|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
Trains are fun. Trains running during the holiday season represent a century-old tradition in North America. And "big trains," the kind that look best running around the Christmas tree or running through Holiday Villages, are growing rapidly in popularity. Some people feel that they bring back warm memories; others note that two or three generations of their family often come together to set up and enjoy the trains, or that it's nice to see the kids playing with something that doesn't have a video screen. Many other folks have found that watching a train circle the Christmas Tree or a Holiday Village is every bit as relaxing as watching a fire in the fire place.
No matter what aspect of setting up and running trains at Christmas appeals to you, the Big Christmas Trains site is designed to help you find the best ideas and resources.
Update for May, 2012 - This page, which we started in 2005, has been running out of room on our old server for years. So we have moved the files to a new server and substantially expanded our primer ("how to") articles. Unfortunately, the file structure has also changed, so we had to go through every html page and manually rebuild hundreds of links. For that reason, you may encounter "missing" pictures and links that go nowhere for a time. For that we apologize. In the meantime, please contact us if you have any questions about anything on this site - or anything that you think should be on this site.
What Kind of Train Do I Need?Big Christmas trains come in three basic sizes. Clicking on any of the links below will take you a little further down the page, where there are links to the buyers' guides.
To Lean More About the Sizes and Scales of Big Christmas Trains, please check out the article "Sizes and Scales of Big Christmas Trains.
Free Christmas Train Resources
Note about Availability and Pricing: Although I try to recommend quality products that are available from reliable sources, the model train and collectibles markets fluctuate, so any product in this catalog may change price or become unavailable without notice. Yes, more new Christmas trains are becoming available and staying available longer. But the "limited edition" trains on these pages are still limited editions, and some of the other trains will be replaced by "updated versions" in other colors or with other features. This is not a "hard sell," simply a reminder that if you want any particular holiday train in your home for the next holiday season, you should get your order in early. For more detailed information about why products seem to come and go, please see the article "About Pricing and Availability."
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains or other purchases are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
Finally, if you have any questions, testimonials, recommendations, or photographs you'd like to share with other readers, please contact me. In the meantime, may your holidays and all of the days in your life be blessed!
Paul D. Race, Proprietor
Use around Christmas Trees or For Outdoor and Professional Display Railroads.
"Large Scale Trains" are used in big public display railroads (like those in the Botanical Gardens). They also look great around a Christmas tree. If you're wondering whether a Large Scale Christmas train will fit in your house, please refer to the "Sizes and Scales of Big Christmas Trains article.
To learn more about Large Scale Christmas trains, please click on the picture to the left. On the other hand, many "non-Christmas" Large Scale trains go nicely with Christmas colors. So, if you like the size of Large Scale trains and would rather have a train in "non-Christmas" colors, you might also check out the Large Scale Starter Set page. These are all very big trains, though. So if you're mainly looking for something to use with a Holiday Village, you might consider an O gauge/O27 or On30 train (below).
Bring back great memories and make new ones. For about a century, Lionel(tm) has been making O-gauge trains that run on three-rail track. Lionel(tm) trains have a worldwide reputation for being fun and reliable. All sets include an oval of track and a Lionel power supply to run your trains. They will also look nice with your Christmas village structures, if you have room for a track circle (about 40" minimum).
Update for 2009: New Products and New Suppliers - A new Polar Express car is available, and we have added a new supplier, Trainz.com, that brings a wealth of products and product knowledge to our readers. That said, at least one Polar Express car is getting hard to find, and some of the other products may be unavailable by Christmas, so don't wait too long to order anything on your wish list.
Starting in 2006, at popular request, we added a page describing several of Lionel's best-selling non-Christmas trains. If you think you might want to set up trains at other times of year, keep in mind that these also look great under the Christmas tree.
Again, nearly every year, at least one train we have listed in August becomes unavailable by December. So please order early and check back often.
For more details about Lionel O-gauge Christmas or Year-Round offerings, please click on either picture above.
Real model trains that are just the right size! Several years ago, Bachmann introduced O-scale trains that run on two rail (HO-gauge) track. Thus, they permanently married the enjoyment of trains to the enjoyment of Holiday Villages. This catalog features Victorian-era trains and streetcars that look like they belong with most Christmas village structures. Note: Nearly every year at least one of the Bachmann On30 products becomes unavailable by mid-December. Unlike the limited edition Hawthorne Village(r) trains, they generally reappear within a few months, but seldom in time for Christmas of that year. Although we are constantly on the lookout for more suppliers and trains, you should always consider ordering anything you really want early.
To learn more about Bachmann On30 trains and accessories, please click on the picture above.
For maximum charm! Order now to receive the whole train by Christmas! Hawthorne Village(tm) features a collection of "On30" trains that are designed specifically to look good with Holiday Village sets, such as those by Dept. 56, Hawthorne Village, etc. They are also large enough to look good around your Christmas tree. For your convenience, they run on HO track, so they will fit just about anywhere. New sets become available every year, so check back often.
The Hawthorne Village trains use reliable mechanisms and other parts from Bachmann On30 trains, so they run like "champs," and service will always be available. But the Hawthorne Village designers add artwork and other detailing that make these trains much more attractive and collectable. In spite of the fact that they are limited-edition, subscription trains, they are also an excellent value (and our best sellers every Christmas season since 2004). So it's never too early to consider signing up for the one you like while it is still available.
To learn more about On30 Collectible Christmas trains, click on the picture above.
Mayberry RFD(tm), Bedford Falls(tm), and many more memories! As the Hawthorne Village collections explode in popularity, many new collections are being added. This page lists some great communities that have never been licensed before, much less produced with this quality and value.
To see many new Hawthorne Village collections, please click on the picture above.
Celebrate St. Paddy's Day, July Fourth, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and More
Holiday trains aren't just for Christmas anymore. In response to huge demand for holiday trains and villages, Hawthorne Village® has introduced new trains and villages for every season - and for nearly every holiday - of the year. These heirloom quality collectibles are the same size and quality as the Hawthorne Village® Christmas collectibles that have already become best-sellers. But they prove that quality and charm can be enjoyed all year 'round. They include trains designed by well-known artists such as Thomas Kinkade and Al Agnew.
For more details about holiday trains and villages for every season, please click on the picture above.
Halloween Trains and Towns Page - As more and more people get into setting out holiday villages earlier, there's been a rising demand for information about Halloween trains and town. We've added a Halloween Trains Primer page to answer your questions and to link to many free, fun projects and resources for any Halloween village or railroad.
Click the button to the left to go directly to our Halloween Trains page. Plus we are trying to keep links to recommended Halloween trains and towns up to date.
The collectible Halloween village and train products have been selling very fast, so please check them out soon and don't wait too long to decide.
| Sports Team Trains These are HO subscriber trains that celebrate the colors and spirit of your favorite team. They will not run on your garden railroad or look right in your Christmas village. That said, some
folks seem to think they look great on a shelf in the "den" or "rec room." And they run like champs.
These exclusive "Team Colors" Train Sets from Hawthorne Village feature:
For more information on Hawthorne Village Team Subscription Trains, please click on the photograph above.
Note: Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains™, BIG Train Store™, and Trains-N-Towns™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are
Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Paul D. Race.
Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically prohibited.
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