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admin 16.01.2014

This page lists sturdy, kid-friendly garden trains and accessories you can use to get and keep the kids involved. Note about Availability and Pricing: Although I try to keep an eye on things and to recommend products that are reasonably available, the model train market does fluctuate, and any product on this page may change price or become unavailable without prior notice. Update for January, 2008 - This page used to start with the Lehmann Toy Train line, an excellent way to get young people involved with a child-friendly train that could go right outside with the "big stuff." Unfortunately, LGB isn't making those any more, so they've been demoted to a line item near the bottom of the page - sorry. AristoCraft makes all kinds of garden trains: here are two sets that I would recommend for kids, based on how well they seem to hold up to abuse, er, use. AristoCraft "Li'l Critter" Diesel Train With Remote Control - The locomotive hauling this train represents thousands of little "industrial" diesel-electrics that are serving large industries and small railroads all over the country today. AristoCraft Eggliner - If you need something even smaller, check out the "Eggliner." The Eggliner is a four-wheeled self-powered "passenger car" that wasn't really modeled after anything, but is cute as a bug. If you already have a track and power supply, you should know that the Eggliner is also available separately.
AristoCraft makes many kinds of buildings for garden trains: here are two sets that I would recommend for kids, based on how well they seem to hold up to abuse, er, use.
AristoCraft Built-Up Passenger Station - This station is one of the best values in Large Scale.

AristoCraft Pre-Built Crossing Shanty - Keep your busy railroad crossing safe with this set that includes a crossing guard, a shanty for the guard to take shelter in, and two "crossbuck" Railroad Crossing signs to warn motorists.
The following section lists kid-friendly trains big enough for garden railroads that have been discontinued. Lehmann Toy Trains - Lehmann is the German toy company that created LGB trains, the trains that resurrected Garden Railroading as a worldwide hobby a few decades back. PlaySkool has made a very solid child's train that was battery powered, and had a nice figure-eight track setup.
When I have access to more than one source, I have provided multiple supplier buttons to give you a better chance of getting the product you want (as long as you don't wait until mid-December to order something, in which case all bets are off). Called a "Critter," this model is a favorite of people who need something sturdy and reliable that can run for hours or even (in display railroads) weeks with no special attention. I have certainly seen many 5 and 6-year-olds operate these sets with no problems, and only minimal supervision.
Road names of individual Eggliners include Undecorated, Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Atlantic Coast Line, Southern, Southern Pacific Daylight, Pennsylvania, Ladybug and Christmas.
Best of all, the train itself would run on Large Scale (45mm) track, although it wouldn't run over turnouts (switches), rerailers, or crossovers.

This train is available in several road names, including Pennsylvania, Union Pacific (shown), and Christmas.
Note: In December, 2008, I used the "Christmas Present" eggliner as our Christmas tree around the train. So at open houses, I can put it on a simple garden railroad, let the kid hit the switch (on the smokestack) and let-er-rip around the track, without worrying about little kids doing any damage to a model.
Lionel has made two separate production runs of these; the most recent was about three years ago. If you don't know what Garden Railroading is, my article "Go Outside and Run Your Trains," on the Family Garden Trains Primer page will give you some idea.
In late 2007, the company was purchased by another company which hopes to have LGB trains back in manufacture by mid 2008.
So, if your Large Scale train needs a reason to get from point A to point B, click on the "check stock" button for price and purchasing details.

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