Review Of LEGO City Trains Cargo Train 2018

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I was looking for trains to go with our LEGO trains guide and the Cargo train is something I decided to investigate more.

Newest Train

The Cargo train and the Passenger train 60197 are the newest members of the LEGO City trains. These are the generic trains for LEGO fans. The other train set that was released around the time of the LEGO City trains was the Harry Potter train set.

It Moves With The Power Of Bluetooth

LEGO trains have supported Power Functions for many years. With Power Functions the trains could be moved on battery power like a traditional model train.

However, older trains used a proprietary controller. Based on my experience in the general computer industry, I believe that moving to Bluetooth should enable LEGO to build more interesting controllers.

For example, it would be easier to build something that works with your phone. And to integrate into the future Augmented Reality system they are working on with Apple.

The Bluetooth controller that comes with this train provides 10-speed control.

Play Features

Model trains including LEGO trains are popular with kids and adults because they offer so many ways to play with it.

This starts with the power functions. A train is more fun when it moves. The mind loves to watch a train complete its route.

But a train just on a track is only fun for a few minutes. After that then you realize you are watching a piece of plastic going around in circles. Because what makes a model train layout interesting to watch is the details. The trees, the hills, the city with its “living” buildings & people.

As your eye follows the train, then you start to notice more and more details. Like a scientist studying an environment under a microscope.

And one of the benefits of LEGO is that the additional City sets can be assembled to provide the background for your trains.

But let’s look at some more specific play items. In particular, if you are looking for this set as a gift for your kids or nieces or nephews.

It starts with 16 straight and 16 curved pieces of track to build a complete loop.

There’s a control tower with speed control lights, a forklift to load things into the boxcar, and a crane to load logs.

Since one of the conventional play ideas of the City theme is cops & robbers, then it’s no surprise that there is a security officer with a thief here. The set also has an armored truck to carry gold bars.

Minifigures

As is common for the play-focused LEGO sets, this set comes with minifigures. However, if you are a collector, this is not a set to buy for the minifigures.

Based on my research the figures included are the same as the ones you will find in other sets. This isn’t surprising because this isn’t a licensed set. Nor a special anniversary set.

That being said, it’s great to have 6 figures to enable free-form play or to assemble a display.

How To Light It Up

While it’s fun to have a running train, it will be even more fun to add more details.

One detail is, of course, to add in other LEGO buildings and vehicles to provide more visual interest to your display. The train naturally will guide the eyes around your display. And as the eye gets tired of seeing the monotony of the train they will start to focus on your figures in their back alleys.

Or sitting in their office keying in data. Or the police breaking up a bank robbery.

But another great way to add detail is through lighting. The LEGO Group has lights designed for the trains. This is an easy hack to adding visual interest to the train - in particular if you build a tunnel for it to go through.

Unfortunately, those lights are too big to fit into the sets that are not designed to be compatible with it.

But there are many vendors who have created LED light sets that are small enough to fit into LEGO translucent studs. These provide interesting visual stimulation once you turn the lights out in your room.

My preferred vendor for this is Brickstuff but you can find many options via Google.

Dimensions And Pieces

There’s 1226 total pieces. These pieces are split among the train, tracks, buildings and vehicles.

The does require more room to build and display.

Quoting from the Amazon page: “Cargo train in total measures over 4” (11cm) high, 32” (82cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Money Transporter truck measure over 2” (6cm) high, 6” (15cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Control center measures over 8” (21cm) high, 3” (8cm) wide and 4” (12cm) deep. Forklift measures over 2” (7cm) high, 2” (5cm) wide and 4” (12cm) deep”

When I was growing up, many friends and family were model train enthusiasts. My mom’s brother had an entire basement dedicated to his model trains. And when we visited the Ohio State Fare they had a dedicated building for displaying model trains.

My recollection is that this display stood for decades but was recently removed.

And what’s great about building large displays like this - whether it’s an old Lionel set or LEGO is that once you have the train, all you need is more track.

And you can buy more LEGO track individually to extend the run of the train. They even recently released switch style tracks.

And while this is a new set, I’m sure as soon as the LEGO train community gets their hands on it, you will soon see modifications and rebuild options to be shared with the world.

Pros

LEGO trains have been part of the LEGO system for decades. There’s a large global community of enthusiasts who go above and beyond the children, the set is designed for.

And this cargo train is a great addition to it. Plus with the new Bluetooth standard, it will enable LEGO to more easily add more functionality to these sets in the future.

Plus there are many additional play features in the set including the security truck, the logs and forklift.

Cons

The most consistent con of any LEGO set is missing pieces. This is rare now. But it can happen. If it does, contact LEGO support.

The next issue is that this set doesn’t work with older LEGO train controllers. Thus if you have multiple LEGO trains in a single display, you may end up with multiple controllers.

And it does use stickers to add details to the display. Some people tolerate the stickers and others hate them. I’m not very good at applying stickers so put me in the tolerate crowd. But I appreciate this lets LEGO get more use out of the bricks by avoiding custom printing.

Consumer Ratings

I’m writing this first version of the review on the first week of release. So we don’t have any general consumer reviews yet. I will come back and update in a few months after the initial reviews are in.

Price

The number one complaint I hear in the LEGO community is the cost. I think LEGO provides a good value. But this is an expensive set for many budgets.

However, it does come with over 1000 pieces, a variety of building elements, 6 minifigures and a Bluetooth controller.

Once you figure all of that in then you realize that you are getting a great deal on this set.

Conclusion

If you are a LEGO train collector then you will want this train set. Probably without even needing to read my review.

However, if this is your first LEGO train set, then I think it is a good one to start with. It has a variety of interesting details including a crane and is built using the new LEGO controller standard.

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