Review: 60197 Passenger Train

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View image at flickr

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 review I take a look at 60197 Passenger Train. This follows on from my earlier review of 60198 Cargo Train.

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.

The box

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.

View image at flickr

Rear of the box gives more of an insight to the Bluetooth app and also shows some internal images of the two carriages.

View image at flickr

Side of the box shows an image giving the dimensions of the engine and two carriages joined together: 69.5 cm (27.3 inch).

View image at flickr

Instructions and stickers

The five instruction booklets come protected in a plastic bag which also protects the sticker sheet.

View image at flickr

There is a large sticker sheet.

View image at flickr

Minifigures

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

View image at flickr

Two minifigure torsos have printing on the back.

View image at flickr

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.

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The suitcase opens up and inside you can put your LEGO set. This printed tile looks like it represents 60882 Dune Buggy Trailer and has been seen in four sets.

The detailing on the suitcase is different on the other side.

View image at flickr

Parts

There are a few parts new to this set and a few parts in a new colour 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.

View image at flickr

The build

Book 1 - The platform

Book 1 (Bag 1) builds the small train platform and signal. The young boy has a brick yellow shoulder bag.

View image at flickr

Book 2 - The engine

Book 2 (Bag 2) starts assembling the engine.

View image at flickr

Book 3 - The engine complete

Book 3 (Bag 3) completes the engine which includes installing the Powered Up Hub.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Book 4 - The buffet car

Book 4 (bags 4 and 5) assembles the buffet car.

View image at flickr

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. View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The parts in bag 5 assemble the roof, the under-carriage services and two bogies.View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Book 5 - Passenger carriage

Book 5 (Bags 6 and 7) assembles the passenger carriage. This build is very similar to the buffet carriage.

View image at flickr

View image at flickrView image at flickrView image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

The buffet car has coffee cup logos to distinguish it from the passenger car.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

Overall opinion

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.

View image at flickr

Make sure that passengers who are waiting at the train platform Mind the Gap.

View image at flickr

At least the engine is two studs shorter than 60051 High-Speed Passenger Train, released in 2014, when the front bogies are lined up.View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Powered 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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

Then the Hub and smartphone will need to be paired.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.View image at flickr

View image at flickr


View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

 

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33 comments on this article

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By in Hong Kong,

Nice, informative review! I like that the colours are reminiscent of the old Eurostar trains. My last train set was a 9V (the somewhat Japanese-flavoured 4511 High Speed Train from 2003) and been desiring a new set for a long long time but for the lack of space to set it up, not the mention that this is yet another new power system!!! But this might be the one I get....

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By in United Kingdom,

What no-one seems to have pointed out that really annoys me is that if you buy one, it's not complete. You need a second to get an engine at the front and back and match virtually every modern train and every other city passenger train.

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By in New Zealand,

^ Yes absolutely. And I had intended to write something on that.

I have two of these trains for that reason: to make the train double ended. I may also change the couplings between carriages to Jacobs bogies. The Auckland trains in the background don't use Jacobs bogies so I am unsure whether I will do that.

There are no doors in the carriages either, which I think is wrong.

Thanks for pointing out the omission.

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By in United States,

Something Jang pointed out in his review is that this coffee employee’s torso actually differs from the ones you referenced...this new version lacks the female waist outline, making it more gender neutral.

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By in Belgium,

What about the provided controller ?
You say that the first time the phone is connected to the hub a program is downloaded but does it work on its own if you don't have a smartphone ?

Thanks for the review but I have to admit I really dislike this new trend of having everything connected for no real reason. The set is already pricey as it is so if I have to add to it the price of a smartphone to use it, it's definitely a no go...

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By in United Kingdom,

Are people not allowed to take pictures in train stations in New Zealand? Doesn’t NZ have trainspotters then?

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By in France,

Thanks Flags
How does the speed/power of the new system compare to the old PF?
Does anyone know when Lego plans on releasing a rechargeable battery box?

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By in New Zealand,

@ EvilTwin: You have no idea how I have felt being chased off a train platform by a security guard with a camera, tripod and little box of LEGO.

Auckland Transport Media Centre were interested in this project but I could not get a definitive permit to simply take a basic image as shown here.

The review had been parked for a few days and was going to be published today anyway. I 'discovered' the service road quite by chance and so utilised this opportunity as I like taking images of my LEGO models In The Wild.

^ @jdm: I ran the 60198 Cargo Train for over two hours on one set of new AAA batteries. After over two hours, the train was still running at a reasonable speed.

I prefer to use rechargeable batteries and use the 10V rechargeable pack in my Mindstorms models. I have no information on rechargeable packs for the Powered Up system.

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By in United Kingdom,

That's a nice-looking model. I love that you put so much effort into photographing the real trains!

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By in United States,

Seems like every few months lego makes the same train in different colors.

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By in United States,

This might be the year of trains: Imperial Train, Cargo Train and Passenger Train.

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By in United States,

Finally we have sounds! This to me is the most significant improvement brought by Powered UP. However, assuming the sounds come from the phone and not the train this is weak. Can you confirm that?

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By in Germany,

FlagsNZ - thanks for your efforts. Though i have never truely been one, i believe 'trainspotters' come under the category of 'mostly harmless'. :o)

I think this model looks marvelous and will try to get 2 heavily discounted and try and forget about the new cargo train model.

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By in Canada,

@lippidp Yes the sounds come from the app and phone not the train itself.

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By in Canada,

I was able to connect a Boost colour sensor to this train and make the train speed up and slow down based on what colours the sensor sees. Needs third party software though: PoweredUp app can't do it yet, neither can Boost app.
https://flic.kr/p/29NdwHY

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By in United States,

So for a second train, how do you deal with the power functions. Do you disable one of the somehow so the two engines don’t fight themselves? Is one powered up engine enough to pull or push the extra engine and passenger cars?

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By in Switzerland,

I'm still not convinced: no doors, no lights, no rechargeable battery box, I have the feeling that this set was released in a hurry before the new Powered Up System was completely developped… We'll see if anything comes up in the next months.

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By in Canada,

One thing I'd like to note that is confusing in this review is the part about the bearded minifigure head appearing in a City set for the first time. Perhaps the reviewer should have said "this" bearded minifigure head. The way it was written, it sounded like there had never been a bearded minifig head in a City set, ever, lol.

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By in United States,

This is like the absolute bare minimum that could reasonably be called a train set. Half a train with no doors or lights, two nearly identical cars, the bare minimum amount of track, and a pathetically tiny little 'station'. There's like $60 worth of LEGO here, plus train tracks, a single new train canopy, and electronics... this is a bit absurd.

It's not like any of that is new for LEGO trains, but it's still wildly unappealing to someone who isn't really interested in them to begin with, given that this costs as much as a modular building or a UCS Star Wars set on 20% discount.

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By in Germany,

An argument FOR having two passenger cars: Three units is short either way, whether you have two engines and a "complete" but very stubby train, or two cars and a "single sided" train. But three it's also as big as Lego train sets are likely to get.

As this set is though, two copies can be combined into a nice six-unit train. Doing the same with most previous passenger trains would only yield four units and waste two engines.

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By in New Zealand,

This was the first LEGO train I bought and pretty much only because it looks so similar to the Auckland trains that I take everyday. Awesome to see them almost side by side in your review.

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By in United States,

I’m planning to get two of these. I finally built some tables and set up my LEGO town for my kids. But my old 9V trains (the white ICE-looking one from the 2000s and my Super Chief) are a little too much for it.

It’ll be interesting to see whether they like the powered up versions or want me to go with PF.

Edit: And I agree with Rob42. I’d rather buy two sets than have wasted locomotives like the last two PF passenger trains. That’s why I didn’t buy them.

Of course the best solution would be to sell extra passenger cars as separate sets like the 9V ICE did back in the day. But that came right during the gray to bley transition so I’m thinking LEGO’s sales data for them is all screwed up because nobody bought them.

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By in United States,

I really like how there is only one 'front' car. The last few had two and that was such a waste. This one looks really fun.

I find it amazing that you can't take pictures from the station? In the USA there are 3-4 people all the time taking pictures, even though nothing changes here.

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By in United Kingdom,

@rob42
Actually, where I live all the trains have an engine, one passenger carriage and another engine, so I would rather have that setup.

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By in United States,

@Speed champions fan
All the trains near me are like that too. It looks weird without a symmetrical rear unit.

Also, I don't really like the Powered UP system. Don't get me wrong, it looks cool, but I recently got the Cargo Train (60052) and now LEGO puts out a new system on me. Was thinking about buying both new trains until I heard about the change. It's too bad really.

*edit* @Zordboy
Missed the chance to comment on the cargo train review, and I agree: the 60052 locomotive is much more appealing.

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By in United Kingdom,

RIP decent LEGO trains. That plastic front piece is a joke, and for me ruins the whole model. Why not take some inspiration from the Horizon Express, or Maersk Freight, where the designers actually use bricks for some of the complexities in design. Isn't this the whole point? I struggle to see the attraction in this set.

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By in United States,

That new train front is a lovely part, and I'm impressed by how they managed to use a Speed Champions windscreen for the glass instead of a specialized glass element. It looks like it'd be a great fit for Friends, if there were ever to be a full-sized train in that theme!

Amusing how the departure time is 12:01, one of the possible times to display with the classic digital clock tile!

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By in United States,

@Lyichir a Friends train set would be AWESOME

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By in Guatemala,

I also have to agree with Rob42. One engine and two trains lends itself much better to extension through purchase of duplicates than the previous passenger train. In that regard it favors spending more $. But this is the same set-up as Horizon Express, and as the owner of two copies I can't overstate the satisfaction of seeing that 6 piece beauty racing around the track...

guywin, imho we shouldn't compare City trains to Creator trains for the same reason we shouldn't compare City buildings to Creator buildings...different ball game.

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By in United States,

Great review and makes me think more about getting this set, but getting 2, which is a bit annoying. The other annoyance for me is the giant stickers that go on the engine and really need to in order to make it look right.
Now, I'm not sure if LEGO stickers have gotten better in the past 10 years, but I hope they do not 'dog ear' easily like the past ones

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By in United States,

My favorite part of the article is the part about Albert’s Post Bar and Eatery. I have just got to go and try the Beef+Bacon Jam Burger. I’ve never had Bacon Jam... But that just sounds amazing!

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By in New Zealand,

^ I'm going there tomorrow night. I'll report back.

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