Four Ride-on, Ride-in, Walk-in Train Toys

Alternate title: A Toy Train for Every Income Level

Photo of a father sitting on a train engine as his two kids sit in a train car behind him while traveling on a backyard train track.

1. The Great American Train Company makes backyard ride-on railroads. You hop on the locomotive and your kids sit in riding cars behind.

The trains feature all-metal construction to one-eighth scale. A typical set four cars weighs in at a mere 600lbs with a carrying capacity tested to 1,600 lbs, about 6 to 7 adults and children.

The train uses four 24V rechargeable batteries that last 2 to 7 hours, depending on terrain, a flat track being the most efficient of course. Recharging occurs overnight for 8 to 10 hours.

Digital sound effects spout from the locomotive and steam puffs from the smokestack (liquid smoke purchased in half-gallon containers).

Grab a train starter package consisting of a locomotive, riding car, caboose, 60′x80′ track and related components for a mere $22,995. If you’re handy around the yard, save a few thousand dollars by not hiring a landscaper to install the track.

The following video is packed with the details:

Photo of a red fiberglass and cast aluminum locomotive hand-cranked car.

2. Kid-Steam makes simple muscle-propelled backyard trains. Plunk your kid down in a fiberglass or cast aluminum locomotive and he cycles around the track using a hand-cranked pedal. What better way to work off a kid’s excess energy?

Each car’s carrying capacity is 100lbs and track sizes range from 13′ to 30′ requiring 350 to 3,000 square feet.

Setting up the track appears to be relatively low-key if you have a flat plot of grass. The company has a video demonstrating setup in as little as 15 minutes, meaning it can also be disassembled as quickly.

A starter kit of 1 engine and track runs you $1,850 while a more typical set with three locomotives is $4,900.

Watch this demonstration:

Photo of a blue train locomotive pedal car.

3. Pedal Car People make ride-on pedal train engines. Unlike the trains mentioned above, you don’t need a track and they only cost $249. I bet $249 never sounded so inexpensive.

These pedal trains are made from 18 gauge stamped steel, 35" long and 15" wide. They weigh 38.5lbs and are rated for 3 to 6-year-olds.

I didn’t find any documentation about why the front of the trains feature flat circles. I mean, *cough*, if this was a Thomas and Friends product, those circles would be replaced with smiling faces. I wonder if you can draw a face there with dry erase marker.

Photos of kids walking around in cardboard boxes imprinted with red and blue train designs.

4. Well, if you’re looking for an even less expensive option, check out cardboard box trains as previously profiled on Thingamababy. They run $30 for a pack of four, or, you know, you could make one yourself.


7 Responses to “Four Ride-on, Ride-in, Walk-in Train Toys”

  1. molly says:

    My little girl loves trains and I am sure would be excited with any of these options. However, I bet she would like a cardboard box (to use like the last example) just as much. Thanks for sharing!

    June 20th, 2008 at 5:14 am

  2. Stephanie says:

    I actually know a couple of grandfathers who would pay that much for a cool train in the backyard. They wouldn’t even need kids around to play with it.

    June 20th, 2008 at 6:42 am

  3. Christy says:

    Well…I’m sending the links to my dad. He has repaired (lifesize) locomotive parts for years. My grandad did the same thing too. I can totally see him riding in the back yard with the grandbaby.

    June 20th, 2008 at 7:19 am

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, I’d give up my car to have train number 1 at my parents house! My dad would love it, the grandkids would love it, and the novelty of it wouldn’t wear out because, well, it’s at grandpa’s house and we aren’t there very often. Defintily not something to have at your own house because the novelty would wear off and then it just isn’t worth the money.

    I might rent train number 2 for a birthday party, but I would hate to be the slowest kid on the track, you would be very unpopular pretty fast.

    But, like molly, I’ll stick to the cardboard box.

    June 20th, 2008 at 7:29 am

  5. RobMonroe says:

    My grandfather would put the first one in his yard in a heartbeat! He would probably re-build terrain to make the yard fit to the tracks, not the other way around. (He took out two trees because you could not see the Christmas decorations from the corner of the street.)

    June 20th, 2008 at 7:47 am

  6. Mark says:

    I know it’s always good to encourage imagination and everything, but I gotta say….damn, those are cool! I second the comment about being perfect for the grandparents place so the novelty doesn’t wear off — now we just have to figure out how to talk them into it!

    June 21st, 2008 at 3:45 pm

  7. Christina W. says:

    very cool. A kid, and her momma for that matter, can dream right? Now what was that about a cardboard train…?

    June 21st, 2008 at 10:49 pm

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