• Powerfunction trains & the order to get them in - 8 for £1000

    Compiled by Si_UKNZ. Updated 24 April 2011. Contains 17 sets.
    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.

    20 out of 20 people thought this BrickList was helpful.

10194: Emerald Night

22 reviews
Pieces
1085
Minifigs
3
RRP
$99.99, £69.99, €89.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Bricklist notes
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 ...]
Our community
3725 own this set, 1733 want it.

7938: Passenger Train

11 reviews
Pieces
669
Minifigs
3
RRP
$129.99, £102.99, €109.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Bricklist notes
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!]
Our community
4860 own this set, 1775 want it.

4554: Metro Station

3 reviews
Pieces
600
Minifigs
8
RRP
$72
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Related sets
Similar to 2150-1
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
828 own this set, 697 want it.

7936: Level Crossing

8 reviews
Pieces
142
Minifigs
1
RRP
$19.99, £15.99, €16.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
3356 own this set, 1799 want it.

7937: Train Station

8 reviews
Pieces
361
Minifigs
4
RRP
$49.99, £35.99, €39.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Related sets
Included in 66374-1 66405-1
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
4879 own this set, 1882 want it.

7895: Switching Tracks

3 reviews
Pieces
8
RRP
$15.99, £15.99, €19.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Related sets
Included in 66239-1 66248-1 66325-1 66374-1 66405-1
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
3055 own this set, 843 want it.

7939: Cargo Train

8 reviews
Pieces
839
Minifigs
4
RRP
$179.99, £129.99, €169.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Related sets
Included in 66374-1 66405-1
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
4770 own this set, 1888 want it.

8404: Public Transport Station

11 reviews
Pieces
864
Minifigs
6
RRP
$99.99, £81.99, €99.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Notes
In the US, this set was exclusive to Toys R Us.
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
3060 own this set, 2778 want it.

7897: Passenger Train

20 reviews
Pieces
501
Minifigs
3
RRP
$89.99, £73.39
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Related sets
Included in 66248-1
Bricklist notes
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
Our community
1790 own this set, 1272 want it.

10219: Maersk Train

8 reviews
Pieces
1237
Minifigs
3
RRP
$119.99, £91.99, €119.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
LEGO exclusive
Instructions
Yes
Bricklist notes
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].
Our community
3611 own this set, 1905 want it.

4841: Hogwarts Express

8 reviews
Pieces
646
Minifigs
5
RRP
$79.99, £81.99, €79.99
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Instructions
Yes
Notes
Subtheme is general because the Ford Anglia appears in Chamber of Secrets, but Luna Lovegood doesn't appear until later in the series.
Bricklist notes
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]
Our community
2606 own this set, 1473 want it.

6399: Airport Shuttle

23 reviews
Pieces
767
Minifigs
9
RRP
$140
Packaging
Box
Availability
Retail
Bricklist notes
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 ... ;-)
Our community
942 own this set, 1289 want it.