What Christmas train should I get?
October 19, 2006 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Which Christmas train should I get?

I'm looking to get a train for the Christmas Tree this year and have a few questions about them.

First is gauge: HO seems to have the most accesories and the like, but think it might be too small in relation to the tree and a big pile of presents. Seems like it would get "lost".
O seems a good sized train, but I'm afraid it might take too much space around the tree for the track.
I think Lionel is making Standard again. Would this be a good choice since it's "classic"?

Second would be manufacturer: I'd like a quality train that will stand the test of time. (That is, no easily broken plastic bits). Accuracy isn't super important, as I'm not a model guy, but good detail is important.
Basically I'd like "Wow, that's a nice train" not "You know, the 1946 Challenger was a 2-8-2, not a 2-6-0"

Third is an actual set recomendation: A box that contains an engine, a few cars and some track would be nice. No Disney themed or Polar Express, please. Bonus points for something "neat" like smoke or clanging bells.
posted by madajb to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Best answer: LGB! LGB! LGB!

Starter sets tend to have 52" circular track--perfect for around the Xmas tree.

They are big, beautiful, and ooze Christmas. Every now and then, Tuesday Morning has starter sets on deep, deep discount (~$100). I have 3 sets that I bought from Tuesday Morning over various years.

Happy railroading!
posted by GarageWine at 12:32 PM on October 19, 2006

Best answer: Three letters LGB
The G scale is large enough to stand its ground under any tree. The standard circle of track is I thing 4 feet in diameter.
posted by Gungho at 12:33 PM on October 19, 2006

posted by Gungho at 12:34 PM on October 19, 2006

We always had the Lionel O guage setup on a table in the basement; we used the Marklin HO scale for under the tree... Makes the presents look bigger :)
posted by joecacti at 2:08 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: G Scale, huh?
How big would a car be if you held it in your hand?

LGB looks like nice quality, the price definitely reflects that.
Looks like the local hobby shop deals in LGB. I'll have to stop by and take a look.
posted by madajb at 2:39 PM on October 19, 2006

A the wheels on caboose from a starter set would set on the palm of an adult male hand. The car itself would overflow the hand. Unlike my "disposable" HO scale trains (boo-hoo), LGB's will last well past your lifetime or mine. What's more they are designed to run indoors or out, rain or shine. If you're really curious what you can do with G-scale, Google garden railroad. Even non-fanatics like me (or my mom) are impressed.
posted by GarageWine at 3:44 PM on October 19, 2006

I bought my boys the LGB when they were little so I could play with it myself. It's gorgeous.
posted by tizzie at 7:41 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: LGB seems to be the way to go.
Down to the hobby store it is.

Thanks all.
posted by madajb at 8:25 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: In case anyone is planning on getting one of the Christmas Sets for the holidays:
There appears to be a bit of a nationwide shortage at the moment.
A few of the online dealers seem to be backordered.
When I spoke to one, he said the distributer told him that there is a large shipment on a boat headed to the U.S., and that stores should get "most" of the trains they ordered. He was supposed to get them around Dec. 1.

So, if you see one in a store and are thinking about waiting for a bit, you might want to just get it.
posted by madajb at 7:47 AM on November 15, 2006

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