5 Best Ready To Play Train Sets

Having a train set, railroad, railways is a really good and relaxing hobby. If a person has a lot of extra space to make track layout then there is no excuse not to have your own railways, if you are interested in having one of course.

But what are basics to know before stepping into this hobby, well first things first – obviously you need a lot of space, if you live in small apartment it would be just insane to have railroads because you would have to assemble it each time you would have to “play” with it because, after playing time you would have to clear away whole layout and in my opinion it is not the smartest move. Well you can, but things get broken eventually.

I wrote an article dedicated what to know before getting yourself the first train set, and it covers basics everybody should be aware before getting into this great relaxing hobby. If you are interested in reading it, you can click on the link below and it will take you to an article.

About model railroads for beginners

So before stepping into model railroads I would like to recommend to start with a ready to play train sets, so I have decided to write an article about best ready to play train sets for beginners or newcomers.

Ready to play means that you don’t need any additional stuff to assemble a set, just open a box, assemble a set and start to play.

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Ready To Play Train Set

Price: 100$

Place to buy: AMAZON

Age: 4+

Customer ratings: 4 out of 5

This the iconic freight cargo train. Beside steam locomotive in this set you get 3 cars ( cargo gondolas) and 24 curved and 8 straight plastic track pieces. RC remote controller is also included, batteries on the other hand are not included. So you need 6 C batteries ( big ones) and 3 AAA batteries – C batteries for locomotive and AAA batteries for remote control.

Locomotive also provides ( via remote control ) its authentic sounds like a whistle and bell ring.

Open the box, snap together track pieces – track layout could be either oval, circle or rectangle, put batteries in a locomotive and a remote control and you are ready to play.

Lionel Santa Fe Diesel Locomotive Ready To Play Train Set

Price: 100$

Place to buy: AMAZON

Age: 4+

Customer ratings: 4 out of 5

Santa Fe diesel locomotive is one of the best looking ones in train modeling world. It comes in large scale, so it is pretty sturdy and it is a good train for children. Train stays on track and there is no fear for a train to derail.

So this set includes beside Santa Fe diesel locomotive, a passenger car and observation car, with silhouettes of passengers in car windows, 24 curved and 8 straight plastic tracks and a remote control.

Santa Fe has working headlights and can make sound ( via remote control) like a horn and a whistle.

Really, I would recommend to anyone that loves passenger trains.

Lionel Construction Railroad Lion Chief Ready To Run Train Set

Price: 300$

Place to buy: AMAZON

Age: 14+

Customer ratings: 4.9 out of 5

My son ( 3 years old) always stops whether we are walking of hiking when he sees a construction train working on track – for him it is a majestic sight and he loves this massive train with cranes working on the train. Lionel has one of those trains in model “O” scale and it is just terrific. Not only that it is a train but also functions like a real construction crane.

Price is a bit high, but what you get is the other story – keep in mind that a lot of ratings are 5s and couple of them are 4s and that is it – that just confirms how good really is that ready to run train set.

So locomotive is diesel one RR U36B and it is run either remote control or through a smart device ( Locomotive has a Bluetooth connection) with an APP called Lion chief.

Beside locomotive there 3 cars included and those are:

  • CRR work coboose
  • Crane car with rotating crane and an operative hook
  • Flatcar or loader

The whole train set is really detailed and has a great design.

Imagine your children ( or grown-ups – don’t exclude possibilities) repairing tracks that are broken and crane working to get job done.

The whole train itself is as I mentioned very good-looking with details going on to make the train perfect, it is really heavy one and really big as well (O scale is 1:48 real train to model one) and will not derail while driving on railroad.

Bachmann Trains McKinley Explorer Ready To Run Electric Train Set

Price: 165$

Place to buy: AMAZON

Age: 14+

Customer ratings: 4.1 out of 5

Imagine (even though you maybe never been there) driving through the wilderness of Alaska and see this breathtaking landscape. You can do it from your home.

This train set comes in HO scale (1:87) and it is greatly designed and detailed made train. Locomotive is very familiar to everybody – EMD GP40 diesel locomotive and it is run by remote control. Locomotive itself is very interesting with big “ALASKA” sign on side of locomotive.

Passenger cars are unique – they are bi-leveled dome dining-lounge cars, and they were originally ( real ones) made in Colorado rail car company and they are the largest passenger cars ever made. This set includes two of those cars and they are named after Alaskan rivers – Knik and Kenai.

Really nice train set with an Alaskan soul.

Lionel Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Ready To Run Train Set

Price: 290$

Place to buy: AMAZON

Age: 14+

Costumer ratings:4.1 out of 5

Of course I had to add Hogwarts express – who wouldn’t. Board on train on Platform 9 3/4 and start the journey to Hogwarts- great choice for a train set for Harry Potter fans.

Set includes 4-6-0 locomotive and two passenger coaches. The train makes sounds authentic like in a movie.

Lionchief remote control is included but you can also download Lionchief APP to your smart device and control a train via APP.


I hope I presented the real stuff you were looking for, I touched different variate of trains, cargo trains, passenger trains and for the end a train from movie franchise.

Every set described in this article is really worth buying it – if you don’t won’t to spend a lot of money before you are really convinced into this hobby, then go for the cheaper one. But I have to put a disclaimer here – model train sets starting price is about $100, if you don’t want your set lasting for a short time, trust me, i0ve been there, buying cheap “crap” that worked just for a week.

If you have any question or a comment please write me in the comment section below and I would be really happy to reply.

All best,

Primoz P.

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