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HO Lionel North Pole Central Passenger Train

February 2, 2024. Currently, an HO scale Lionel North Pole Central Passenger Train set does not exist! I’m on a mission. Care to help me out? Can WE WILL this model train set into existence?

I already wrote a letter to Lionel. I am going to include that letter here. I am also going to put up a survey form. Please cast your VOTE for or against an HO Lionel North Pole Central Passenger Train set. I mentioned to Lionel that I would re-message them again on February 1st, 2023, about possibly creating this train set. It might take them a year or two to make it, but I would really like to have one with all the features I detailed in my letter. If you cast your vote, I will make it a point to send the results to Lionel periodically to let them know that I am NOT ALONE in wanting such a train set to be created. Thank you very much for your support and assistance. Let’s get this one done…

Keep in the mind that the images displayed here either come from Trainworld or Lionel. They were sent to me by Trainworld via one of their email updates on Christmas 2023 train releases. The models displayed are O scale. WE HO scale modelers need one of these. What do you think?

I have emailed Trainworld too asking for them to encourage Lionel to produce this train in HO scale. Wouldn’t it be great if Trainworld helped distribute them as well as drum up support and interest in the idea?

The letter and pictures have been posted. I had to modify the original photos in order to create the photos displayed on this page.

March 18, 2024. Today, I am just now getting to publish the emailed letter that I wrote and sent to Lionel and Trainworld on December 13, 2023. February was a very busy month for me and March has been just a busy. I did not yet re-mail this letter to them. I will try again on the 2nd of April, in hopes that I will have some Survey responses to include with my re-mailing to them at that time.


I just received the flyer email from Trainworld that is at the bottom of this message.  I am forwarding this to Lionel, back to Trainworld, as well as to members of the Charlotte, NC based Metrolina Model Railroaders Club.

LIONEL, would you consider producing in HO scale for an upcoming seasonal release (2024 or 2025), the following:

1)  A North Pole Central E8 AA Set with Dual-Mode DCC & Sound, both locomotives powered and addressable separately, speed-matched, good heavy weight (die cast metal if you can make it happen affordably), with lots of details, and road numbers OTHER than #1225.

2) A Lighted North Pole Central 85′ Coach Passenger Car with detailed interior.

3) A Lighted North Pole Central 85′ Vista Dome Passenger Car with detailed interior.

4) A Lighted North Pole Central 85′ Dinner Passenger Car with detailed interior.

5) A Lighted North Pole Central 85′ Observation Passenger Car with detailed interior and lighted drumhead on the end that acts like a FRED (End of Train Device).

ALL OF THE ABOVE ITEMS should have Kadee Metal Knuckle Couplers, RP25 Contoured, low profile (code 70 compatible) Metal Wheels (of course) (with Kato N scale type power pick-ups on the wheels or some method that is low friction so that the cars roll exceptionally well), LED lighted interior (similar to Bachmann’s HO scale most recently released smooth side passenger cars), with actual people figures in all passenger cars, engineer and brakeman in Diesel locomotives, and be 18″ Radius Compatible right out of the box.

Could you offer all of that as a Train Set (cars and locomotives only)?

You could easily offer everything separately as well, plus offer it all packaged as a complete starter set too.

If you want to add some more bells and whistles or features, that would great, such as possibly putting a lighted & decorated Christmas Tree and other Christmas decorations inside the dining car; and adding a sound option to that car that plays a Christmas carol sung by the passengers with ambient dining noises in the background.  Or, how about a family or two in the Vista Dome car, with one or two kids looking up into the sky, again with a sound option that has them excitedly screaming “Wow!!!  There goes Santa in his sleigh with reindeers…”  You get the idea, right?  Cool!!!

I love the paint scheme of the O scale North Pole Central that Trainworld informed me they are selling for Lionel with the flyer they sent me below.  It’s great.  I just DO NOT COLLECT O scale trains personally anymore and I have tried my best to get rid of all of the ones that I have and that have been consigned to  I have enough HO and N scale Steam locomotives.  I told myself I wasn’t going to buy any more, but I have ordered BLI’s latest N scale Merry Christmas 4-8-4 Steam locomotive that I am praying arrives before Christmas 2023, along with Con-Cor’s N scale Christmas Train by Micro-Trains.  I have considered buying the Lionel Polar Express HO scale train set in the past and just about picked up a set from the new Berkshire Station train store when I was there in October.  But I didn’t.  However, in November, our train club, the Metrolina Model Railroaders, presented a version of our club’s layout at the 56th annual Southern Christmas Show, and one of our members brought their HO Lionel Polar Express.  It WOULD NOT WORK!  It took me forever to reset it to factory defaults.  I tried to make it work using the LionChief throttle that came with it.  That didn’t work.  I tried our Digitrax DT500 throttles and that didn’t work.  I used my phone and the LionChief app, and was able to get it to move, but it wouldn’t go more than 5 tracks without losing signal and stopping.  I was within 3 feet of the locomotive.  At first, I thought the set belonged to the club.  So, after I was done trying to make it work, I wrote a note and left it with the set, suggesting that it be returned to Lionel for replacement.  I later discovered that it belongs to a club member, and he recently posted a video on Facebook of his polar express cars being pulled by an MTH Diesel Christmas locomotive on another one of the club’s layouts set up at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.  I say all of this to suggest that if you do MAKE the trains I suggested above that you NOT include LionChief in them and that you adhere to NMRA DCC standards.  You can make a LionChief compatible model, if you wish, but I’m NOT GOING TO BUY THAT.  Make one that WORKS consistently using NMRA DCC standards, and I’ll put my PRE-ORDER IN THE MOMENT I RECEIVE NOTICE THAT YOU INTEND TO MAKE THEM.

That brings me to WHY I included Trainworld in this notice and our train club.  Little lowly old me asking you alone to create a model may not inspire you.  But hopefully, Trainworld gets this and likes the idea too.  And if so, perhaps they will contact you and say they would be happy to handle pre-orders for these models if you will produce them.  I’m sending this to our train club in hopes that there are a couple members that would like to see something other than the Polar Express train on our tracks next Christmas or the Christmas thereafter.  And if so, that they too will request that you look into creating the trains that I suggested above.

I know that this is the Christmas Season, and everyone is super busy trying to fulfill orders right now.  So, I am also putting a reminder on my NMRA Calendar for February 1st, 2024.  I will RESEND this request again on that date just to reinforce my interest in seeing the lovely North Pole Central Christmas Diesel Train Set in an HO scale version that I can use and operate on my train layout as well as take it to an upcoming Southern Christmas Show event and run it on the club’s layout.   And to be quite honest with you, that would be a wonderful place to launch a presentation of your new train.  Bring a film crew in, catch the crowd’s reaction, as that beautiful train goes around our French, Broad and Catawba layout.  (The local Lionel representatives should know what I’m talking about.)

More than likely, I have sent this email to mailboxes at Lionel and Trainworld, where the receiver isn’t the right person to get this message.  Please route this message to the appropriate person in your organization that handles new product development and marketing.  I apologize that I do not remember the name of the Lionel representative whom I met at Dreams Come True Railroad in Cassett, SC on June 17th, 2023.  We road on 7.5″-gauge trains and either his wife or his daughter had a wonderful time driving the trains.  I think they road on trains for longer than I did.  I also do not have Ken Bianco, Jr’s personal email address because when we met, he was scolding me for being behind the Trainworld tables at the Amherst Train Show.  Apparently, he felt I should not have been there, although I was invited to be there by Jeff of Motrak Models, and I was simply sitting out of the way waiting for Jeff to finish talking to a prospective customer.  Who knows if Ken remembers that or not.  Anyway, please route this email to someone who can seriously consider making the production of the suggested HO scale North Pole Central Christmas Trains a reality.  It would be really nice to have a set with the features that I mentioned above.  And while I don’t think there is a movie out behind such locomotives or trains, HO scale needs a new, modern era, Christmas Train that is eye-catching, runs reliably and exceptionally well, consistently, on the most available tracks around, using the most popular train standards so that everyone who has some form of HO scale train tracks can operate the trains (at Christmas time or year-round). [And yes, this is a stab at Walthers for producing models that require 24″ radius curves or larger — shame on them…]

Many thanks for the consideration.

March 26, 2024. Yesterday, March 25th, 2024, Trainworld sent me a Lionel HO New Products Announcement. In that announcement, for the first time ever, it appears that Lionel is offering 3 different HO scale North Pole Central passenger cars. However, guess what? The cars are nothing like their O scale North Pole Central passenger cars and they are missing MANY of the features that I suggested and requested they include in their HO North Pole Central passenger cars. Trainworld is taking PRE-ORDERS for these passenger cars. I am a little bit on the fence over them and almost put my pre-order in. Then, I checked the features, and apparently, these new-to-be-released passenger cars are simply North Pole Central paint scheme applications to their existing Polar Express passenger cars. I specifically mentioned in my letter to them that I would not be buying their TOY-LIKE productions with Frosted Windows in them. I’m looking for a realistic, fine detail, high-quality Christmas Themed passenger car in HO scale. Go back and take a look at what I would like to see in those passenger cars and/or look further down as I expand on exactly what I would like to see in them (pulled from the Survey questions I made a couple weeks ago). Also, because I have not yet seen a notice that the E8 North Pole Central HO scale passenger locomotives that I really want will be produced, there is no need for me to pre-order the passenger cars without a locomotive to pull it. I know. There is a Lionel HO scale North Pole Central steam Train Set that offers a steam locomotive. I do not want any more old steam era locomotives in my collection. I have enough of them. Although I do not have a UP Big-Boy, I’m oaky unless and until a great manufacturer has one for a steal of a price that runs on my 18″ Radius curves (not likely to happen again even though I sold a consignor’s AHM Big-Boy that ran successfully around my 18″ radius curves a couple years ago. It was manufactured a long time ago though and was DC only. Sound could probably be placed in the tender, but I just wasn’t interested in it at all.)

To date, the only email I have received from Lionel is their automated Talk To Us response message when I sent them my Product Suggestion request on December 13th, 2023.

Below is a listing of the features that are on these 3 HO Lionel North Pole Central passenger cares compared to my list of features as well as HO-Like features from their O scale version. As you can see, these cars are nothing like the passenger cars I am looking for.

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Christmas 2023-24 Trains

Once upon a time in December, 2023, I was looking through a Factory Direct Hobbies‘ emailed advertisement of some Broadway Limited Trains being released for the Christmas 2023 season. In that flyer was a very cool and interesting looking N scale Paragon4 with smoke Christmas Wrapping theme painted Reading Railroad T-1 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive with “Merry Christmas” written on the side of it. Some of my viewers know that I have “stopped” collecting Steam Engines. But that locomotive looked great. And the smoke feature is something that I do not know for certain that I have on any of my other N scale items. I might have it on another one because I have found an N scale sized funnel that might be used on such a locomotive on my N scale HJR Lonsway Pike, but I do not remember to which locomotive it belongs.. Anyway, over the past 5 years, I have been getting rid of the majority of my HO & N scale steam locomotives. I still have a fair number left that I intend to keep but I didn’t feel that I would be buying any more. Well, FDH got me. They hit me up at the right time and the BLI Reading T1 lust looks incredible. And, because it has “Merry Christmas” written on it, I said to myself, “If I could find a Caboose with similar paint scheme that has ‘Happy New Year’ written on it, then I could see myself buying those 2 items as my Christmas gift to myself this year.” So, I set out to find a caboose.

I invested several days searching for a caboose that I thought would match the locomotive. I found a Merry Christmas around the World N scale Diesel train set made by MicroTrains and distributed by Con-Cor. I only found the caboose I wanted in a 5-piece set available only on Con-Cor’s website at the time. As I browsed around Con-Cor’s website hoping to find just the caboose by itself, I ran across a lot of N scale Christmas trains promoted by Con-Cor or made by them. I put over 11 different items in my cart. However, Con-Cor doesn’t keep his website well maintained. The tracks on the HJR Lonsway Pike where I would be operating these trains mostly are Atlas code 55 tracks requiring low-flange wheelsets on any rolling stock that is used on them. High flange wheels will roll but they the will hit every railroad tie they encounter. So, because of this and a lot of other unknowns about the 11 different items in my Con-Cor shopping cart, I created a long list of questions for Con-Cor. Con-Cor also has a very high restocking fee if one returns an item to them and I didn’t want to buy something uncertain of what I would get. I sent them the email. Well, long story short, the response I received was unfavorable. We went back and forth a couple times and basically, they just didn’t have the time to address ANY OF MY CONCERNS or QUESTIONS I presented them in my long and specific email. So, at whit’s end and because the number of Reading T1’s available via FDH had dwindled to 2 and I had the last 2 in my cart on their site, I needed to hurry up and make a decision on whether or not I was or I wasn’t going to get any of these items for Christmas. I settled on the 5-car Christmas Around the World set JUST to get the Caboose out of it, and 3 passenger cars from Con-Cor. I ordered the FDH/BLI T1 Merry Christmas train. My troubles were just beginning apparently.

Con-Cor managed to get their order to me before Christmas. However, the train set was supposed to have a Diesel engine with a DCC chip in it. It does not have a chip in it. It is DC only. I had to complain. Con-Cor said they would make it right by sending me a chip. THAT has not happened yet (as of 2/2/2024) and now their parts guy quit and they cannot being to find me a chip until after they hire a new parts guy.

Factory Direct Hobbies tried their best, but someone how my purchase of 1 of the last 2 “available” Merry Christmas T=1’s ended up being delayed at the Custom’s docks and there was no way I would be receiving the locomotive before Christmas. So, I would have to wait. It arrived on the 2nd of January. But, on Christmas Day, I decided to TRY to work diligently to finish most of the HJR Lonsway Pike layout by wiring up all of my Tortoise controlled turnouts and all the lighting on the layout. Well, a month later, and I’m much further along than I was over the past 5 years, but I still don’t have the turnouts actually working. I have a very beautiful Control Panel made though and every house and building has been outfitted with lights and the lights leads dropped through the benchwork. I will put a lot of the renovations made in another Photo Album at a later time. It would be around the 20th of January before I opened the T1 locomotive.

I tested the Christmas Around the World train set. The train cars are very well done and the scenes painted on them are exquisite. They look a little weird size-wise because of them being Hi-Cube box cars. I’m not sure how close to scale these are. And, since I’m certain that the paint scheme never existed on any real trains, one could say that their is no prototype for them to be accurate with. Other than the short, stubby look, these cars are beautiful. They would have been BETTER if MicroTrains had installed metal wheels, but they didn’t. They roll nicely though. The DC diesel engine does okay. It tends to run a little rough and a little noisy, but it’s okay. I will like it better when it has a DCC chip in it.

The 3 passenger cars are very well done too. You know me. They could be better. The only disappointing thing about these are the cellophane jewel cases they arrived in. I really don’t see those cases lasing very long, in fact, there are some imperfections in them already. I have a lot of Con-Cor N scale trains, most of which arrived in much sturdier jewel cases or boxes. I told Con-Cor about this and made mention of it on a video in this album. One thing that would make them better would be seated people inside of the cars and interior led lighting with Kato style power pick-ups. But hey! Con-Cor didn’t make any of their trains to suit me yet.

I rain the Christmas trains from Con-Cor in different configurations and there is a video showing both trains running at the same time. There are some still shots of the 2 train consists as well.

Since I video-taped the opening of the Con-Cor trains when they arrived, I decided to do the same thing with the T1. It came out of the jewel case broken. The drawbar was broke and at least 2 pieces fell out. I suspect that a 3rd piece fell into the inside of the locomotive but if it ever came out, I haven’t seen it yet. It couldn’t be fixed by me, plus, the T1 is perhaps the second or third most expensive individual locomotive that I have in my collection. For what I paid for it, it was going to have to go back and be replaced with a new one in perfect working condition. I made arrangements through FDH for BLI to send me a replacement in exchange for me sending back the broken one. Although the drawbar was broken and a piece that I still cannot identify where it came from or where it belongs fell out, it still operated on my tracks and did so very well. I was able to find a route that the locomotive could run around on consistently with the least number of issues. Then, one-by-one, I added all the trains that I bought from Con-Cor for Christmas. This included 4 of the Christmas Around the World trains (excluding only the locomotive) and the 3 passenger cars.

When the replacement T1 came, I double-headed a consist of all the Christmas trains and ran them around the tracks. The 2 T1’s look good together and sound very good. They ran together pretty well too. The newest one is always in front in all of the pictures and videos. However, it derails a lot in one particular spot on the layout. Even running solo it does that so something is slightly different between it and the first T1 which rarely derails in the same sport or elsewhere.

Although I glanced at the paperwork for the T-1 and saw that BLI suggested light-weight Marklin smoke oil, I know I don’t have any such oil. I was hoping that oil made by BLI would work and so when a tube of it came that I ordered before the trains came, I put some of the smoke oil in the new T1 locomotive only. It never produced any smoke. Later, I read that BLI smoke oil is too high in viscosity to use in the N scale T1. I found some lightweight oil by Tyco that is probably 30 years old on more, but was previously never opened. It says it is Lightweight oil, but it too would not produce any smoke, at least not after having put the BLI oil into the locomotive. So, I have sent back the first T1 as promised. Thus far, I have seen absolutely NO SMOKE from the T-1 that I am most likely going to keep. I will try to find some Marklin smoke oil and order it to try it the next time I get a chance.

I really want to finish all the lighting and get all the turnouts and signals working on the HJR Lonsway Pike. I am trying my best to do so. I need a few more parts though and I cannot order them from a particular Chinese supplier until after he returns to work from celebrating the Chinese New Year. He is supposed to be back on the 16th of February. My time will become more limited though as a need to work on other home improvement projects becomes very pressing and takes the highest priority and getting ready for upcoming train shows at the end of February too. Plus, I have another layout referred to as the Uhaul layout which needs to be readied to a state to make it sellable the last weekend of February. I’m starting to doubt that I will get anything at all done on it before then. Plus, I have to work and there are tons of jobs to be complete and the workflow usually increases during this time of the year. I also have a lot of other challenges going on and need to put serious effort towards improving my health which means getting back on a healthier time schedule, eating regimen, and workout plan, all of which take many hours in a day, something I am running very short on as it is.

Anyway, this is the Christmas 2023 N scale trains that I added to my collection this year. I included 2024 because the T1 didn’t really get here until some time in January. When Con-Cor gets me a DCC chip and I get it installed and running good, I may attempt to obtain a few more of the Christmas Around the World box cars if it looks like the diesel will pull them well in DCC mode.

I hope you enjoy the Christmas Trains. You may be able to comment or Like this Album or the page on my website where I may appear eventually. May 2024 be a wonderful year for us all, ALL AROUND THE WORLD!!!

Currently, there are over 50 photos and several hours of videos related to the Christmas 2023-24 Trains. For now, to view them, open this Google Photos link. You may comment on the items in the photo album. As long as your comments remain on topic, mostly positive, and true, I will leave commenting turn on. But abuse this commenting opportunity and I will turn off that capability. I hope to return later and insert a couple photos on this page to break-up the writing. I will also turn on Sheena so that you can listen to her read this page to you. Just be aware, some words and phrases are harder for her to read than others.

Posted: 02-02-2024.