger train option is the one below – take note of the warnings about what is NOT included in the set.

Lego Creator Horizon Express (#10233)

Since writing this review, this product has been retired by Lego.

  • Suggested age: 14+ years
  • Number of pieces: 1351
  • Number of mini-figures: 6 (train engineer, train steward and 4 passengers)
  • Special items included: passenger car elements such as a coffee machine, cups and bottles.
  • Price range: $189 to $220
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.4 / 5

This is a Lego Creator train set from the Creator Expert range. It is meant for the older, more experienced builders. Younger builders will most likely need help with it. Take note that there are no track pieces or power functions set included, it is just the train. However, it is designed so that the power functions elements fit easily when they are purchased separately.

The build of this train is moderately challenging as per the customer reviews. Most people enjoyed the detail and creativity of the design. The train includes the locomotive and 2 cars, all of which have elements to build inside of them. Some of these elements include a brick-built electrical box, brick-built doors and brick-built chevron detailing on the body.

This is a great train and just needs some tracks and power functions to enjoy playing with it. For the older kids that just want to build it and put it on display, it is a really great build with all the interior detail.

I don’t recommend this as a first train, but it will be a great addition to either the cargo train set (discussed below) or the high speed passenger train set. Just get a power functions set, and a few extra track pieces to make the track longer and both trains can run on the same track.Amazon price check

 


Now for the more industrial functions of your City:

Lego City Cargo Train (#60052)

  • Suggested age: 6 to 12 years
  • Number of pieces: 888
  • Number of mini-figures: 4 (a train driver, a forklift driver, a farmer and a truck driver)
  • Special items included: 30 train track pieces (20 curved, 8 straight and 2 switch tracks), power functions pack (motor and 7-speed infrared remote control)
  • Recommended selling price: $199.99
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.8 / 5

This train set has everything you need to set up a cargo terminal, including a gantry crane to load and unload the cargo. There are enough track pieces to build a good size track with a siding. The set includes pieces and instructions to build: a locomotive, a cattle wagon, a fuel wagon, a cable drum wagon, a truck and a forklift. This set is large enough for more than 1 child to enjoy while they are building the models or when playing.

The power functions motor and remote control allows the train to be driven around the track. Because the remote control uses infrared there needs to be line of sight between the remote and the locomotive. These 2 units are battery powered and the batteries are not included in the set. You will need 9 AAA batteries and I would recommend you get rechargeable ones and a charger.

This set has received many positive reviews and I have not seen any complaints about the set. One comment mentioned that the train derails at high speed because of the tight curves. This is an easy problem to solve: drive it at a slower speed or get extra tracks to make the curves gentler.

Overall the Lego Cargo Train set is a really great set that kids will enjoy building and playing with. It is arguably the best complete train set that is currently offered by Lego. It will make a really good first train set. This set can be combined with any other regular Lego sets to increase the play options.Amazon price check

 

 


And now , a newer train set that was added in 2015…

Lego City Heavy Haul Train (#60098)

  • Suggested age: 6 to 12 years
  • Number of pieces: 984
  • Number of mini-figures: 5 (a train driver, an engineer, a welder, a crane driver and a backhoe driver)
  • Special items included: 28 train track pieces (16 curved and 12 straight), power functions pack (motor and 7-speed infrared remote control), shovel, broom, wrench, box and welding equipment.
  • Other items: helicopter, crane, backhoe and crossing.
  • Recommended selling price: $199.99
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.8 / 5

This is another great set that has enough elements to be able to build the train and track and get hours of play out of it.

The power functions motor and remote control are included.

This set has received some very positive reviews on Amazon and looks like a worthwhile purchase. As with the other sets, more train tracks can be added, or they can be joined with tracks from another set.Amazon price check


This train set review would not be complete if this seasonal train set was not included.

LEGO Creator Expert Winter Holiday Train (#10254)

    • Suggested age: 12 years and older
    • Number of pieces: 734
    • Number of mini-figures: 5 (a train driver, a ticket collector, a boy, a girl and a grandmother)
  • Special items included: 28 train track pieces (16 curved and 12 straight), a decorated tree that spins when the train moves, festive green wreaths, decorative lights, toys, gifts and building micro-toys for the mini-figures.
  • Recommended selling price: $199.99
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.8 / 5

This train set is a great addition to a Winter Holiday display and will add a lot of festive fun. This is one worth keeping and can be taken out and rebuilt by the family at Christmas time.

The completed track measures a little over 27″ (69cm) so it might not be big enough to go around a Christmas tree, but it can find a place in front of the tree. Of course there is the option to add more track pieces to make the track longer.

This train does not include the Lego Power Functions set. These can be bought separately at Amazon. You will need the Train motor (#88002), the IR transmitter (#8879), the IR receiver (#8884), the rechargeable battery box (#8878) and the transformer for charging (#8887).

 


My Verdict

To conclude my Lego City train set review, let me tell you what I would choose.

All of these are great sets, but my first choice is the Lego City Cargo Train set. I like the variety that comes in the set without the need to add anything to enjoy playing with it. As a first train set it has everything you need: just add batteries and you are on your way.
The other sets will probably also land on my shopping list to add to the train set collection. We can’t possibly have a Lego City with no passenger train! There is a good chance that each child will want their own train to drive too. Once these are in place and the kids are a little older, the Horizon Express will be a definite addition. We might need to make the track longer to accommodate it, then we will have a really awesome Lego railway setup.

Do you agree with my choice of the Cargo Train set as winning first prize as a starter train set? Would you choose a different one for your child? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Now that we have a train, perhaps we should add a train station and some extra tracks. Or maybe you want to expand your city with some other top-rated Lego City sets or one of the big Lego city sets. There is also the Lego City train station that comes with no train and can be paired with one of the train sets above.

Do you own any of these sets? Please share your experience or opinions below.


 

30 thoughts on “Lego Train Set Review | Don’t waste your money on the wrong set!

  1. Nick

    Hi,

    Excellent review of these train sets, it’s given me a much clearer idea on what to look out for when purchasing a train set and with Christmas just around the corner, we’d better get an order in pronto!

    Thanks again,
    Nick

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Hi Nick, I would like to hear which set you got and what you thought of it.

      Reply
  2. Muriel

    Hi Lesley! I love your lego train set review! It brings back so many great memories. It would be great if I could build lego trains with my godson when he’s older.

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      I am sure you will get that opportunity. Maybe by that time there might even be a new set on the market.

      Reply
  3. Srijan Bhardwaj

    Great use of images! Your site looks elegant and beautiful! And what a thorough post! I just loved it! It’s detailed and very informative. You have covered every aspect. I loved reading it! Thanks for sharing! 😀

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for visiting! You did not mention if you agreed with my choice of train set or not.

      Reply
  4. Dian

    You have done a wonderful job of creating a site where parents and grandparents can make wise decisions on choosing the right toy to purchase. My 4 year absolutely loves trains, that all he talks about these days. The Lego ones are his favorite. Thank you for the great reviews, i now know what to buy in the future when considering buying trains.

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Dian.

      Not many parents have the time to research the options and many of my friends have been disappointed with their purchase. It is better to go shopping knowing the options and what to avoid. Sometimes that quick choice when you are rushing can be the wrong one. I am sure your son will enjoy any of the sets as long as it has both the train and the track.

      Reply
  5. Andres Santos

    Great article. Legos have come a long way. I still have my son’s, like 3 buckets full. As expensive as they’ve gotten over the years, I will never get rid of them. I’ve never tried doing a train set, but I think it time. Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely look into them.

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Lego blocks have definitely stood the test of time and passed with flying colours! They outlast many of the more modern toys.

      Some people build up an entire city with Lego railways, roads, houses and more. It can be a great project if you have the space to set it up and keep it there over a long period of time. The train sets really make these Lego cities come alive.

      Reply
  6. Tyler Redlev

    Lego Creator Horizon Express is my favourite from your list. I adore Lego, no matter i’m a grown up. I used to play with them all the time when i was little.
    Seeing your post made me want to play legos again. Those were great times. I knew lego had some crazy buildings like Death Star from Star Wars but i haven’t seen these trains before. Great and fun review!

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by. I think most of us adults have an inner child that loves playing with Lego and other building toys. If you have not looked at Lego sets recently you might want to take a look at the selection of big Lego City sets that I did a brief review on recently, you might just make some time to play with Legos again.

      Reply
  7. James

    Love the review! – Thoroughly enjoying having 3 trains at home now. What i’m after is a resource for track layouts. for example some interesting ways we could combine 7939 & 60052 Cargo Trains, 60051 Passenger train and 60050 Train station.

    Any idea’s?

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by James.
      I don’t have any personal experience with joining up the tracks from the different sets, but the available pieces does limit things a little. Perhaps the flexible track set might help to overcome the problem and help in joining them up. I also found a great resource that might help.
      Let me know if it works out for you.

      Reply
  8. Thurl

    My grandson cannot decide between the Lego City Cargo Train or the Lego City Heavy Haul he will be 10 years old soon.Very good at making lego . Would these be too simple and would he grow out of using them? Would appreciate any comments. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      That is a difficult question to answer. They are both great sets and will keep most 10-year old kids entertained for hours. The builds are not very complex, but should keep him busy for a while. I would choose the one that integrates best with other Lego sets that he has because this will give him more play options.
      Like most themed Lego sets, there is only 1 set of instructions. You can’t really take it apart and build something completely different. This might limit how much time he spends playing with the set.

      Reply
  9. ig

    Since Lego tracks only come in one radius curve, how exactly buying extra pieces will make a gentler curve? Flex track is crap. Beside looking ugly, a loaded train will have hard time gripping the flex track. The best way is to use small sections of flex for joining irregular track geometry. The big setback for all these sets is that PF motor that drives these engines is torqued for speed resulting in derailing after only 3-4 clicks of speed. Lego should have made them slower so that all 7 speeds can be utilized. Real trains move slow, and toy train should move even slower considering the length of tracks.

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      I agree that not everyone likes the flexible tracks. They work a little better when they are not used in long continuous sections. If you place them or straight pieces between the curve pieces it makes the turn wider and the train does not derail as easily. That is what I meant by making the curve more gentle.

      Reply
  10. MyCatsNameIsBeast

    Thanks for the great review here. One quick question. Kids in general tend to be pretty hard on toys, I know I was as well. Legos were always one of those toys that were darn near impossible to break or even damage. Given these trains have a lot more moving parts and aren’t the traditional ‘block’ type format, how’s the durability in your experience?

    Clearly legos are expensive, they always have been. I’m just curious if I can expect the same level of quality I always have before with something much more complex than a standard block…

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      I really don’t think even these sets will have parts that break easily with normal use. The pieces where the train carriages connect onto the engine are a little more delicate, but it would still take quite some force to actually break them. Having said that, these sets are aimed at older kids who should be able to handle the more delicate pieces without breaking them.

      Reply
  11. Dean

    Hi Lesley,
    Your post has been an interesting read. I remember many hours of fun playing with my Lego as a youngster, but that was 40 year ago and all we had then was a board and some bricks and a couple of wheels and we made our own shapes (usually houses or cars). I steered away for my own kids as it turned to kits and I was never sure if this had the same appeal. However grandkids have now arrived and once again I am looking at lego as an option, your review has been most helpful but do you have a specific kit or theme where it is best to start a collection?
    Cheers,
    Dean

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Hi Dean, thanks for stopping by.

      For starting out I still think the more general Lego beginner sets give a lot more scope and allow the kids to build their own shapes. The more specific sets can be added later. When you get to the second step, try to find the sets from the creator series where one set builds more than one model.

      Reply
  12. Austin

    Did Elon Musk help with the technology behind this? 😉

    I think this is the coolest looking lego set. And very technical as well. I would love to try and build this one just for the challenge. If I had a motorized lego set when I was a kid I would have spent even more time hiding in my bedroom! So cool!

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      The motorized Lego sets are really great! Not only are they fun to build, but they are just as much fun to play with afterwards. Just make sure to invest in rechargeable batteries and a charger. I am sure that the set will be played with a lot and will need the batteries to be replaced quite often. 

      Reply
  13. Maryann

    I bought the 60051 train set but would like extra train tracks Which one should I buy

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      I would recommend the Lego City Flexible Tracks set because it also includes some straight tracks. This will make it easier for the younger builders. He can choose to add them in to his existing track without using the flexible track, or he can combine both.

      Reply
  14. maryann

    I bought a lego train set 60051 but would like more tracks which set should I buy. He is 8 yrs ol

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by.
      the flexible tracks set is quite popular, but the others are also a good buy. It is quite difficult to choose between them. Take a look at the post I wrote about the different train track sets.

      Reply
  15. Robert Bottamley

    Hello Lesley:
    I was searching for information as to whether or not the specific Lego Train Sets you reviewed are all compatible and found your excellent assessment of them by accident; given what you write, it would seem that they are – is that so? I want one of the cargo sets to compliment the passenger set already owned by a youngster, but I do want him to be able to combine the trains so that he can play with them as a single unit rather than as individual sets.

    Secondly, would you recommend the Cargo Train or the Heavy Haul Train to compliment the Passenger Train. I rather like the sound of the Heavy Haul Train, but I’ve only seen four reviews of it and three of them aren’t entirely complimentary. As you point out, there seem to be no adverse remarks directed against the Cargo Train. I’d be glad to hear from you as the child’s birthday is almost due. Many thanks.

    Reply
    1. Lesley Post author

      HI Robert, thanks for stopping by. I am pleased to hear that you found the information useful.
      Yes, all of these train sets are compatible with each other and also with the train track sets that I reviewed.

      Deciding between the Cargo Train or the Heavy Haul train is a little more difficult. Personally I prefer the Cargo train with its great variety, but you also need to consider your child’s interests and look at which set would match their interests better.

      Let us know what you chose and how it worked out.
      Les

      Reply

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