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Big Christmas Trains. Adrianne Wood took this photo of a real 'Christmas train' in Vermont.
Large Scale Christmas TrainsO Gauge Christmas Trains
On30 Christmas TrainsMore Holiday Villages

Written by Paul D. Race for and

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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.

  • Our Primer pages include and link to dozens of articles that will help you choose, set up, and accessorize any Christmas train, whether it is around a tree, around a town, or simply running back and forth on the hutch.

  • Each page of our Buyers Guides (below) includes descriptions, illustrations, and links to reputable vendors who sell the products we recommend.

  • In addition, our "Letters to the Editor" section lists a lot of questions and answers that this site has generated over the last eight years.

  • If the above resources leave you still looking for answers, our editors will also try to answer your e-mail questions about any project or product listed on these pages (although if you wait until December 15 to ask your questions we might not be a prompt as you would like us to be).

Moving Alert - After nine annual Christmas-themed open railroad on our own New Boston and Donnels Creek , we are moving to a new home. I don't know how much railroad-building will be done between now and November, our traditional time for our Christmas-themed open RR. If you're going to be anywhere near Springfield Ohio between Halloween and New Years, 2016, please check back before November to see if we have anything scheduled.

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 to the buyer's guide page for that kind of train.

  • Click to see the biggest commercially available Christmas model trains you can buy.Large Scale trains, which are the biggest trains we show - they look especially good around the Christmas tree. You can even use them outdoors. But most of them are too big to fit on a table or go with a Holiday Village.

    Several new Large Scale train sets are planned this year from high-quality manufacturers like LGB, Piko and Bachmann. In addition. Lionel continues to introduce more battery-powered trains that run on G gauge track (great for the kiddies) and have special Christmas colors the whole family will love. That said, some of these are already getting in short supply, so if you want a really big Christmas train around your tree this year, don't wait too long to order. Click here to jump right to the Large Scale Christmas trains page.

  • Click to see Lionel's fast-selling line of Christmas trains for this year.O Gauge/O27 trains. These are the trains your grandpa may have grown up with - the ones that use three-rail track. They are also good around the Christmas tree, although they can be used with Holiday villages. Lionel introduced several new sets in the last two years, and we're looking forward to this year's introductions. Keep in mind that some of the speciality trains don't last long.Click here to jump to the O Gauge Christmas Trains page.

  • Click to see the remaining Hawthorne Village On30 train collections.Hawthorne Village Collectible trains. These were issued by Hawthorne Village (now part of Bradford Exchange) as "collections" - you get them a piece at a time. They are highly detailed, well made, and about the same size as O Gauge/O27 trains. However they run on HO track. They worked especially well with Holiday Villages. They also work fine around the Christmas tree.

    Update for 2016! A few years ago, there were many more On30 Christmas trains than there are now. In fact none have been introduced in the last three years, and stocks on the remaining collections are growing thin, so don't wait too long. In addition, due to new regulations in Ohio and other states, we are no longer allowed to specifically promote Hawthorne Village products outside of having links on our pages. Yes that sounds strange, it it will cause us to reformat several of our pages. Please be patient as we get things switched around. In the meantime, click here to see the remaining Hawthorne Viillage Train Collections.

  • Click to see this streetcar set on the Bachmann On30 pageOn30 trains. Bachmann, who manufactured Hawthorne Village's On30 trains for them, used to have a variety of On30 train sets, including some colored for Christmas. Again, they work great with holiday villages.

    Several of their most popular Christmas offerings went out of stock in the last eighteen months, but more seem to be on their way. Click here to see Bachmann's streetcar set, and a description of the Christmas trains they offer intermittently. We'll post anything new as it comes on our radar. .

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

    Click to go to our Christmas Train Primer page.Our Christmas Train Primer pages offer many ideas, downloadable graphics and plans, and links to other resources. In short, this is the Internet's largest library of information about Christmas trains and related hobbies, including the following articles:

    • Sizes and Scales of Big Christmas Trains - Contains more details about the relative sizes of the Big Christmas Trains listed above.

    • Choosing Christmas Trains and Villages - Describes more options for picking out or making Christmas villages, as well as for choosing trains for your towns. This article answers questions like "How Big are Christmas Villages and the Trains that Go With Them?" "Where do Christmas Towns Come From?" "Where do Christmas Trains Come From?" and "What if You Don't Have Room for a 38" Track Circle?"

    • Scales and Gauges - They're not the Same - A detailed description of the difference between scales like O and HO and gauges like O gauge, On30, HO gauge, HOn36, and so on. From Big Indoor Trains™.

  • Letters to the Editor page - Since October, 2004, we've been answering questions about Christmas trains. Our Letters to the Editor page includes questions from Christmas Train lovers all over the world.

  • Click to go to the Big Indoor Trains™ Primer page.Big Indoor Trains™ Primer Page - Our "sister site" BigIndoorTrains.com™ has a growing library of articles about combining model trains with holiday and collectible villages. New features include articles about displaying your trains, making scenery, and surrounding your trains with vintage-looking buildings that would have been at home on a Christmas railroad 60 to 100 years ago. Of special interest to Christmas train lovers:

    • Our Glitterhouse articles provide historical and craft project information about those cardboard houses that graced many a Christmas railroad in the 1930s-1960s.

    • Our Tribute to Tinplate™ projects help you fill your railroad with vintage tinplate-inspired buildings like the lithographed masterpieces made to go with the old tinplate trains a century ago.

  • Trains-N-Towns™ Newsletter - A newsletter for people who run big indoor trains, especially folks who combine those trains with holiday villages or othe displays - also sponsored by BigIndoorTrains.com™.

  • Click to visit Family Christmas Online(tm)Family Christmas Online™ - This is a resource we started in 2007 to answer questions about Christmas in general. It includes a growing number of articles about Christmas traditions, several of which touch on the history of "trains and towns" in our Christmas celebrations. Two favorite articles among Christmas train fans are:

  • CardboardChristmas.com™ In our research on various Christmas subjects, we keep running into great people who collect or build replicas of those cardboard houses that were set out with the train set every Christmas season between 1928 and 1965. There are several great web resources, too, but much of the information is hard for beginning collectors to find. Go to the Cardboard Christmas web page.So we have put together CardboardChristmas.com™, a careful cross-reference of the most useful and reliable web resources about these inexpensive, but fragile treasures. We have also added a forum for asking and answering questions, and collecting information about these houses. If you have any interest in learning more about these little houses, please click here.

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

More Holiday Trains and Accessories


More Holiday Villages

Commemorative Village Collections 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.

  • Nostalgic collections include memories from the Peanuts special, and more.
  • Fun collections include memories from the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer special and more.
  • Classic collections include designs by M.I. Hummel.

To see many new Hawthorne Village collections, please click on the picture above.


Trains and Villages for Every Season

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.


In addition, the O-Scale Accessories page includes many inexpensive details such as bridges, fencing, and stations, that will bring life to any O-Scale or O-Gauge railroad. For details on these accessories, click on the image to the right.O Scale Accessories

Sports Team Trains A number of train sets have been issued that celebrate the colors and spirit of professional teams. The graphic on the right shows several team trains that used to be made by Hawthorne Village. (A few are still available.) A number of authorized sports team trains have also been made by Lionel and other manufacturers.

For more information on Sports Team trains, please click on the graphic to the right.


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, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically prohibited. Big Christmas Trains(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


For more information, please contact us

Click to see exclusive, licensed train collections in your favorite NFL colors!


Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
- Trains and Hobbies -
All about running trains outside.
Check out this year's crop of Lionel Trains Click to learn about Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages. Big Christmas Train Primer: Choosing and using model trains with holiday themes Building temporary and permanent railroads with big model trains, especially in O, On30 and S scale Click to learn about model trains with your favorite team's colors.
Learn about Halloween trains and villages. Learn about O Gauge Trains in Christmas themes, including Lionel's popular O27 Polar Express train. Learn about collectible holiday trains and villages, especially from companies like Hawthorne Village Learn about the biggest commercially-available Christmas trains you can buy. O Scale Accessories: Buildings, scenery, etc. that goes with any Lionel, Hawthorne Village, or Bachmann On30 train on these pages.
On30 trains are O scale models of tiny real-world trains.  They are ideal for most holiday villages.
Visit our home page for O, On30 and S gauge model railroading
Learn about Halloween trains and villages. Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Garden Train Store: Buyer's guides to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingReturn to the Big Christmas Trains home page.
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Click to sign up for Maria Cudequest's craft and collectibles blog.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.
Visit the largest and most complete cardboard Christmas 'Putz' house resource on the Internet.
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories. Traditional Home-Made Ornaments
- Music -
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. Acoustic-based, traditional, singer-songwriter, and folk music with a Western focus. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Explains the various kinds of acoustic guitar and what to look for in each.
Look to Riverboat Music buyers' guide for descriptions of musical instruments by people who play musical instruments. Learn 5-string banjo at your own speed, with many examples and user-friendly explanations. Explains the various kinds of banjos and what each is good for. Learn more about our newsletter for roots-based and acoustic music. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.