Model railroads, invented by Joshua Lionel Cowen in the early 20th century, have been a popular gift for decades. Lionel trains are still found today (some have even made the list). Since railroad travel was at a high during the debut of these realistic toys, many kids received them for Christmas, either wrapped up or left by Santa chugging around the tree on Christmas Morning. Feeling sentimental? If you don’t already have a special train to incorporate into your festive décor, we’ve listed an eye-catching, diversified list below that includes the perfect trains to accompany your Christmas tree. Also, be sure you keep your train in top shape by cleaning it, avoiding potential debris, and following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Imagine the magical touch that a floating train set would add to the Christmas tree after the kids discover Santa has visited on Christmas morning. Eight pieces connect to create an oval track, which the three train cars roll around. A headlight and sound effects add to the excitement. The description also mentions that this can “float” toward the bottom of the tree, which would also be interesting. Tools are not required to assemble, and the train comes with batteries. Be sure to note that this fits tree trunks ranging from 1 inch to 2.5 inches wide. Customers noted the sound to be loud but remedied this by covering the speaker with paper and tape.
Stay with us on this one for a minute. While it may not be your typical electric train with an included track, it could be an interesting project that could be equally as beautiful in front of a Christmas display. Those skilled at building models can pop each intricate piece out of its plywood sheet to slowly assemble them into a true work of art. Watch the piston and valve mechanism work together as a rubber band powers this beauty. So if you’re a little unconventional-minded, this could be a really cool option to set beside the Christmas tree.
This particular train set boasts extra pieces of track to give you more surface area when running the train. A solid 26 pieces, to be exact, can loop 18 feet around the base of your Christmas tree while four cars chug along, creating a memorable ambiance. A light-up headlamp leads the way, while the sound effects provide a finishing touch.
Watch the kids marvel over this steam locomotive with operating headlight, coal tender, single-dome tank car, box car, quad hopper car, and off-center caboose. With a gingerbread and silver bell theme, this red and green train captures a festive appeal that will be a delightful addition to holiday decor. The description details it is easy to set up, which is great for Santa, who may want to drop one off to delight children when they wake on Christmas morning.
Batteries are not included with this train set, but it has an assortment of track pieces extending over 16 feet. Overall, the track and the train are very lightweight, which can be positive or negative. Sound effects also bring this orange and black old-fashioned train to life. Among the comments, one customer said, “Stunning around the tree! Seriously the perfect touch!”
Take in the significant amount of detail that has gone into this Frozen II-themed train. It has carts with characters like Olaf and Sven literally moving about and one filled with blue glowing ice. The die-cast metal locomotive, with track and remote control, works together to create a mesmerizing and interactive experience. You can even download the app and operate a train from your phone. Steam, additional lights, and sounds from the movie are incorporated into the elaborate setup. To sum it up, one review mentioned the train to be “Beautifully authentic.”
Mickey Mouse is likely to bring back plenty of nostalgia for parents while simultaneously being festive and fun for little ones. Mickey and Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and more characters adorn the train, which has a seemingly extra-long track. You can create an oval, circle, or rectangle shape. The individual remote control also requires batteries but can either push the train forwards or back into reverse. Additional features include a working headlight and box car doors that open and close. “Easy snap tracks, easy assembly. It fits perfectly around 7.5 trees with additional track to spare. Sturdy quality, and the kids love it. Great starter train for the little ones,” one review detailed.
Behold this Lionel train—Lionel is the beloved toy train maker, with other selections that made this list. Can you believe the Polar Express film is almost 20 years old, having been released back in 2004? If you’re not in the Christmas spirit, watching that movie will likely do the trick. The magical theme is the perfect fit for a train that swirls around your Christmas tree. The passenger carts, to the Berkshire style locomotive, will add a dazzling spectacle underneath the towering tree.
“Peanuts” just puts us in the Christmas spirit. So many significant parts of the Christmas Charlie Brown special are incorporated into the heirloom quality train. Hand-painted characters show up throughout the cars, from Snoopy driving the engine to Charlie admiring his tree, which just needs a little love. Bradford Exchange outdoes themselves on their impressive electric train selection, which appears to be released gradually, piece by piece, so your train will be assembled slowly.
Honor the daily heroes, and the fallen ones, with a breathtaking fire engine red locomotive with plenty of firefighter emblems. Issue One includes the Illuminating Steam Locomotive, followed by Issue Two, the Firefighter Heroes Express Coal Car. Issue Three is then released, treating treasure seekers to the Courage Combine Car and additional collectible train cars adorned with Glen Green’s firefighter artwork. Expect a working headlight and Certificates of Authenticity to come with the set.
All aboard, to the magical world of Harry Potter. Issue One reveals the HOGWARTS Express Steam Locomotive. Issue Two brings the HOGWARTS Express Tender, with a cart figurine and 14-piece track set, power pack, and speed controller. Lastly is Issue Three, the HOGWARTS Express Combine Car, with additional character figurines. In true Bradford Exchange fashion, the train is handcrafted and meticulously hand-painted, equipped with a working headlamp and illuminated passenger cars.
The iconic and beloved Coca-Cola Santa is considered to be the real deal—he brings Christmas joy and feelings of nostalgia. Celebrate him with an authentic locomotive, starting with Issue One, the diesel locomotive. Issue Two is a classic train car with a 14-piece gauge track and power pack. Issue Three is a passenger train car. The theme shows off Coca-Cola’s Christmas style dating back to the 1930s and onward. For the long haul, solid metal chassis and steel alloy wheels are in it.
The locomotive steam engine puts out realistic smoke—all you have to do is add water. Top things off with sounds and lights, and you’ve got a cool addition to your holiday. Note that you will need to purchase AA batteries separately. In addition to the locomotive steam engine, there is a passenger coach, coal car, cargo vehicle, eight curved tracks, and two straight tracks. Unfortunately, as of now, customers cannot purchase extra track.
Classic music brings the train to life, along with seven colors of twinkling LED lights. But first, it has to be assembled, as it’s simultaneously a puzzle. Spend time with young ones, putting together a magical display of characters and Christmas trees that sit atop the cars. We love when something can be both a memorable activity while resulting in a gorgeous product.