As you may know, I wrote a guide to collecting LEGO trains.
And so I decided to do some research on one of the options - the latest LEGO City Passenger train.
In the US, passenger trains are rare things. We read about them in history books. And hear about how popular they are in Europe and Japan. While they do exist in the US (even here in DFW metroplex), it’s not something many of us ride on regularly.
But if you are building out your LEGO city display, I believe it’s essential to have a passenger train option. Or perhaps you can pretend its a subway. Or a tube train if you are building your LEGO City in the UK.
Not only does it give you more visual interest in your display, as a play item it’s also more fun. For example, you can recreate famous movies like “Murder On The Orient Express”, “Strangers On A Train” or the classic comedy “Throw Momma From The Train”.
Let’s look at the details.
Updated Power Functions Including A New Bluetooth Controller
This train and the cargo train represent a major update in the LEGO automated trains.
LEGO trains have supported “Power Functions” for many years. This how LEGO trains become motorized and light up. In previous versions, they used proprietary protocol controllers.
Now they are moving to the Bluetooth which should provide a more reliable controller for LEGO to build on top of. I suspect they will also be able to use more types of devices (such as your phone) to control the train as LEGO expands into augmented reality.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology concept where virtual data is added to real life. This is in contrast to virtual reality where everything you see is digitally generated.
The most famous example of augmented reality is the Pokemon Go game. However, Apple has is making a big push for AR for their future devices. And one of the best reasons to use AR is to make games and general play more fun.
Which is why LEGO and Apple announced they were partnering to add AR capability to LEGO sets.
This could take the form of adding in moving backgrounds, monsters, etc. And I think moving to standard technologies like Bluetooth will help the LEGO Group with that future.
Dimensions And Number Of Pieces
I will quote the dimensions from the Amazon page:
“Passenger train with cars measures over 4” (11cm) high, 27” (69cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide. Engine section measures over 4” (11cm) high, 10” (26cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide. Platform measures over 2” (7cm) high, 4” (11cm) wide and 2” (6cm) deep”
The total number of pieces is 677 which is about half of the cargo train.
Which is because the Cargo train has more variety of cars and related pieces. Such as the armored truck and forklift.
As with most of the LEGO City sets, this set comes with minifigures. This increases the playability. But these are generic figures such as passengers and a conductor.
I would not classify these sets for minifigure collectors. The figures are important for play and display the train. But unless you are just starting out to collect figures, I wouldn’t put much emphasis on this.
However, if you are into collecting LEGO trains, then, of course, you will want this train. Even if it’s just to get access to this new Bluetooth controller.
The passenger train would fit well within your City. Perhaps you will want to build your own train depot. Or imagine that the LEGO Diner built itself next to the train stop to get easy foot traffic.
You can, of course, add more options by extending the track with LEGO track. They even recently added switch tracks if you want to build a complete train environment where the passenger trains can go to different destinations.
LEGO trains have been part of LEGO history since the 1930s. Though the electric plastic train was added in the 1960s after LEGO added in wheels.
And based on my research LEGO trains are released and then retired. Then a new set is released.
Which explains why when I went to look for trains to recommend after I first wrote my train guide - I couldn’t find any!
I would expect these trains tAo be out for at least a year and I imagine 2 years. Then they will be refreshed again.
I would recommend this set for people who want to emulate mass transit in their LEGO City. Or already have a LEGO cargo train and want to add more variety. AC