— Hobbymasters TeamMRC Railpower 1300 Model Train Powerpack

The basic idea of a Christmas Train Set is to come out of a dusty box for a few weeks each year and run with minimal maintenance being performed yet still be pretty and quiet.

Cheap train sets cost about $50 and tend to need replacing every year, and usually a few days before Christmas when you have no time to deal with them. WE DON'T SELL THOSE SETS! And obviously we don't recommend them. Price will definitely dictate the quality level. A good train set will cost from $150 to $500 and can last you for 50 years, becoming a family heirloom and something you can expand on year-after-year.

Most famous among trains are Lionel (O Scale) trains. Today's Lionel train sets are just as reliable as your grandfathers. Their new track system is more realistic, easier to keep together, and makes the trains run quieter. Tracks don't need to be mounted to a board and can run on hardwoods or tight-knit carpets. While the sets have everything you need to get started, we always recommend picking up 4 more straight tracks to ensure you can make it all the way around the tree.

Today there is another choice in trains that is great for families with younger children. G Scale trains offer a larger size that is much easier to put on the track, couple together, and maintain. LGB, the leading manufacturer, designs their starter sets so young hands can play with them. Rooves come off of passenger cars so kids can put toy people inside. Engines and cars are made to take some strong abuse. LGB trains are the quietest running trains we've ever heard. And the larger size looks great under the tree! Most starter sets come with a 4 foot circle of track so we recommend adding 4 straight sections to ensure getting all the way around your tree.

If you're planning a miniature Christmas tree (3 feet or less) then an HO train layout may be the way for you. They take up very little room, run quiet, and are inexpensive. Bachmann has developed a great track system that snaps together easily, looks great, and helps the trains run quieter too.

         GAUGE GUIDE:

            N: 1/160 Scale, 1" Tall                 G: 1/22.5 Scale, 8" Tall

HO: 1/87 Scale, 2" Tall                On30: For Dept 56 Villages

            O: 1/48 Scale, 4" Tall  -  (Lionel, MTH, Williams by Bachmann)