These Lionel Legacy steam locomotives we here at Shrunk Collectibles are the perfect miniature scale trains that will make your playset roll on fabulously!
Sure, a great action figure or vinyl collectible is always fun, but there’s just something about steam engine train set pieces and freight cars that are timelessly appealing.
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The time old tradition of creating your own railway at home has never faded away.
Whether it’s your New York Centrals or Lionchief Plusscale trains, or perhaps a standard gauge American flyer.
In fact, these Lionel Legacy steam locomotives just prove how enduring this hobby is; they’re all feats of amazing micro engineering.
Closest to the Real Thing
It includes everything from scale accessories to those classic metal setups that go in set descending direction.
These scale trains are proof that you could get as close to the real thing as possible.
So, wondering which Lionel trains made it on our list? Well, keep on reading and find out these top 5 picks we made just for you!
Our TOP 5 Lionel Legacy Steam Locomotives
“A Nice Movie Memorabilia Train!”
Our Rating: 4.5
Simply put, it is a totally beautiful interpretation of the iconic steam engine train set done in Lionel trains’ inimitable style.
Scale trains like this don’t come as often as we here at Shrunk Collectibles would love to.
But you’re going to appreciate that this Polar Express set is here to be enjoyed by fans and collectors alike.
This Lionel passenger train is something that you should add to your collection even if you’re not a fan of the feature film.
You could easily tell this train could go from Jersey Central, the Atlantic coast line, and then head on over to Boston and Albany in a jiff.
As with most Lionel Legacy steam locomotives, this Polar Express set comes in a traditional box.
It features photos of the product you’re getting; some shots from the film; and other information about it (like its contents, what the movie is about, etc.)
Now, we here at Shrunk Collectibles are pretty impartial when it comes to going with enclosed packaging like this.
Yup, this isn’t friendly towards collectors who like their stuff mint in box or mint on card, but packaging like this is understandable.
After all, you can’t just shove ho trains, scale passenger cars, scale track, and Lionel accessories in a clamshell or window box just like that.
So, all in all, you’re going to find the packaging on this Lionel Legacy steam locomotives set to be serviceable.
It’s neither great nor is it bad, so it’s not really something that will leave you in awe.
But hey, what matters here is the train itself, and boy, are you in for a treat!
As far as scale trains go—whether it’s the vision line or Soo line— this Polar Express set has a lot going for it.
At 50 inches x an almost 74 inches, the Polar Express has one respectable scale track that you could easily lay out and build.
Easy Remote Control
Controlling it is a breeze, too, and it’s actually one of our favorite features of the whole package.
The remote allows for your standard forward movement and backward movement, which is much like a Berkshire steam locomotive set or a Lionchief PlusUnion Pacific replica.
But what makes this toy stand out is the fact that the remote has additional controls for sounding the trains whistles; ringing its bells; and making train announcements.
The sounds—or almost all of them— are recorded based on the Polar Express movie itself.
So you’re going to love how this set recreates the film’s nice moments.
However, we can’t say this particular Lionel Legacy steam locomotives set is perfect, as it has a couple of flaws that you need to know.
First off, this toy does not have any classic metal parts, instead opting for all plastic components.
Sure, we’d even settle for this thing to be a wooden train with scale passenger cars of the same material, but that’s just wishful thinking on our end.
Nevertheless, you’re going to appreciate how efficient the use of plastic for this Polar Express set makes its features go.
From its freight cars right up to the main engine, there won’t be any issues making this train move.
That’s because of that sweet overall weight reduction from the plastics.
And that’s good news considering that this requires a lot of batteries to operate:
It needs 3 AAA batteries for the remote and 6—yes, SIX—C cell for the train itself.
“A Fresh Approach to Trainsets!”
Our Rating: 4.5
Anyone who tells you that Lionel Legacy steam locomotives or train sets are a thing of the past probably hasn’t heard of this particular toy.
This is Lionel trains’ Pennsylvania Flyer, and it just goes to show how the toy train industry has come with their progress!
So much so, that this is one toy that’s able to keep up with today’s world that’s just heavy on technology.
All the while, though, this feat of micro engineering keeps in line with traditional train models that even the oldest fans are going to appreciate.
Thomas the Tank, eat your heart out!
This is the Pennsylvania Flyer Electric O gauge model set that will surely put a modern twist on your train toy hobby!
Traditions Never Fade
Whether it’s a Lionchief PlusUnion PacificAmerican flyer or an old steam enginescale track, you can count on Lionel to stick with a packaging formula that works.
We’re, of course, talking about the four-color box packaging that the company almost always uses for their releases.
As such, you’re going to be treated to a lot of prototype pics of the product up front and on the sides, along with some model information.
Not MISB or MOC
It goes without saying that packaging like this isn’t really made for mint in box or mint on card collectors.
That’s because they can’t check the contents through a slit or window on the box.
But what’s the point of train collecting if you can’t lay out those scale passenger cars and have them chugging down their tracks?
This is one box that’s just screaming to be opened, is what we’re saying, ladies and gentlemen!
As opposed to standard gauge releases and your usual scale accessories, scale trains like this go above and beyond the usual fare.
They do this by adding lots—and we mean LOTS—of more premium features.
Given that, of course there’s a literal price to be paid, since this is one of the more expensive sets you could get.
However, it’s worth every penny, believe us!
For one, you’re getting a ton of components here, such as the Lionel passenger cars, along with a 54W power supply.
All in all, the set goes to about 45 inches long, which is a nice, respectable size for a set like this.
It also has numerous features.
It includes: working couplers; doors that open and close on the train; and classic metal parts on the handrails and other parts of the locomotive.
But unlike the usual Lionel Legacy steam locomotives you’d find on the market, this doesn’t make use of a remote control to operate all those nice features.
Instead, theseLionel trains have decided to keep up with the times by being Bluetooth-enabled.
That’s right: you’re going to need the Lionel train app to control this thing, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Amazing App Control
But more importantly, the app control on this Pennsylvania Flyer is simply amazing; it’s as good as using a traditional remote.
In addition, there are a lot of nooks and crannies that this set can do via the app.
With a press of a button, you could operate those headlights; toggle ringing bells and announcements.
You can even activate its steam engine feature that allows the train to blow smoke from the engine car.
“A Charming Harry Potter Train”
Our Rating: 4.5
This Lionel Legacy steam locomotives entry is probably one of the most magical—yes, that pun is absolutely intended— sets we’ve ever come across.
Boys and girls, this is the Hogwarts Express model from Lionel.
It’s one toy that would definitely make both Harry Potter fans and toy train hobbyists in general squeal with joy.
It’s done in the traditional Lionel trainset style, so you know it’s got quality in spades.
But moreover, you’re going to love how this set is able to balance the whimsical world of Harry Potter with the rather clean-cut features of scale trains.
So, get those magical textbooks ready and hop on aboard the Hogwarts Express, because this is one surefire classic Lionel passenger train model.
A Nice Platform
It’s great that Lionel is able to keep itself chugging along—again, pun intended— for more than a hundred years now.
Ever since they were founded in 1900, this company is able to keep itself relevant in the toy and collectible industry.
They do this by, well, keeping up with the times.
In this case, there very few better moves than getting a Harry Potter license and recreating one of the most popular scenes and vehicles in the universe.
That, of course, is the Hogwarts Express, which comes in the usual box packaging that has no cutouts or windows.
So, all of you mint in box and mint on card collectors have been warned: this isn’t a toy just for untouched display.
A Magical Ride
From the main engine car to the red caboose on this thing, Lionel was able to mostly capture the details of the Hogwarts Express from the movies.
However, this could have benefited a whole lot more from just a tiny bit of weathering, but that’s just a nitpick from us here at Shrunk Collectibles.
Looking at the features, you’re getting some nice ones that you don’t usually see on other Lionel Legacy steam locomotives.
For one, aside from the usual forward and set descending direction this toy moves, you’re also getting some additional features.
It includes announcement features you could activate; headlights; bells and whistles; and that automatic chuffing sound effect.
But what really got us hooked on this set is the fact that it’s got interior lighting as well.
Lavish All Around
Now, we can’t say if this is a good or bad thing, so we’ll just say it’s rather extravagant: this toy could be controlled in two ways.
You could either make use of the cordless remote, much like a standard gaugesteam engine set.
On the other hand, it’s also Bluetooth-enabled, meaning you could control it using the Lionel trains app.
We’re very much impartial toward these two features, but we will say this: it’s nice to have options.
Overall, this is a nice package that you could add to your living room.
“One of the Best Trainsets!”
Our Rating: 4
Scale trains rarely look as polished as this Lionel Legacy steam locomotives entry we have for you.
This is the Santa Fe Cajon model, and it’s one of our all-time favorite sets to have ever been released—regardless if it’s by this company or another.
Just look at this magnificent thing: it doesn’t need a red caboose to make itself stand out.
Those dark tones are enough to make this one of the slickest and appealing trains you’re going to find.
Mainly, they used blacks and olive greens here, and that is one perfect combination.
Then again, younger boys and girls might prefer more color, so this might not be the best option for your prepubescent kid.
Lionel is All in
The company spared no expenses when it comes to providing you with the best features with this Santa Fe Cajon model.
So much so, that this toy looks like it’s compiled of all the features from Lionel’s other releases.
They managed to come up with one of the best scale trains out there.
It’s got the size (1 9-inch straight track and 12 20-inch curved ones) and the features (from interior lights to toggleable sounds).
It even has Lionel’s RailSounds system installed to make it as close to the real thing as possible.
Only Missing Feature
Suffice it to say that the only thing missing from this set is a feature that allows you to put miniature figures inside the scale passenger cars.
But that’s not even an issue here.
The best part is the fact that this is one relatively affordable set, considering that it’s priced lower than other models that have far fewer features.
And the fact that it’s got dual controls just makes this package all the more impressive.
One uses the Lionel remote and the other is through the Lionel Bluetooth-enabled app.
“A Feature-Packed Model Train”
Our Rating: 4
And the last entry in our Lionel Legacy steam locomotives list is yet another one of our all-time faves: it’s the New York Centrals model.
This particular model has an abundance of features that you can’t find on just any Lionel set out there.
Much like the Santa Fe Cajon (another one of our all-timers).
It’s got interior lighting (all free from flickering); nice announcement and bell sounds; and it makes use of the Lionel RailSounds system for more authenticity.
Even more impressive is how this particular set features traction tires to keep it more balanced and sturdier.
That is far and away from other models that solely make use of plastic components.
As far as the design goes, this is one of those monochromatic scale trains again, so we love it.
However, and we’ve said this before, younger folks might not be too enthused with this color scheme.
Its relatively affordable priceprovides a whole lot of value for money because of how many the features are.
Apart from that, you’re going to find the overall size of this set to be great, too.
It’s around 50 inches x 60 inches, which is very generous indeed, especially when you compare it to something like a licensed train release from Lionel.
Dual Control System
When it comes to the controls, this makes use of the company’s dual system that allows you to operate the set in two ways.
First, you could use the remote control provided with the model, which is cordless and runs using three AAA batteries.
Or, you could use the Bluetooth-enabled Lionel app, which you could download.
Either way, you’re going to have lots of fun with this pretty model train!
Lionel Legacy Steam Locomotives Conclusion
We here at Shrunk Collectibles aren’t surprised that Lionel is still going strong with their releases.
These 5 picks we have for you are just some of the fine offerings that the company is able to provide fans both young and old.
Lionel Legacy steam locomotives are here to stay, and all we could do is get on it and enjoy the ride!