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First train - which one?

LegoChiefLegoChief Member Posts: 21
edited December 2011 in Collecting
I've never had a train, and I'd like to get a running, motorized train. I like the Red Passenger Train, and I like that it comes with everything you need to get a running train without modifications. All of the other trains that I've looked at aren't running trains, just models unless they're modified. Just wondering if this is the best one to get, or if there's another motorized train that anyone would recommend more.


  • mr_bennmr_benn Member Posts: 952
    I'd certainly recommend 7939 - the Yellow Cargo Train - not sure it's going to be around much longer given the presence of the new Red cargo train, but it's got more playability - with the crane and the points included in the set, and also some nice trucks and a good looking train - would be a great starter!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    I second 7939, it will retire soon, get that one first.

    Red Cargo train will be out for at least a year, you have time to get it later.

    Red Passenger Train is also fine, if you want to spend less.

    Depends on what you want and what you're doing. Marsek Train does require that you add the motor and other parts, but it is an adult train, while Yellow and Red Cargo train are kids trains. Nothing wrong with that, but they are pretty basic builds compared to Marsek Train.

    Also, if you REALLY want a train, go buy Emerald Night at Target for $89 while you still can, that set is now discontinued and is $140+ on eBay and Amazon now.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @LegoChief I currently own the Red Passenger Train, Yellow Cargo Train, and the Emerald Night. I would starting out the Yellow Cargo Train is the best. The track that it comes with is the best starting track out their currently. It has two switches, 16 curves, and straight track. None of the other current trains offer that. It also comes with everything to motorized.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,833
    edited December 2011
    @LegoChief: Like LegoFanTexas is saying: Seeing as Emerald Night was recently sold out at LEGO I would say get that one as soon as you can while they are still relatively low in price (and still at Target online, if you are in the US)
    While it does not have the necessary parts or track to run I would say better off getting one now than trying to get one later.. the Red Passenger train and Red cargo train should be out for a while (not sure about the Yellow one though)

    I would say in order of what to get first (and if money is not an object)
    Emerald Night
    Yellow cargo train
    Red Passenger train
    Red Cargo train (as it was the last to come out)

    The Yellow cargo train and red passenger train both came out at the same time, BUT I would say that of the two the Yellow cargo train will be gone soon since the Red Cargo train is out, and it is unlikely for LEGO to keep two cargo train lines running (although anything is possible I guess)
  • Rollo_TomassiRollo_Tomassi Member Posts: 113
    Knowing full well that you'll get hooked on trains as soon as you start buying them, I suggest you get the Emerald Night before its gone. I only say this because if you end up getting a different set like the Yellow Cargo or Red Passenger, you'll love it and immediately want more trains. Then the EN will be gone and you'll be all 'damn, I wish I'd grabbed one of those when I had the chance.'
    Am I right? Back me up, people!
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Member Posts: 3,639
    These are the current train sets, but what other trains in the past?

    Emerald Night
    Red Passenger
    Red Cargo
    Yellow Cargo
    Hogwarts Express
    Toystory Express
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    I would go with 7939. It's a great starter train with PF and a lot of train track. Then you should probably buy Emerald Night as its retiring very soon.
  • LegogeekLegogeek Member Posts: 714
    I'll vouch for what @Rollo_Tomassi wrote.

    While I've always enjoyed trains, I had stayed away from the LEGO trains up until this year. I had been thinking about getting one of them for a long time, but always put it off because of the price. Earlier this year TRU had some sort of BOGO sale and I had some gift cards so I took the plunge with the Yellow Cargo and Red Passenger trains. Before I knew it I bought the Red Cargo train, and then just a few weeks ago, the Emerald Night and some power functions parts to get it running.

    If you can get just one at the moment, and you want a complete functioning set, I'd say go with the Yellow Cargo train. It's a good start with lots of playability. If you can afford more, do get the Emerald Night before it's gone... however if it is being retired, I wonder if maybe a replacement is already waiting that we just don't know about?

    The trains are addictive, but I guess what you do all depends on if you're a completist or not. But it is hard to stop at just one.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,833
    ^--- I believe the replacement actually is the Maersk Sealand train
  • LegogeekLegogeek Member Posts: 714
    edited December 2011
    ^ - Too bad IMHO.
    I was hoping for a new steam loco...

    The Maersk is nice, but I've decided not to get it. :o(
  • LegoChiefLegoChief Member Posts: 21
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Where is the best place to buy the Yellow Cargo Train? It is 179.99 at Is that the best price or is there anywhere selling it for less? I noticed that it is $50 more than the Passenger Train and it's $20 more than the Red Cargo Train. Knowing nothing about trains myself, I wanted to ask what are the points that I should learn about that makes this one a better buy, since all 3 are motorized?
    I like the Emerald Night, but really want a running train with remote, tracks, and all.
    I'm not planning to collect all the trains, just one to play with, with my kids. I think a train will need lots of room, so I'd like to just choose the best one that we will enjoy the most. I really wanted my next big purchase to be either Fire Brigade or Pet Shop. Hmmm - what to do now???
  • LegoChiefLegoChief Member Posts: 21
    edited December 2011
    I'm not planning to collect all the trains, just one to play with, with my kids.
    On second thought... I'm not sure I'm qualified to make this statement. I have become totally obsessed over the last couple months with collecting "everything LEGO!!!"
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Allow me to say this one more time...

    Buy Emerald Night now from Target for $90, or you can buy it from me in a year for $250, take your pick. ;)

    Buy it, stick it in the closet, and move on... Yes, start with Yellow Cargo train, don't ask any more questions, don't argue, just do it. We have all the trains and a ton of track, the Yellow Cargo Train (buy it from S@H, unless you can BOGO at TRU with Red Cargo Train) is by FAR the best starter set.

    And if you have kids, you WILL need more trains.
  • romdamromdam Member Posts: 136
    I love the train sets and have plenty of old ones. Tho I love them, the Emerald does nothing for me. A train to recommend to a starter? Currently would be the yellow cargo. Open the box, build, and you are set to go. The Emerald and Maersk? Nope. Unless you can find track and a motor and such at the store, you can't build and go.

    So, I believe Legochief said he'd like to get a running, motorized train. Yellow caro for sure.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    It also depends on your preferences in trains. I prefer modern cargo trains over passenger trains or old fashioned trains. Cargo trains pair well with a seaport. I guess most people who like trains like all trains, but you should consider what your preferences are.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,833
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Where is the best place to buy the Yellow Cargo Train? It is 179.99 at Is that the best price or is there anywhere selling it for less? I noticed that it is $50 more than the Passenger Train and it's $20 more than the Red Cargo Train. Knowing nothing about trains myself, I wanted to ask what are the points that I should learn about that makes this one a better buy, since all 3 are motorized?
    The Yellow Cargo train is a better deal in some minds, that AND it is most likely going to be gone before the Red one.
    POlus Cargo trains seem to have more than can be 'played with' than a Passenger train, and you get A LOT more track (which is why I am guessing it is one of the factors of the Red Cargo train being cheaper)

    It is 179.99 at LEGO but watch TRU for a BOGO or other sales/coupons to take advantage of those prices...
    Unfortunately flippin TRU has the Cargo train at 200 online.. it may be cheaper in a store, not sure though...

  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    So the yellow cargo train comes with all the power/control stuff to make it go. Emerald Night and Maersk do not come with that stuff. Can the power stuff from the cargo train be put into EN or Maersk relatively easily? I mean, with maybe 15 minutes of rebuilding? Or do EN & Maersk need different power stuff?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    EM and Maersk use different motors and other items, but they do reuse the remotes and batteries.

    It is a shame it is so hard to find, but if you go to's page for both sets, they do list the lego parts you need to power both sets.

    You'll end up spending about twice what the trains cost buying all that stuff, expensive but worth it if you want them to run.
  • XR2XR2 Member Posts: 8
    I'd agree with the majority above. I've got the Maersk (now motorised), Emerald Night, Red Passenger and Yellow Cargo, but not the new Red Cargo.

    In my opinion the Yellow Cargo is the best for kids and playability.

    It has the power functions, the same amount of track as Red Cargo, but has two switches which would probably cost more to buy than the 20 dollar price difference with the red cargo. The BrickSet page for this set shows the switches used separately, the box has a picture of layout that joins them all together, but if you put them in both the same way your kids can run the train round backing into them and dropping off and picking up wagons. Great fun since while one can be running the train the other kids (don't know how many you've got to entertain) can use the crane to load cargo/cars etc.

    The red passenger is a small loop, curves and rattly flexible track only. The train when built is IMO the most boring of those being discussed, and running it around the loop forwards then backwards palls after about 15 minutes. Its one to buy when you've been drawn into trains and need a passenger train for your City layout.

    The controller you get will control upto 8 trains, in reality only 2 easily, so buying a motor, IR receiver and battery box you can get one of the non-motor trains on your track as well.

    The Maersk and the Emerald Night are beautiful and detailed but i think aimed at adults, but as others have said i'd also buy an Emerald Night and stick it in the cupboard for next year - once you've got them the yellow they're going to want more track and more trains.

    There's an interesting Bricklist on the main site (sorry haven't worked out how to put links in yet, but try this ) by @Si_Dorking_Surrey_UK about powerfunctions trains, might be overkill for your stated purpose of "one powered train for the kids to play with" but like all lego it's a slippery slope.

    Have fun with whichever train you buy.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    try this link, one above doesn't seem to work:
  • LegoChiefLegoChief Member Posts: 21
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the link with all the info, it is very helpful. I am finally starting to figure out the differences between all the trains now, thanks to everyone's help here. I am definitely going to get the Yellow Cargo Train. I may wait and watch for a sale, since it is 199.99 at TRU online and 179.99 at Ebay has some selling for less, but I suspect that is a scam, since it looks like they are being drop shipped directly from a Lego warehouse in Olive Branch, MS.

    I tried to order the Emerald Night from Target, but it is out of stock online. I did find a bargain on a Toy Story Western Train yesterday locally for $34. It's not what I was looking for in a train, since it's not motorized, so it doesn't count as my "one train," but I couldn't pass up a good bargain. We put it together last night, and it is really cute. I have it in the living room, as a Christmas decoration right now, that is if my 5 year old daughter will let me.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    The Emerald Night is now gone, you won't find one outside of eBay or Amazon 3rd party sellers now.

    Yellow Cargo train is going soon, wait for a sale and you'll be paying $300 for one.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Toy Story train for $34 is a steal, good find!!!
  • LegogeekLegogeek Member Posts: 714
    @LegoChief - I think you'll be happy with the Yellow Cargo train.

    I'd recommend two things if you are not already signed up for them....
    1) become a LEGO VIP member
    2) join the TRU Rewards Program and make sure to sign up for email alerts (coupons)

    Waiting for the best deals can be risky, especially with some uncertainty how long the Yellow Cargo train will be around. Finding the trains at my local TRU was always a hit or miss. When I bought mine I had to drive 25 miles to a TRU that had both the Yellow Cargo & Red Passenger during a BOGO sale.

    If you buy from LEGO S@H I think they have free shipping right now... and you'll get VIP points if you become a VIP member. :o)

    Good luck!
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    edited December 2011
    EDIT: sorry... it duplicated the post below.
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    strange happenings going on here... OK, I'll re-type my original post before it got screwed up...

    Damn this thread! Its turned my mild interest in possibly getting a train one day to 'get the Yellow Cargo NOW before it runs out!' And with no sign of any trains in 2012, it could be a few years before another is released.

    The Yellow Cargo does stand out to me as a starter set, its got the best features and accessories, and as others have said, the Red Passenger seems a little boring.
  • streekerstreeker Member Posts: 299
    edited December 2011
    Trains take up a lot of space. Just something to consider.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,833
    edited December 2011
    Also if you want a Emerald Night LEGO has them listed as out of stock, will ship on Jan7 th...
    Not sure how legit it is (as LEGOs online store can be a bit wonky when it comes ot sets being sold out) but that is something to consider
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    I started with the yellow train, good amount of track and playability. I got the EN and XL motor and canalbilised the cargo train, as I only have enough track to run one anyway.
    Picked up a cheap passenger train to use the PF and tracks for the holiday train. So that gives me 2 powered trains at a time now. Which is enough I think.... Kind of ;)
    Also splash out on the light for the EN - looks nice
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited December 2011
    Damn this thread! Its turned my mild interest in possibly getting a train one day to 'get the Yellow Cargo NOW before it runs out!'
    Same thing happened to me!

    Although I do already have an old 9V train. As well as an assortment of track from when they were clearing out all the 9V stock. However, wasn't in a rush to get another train until this.
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    ^ It seems to be the natural progression of City collecting (for my son, of course!). Man, I think I'm getting more excited about building his City collection than I am of my own collection! I really will kick myself I think if I miss the Yellow Cargo, it looks great and has great reviews. I like it a lot better than the newer Red Cargo.
  • andystarandystar Member Posts: 275
    I've just started getting the trains this year mostly for my kids, by picking up the Red Cargo Train for this Xmas. I also got good deals on the Emerald Night and Maersk, so am planning on those for next Xmas.

    I understand in order to motorize the EN and Maersk I need to pick up some power functions. Any recommendations on where to pick these up at a good price?

    I've been keeping my eye on TRU during the BOGO but they don't seem to have any of the motors/lights in stock. I can pick up two of the Rechargeable battery pack at TRU, but are these worth having or would you just stick with the AAA battery boxes?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    @andystar - I have never found the PF anywhere reasonable other than direct from S@H. A few of the items sells itself for list price, but everything else is from 3rd party sellers for higher prices than S@H.
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    Between Christmas for two boys and a birthday for one, we're in the middle of probably 8,000 new Lego pieces invading the house. And thanksto all of you I just had to go get the Yellow Cargo Train. If my wife throws me out, can me and my new train come live with someone?

    Kidding, she is really extremely tolerant.
  • choob99choob99 Member Posts: 147
    Just found this forum today and glad I did, great place here. I collect only City and just got into trains, I have the Deluxe Cargo, Yellow Cargo, Red Passenger, and Red Cargo now and can't wait for more!!! I want the original white passenger one but looking for a decent price on it.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    edited January 2012
    Is the main difference between the red(3677) and yellow(7939) cargo train sets, the inclusion of the remote with yellow. Or is there more to it? Thanks!
  • Chang405Chang405 Member Posts: 88
    Both sets have a remote and all other power functions needed for the train to remotely run.

    The difference between yellow and red is that yellow has 2 extra switching tracks. Yellow is also more playable because it has a container loading apparatus.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    ^Oh, thank you for the explanation. the way the description is written, I thought one had to purchase the remote for Red.

    "Steer the Red Cargo Train with the LEGO® Power Functions Remote Control #8879!"
  • mr_bennmr_benn Member Posts: 952
    Yellow is more fun, Red is more expensive!
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    ^ what he said!
  • LegogeekLegogeek Member Posts: 714
    edited January 2012
    But both together are more fun! I got both during a TRU BOGO, which really helped on cost.
    Like others have said, the Yellow is more playable on it's own though.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    thanks for the feedback, as I mentioned, I misunderstood the description. Yellow it is. Our first train on the to-buy list. Hope it stays around a bit longer...cannot pull trigger just yet.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    I am a bit worried about the space it quick to assemble track each time you want to use it? Or, I remember reading this somewhere, does the track break-down at connection points if done to often?
  • forumreaderforumreader Member Posts: 97
    I can't speak for the new flex track but the straight and curved "normal" tracks have been pretty resilient. My kids the christmas display apart and put it back together quite a few times and didn't seem to have any problems.
  • bahnstormerbahnstormer Member Posts: 180
    i would suggest getting the 3677 red train first. not listed in the 2011/2012 catalogues and the US box has special edition on it (the euro one doesnt).

    these were 169,99 (20€ more than S@h) to start with at the only chain selling them and i got mine just before xmas for 99,99 euro - whopping discount before xmas usually means they arent planning on restocking.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    you could alwats fit the track to a board and slide it down the back of a cupboard or something when youre not using it.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    ^Wouldn't have thought of that...thanks for the tip
  • mr_bennmr_benn Member Posts: 952
    The track for the PF trains is seriously easy to assemble, it snaps together (and apart) really nicely, it's very unlikely to be any problem for kids.

    I, on the other hand, maintain my nostalgic attachment to 12V trains, arguably the most hassle out of any of the Lego train systems to put together!
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,728
    edited January 2012
    ^ There is no argument there. It is the biggest pain in the be hind to put together. Bar none!
    But it is the best of the train theme also.
  • yys4uyys4u Member Posts: 1,093
    I'm so glad this thread was made! I had the same question and been meaning to ask it. @LegoFanTexas You convinced me at least! I definitely want the Emerald Night before its gone, or I know I'll regret it...

    So as I'm reading this I open up target and find the train, only its listed as $99 so I hesitated and read a couple more comments, now I click back, and its sold out!!!

    Any other suggestions on where to find this set?
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