|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
Lionel Trains are still BIG with fans! When we started adding Lionel trains to our buyer's guide in 2004, only a handful of sets were generally available. In fact, adding trains to this page often caused the suppliers we linked to to sell out in a matter of days, and we got used to spending much of the time between Thanksgiving and December 15 tracking down new suppliers to link to. (After December 15, sorry - all bets are off.)
Support from folks like us, combined with Lionel's introduction of the best-selling Polar Express train have caused Lionel's "stock to rise" among train lovers of all ages. Today Lionel is selling more kinds of train sets with more road names and more different locomotives than they have in decades, including the Berkshire locomotive they reintroduced in the Polar Express set and the realistic-looking, solid 0-8-0 they are now including in several sets listed on this page.
In addition, lots of folks who bought their first Lionel set to go around their Christmas trains are finding other uses for them, including Christmas villages and year-round O27 railroads a lot like the O gauge railroads our grandparents used to build. These trains are great for all these purposes. (Of course Lionel also offers trains decorated specifically for Christmas, if you are primarily interested in a Christmas display.)
Whatever you want to do with your trains, we're here to help, with information, tough questions, and help finding hard-to-find sets. Please contact us early if you have any questions, though - we do get swamped with questions by mid-November and stay that way until about Valentines' day.
Note about Availability and Pricing: Although I try to keep an eye on things and to recommend products that are reasonably available, the model train market does fluctuate, and any product on this page may change price or become unavailable without prior notice.
October 2016 Update: Each year, starting about February, Lionel sends a bulletin to its biggest distributors and chains telling them which trains they plan to offer for the following Christmas season and asking how many each company wants to order. In 2014, the economy's recovery looked strong, so Lionel ordered a lot of trains. But the dealers didn't sell as many as they thought they would, so they didn't order as many in 2015. This year, there is still a nice variety, but one of the new trains they ordered last year is already out of stock, and stocks are thin on several favorites. That said, if you click on an Amazon link, be sure to scroll down to the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" section, in case anything new has slipped in at the last minute. (Lionel usually gets one more container in late October or early November.)
November, 2016 Update: I don't usually have time to keep checking back between Halloween and Christmas, but I had to check this page for another project, and I discovered that a new-for-2016 train I had first heard about this summer and recommended this fall has already sold out. So this is another reminder not to wait too long.
For more detailed information about why model train products seem to come and go and why we have stopped listing prices on our "buyer's guide," please see the article "About Pricing and Availability."
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the trains and other products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
|The Lionel(r) Pennsylvania Flyer Remote Control Train Set - This train features a rugged die-cast Lionel 0-8-0 locomotive with working headlight, operating smoke unit, and whistle. The set includes two freight cars, a large FasTrack layout, and the powerful CW-80 Transformer.
Note: This train used to have an Atlantic 4-4-2 locomotive; now it has an 0-8-0, which is a different style that is just as much fun to run. If you have the old Pennsylvania Flyer and you like Pennsylvania RR, this is a good addition to the old set. This set features PRR's famous "port-hole" caboose. Again, if you want this train (or any train on this page), avoid disappointment and order now.
Please click a button for more details, or to check price and availability. We have threebuttons because at the moment, three different versions are available on Amazon at the moment. The second button is the old version without remote control. The third button is an even older version, also without remote control.
|Lionel Wild West Set-Lone Ranger Train Set - This train was reintroduced without fanfare in 2010, but has come into high demand. Many folks over the years have liked the old-timey look of this set. The set includes a large FasTrack layout, and the powerful CW-80 Transformer.
It was new in 2013, and supplies are starting to get a little thin, so if you want this train (or any train on this page), avoid disappointment and order now.
|The Lionel(r) New York Central Flyer Train Set with RailSounds - This year's version has been upgraded with the addition of the helicopter car. The tough die-cast metal 0-8-0 locomotive equipped with the RailSounds sound system brings the Flyer to life with steam chuffing, whistle blowing and more. This set also a boxcar, caboose, gondola with load, CW-80 Transformer, smoke fluid, "How-to" instructional video and more. There is enough track to make a 40"x60" oval.
Lionel has introduced several versions of this train over the years. This is an upgrade version with RailSounds and an extra car. Next year's set will probably be a little different, so if you like this set, and especially, if you're counting on having it around your Christmas tree this year, don't wait too long.