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Make Christmas Magic... Put A Train Under The Tree

Begin Your Christmas Train Tradition This Christmas With These Three Easy Steps

Christmas trains are a fun tradition for the whole family and often bring two or three generations together to set up and enjoy the trains. The key to successfully beginning your family’s Christmas Train Tradition is choosing the right size and style train set for your family.

  1. Choose A Scale
  2. Get The Best Value
  3. Set It Up Correctly

STEP 1: Start by deciding on a size or “scale”. 
            Think big for under the tree.
 
           
   (See comparison of train sizes and scales

  • Avoid small size trains. Unless you set up a 2 or 3 foot tall Christmas tree on a table the most common size model train (HO Scale) is too small. The relatively low cost of HO scale makes these sets an attractive choice, but at about 1 1/2 inch in height they will get lost under a 5 to 7 ft tree.  HO scale also doesn't work that well when set up on the floor or carpet.  N scale which is half the size of HO cannot operate on the floor at all.

  • Lionel O gauge trains are a good choice for 6-7 ft trees in a small or moderately sized room.  A traditional set with a sturdy metal engine that puffs smoke and whistles is a great choice and  includes a minimum of a 3 foot circle of track. 

  • On30 sets (either a regular train or the popular back and forth Street car sets )are perfectly sized for Christmas villages. These big O gauge cars running on HO track take up almost no space at all in your village.

  • Large Scale trains really standout under the tree. Twice the size of Lionel and 8 times the bulk they’re ideal for under a Christmas Tree of 7 feet or more. Keep in mind that the minimum circle of large scale track is 4 .5  feet but these trains really run better in a 5 to 8 foot space.

  • If you have small children or pets the sturdier and heavier Lionel or large scale trains are more likely to withstand their interest and attention. 


STEP 2: Find the best value in a Christmas train set

  • Buy a complete beginner set package. You’ll have everything you need to set up and run the train and you will save 50 to 80% over the cost of purchasing all the separate pieces. 

  • Think about future expansion or replacement parts. You may need to replace a lost or broken piece next Christmas or decide to add on or start a year round model railroad. So, avoid picking up an “orphan” set made by a toy manufacturer or other company that doesn’t offer a complete line of model trains. Your safest bet is to stick to hobby store quality, name brand sets in one of the established scales: G (or Large Scale), O (Lionel), HO or N. And, try to purchase your train set from a retailer that offers a full selection of parts to go with it. 

  • Get a set with roadbed style track. It’s easier to set up and put away. Plus it doesn’t require mounting on a board and can be set up on a floor or a carpet. 

  • Consider the style or theme of your train.  Festively decorated Christmas trains or special holiday themed trains like the Polar Express are obvious choices for running around the tree.  As an alternative, many choose to run a regular style train.  The traditional Lionel set with a metal engine that smokes and whistles is a popular choice rich with nostalgia.  Plus, regular trains with standard road names can be used all year round!


STEP 3: Set up for smooth trouble free operations.   Your Christmas train display can be as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it. Most families enjoy the nostalgia of a train circling the tree on a quick to set up loop of track. Many also get into adding a few operating accessories or illuminated Christmas village buildings to their display. 

A few Christmas train engineers construct elaborate platforms full of festive winter scenery. Whichever approach you choose before you begin to set up your Christmas train consider the following:

  • Trains run best when the track is set up on a smooth level surface. The size of your train dictates the amount of preparation required. Large scale and Lionel trains with roadbed style track will operate well on just about any level surface. (Avoid using non-roadbed track on carpeting as the carpet fibers can get caught in the wheel bearings.) If you are using the smaller HO scale it is very important to set the track up properly and take some time to prepare the surface. Although an HO train can operate when the track is simply set up on the floor or carpet, for hassle free around the tree operation your best bet is to attach the roadbed track permanently to a piece of plywood and set the tree stand on the middle of the board.

  • Layout and connect the track properly. You can do this before the tree is set up or after. (I do it after but often find myself having to crawl under the tree to make a  connection.) Pay attention to the “geometry” of the track. Determine the number of sections of curved track that make a full circle of your track. Note where your power controller will be and place your power terminal track connector at that location in your track layout.  If you need a larger circle or oval to fit around your tree you can easily lengthen or widen your track layout. First assemble 2 half circles or 4 quarter circles. Then add an equal number of straight track sections in between each side of the half or quarter circles until you have the size you need.  Examine the track connections after you assemble the sections.  Each piece should fit squarely against each other and the joints should be flush and smooth. 

  • Once your layout is set connect the power and do a slow test run with the engine to check for proper clearances.  Make adjustments by trimming branches or moving ornaments as needed.  Then set the rest of the cars on the track making sure that the couplers are connected properly.  If the couplers don’t hold the cars together securely make adjustments or replace them. (You may be able to make a temporary fix by using a plastic wire tie to secure them.) 


Now you’re ready to put on your engineer’s cap, blow the whistle and begin your run to the North Pole.  I hope these tips help you enjoy running your trains at Christmas as much as I do! You might even get a bit carried away (and if your family is as tolerant as mine) find yourself setting up track right across the living room.  Last Christmas I worked it out so my Polar Express circled the Christmas tree traveled across the room in front of the hearth, looped around a table and chair or two then ran back to the tree.  
Whether your Christmas train travels around simple circle or winds its way all over the house your new train should provide many hours of trouble free operation. To assure that it does, here are couple of quick tips for the maintenance of your train:  

  1. If the train begins to stutter or stop while running clean the track sections with a track cleaning eraser or very fine sandpaper…DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL. Do the same for the metal wheels or power pickups on the loco.  

  2. Examine the car wheels and axles and remove any tree tinsel.   It's best to not use tinsel on your tree if you are running trains around it. 

  3. Use oil very sparingly. Generally new model trains require only very occasional oiling of the wheel bearing or gears. Consult the manual that came with your train.  If you do oil the train use a very light oil applying just a small drop or two.

 

SEE THE CHRISTMAS THEME SETS WE HAVE ON SALE
CLICK HERE

 

CHECK OUT 
This Lionel Train Set
For Under Your Tree


Complete PRR Freight Set with Metal Loco That Smokes & Whistles.  A traditional electric toy train that will look great under your tree ... AND running on your train layout.   | Learn More  | 

 

 


CHRISTMAS TRAIN SETS


Click To Enlarge Image
Christmas Village Street Car - Reversing action layout set in On30 Scale STK#: BAC 25017   MFG: Bachmann
THIS TROLLEY IS PERFECTLY SIZED FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS VILLAGE!
As pictured, this festively decorated trolley is full O scale 8" long by 3" high but runs on space saving HO track. You'll love the nostalgic back and forth street car action it adds to your Christmas Village,

The On30 scale streetcar is a prototypically accurate O scale (1/4' to the foot)replica of a real narrow gauge streetcar line.
SEE A CLOSEUP OF THE On30 STREET CAR HERE
This complete set features an electronic automatic HO scale EZ track system which sends the trolley back and forth through your village at with time delayed stop at each end of the streetcar's route so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the lights, colors and animation this set adds to your Christmas display.
Set includes streetcar with interior illumination and directional headlights, 8 pieces auto-reversing EZ track with built in roadbed for fast& easy set up, car barn, bumper and power pack.
Retail Price $205 OUR SALE PRICE SAVES YOU $55!
Note: This set is not eligible for free shipping promotions. Each set requires a separate S&H fee and may be subject to oversize charges see shipping information. Email customer service or call 1-860-223-0600 for delivery costs to your area.
 Our Sale Price $149.99     Quantity: 


Click To Enlarge Image
HO Scale Holiday Trolley STK#: BAC61040   MFG: Bachmann
This holiday decorated brill trolley will add a festive air to your layout. features interior lighting and directional headlights. 5.5 inches long. Operates on any HO scale track with DC powerpack. ( Track and pack available separately. )
WAS $40
 Our Sale Price $28.99     Quantity: 


Click To Enlarge Image
NUTCRACKER ROUTE "Old Timer"Steam Loco Christmas Train Set -O GAUGE STK#: LIO 30109   MFG: Lionel Trains
The Nutcracker Route Christmas Train is ready to carry passengers and all things magical to your wintery town. The General-style steam locomotive has a new look with a brand new smokestack and snowplow at the front end.
The baggage and passenger coach are fitted with a new clerestory style roof that give these cars a more authentic steam-era look that’s perfect for the Christmas season. Even reindeer are welcome on the Nutcracker Route, and you also receive an actual Nutcracker figure to stand guard on your holiday layout! Set Length: Approx. 48” / Layout dimension: 40” x 60”
FEATURES:
  • Set Includes
  • General-style steam locomotive and tender
  • Flatcar with reindeer
  • Passenger coach
  • Baggage car
  • Miniature Nutcracker figure
  • Eight curved FasTrack sections, three straight FasTrack sections, one straight FasTrack terminal section
  • CW-80 Transformer
  • Smoke fluid
  • Locomotive Features
  • Transformer controlled forward, neutral, and reverse operation
  • TrainSounds sound system in tender with steam chuffing, whistle, bell, and squealing brakes
  • All-new cylindrical smokestack
  • All-new snowplow on front of engine
  • Newly-designed headlight casing on front of engine
  • Operating headlight
  • Maintenance-free powerful motor
  • Traction tires
  • Puffing smoke unit
  • Operating coupler on rear of tender
  • Stamped metal frame on tender
  • Rolling Stock Features
  • Operating couplers
  • All-new clerestory roof style on baggage car
  • and coach
  • Four removable reindeer on flatcar

Note: This set is not eligible for free shipping promotions. Each set requires a separate S&H fee and may be subject to oversize charges see shipping information. Email customer service or call 1-860-223-0600 for delivery costs to your area.
 Our Sale Price $269.99     Quantity: 


Click To Enlarge Image
POLAR EXPRESS LIONEL O GAUGE TRAIN SET STK#: LIO 31960   MFG: Lionel
The Polar Express, the classic children’s story comes to life with LIONEL's O gauge train set. Written by Chris Van Allsburg in 1985, the story of a young boy’s struggle to solve the mystery of Santa Claus plays out on a train called the Polar Express. Led by a massive Berkshire locomotive, the train transports wide-eyed kids on a hair-raising adventure to the North Pole.
Now, you can own the Polar Express train featured in both the best-selling book, and the Christmas season hit movie, as only Lionel can create it.
Painstakingly designed to be true to the original, this exclusive Lionel train set features a die-cast metal Berkshire steam locomotive with a new, larger pilot, headlight lens cap and unique whistle. The engine and tender are painted in a dark, matte finish to complete the image.
Following the locomotive and tender are two lighted coach cars. The observation car features a new rounded observation deck, just like in the movie! Silhouettes in the windows depict scenes from the movie including the scary marionette car, and the joyful coach car where the kids get their fill of hot chocolate and candy.
The main characters from the movie are included as articulated figures with turning heads, movable arms, bendable waists and jointed knees. They can be posed and placed on areas of the locomotive, tender and passenger cars to replicate your favorite scenes from the movie.
The set is pulled by a Diecast metal 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive and tender,which features an air whistle in tender, Operating headlight , Operating coupler on rear of tender, Powerful maintenance-free motor and puffing smoke. The two passenger coaches, one passenger observation car with rounded deck, feature Interior lighting and Silhouettes in windows. .
PLUS: To make it quick and easy to setup this train for the holidays, this set includes a 40"x 63" oval of the new FASTTRACK with the built in roadbed and a powerful 80 watt transformer.
VALUE OF SET COMPONENTS IS $594
This Set Saves You 44%


Note: Set ships in it's own carton for and requires a separate S&H fee. Also oversize shipping charges may be added to your order total for this set. Email customer service or call 1-860-223-0600 for delivery costs to your area.
 Our Sale Price $329.99     Quantity: 


Click To Enlarge Image
The POLAR EXPRESS - Lionel G Gauge Christmas Set STK#: LIO 11022   MFG: Lionel
Bring home the magic of Christmas - This year run this large scale, easy to setup train set under your tree!
Listen to the conductor say "All aboard for the Polar Express!", sound the whistle, ring the bell!....The classic children’s story and popular movie come to life with LIONEL's G gauge train set.


The large G scale format is the perfect size to run around the base of your Christmas tree. But what sets this set apart is the unmatched craftsmanship. The engine and tender have details never before seen in a G-Gauge format. The observation car has an endearing “disappearing hobo” feature in keeping with the storyline of the book and movie. All of this is available at an unbelievably affordable price.
PLUS: This exquisitely crafted G-Gauge train set doesn't require complicated setup or wiring. It can be remote controlled and run on rechargeable battery technology. You can operate this train using a 9.6 volt rechargeable battery (not included) or use six conventional C batteries (which are included) – it’s your choice! The set also comes with an easy-to-operate RC remote controller (with two AA batteries included).


SET FEATURES: Locomotive, Coal tender, Passenger coach with two opening doors, Observation car with "disappearing hobo" feature and opening door, Three Polar Express figures (conductor, boy and hobo), Easy-to-assemble G-Gauge track (55" x 72" oval), Easy-to-unpack, easy-to-repack storage box, RC remote controller, Six C and two AA batteries.

LOCOMOTIVE FEATURES: Highly detailed G-Gauge steam locomotive, Authentic train sounds including authentic bell and whistle, Working headlight,Fixed knuckle coupler.
TRACK 55" x 72" oval of G-Gauge track (12 curved and 4 straights) Note: Lionel G Gauge track is not compatible with other G gauge track systems. (additional track is available)
REMOTE CONTROL FEATURES:Designed for easy use, Comes equipped with two AA batteries, Clearly marked buttons allow train to go forward and backwards, sound the whistle, ring the bell, and play 'All aboard for the Polar Express'

NOTE: This set is shipped in its own box and may require an oversize shipping fee. During checkout the total order cost shown may not accurately reflect the total shipping cost. Typically at most the additional cost is no more than $5.00 This set is not eligible for free shipping promotions. Call email or customer service 1-860-223-0600 for more information.
 Our Sale Price $139.99     Quantity: 

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