New Product Spotlight – Victorian Christmas LionChief Set

7 07 2014

How about a little Christmas in July? Lionel’s complete new 2014 Christmas Catalog is available for viewing on our website. Here’s a look at one of our new sets to get you thinking about this year’s Christmas train display!

Victorian ChristmasUsing our Hall Class 4-6-0, this new set brings all the charm of an English Victorian Christmas home. (For more background on the actual locomotives, see this earlier blog on our new Albert Hall set!) This train will be a natural complement to many of the Christmas village collectables as part of a larger display.

The set includes a LionChief-controlled “Saint Nicholas” Hall Class 4-6-0 and tender, two coaches, a combination car, wall-pack power supply, remote control, and a 40 x 60 inch oval of FasTrack with eight O-36 curves, three 10 inch straight and one plug-in terminal track. Adding to the fun, the train plays British Christmas music in addition to its train sounds!


6-81280 The Victorian Christmas set includes a locomotive, tender and three matching passenger cars.

This new Lionel set captures the graceful lines of these beautiful trains beset with all the warmth and charm of Christmas’ past. Controlled by the LionChief Remote, the new train is easy to control and comes with many great features:

  • Electric locomotive controlled by remote


    The LionChief Remote puts all of the controls in the palm of your hand.

  • Operating headlight
  • Puffing smoke with ON/OFF switch
  • RailSounds RC with steam chuffing and background sounds, whistle, bell and user-activated announcements
  • ON/OFF switch for steam chuff and background sounds (all other sounds are only activated by pressing the buttons)
  • Operating coupler on rear of tender
  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Cab window “glass”
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body and tender frame
  • Two traction tires
  • Separately applied details including buffers, coupler air lines, brake stands, marker lamps and valve gear

The user-friendly LionChief remote features a single forward/reverse/speed control knob and three separate buttons for the whistle, bell and announcements. The sounds for this set will have a distinctly British flair, from the shrill whistle to the Christmas music selection. The remote requires three AAA batteries, not included.

Retail for the set is $399.99. See you local Lionel dealer to order one today!

Happy Thanksgiving

28 11 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Lionel!


We are all thankful for every one of our loyal and passionate fans. From our biggest collectors to those of you who have just discovered the fun of toy trains for the first time, we share the smiles every time you open a blue and orange box. And whether we’ve met here online or in person at shows, open houses and conventions, your stories and enthusiasm have always made Lionel a special place.  We hope you all enjoy a Thanksgiving filled with family, joy and peace and we look forward to another busy month and year ahead!

A Visit to the San Diego 3-Railers

14 02 2013

As soon as San Diego was announced as one of this year’s stops on the World’s Greatest Hobby Tour, I knew I would have to make some time for a visit to the San Diego 3 Railers and the other great clubs and layouts at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. This public museum is like nothing else in the country and a must-see for anyone visiting southern California.

A Club Within a Museum

SD3R layout

The San Diego 3 Railers’ layout is a sight to behold.

The San Diego 3-Railers are one of four clubs who call the San Diego Model Railroad Museum home. This large museum is located in one of the public buildings in Balboa Park. Each club is its own entity, much like many local clubs, with one big exception. These clubs are all open to the public six days a week.

The Museum is governed by a board of directors made up of two representative from each club as well as other community leaders. A Director and small paid staff handle the general operations and public relations for the museum as a whole. Each club maintains their own membership and has their own layout, plans and goals.


The room features day and night lighting.

Visitors are given the unique opportunity to not only see trains running on a multitude of layouts and scales (two HO, O 2-rail, N and of course O 3-rail) but also watch as these layouts progress and grow over time. The museum and clubs also allow the public to view work sessions after public hours. Such was the case for our visit. For more information on the Museum and it’s hours of operations, see their website.

Doing It Right


The layout features beautiful scenery throughout, and many scenes typical of California like this oil refinery.

Being open to the public so much, the club has incorporated many family friendly features. One of the first things you’ll notice is the finished appearance of not only the layout, but the entire 42′ x 44′ room.

Wood panels with display cases and framed Angela Trotta Thomas art line two of the walls. The trains and prints change seasonally. The layout too is nicely finished with no bare benchwork, wiring or even unfinished scenery showing. As impressive as it all is, it is hard to imagine that it was all completed in about two years!

snow scene

Parts of the layout change with the seasons.

But that doesn’t mean the layout is finished or doesn’t change. The club has incorporated a scenery panel in one prominent corner of the layout that changes with each season.

Other scenes are being refinished or added to all the time. No model railroad is ever finished! And since the club members supply their own trains, you could visit every day and see something different running.

dino dig

Fun scenes like this dinosaur dig fill the layout.

Four loops offer continuous running. The long mainlines offer club members a chance to run big power and long trains. Just about anything can show up.

There are plenty of fun things for the kids too. A push button-operated train is hugely popular with kids. There are lots of fun things placed around the layout for them to find too, like a dinosaur dig, baseball game, miniature trains and more. A camera car provides an engineer’s eye view of the layout.


The layout even features the Lionel factory!

Speaking of cameras, the club runs live feeds of the layout on their website. The camera feed runs when the club is open and you never know what you’ll see.

The club is committed to making this great hobby accessible to everyone. From the inviting nature of the club room and volunteers to Saturday programs for kids and outreach at local shows, the San Diego 3 Railers are excellent ambassadors for the hobby. And with 125,000 visitors a year, they must be doing something right!


Beautiful display cabinets, made by one of the club members, line two of the walls.

The next time you are in southern California, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit. It is a trip you will not soon forget. I want to extend my personal thanks to club president Jon Everett and all of the others who went out of their way to show us around during our visit. Your hospitality helped us feel right at home. Great people, great club, great layout – I know I’ll be back!

Check out a little video of the layout in action! This clip is courtesy of the San Diego 3 Railers and is part of a wonderful DVD which outlines the mission, history and construction of the club. It is available for sale through the club themselves. 

World’s Greatest Hobby!

27 12 2012

Christmas may have passed, but there is no reason to put those trains away yet! Trains and model railroads are a hobby that can be enjoyed all year-long. In fact, they’re the World’s Greatest Hobby!

Why? There is much more to building a train layout than putting together a circle of track and watching the train run ’round and ’round. The hobby has many different facets, and can develop many talents you never knew you had. It gives you a chance to express your creative side, and study the world around us. It’s a hobby that can be shared by the entire family and brings out the kid in all of us.


New product displays are just the beginning!

Every year, the World’s Greatest Hobby Show goes on tour to new cities across the United States to showcase the best of what this hobby has to offer. This is more than just a train show. It is a chance to meet the manufacturers, learn new skills, connect with local model clubs and groups in your area and just have fun! There will be operating layouts, clinics and lots of things for kids to enjoy.

modular railroad

Our Modular Railroad will be a learning experience for all.

And of course we’ll be there too! This year, we’ll be doing something new in our booth. In addition to displays of our new products and an operating layout, we’ll be conducting some demonstrations of our own using our new FasTrack Modular Layout. At each show, we’ll be completing the scenery on one of our unfinished modules so you can see first hand how easy it is to transform your train platform into whatever you desire.

These modules are a great way to get started in the hobby. But you can use the skills we’ll be showing on any layout. We’ll take lots of pictures too so after the shows we can post instructions here on the blog for those who can’t make it.

Here are the five stops on the 2013 tour. Don’t see one near you? Don’t worry, we’ll be on the road again to different cities next year! For more information, see the World’s Greatest Hobby Show website.


One of our operating display layouts will be on hand too.

  • January 5-6, Fort Worth, Texas  Will Rogers Memorial Center
  • January 12-13, St. Louis, Missouri  America’s Center
  • February 9-10, San Diego, California  Del Mar Fairgrounds
  • February 22-23, Sacramento, California  Cal-Expo
  • March 2-3, San Francisco, California  San Mateo County Event Center

Whether you’re a seasoned model railroader or have never been to a show before, these are great events. We hope to see you there!