For over fifty years, trains have been one of the most popular themes in the LEGO range. Every now and then LEGO updates their method of powering and controlling the trains.
This year LEGO has introduced the Powered Up system that makes a significant shift from previous power and control systems: Powered Up pairs with a Bluetooth enabled smart device.
In this article I also take a look at the Powered Up app that controls this year's trains from a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.
Front of the box shows 60197 Passenger Train at a platform with the LEGO Train Network employee about to board the engine. There is a simple track layout and an image of the new Powered Up Hub Controller.
Rear of the box gives more of an insight to the Bluetooth app and also shows some internal images of the two carriages.
Side of the box shows an image giving the dimensions of the engine and two carriages joined together: 69.5 cm (27.3 inch).
Instructions and stickers
The five instruction booklets come protected in a plastic bag which also protects the sticker sheet.
There is a large sticker sheet.
There are four minifigures in this set: an engine driver, a buffet car employee, a female passenger and a young boy.
The blonde hair piece has only been seen once before. This is the first time that this bearded minifigure head has been seen in a City set. The Daily Grind Café uniform has been seen in four sets, although this print design is subtly different in that it lacks the female waist outline, making it more gender neutral. The two-tone Benny Classic Space T-shirt has been seen in seven sets
Two minifigure torsos have printing on the back.
The female passenger has an alternate sleepy facial expression on the other side of her head.
The bright yellowish green hard suitcase is a new part.
The detailing on the suitcase is different on the other side.
There are a few parts new to this set and a few parts in a new colour for the first time:
- The train front is a new piece and comes in Flame Yellowish Orange.
- The 4x6 Roof Tile comes in Flame Yellowish Orange for the first time.
- The 3x6 Plate Half Circle with Cut comes in Dark Stone Grey for the first time.
There are several rare parts found in five or less sets. Take a look at the parts inventory for further parts information.
Book 1 - The platform
Book 1 (Bag 1) builds the small train platform and signal. The young boy has a brick yellow shoulder bag.
Book 2 - The engine
Book 2 (Bag 2) starts assembling the engine.
Book 3 - The engine complete
Book 3 (Bag 3) completes the engine which includes installing the Powered Up Hub.
Book 4 - The buffet car
Book 4 (bags 4 and 5) assembles the buffet car.
The parts in bag 4 assemble the carriage body. There is a small counter where coffee and light refreshments can be purchased. The holes in the floor get filled in.
The parts in bag 5 assemble the roof, the under-carriage services and two bogies.
Book 5 - Passenger carriage
Book 5 (Bags 6 and 7) assembles the passenger carriage. This build is very similar to the buffet carriage.
The completed model
It is really necessary to apply the stickers to the engine to ensure that dark earth blue livery highlights the curves of the train front.
The buffet car has coffee cup logos to distinguish it from the passenger car.
The passenger carriage has seat logos too.
Water and oil services are on one side of each carriage while electrics and pneumatics are on the other side of both carriages.
One of the problems of the small diameter of LEGO train tracks is that these sleek, passenger trains swing wide on the track in the tight turns. This engine swings three studs wide. This is because the front engine bogie sits back from the front of the engine. There is little you can do to change this.
Train platforms must sit on straight track sections or else the engine will hit the platform as it pulls into the station.
Make sure that passengers who are waiting at the train platform Mind the Gap.
At least the engine is two studs shorter than 60051 High-Speed Passenger Train, released in 2014, when the front bogies are lined up.
One of the things I noticed when I first installed the AAA batteries into the Powered Up Hub was that the screws are recessed further than we are used to in the Powered Functions battery box. I needed to go out and purchase a small screw driver that was thin enough to get to the heads of the screws.
In the image below, the Medium Stone Grey battery box on the left is the new Powered Up Hub while the Dark Stone Grey Powered Functions battery box is on the right.
I was wondering whether LEGO should supply a screw driver with all sets that contain this new battery box. They provide orange parts separators in most large System sets.
The first time your smartphone app communicates with the Powered Up Hub it will download the program to the Hub. This takes about 2 minutes.
Then the Hub and smartphone will need to be paired.
Here is how the controller looks on the smart phone.
The train's speed is controlled by the + or - buttons or stopped by the red STOP button.
The train's speed can be stepped up or down incrementally by pressing + or - each time.
The six sound effects buttons produced the following sounds:
- A muffled general public announcement.
- Platform whistle.
- Level crossing bells.
- Squealing steel on steel braking sound.
- A modern train whistle.
- A "bing-bong" announcement.
There is a small amount of track with a loop and four straight track sections. This set really needs extra track or a second train set to really make it a worthy play experience.
When the train was travelling at a speed of eight or higher, the track started to slide on the smooth table. Once speed nine was reached the rear carriage spun off the track.
Contemporary look to the train
I really like the way in which the designers have created a modern looking City train.
I particularly like the way that the LEGO Train double-arrow logo has been modified to create a very contemporary look for the engine. The arrow logo uses a white plate to stretch the arrow the full length of the train.
The Flame Yellowish Orange, Earth Blue and Medium Stone Grey colour scheme of 60197 Passenger Train is uncannily close to the colour scheme used by Auckland Transport (AT) trains where I live.
Unfortunately, despite repeated efforts, I was unable to gain permission to take some images of the trains from AT Platforms.
I did, however, find a little-used service road and carpark next to a local train station where I was able to wait for a chance to capture some images as the AT train pulled into the platform.
Thanks to Toyworld Henderson for supplying 60197 Passenger Train at 20% discount for the purposes of this review.
Thanks also to Steve at Albert's Post Bar and Eatery for letting me use his carpark to get the images of the Passenger Train in juxtaposition with Auckland Transport's train in the background.