Christmas Tree Train Sets: The Best Train Sets To Go Under Your Tree 2018

Christmas trainLooking to make your child’s Christmas morning extra special? It can’t get better than a train trundling around under your Christmas tree or as a present to open.

I’ve opened my presents early to find the best train sets for a magical Christmas morning.

Lionel was the original Christmas tree train set company, starting the tradition just after the First World War.

In an astute marketing move, they persuaded the big US department stores to incorporate their beautiful steam trains into the store tree displays and Christmas trees and trains have been an item ever since.

Before getting into the top 5, grab a glass of mulled wine, take a seat and watch this Lionel train, complete with sounds and lights, work its festive magic around a Christmas tree. to wet your appetite.

In no particular order, here are my top picks for the best trains to go under your yuletide display for the 2017 holiday.

Holly and Hornby

When it comes to model trains in the UK there’s really one only choice: Hornby.

And our favourite manufacturer has 2017 sorted with a beautiful Christmas Santa train and railway set.

There are loads of different Hornby train sets — including the Thomas and Friends trains below — but for that magical Christmas morning moment, there’s really no competition to seeing this Hornby Santa Special trundling around and reflected in the baubles of your tree.

It’s just enchanting to watch this delightful little steam train, with a Christmas themed livery and a wagon overflowing with beautifully decorated presents — all to tiny scale of course. It will light up the face of any child as they rush to see what awaits them on 25th December.

As mentioned above, Hornby makes a large range of trains, track and accessories that this, like the Thomas trains below, are fully compatible with. Both of these train sets, which run on normal mains electricity and come with everything required to set up and run, could form the basis for a much bigger train set that will give months, even years, of enjoyment during and after Christmas.

This train set is the latest Hornby R1210, and includes track, locomotive, wagons, power supply transformer for the UK and Hornby controller.

Update: A quick guide to setting up a Hornby train set

Update 2: The Hornby Christmas Train Set from Amazon.  


Let’s Go Loco With Lego

Lego Train ChristmasYou can’t go wrong with Lego and children and this wonderful Lego train is hugely popular.

Although this particular train isn’t motorised (although you can buy motor sets separately or see below) the fun of assembling the train Christmas morning will more than make up it.

The Lego train is waiting for your tree here.

A Word of Caution:
Some of train sets featured here feature motorised with electrics so they can trundle around your tree on their own. Please make sure you turn them off and disconnect the power if leaving them alone for any period of time and make sure you can get to the power easily and quickly in an emergency. Christmas trees are very flammable and any electrical accidents could have catastrophic results for your Christmas.

Lego Locomotion

Lego 600551 hst.pngIf you, erm… your children, enjoy Lego but want a motorised train to zoom between the pine needles take a look at this Lego High Speed train set.

It’s not Christmas themed but will prove an entertaining build project and will run around a tree under your child’s control with the remote control included.

One word of caution, this train can go very fast so cats will have a lot of fun chasing it around too and it’s probably best if the controller is kept out of reach of younger children.

Being Lego it also needs time to build so get up extra early if you want to surprise the family!

The Lego high-speed passenger train set is available from Amazon here.

Thomas Under the Tree

Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas TreeIs there a child that doesn’t like Thomas the Tank Engine? Mix their favourite engine with their favourite time of year and you have instant Christmas cheer.

As the first train set in this roundup with authentic looking track – complete with sleepers and metal rails – it looks wonderful.

This is also part of the Hornby OO range of model trains – more on this in a minute – so can be expanded with more track, buildings and trains to build up into full model railway after Christmas.

Click here if you want this delightful Thomas and Friends Hornby train set.


Lionel Polar Express Christmas Train Set with Santa’s Bell

Lionel Polar ExpressI started this roundup with a trip down memory lane to the beginnings of Christmas tree’s and trains and a look at a Lionel so how better to finish than with the modern version.

And Lionel’s latest model doesn’t just look good but sounds it too, with authentic sounds included.

Even better,  based on the train in the classic Tom Hanks Polar Express Christmas movie it’ll be instantly recognized and adds an extra magical touch to any tree.

This is much larger than the other trains featured here as it’s G gauge – 45mm wide track instead of the OO gauge (16.5mm wide track) used for the Hornby trains – so it’ll need a big tree and more room but it’s a glorious looking train if you have space.

Personally, I prefer Hornby trains as I can use them on my layouts but for young children, the lights, sounds, Polar Express movie connection and remote control of the Lionel train may be better.

If this is the one for your family, you can get it from Amazon now.

Note, this is not the train featured in the video above. This is a battery powered model and doesn’t have the smoke feature.

The Lionel Polar Express can be difficult to get in the UK so shop around, stocks allowing it can also be found here on Amazon .


If you already have a train set for your tree and want to get your children something train related, these Train Themed Books for Children will be ideal.

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