BrickList: Powerfunction trains & the order to get them in - 8 for £1000
Powerfunction trains & the order to get them in - 8 for £1000
If you start collecting trains in 2011 here's the best way to build your train collection, to get you to 8 motorised trains for £1000.
I'm working my way through this list myself and updating it periodically to add my learnings. [EDIT - list now complete and am MoC-ing an 8 platform station!]
Created by Si_UKNZ. Last updated on 24 Apr 2011.
1. 10194: Emerald Night
The most beautiful train ever, no hype necessary, just look at it.
[Edit .. if you're buying in 2012 this is now more expensive of course, but, amazingly can still be picked up with power functions at below RRP, e.g. I picked one up last week off ebay (Dec 2012). This also has the advantage that you won't need to buy the next one in the list ...]
|3417 members own this set||1389 members want this set|
2. 7938: Passenger Train
Use the tracks from this set to run your emerald night, and rip the motor bits too and put it in the emerald. You'll also need a powerfunctions XL motor though. You can leave this train unmotorised in a siding.
If you're starting with trains in 2011 you'll want to use powerfunctions stuff. You need to decide early on though as newer tracks are plastic with no metal so you cant use old 9v or 12v trains on them. I'd recommend avoiding 9v or 12v as its less flexible in layout and performance, will all be second hand (therefore often worn) and is already expensive and increasing.
[EDIT - I should probably add more info on the respective benefits of 9v and PF:
9V benefits over PF:
- No receiver therefore less bulk in the train.
- Sealed system - basically it's like Hornby etc model trains, and controls go via the track i.e contol is per loop, so you can have as many loops as you like. PF is limited to 8 seperately controlled trains running at any time, due to the 8 channels.
- Runs off the mains, so no batteries to run out.
PF benefits over 9V:
- More flexible. Lego have used PF to power robots, dinosaurs and vehicles. You could even use it to light up a modular street.
- Currently available, therefore newer parts, not second hand.
- More flexible than 9V - you can't really run more than one 9V train per track, but PF controls are per train, so you can run up to 8 trains on the same track, controlling each separately.
- Substantially cheaper than 9V, because: (1) It's still in production and therefore not increasing in rarity. (2) Metal rails are more expensive to make than plastic ones. (3) Each 9V train needs a loop with a controller, so you need substantially more track if you want 3 trains running.
- Runs off batteries, so (1) Doesn't need a nearby socket (2) Is safer to leave with kids (3) No trailing wires. ]
[Edit Dec 2012: Forget this one nd get the new TGV instead!]
|3931 members own this set||1607 members want this set||
3. 4554: Metro Station
You'll need a station, and the old ones are better than the new ones; smooth platforms, proper (beautiful) buildings, an old station set is essential to bring your train to life.
Trains so far = 2 (1 motorised). Cost so far = £180ish
|731 members own this set||615 members want this set|
4. 7936: Level Crossing
Your train has to co-exist with the rest of your Lego, and there's nothing worse than tracks laid over roads haphardly because you don't have enough level crossings. So stock up! Between 4 and 8 should see you right to start with. Great straight track too whcih is always useful.
Or just buy the grey tiles from Pick a brick, so you don't end up with a glut of diggers!
Trains so far = 2 (1 motorised). Cost so far = £220ish
|3078 members own this set||1533 members want this set|
5. 7937: Train Station
Bridges really add that extra something, so this set gives you a bridge for your main station, and a platform you can use for a second station. Also valuable straight track.
Now you have a small and perfectly formed circuit for the emerald, but nowhere to put the passenger train still.
Trains so far = 2 (1 motorised). Cost so far = £250ish
|4049 members own this set||1723 members want this set||
6. 7895: Switching Tracks
With these you can add a siding for that passenger train.
Might be a good idea to MoC an engine shed for it while you're there.
Trains so far = 2 (1 motorised). Cost so far = £265ish
|2537 members own this set||718 members want this set||
7. 7939: Cargo Train
This has to be the next train - stunner! Comes with motor too, so it's great value.
You can use the motor from the passnger train and add it to the engine to make it double-powerful.
I'd actually recommend getting 2 of these and have a double-header freight train, with loads of extra track, but leaving out the motor stuff (saving it for the Maersk) ie leave the 2nd engine as a dummy. Since you've just double-powered the first engine, pulling a double length train wont be a problem.
The two cargo trains will give you lots of extra track, including much-needed points for detours/ sidings. You'll also end up with 2 trucks and 2 cranes. I like to have one crane in a 'rail to road' loading area and one at the docks, so that's handy, and the 2nd truck will easily get lost in your city, or, by adding about £5-10 worth of bogeys and buffers from pick a brick, could be MoC-ed into another container wagon.
[EDIT - or just get the new red cargo train instead of 2 of these]
Also, If you haven't already, invest in some Eneloop AAA rechargeable batteries - by far the best, and you'll need 9 per set, so if you get 4 sets that's £45-ish, but it's worth it as they last for ages.
Trains so far = 4 (3 motorised). Cost so far = £490ish inc batteries
|3799 members own this set||1707 members want this set|
8. 8404: Public Transport Station
Much more beautiful than the passenger train, this very special tram will never be bettered, in my opinion.
You'll need lots of grey tiles to build roads with built-in tracks too.
No motor unfortunately, but apparently it can be done by lengthening the middle car; quite a faff though, so I'd just leave it as street decor.
[EDIT - I now have 2 motorised trams - they are quite a faff and quite fragile but look great. Excluding the motor, the bits cost about £40 each from Bricklink. Start with the middle carriage, building it around the motor, and work from there. Worth the effort. You'll need blu-tak or similar to hold the doors closed though, as they fly open on corners, particularly because it's so light that it's very fast.]
Trains so far = 5 (3 motorised). Cost so far = £580ish
|2819 members own this set||2402 members want this set|
9. 7897: Passenger Train
Lego have never really provided a decent inter-city passenger train. The older ones look very old-fashioned, and all the newer choices have issues.
The choices are:
- The current 7938: Powered by powerfunctions, but looks like an (ugly IMO) suburban train, and not an inter city train.
- (This one) the 7897 ICE train: has design flaws (read the brickset reviews). It's powered by Infra red, so although this is a diffferent system to Powerfunctions, it doesn't need metal tracks.
- 4511: This just looks odd. Also, it is powered by 9v motor, so needs metal tracks, which rules it out if you want to run it on modern tracks without swapping out the motor.
So I'm forced to conclude that 7897 is the best intercity train you'll get. Of all the recommendations in the list, this is the most tentative - surely they must be planning to do a better intercity train at some point! Personally I plan to skip this one and try to MoC a Eurostar onto the 7938 bases.
[EDIT - I picked up one of these for £80 and it looks great, although the cab is a single great big piece. Still think the Eurostar/ICE/Bullet train MoC is the best option]
[EDIT - Having tried the MoC I can now testify that train MoCs are among the hardest MoCs there are, and I'll be waiting for a decent set to be released!]
Trains so far = 6 (4 motorised). Cost so far = £680ish
|1647 members own this set||1108 members want this set|
10. 10219: Maersk Train
Maybe it's time to add another cargo train. Everyone's going nuts for it and it certainly is a nice set.
No motor included, but that's where the spare motor from the second cargo train comes in.
Trains so far = 7 (5 motorised). Cost so far = £780ish (including lights below)
[EDIT - When I originally wrote this list I wasn't wild about the Maersk, but it's the train that's grown on me the most, and I now own 4 of them. I think my initial bias was because I'm from the UK and it's totally unlike anything we have here - and I've always considered US frieght trains to be ugly. Anyway, this is much better 'in the flesh' than in the pictures, and the details are fantastic, especially the containers].
|3183 members own this set||1584 members want this set|
11. 8870: Light Set
3 lots, For the maersk, cargo and emerald
|1096 members own this set||275 members want this set||
12. 4841: Hogwarts Express
OK, so that's the 'basics' for about £800.
You might now want to add another steam engine to go alongside emerald night, and by the time you've motorised it, Hogwarts Express would get you to £940ish. I've not included it in the list though, because to me the wheels look wrong, and I can think of a better way of getting to £1000 ....
[EDIT: 2013 looks like having a steam train in the Lone Ranger series which could be interesting]
|2306 members own this set||1268 members want this set|
13. 6399: Airport Shuttle
To go any further, you'll be looking at the old trains, where you get worn parts for more money, i.e. not as good value. But why look at metroliners etc when you can get something _really_ special. You can't beat the monorail. It'll set you back £200+ but it comes with track and motor.
Trains so far = 8 (6 motorised). Cost so far = £1000
That's it, that should get you started.. after that point it gets _really_ expensive ... ;-)
|849 members own this set||1141 members want this set|