Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (2023)


Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (1)Looking to make your child’s Christmas morning extra special? It can’t get better than a train trundling its way around your Christmas tree or as a present to open.

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

While Hornby dominates this roundup, it was actually Lionel who were 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 toy trains into the store tree displays and Christmas trees and trains have been an item ever since. The train sets listed here will look magical under any tree and make the perfect Christmas gift for any toy train fan.

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Hornby Christmas train set

Lego Christmas train set

Hornby Coca Cola train Set

Thomas Tank Engine train set

Lionel Polar Express train set

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 whet your appetite.

In no particular order, here are my top picks for the best trains to go under your yuletide display for the 2021 holiday.

Holly and Hornby

Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (2)When it comes to model trains in the UK there’s really one only choice: Hornby.

And our favourite manufacturer has 2021 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 thatmagical Christmas morning moment, there’s really no competition to seeing thisHornby 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 in small 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 and Coca Cola trains below, are fully compatible. 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. As such, it makes a wonderful present for Children wanting a train set. See my quick guide to setting up a Hornby train set

This train set is the Hornby R1248M, and includes track, locomotive, wagons, power supply transformer for the UK and Hornby controller.

> Buy the Hornby Christmas train set from Amazon here.

Let’s Go Loco With Lego

Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (3)You 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 for it and it’ll make a great expansion and companion if you’ve bought your little ones other Lego for their presents.

The Lego train is waiting for your tree here.

A Word of Caution:
Some of the 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.

Hornby Coca Cola Train Set

Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (4)

As mentioned above, the UK’s biggest model railway company Hornby make a dedicated and delightful Christmas-themed set but they also do a Coca-Cola Christmas set.

The Hornby Coca-Cola set is less traditional than the other Hornby model featured here in that it features a diesel locomotive rather than a steam train but then it has the iconic Coco-Cola livery so you relive the “Christmas is Coming” adverts in your own home.

Like the other Hornby Christmas sets, it’s fully compatible with other the huge range of OO gauge trains, track and accessories so it can be used as part of a bigger model railway and not just for Christmas.

The Coca-Cola train is available here.

Thomas Under the Tree

Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (5)Is 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.

It comes with authentic-looking track — complete with sleepers and metal rails — and looks wonderful.

This is also part of the Hornby OO range of model trains — see above — so can be expanded with more track, buildings and trains to build up into a full model railway after Christmas.

Click here to order the delightful Thomas and Friends Hornby train set.

Deluxe Set: Lionel Polar Express Christmas Train Set

Christmas Tree Train Sets, the best train sets for your 2023 Christmas tree | ModelRailwayEngineer (6)I 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 what better way 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, it’s 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 yuletide 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, luxury Christmas train set, if you have space.

Personally, I preferHornby trainsas I can use them on my layouts but for young children,the lights, sounds, Polar Express movie connection and remote control ofthe Lionel train may be better.

If this is the one for your family, you can get it here.

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 make it even better, take a look at these 5 charming extras to go with your Hornby Santa train.


For the best Christmas morning experience, get the Lionel Polar Express.

For a charming christmas tree train and perfect gift for a youngster wishing for a train set on Christmas morning, I recommend the Hornby Christmas train set, buy it now.

That’s it from me, but before I go I’ll leave you with some festive cheer.

What gauge is your Christmas tree train set?

HO HO HO gauge!

Affiliate notice: Some links on this page will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, B&Q, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you doesn't change I get a small commission on the orders you place. Please see the disclaimer for more details.

Updated:Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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